Glossary Of Terms

Starting University is an exciting, nerve-wracking time for anyone. Whether it’s meeting new friends, finding your way around campus, or exploring a new city – you’ll be experiencing a bunch of things for the very first time.

New things often mean a whole new language – and it’s true, universities do have some pretty odd words and phrases (what’s the difference between a thesis and a dissertation anyway?). And if, like us, you’re the first person in your family to go to university, it can be a bit difficult to know where you should turn to ask what it all means.

There’s no need to worry, though, because we’ve put together this short glossary of common university terms – along with some links to helpful info, which will give you that bit of extra guidance when you need it. If you have any further questions, get in-touch through the myHull portal, by selecting the talk to us tab.

So we hope you find it useful, and all that’s left to say is good luck and welcome to the University of Hull!

Josie, Brad, and Eve

Academic Reps

  • Supported by Hull University Union, academic reps gather feedback from students on their programme and raise issues with academic staff at student staff forums. University-wide issues are discussed at course rep forums.
  • Click here to find out about becoming a course rep.


Academic Standards


Academic Support Tutor (AST)

  • ASTs are academic members of staff who offer encouragement and guidance to help each student achieve and succeed. All students are assigned an AST as a first point of contact for any academic or personal concerns or support.
  • Further guidance about ASTs can be found on Canvas. Students unsure who their AST is can find out under the ‘My Details’ tab in myHull.



  • Where appropriate, courses with accreditation are endorsed by the appropriate professional body. For example, courses in accounting and finance are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.


Advice Centre (HUU)




Annual Review

  • PhD students are required to undertake both six-month and annual progress review meetings. Progression is dependent on successful completion of such assessments.


Athena SWAN


Athletic Union (AU)



  • A qualification, or academic credit, conferred in formal recognition that a student has achieved the intended learning outcomes and passed the assessments required to meet the academic standards set for a programme or unit of study.


This resource has been developed for students, by students.

The First Generation Scholars Network at the University of Hull identified that those who are the first in their family to attend university sometimes take longer to adapt to academic terminology.

This glossary has been created to help bridge this gap, giving all students the opportunity to understand the language of higher education and signposting to further information and support.

Lead authors: J G Cavaliere, B Durie and E M Jones (2019). Adapted by Student Services (2020).

Last updated : January 2020