I’ve been looking into doing an MA (Masters) course for a while now and all the new terms and abbreviations that have been coming up such as MA, PHD, PGT and PGR, have made me realise that university language is confusing. So I thought I’d act like a dictionary and explain some of the words I’ll probably be using in this blog. Sorry if some of them are obvious- I just wanted to cover all my bases.
-Okay, you have probably already had this as most schools tend to us them- this is the period that you are at the university, they generally work out as October to December, January to whenever the Easter break is, then the end of the Easter break until July
-A bit like a term, but generally more specific to university. We only have two semester and they include the holidays that go in between them. So we have October to mid-January then mid-January to July. These work out (for History at least) that in the first semester we have 3 modules, and then potential exams in January, then the second semester we have a different 3 modules with potential exams at the end of May/start of June.
– A module is a block of what you are studying- for history the are numbered differently, so starting off with ‘HS’ then being four numbers (first year starts with 1, second with 2, third with 3). These modules will be on different big topics such as ‘Making of the Modern World’, ‘Europe Reshaped’ and ‘Rethinking the Victorians’. Within these modules you will have seminars and lectures on individual parts of the topic and will usually (once again at least in History) have 3 pieces of marked work to do, which could be essays, presentations, exams or a mix of all 3.
– This is where the tutor/lecturer stands in front of X amount of people and talks about the chosen subject. It requires little student participation, depending on the teacher, but the students are often encouraged to do pre-reading and write notes during the lecture. These normally act as a good starting point for further reading and essays.
– A seminar is smaller than a lecture and normally has under 20 students. In these seminars students are encouraged to do reading beforehand and engage in a conversation or debate on the topic chosen. These are a lot more specific and interactive than a lecture and encourage students to really think about what they are learning.
– A tutor is basically a teacher. Pretty simple answer. A student will be given a personal tutor in the first few weeks of starting and this person will hopefully help you through your university life. You will also meet lots of other tutors, especially the ones taking your seminars. These tutors are the ones that will be marking your essays and who you go to if you want help with anything on that particular module.
– Our Students’ Union, also known as the Percy Gee building. Here is where you will socialise in those few minutes you are not hard at work! During the day it is open for food and at night there are regular student nights such as Shabang and Red Leicester, that will allow you to have a good time with less money than some other clubs.
-A hard copy of an essay is the printed out version of your essay that you hand in to the History department. You also hand in an electronic copy through TurnItIn (see bellow).
-When you hand in your electronic copy you upload the Word document onto a thing called TurnItIn, which is a software used by the university to check for plagiarism.
-If only it was as simple as a blackboard, this bad boy is the online resource used by the university where each of your modules has its own file, and within that file is all the information you need to know about it- deadlines, books you need to read, what your next seminar is on, etc.
-Not everyone will get to meet the joy that is Jstor, but basically it is a website that you get access to by being a University of Leicester student, and will give you thousands of academic journal articles about whatever you search for.
-Not something any first years will have to worry about, but I maybe talking about mine every now and again. It is basically the 10,000 word essay final year History students have to do on a topic of their choice. It’s a bit scary but allows you to explore anything you are interested in.
– Short for University of Leicester, but you probably knew that.