UCAS Terms Explained: From A to Z

UCAS Terms

A lot of UCAS terms used today might be a little hard to get your head around and comprehend what it all means, so we have tried our best to make it easier for you to understand. Below is the list of UCAS application terms from A to Z that will get you ready to discuss your options and everything around it! 


Adviser – one of the UCAS terms is Adviser; it is someone who helps you with your application by providing you with information, advice, and assistance. A teacher, instructor, counsellor, or agent could be this person.

Adjustment – This is one of the services you might utilise to look for alternate courses in an undergraduate application. This is for when you’ve fulfilled and exceeded your criteria and want to see whether you can enrol in a course with higher admission requirements while keeping your previous confirmed spot.

Agent – Agents are representatives from around the world who represent UK universities and colleges, English language centres, or independent boarding schools. They are also known as consultants or educational advisers. They usually have a contract with one or more course providers, who pay them a commission for each student they enrol in their classes.

Admission Cycle – People refer to the entire process of applying to a university as the ‘admissions cycle,’ which includes everything from application through acceptance. Every year in September, the admissions round begins.

A Level – The General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A level, more commonly understood as the A level) is an educational certificate accepted by students conducting further schooling in England, Northern Ireland, & Wales (secondary or pre-university education).

AS Level – The Advanced Subsidiary or first part of a full A level certificate is known as an AS level.

Advanced Higher – An SCQF Level 7 academic qualification obtained by students in Scotland aged 16 to 18, usually after they have completed their Highers. Advanced Highers are not taken by all students in Scotland.

B –

Buzzword – Your school, college, or centre will provide you with a keyword so you can link your application to them for UCAS Undergraduate applications. When you enrol to make a UCAS Undergraduate entry (unless you’re applying independently), you include this word in your application.

Bachelor’s Degree – one of the UCAS terms is Bachelor’s Degree; a three or four-year term in undergraduate higher education that you can pursue after you’ve completed secondary school — sometimes known as a ‘first degree’ or ‘undergraduate degree’. The majority of courses are Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees.

BA – A Bachelor of Arts degree is commonly abbreviated as BA.

C –

Centre – A centre is a college, school, or organisation that assists students with their applications for higher education.

Changed Course Offer – if you haven’t met your conditions or if the university or institution has changed the courses they offer, you may receive one of these in your application. It could be a different start date or point of entrance, or a completely another course.

Choice – a choice is a course that you apply for on your application; many students make many options to boost their chances of being accepted.

Clearing – Clearing is another feature you can utilise in a UCAS Undergraduate application to explore other courses. If you didn’t get a spot on a course because you didn’t get offers, declined offers, or didn’t get the marks you needed, clearing permits you to apply for courses that are still open.

College – A college is an institution that offers further and higher education. When we say ‘uni’ or ‘university,’ we’re usually referring to a broad phrase that includes colleges as well. When we say ‘application to university,’ for example, we mean ‘applying to university or college,’ but more concisely.

Conditional Offer – in your application, a conditional offer of a seat on a course. To be accepted on the course, you must meet certain requirements, most of which are related to your exam results. For students applying directly for further study, this is a popular form of offer.

Confirmation – the outcome of a conditional offer you’ve accepted in your application. If you meet the requirements, your position will be rendered unconditional (i.e., you will be guaranteed a spot on the course); otherwise, the offer will be rejected.

Conservatoire – one of the UCAS terms is Conservatoire which are music, dance, screen, and theatre schools that focus on performance.

Course – From foundation degrees to PhDs, there are numerous courses available at various levels, subjects, and places.

Course & Training Providers – A university, conservatoire, college, school direct school, or another provider of higher education courses is a course and training provider.

CertHE – A Certificate of Higher Education is a higher education certification given in the United Kingdom that normally takes one year to complete (full-time) or two years (part-time).

D –

Deferral – this is what you do in your application if you want to carry an offer over to the following academic year.

DipHE – A Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) is a higher education certification conferred in the United Kingdom after two years of full-time study at a university or higher education provider.

E –

Entry Requirements – one of the UCAS terms is Entry Requirements; what the course provider advises you do/have to get admitted to the course – everything from qualifications and specific subjects or grades to interviews, admissions exams, and medical needs. 

Extra – Extra is a service included in a UCAS Undergraduate application that allows you to apply for additional places if you do not receive an offer from your initial five selections.

F –

Fresher – Fresher is a slang term for first-year college students.

Firm Choice – an offer you accept as your first choice in your application.

FE – Further education (FE) is the degree of education you accomplish before beginning higher education at a school or college.

First Class Honours – A degree categorization system is used by the majority of UK education providers. The highest level degree classification awarded is first-class honours, or a ‘first’.

G –

Gap Year – A gap year is a year taken after completing secondary school and before beginning a higher education course. Students frequently travel, volunteer, or complete work experience during this year.

Graduate – a student who has finished and graduated from an undergraduate programme and is now eligible to apply for postgraduate programmes.

GCSE – The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification that students aged 14–16 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland take.

H –

HEP – A university, college, or conservatoire is a higher education provider.

Higher Education (HE) – is the level of education to which we can assist you in applying, ranging from undergraduate courses to postgraduate courses after you’ve completed your undergraduate degree.

Higher – an SCQF Level 6 academic qualification often obtained by students between the ages of 16 and 18, and the primary qualification used by students in the UK to progress to higher education. After completing their Higher, students may continue to an Advanced Higher.

Higher National Certificate (HNC) – a one-year vocationally focused higher education certification offered in the United Kingdom, roughly comparable to one year of university study.

Higher National Diploma (HND) – in the United Kingdom, a vocationally focused higher education award. An HND is equivalent to the second year of a three-year degree programme and is frequently used to gain admission to a university programme.

Honours – one of the UCAS terms is Honours; such as an ‘honours degree.’ ‘Honours’ can be added to most first degrees in higher education. It’s not a grade; it simply implies that you can receive your degree ‘with honours,’ which would be an additional sign of excellence. Check what you need to obtain honours – it could be a specific GPA or writing a good dissertation.

I –

Insurance Choice – an offer you accept as your second choice in your application if you don’t meet the terms of your firm offer.

Invitation – You may receive an invitation from a university or institution as part of your application, inviting you to attend an interview or audition, or to submit a portfolio, essay, or another piece of work.

L –

Legal Tables – These can be classified by reputation, courses, or departments, or they can be an overall ranking.

M –

MA – one of the UCAS terms is MA; stands for Master of Arts, although it can refer to two different things. It usually refers to a Master of Arts degree, which is a postgraduate degree. It could also be an undergraduate degree earned at one of the UK’s historic universities, such as St. Andrews, Oxford, or Cambridge.

P –

Personal ID Or UCAS ID – Every communication we give you includes your Personal ID or UCAS ID — the ten-digit number you receive when you begin an application – displayed in 123-456-7890 format. If you contact our Customer Experience Centre, you will be requested for this information. This number is not produced until the application is started.

Personal Statement — a piece of writing that candidates write to explain why they’re applying and why a course provider should accept them.

Point Of The Entrance – indicate in your application the year of the course you will begin – for example, ‘2’ indicates that you will begin the second year of the course.

Postgraduate – Graduate students who have already finished an undergraduate degree can pursue postgraduate studies.

Predicted Grades – are the grades that a teacher, tutor, or another adviser competent to comment on a student’s academic fitness expects them to receive when they complete their secondary education.

Postgraduate Research – PGR is a research-intensive higher education programme for graduates who have already finished an undergraduate programme.

Postgraduate Taught (PGT) – a higher education course for graduates who have already finished an undergraduate course, which typically includes a variety of coursework, lectures, seminars, and other activities, as well as a supervised dissertation, project, or thesis.

S –

Sandwich Course – A sandwich course is a course that includes an additional year of work experience in the field of study.

Scheme Code – This is used in conjunction with your Personal ID to identify your application in your application.

Second Class Honours – Most universities and colleges in the United Kingdom employ a degree classification system. Second class honours are divided into two classifications: upper-division (or 2:1) and lower division (or ‘first’) (2:2). Many postgraduate programmes in the United Kingdom demand a 2:1 – or upper second class honours – classification.

T –

Tariff – The UCAS Tariff is a mechanism for assigning points to various qualifications that can be used to gain admission to undergraduate higher education. The Tariff will not include all qualifiers. It is just for admissions purposes and cannot be used in the job market.

Transcript – A transcript is a formal or informal academic record created by a school, college, university, or other awarding authority.

Third Class Honours – Most universities and colleges in the United Kingdom employ a degree classification system. The lowest degree classification offered by UK universities and colleges is usually third class honours.

U –

UCAS – is the United Kingdom’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. This applies to both our main UCAS Undergraduate application service and the other services we provide, such as UCAS Conservatoires and UCAS Postgraduate.

UCAS Conservatoires – The name of the application service for performance-based courses is UCAS Conservatoires.

UCAS Hub – The UCAS Hub is where you may discover, save, and review options, as well as apply for courses beginning in 2022.

UCAS Postgraduate – is the UCAS postgraduate application service.

Unconditional Offer – in your application, an unconditional offer of a spot on a course – the spot is yours if you want it.

If you liked reading this blog on “UCAS Terms Explained: A – Z” then make sure you check out our other informative blogs linked below!

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UCAS Terms

UCAS Terms Explained: From A to Z

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