New Students

Key Definitions

You may come across a few unfamiliar words and phrases as you start your studies. The list below highlights a few terms that you may find useful to know in your first few days. 

Whether you are a home student from the UK or joining us from overseas, it can sometimes seem that universities have a whole different language and it is common to come across unknown terminology. 

Listed below are a few phrases that you may come across quite early as you begin your studies here. A larger glossary can be found here. If you can't find the term you're looking for on this page or in the glossary then don't be afraid to ask someone. 

Academic year – runs from 1 August to 31 July of the following year. Teaching usually takes place from September to June although postgraduate taught students will be working on their final dissertations over the summer. You can view the calendar to see teaching dates for upcoming years. 

Semester – an American word for ‘term’ used in Britain to describe how the academic year is divided up. At Queen Mary, there are three semesters: Semester A, Semester B and Exam Period. Semester A and B are 12 weeks long, and the Exam Period runs between the first week of May until the first week of June. 

Academic Adviser/Personal Tutor – the point of contact within your School or Institute, who provides a pastoral role throughout your degree. Your adviser may give you advice about which elective modules to choose, write you a reference for job or postgraduate study applications or give you advice on personal matters that might be affecting your studies.

Student Support Adviser(s) - members of staff who have a specific role to support students and will often be the first person you should approach with questions or for information about School/Institute processes. They can provide general academic information, but you should talk to your Academic Advisor/Personal Tutor for specific queries about your programme

Module – a course that is offered by your School or Institute, as part of your degree, which (in most cases) will contribute to your degree credits.

Module registration – is the process of selecting the elective modules you intend to study in a particular academic year.  Please note that not all programmes offer a choice of modules and therefore you might not have the opportunity to alter the modules that are allocated to you.

Core and compulsory modules – a compulsory module is a module that must be taken to meet requirements for progression or award. A core module that must be taken and passed to meet requirements for progression or award. Both have to be taken and therefore you will not be able to opt out of these modules during module registration. Your School or Institute will be able to confirm which modules are core and compulsory.

Elective module – a module that you can choose from anywhere within Queen Mary or University of London, subject to School or Institute approval and timetable constraints.

Optional module – practical optional elements designed to enhance your skills and knowledge.
Enrolment – the process of officially registering with the university, and it is compulsory that you do this during your first week here.

Pre-enrolment – pre-enrolment is the first part of the enrolment process.  Once you have been accepted to Queen Mary, and have had your place confirmed, our Admissions and Recruitment Office will email you with details on how to pre-enrol.

Programme introduction (formerly, school induction) – consists of a series of talks during Welcome Week to ensure you have the basic information required to successfully complete your degree and adhere to the academic regulations and rules.

Welcome Week – the week before Week 1 of Semester A. During this week, various introductions are taking place across all Schools and Institutes for new students. The Students’ Union also hosts activities to welcome new students.