Glossary of terms

Getting to grips with university jargon

As you start university you will be confronted with a whole new vocabulary – words like semester, DP and undergraduate. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a glossary of terms to help you understand what’s happening around you.

AS Application Score – points allocated to your school subjects for admission to tertiary institutions
BA Bachelor of Arts degree
BCom Bachelor of Commerce degree
BSc Bachelor of Science degree
BTech Bachelor of Technology degree
Credit The recognition obtained when a student passes examinations or tests to comply with conditions needed for completion of a qualification
Dean Head of a faculty
DP Duly performed certificate – some academic departments have minimum requirements for course work and class marks, before you are allowed to write the exam. If you have achieved these minimum requirements, you “get” a DP – usually indicated on a class list posted on a notice board before exams start
DVC Deputy Vice-Chancellor - those who are second in charge. Nelson Mandela University has three of them
Faculty A collection of schools and departments focusing on similar fields of study e.g. Faculty of Science
Faculty administrator Assists with registration, cancellation of modules
HOD Head of Department – in charge of a specific academic department
MBA Master’s degree in Business Administration
Module Subject, a self-contained unit of learning that forms part of the course
NSFAS National Student Financial Aid Scheme, a loan scheme to enable students to borrow money for their studies
Orientation A period that gives newcomers an opportunity to familiarise themselves with their new university
Postgraduate What you become when you complete your degree
Registrar Responsible for student administration and institutional governance
RPL Recognition of Prior Learning, the acknowledgement of the knowledge a student possesses as a result of prior learning
Senate The body that governs academic policies and procedures in respect of teaching, learning, research and academic functions
Semester One half of the academic year
SRC Student Representative Council
Undergraduate When you have not completed a first degree, diploma or certificate
VC Vice-Chancellor, the highest managerial position of a tertiary institution