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Studying abroad can be confusing if you don’t fully understand the terms or words used.

Our glossary helps you get familiar with the terminology to avoid any confusion.

  • A-D

Academic calendar

An academic calendar runs from September-August and shows when the university is open during the academic year, when teaching starts and ends, and exam times.

Application portal

The Middlesex application portal is an online portal for Postgraduate students to submit an application to the university. You can upload personal data, a written statement, and references within the portal. You will also be able to check the status of your application.


An ATAS certificate shows details of the course or research and higher education institution ( HEI ) you have applied to for clearance. This is ONLY required for some courses. View the full list of courses an ATAS certificate is needed for.


If you are in the UK for longer than 6 months you will need a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). A BRP card is a similar size to a credit card and holds biographic details (name, date and place of birth) and biometric information (facial image and fingerprints). You will need to collect your BRP within 10 days of your arrival to the UK. Find out more.


A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a unique number which confirms you have been accepted on a course of study in the UK. It is an electronic document generated using the Home Office's system and is essential in order to make a successful Student visa application

Conditional offer

A conditional offer means you still need to meet the requirements – usually exam results.


This is another word for "Programme". An example of a course of study would be "BA Business Management".

Credibility interviews

The purpose of a credibility interview is to ascertain that a student's intentions to study in the UK are genuine. During the interview you will also be expected to demonstrate that your English language ability is sufficient to follow your chosen course and level of study.


A credit is the recognition for having completed a module of study university


A deferred entry means applying for a course and then taking a year out before starting it. This might be pre-planned, for example if you want to go on a gap year, or you might change your mind during the application.

  • E-P

Entry clearance

Anyone coming to the UK will have to pass through UK Border Control to prove they meet the requirements of entry clearance. This will mean showing documents such as your Visa application and CAS number.

Halls of residence

This is the term used to describe on-campus accommodation. In other countries, it might be referred to a "Housing", "Accommodation", or "Dorms". Explore our accommodation options here.

Higher Education (HE)

Higher education is the name for qualifications and courses you can take after 18.

International Foundation Programme

If you don't meet our academic requirements, you might be able to study a one year international foundation programme at Middlesex. Successful completion of this programme can lead onto some of our undergraduate degree programmes. Check the course page for pathway progressions.


Modules are the classes that you will take. There will be a set number of modules to complete for each course. The majority are compulsory, but there are sometimes options to select some modules depending on what you are studying.

NHS Surcharge

The National Health Service (NHS) Surcharge is paid as a part of the visa application and grant the visa holder access to free health services in the UK.

Personal statement

A personal statement is a chance for you to explain why you want to study at Middlesex, what course you would like to study and why, and to also tell us about your personal achievements and experience. Watch our videos to see what to include in a personal statement

Placement year

a placement year is essentially an extended internship that allows you to apply what you've learned on your degree to a real working environment. Your job role is usually related to your degree and tends to last between six and 12 months.


This is the term used to describe our postgraduate degree programmes. It is commonly known as a "Master's" degree in other parts of the world.

Pre-sessional English

If you don't meet our English language requirements, you might be offered a Pre-sessional English course at Middlesex. The aim of the course is to improve your English language so that you can hopefully meet the requirements. Courses are between 6-30 weeks in length and you can find out more here.


This is another word for "Course". An example of a programme of study would be "BA Business Management"

Proof of finance

This term will be used when we need evidence that you have enough funds to study in the UK. You might be asked to provide bank statements as "proof of finance".

  • Q-Z

Sandwich year/ industrial year

A four-year sandwich course combines an undergraduate degree with a year-long placement in a professional setting


Self-fund is the term used to describe a student who is paying their tuition fees without the support of a government loan, funding or scholarship.


Middlesex University is a licenced visa sponsor. This means that if we issue you with an offer of study, and a CAS number, then we are sponsoring your visa to study in the UK.

Student route visa

A Student Route Visa is the name of the visa that most international students will need to successfully apply for, in order to study in the UK for more than 6 months. Visa applications can begin once you have received an offer of study from Middlesex and a CAS number.

Study exchange

A student exchange program is a program in which students from a secondary school or higher education study abroad at one of their institution's partner institutions.


A Term is how we describe sections of the academic year. You will most likely have three terms each year. Another word for a term is a "Semester".


A transcript is an official summary of your academic performance and progress to date. It will only include final marks confirmed by the appropriate Examination Board.


UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is an online application portal that you will need to use if you are applying for an undergraduate degree programme in the UK. You can apply for up to 5 universities with only having to submit one application.

Unconditional offer

An unconditional offer means you've got a place, although there might still be a few things to arrange.


This is the term used to describe our undergraduate degree programmes. It is commonly known as a "Bachelor's" in other parts of the world.


The UK Home Office who are responsible for issuing UK visas


Your vignette lasts for 90 days. It allows you to travel to the UK and collect your biometric residence permit when you are in the UK. If your 90-day visa vignette expires before you travel to the UK, you will need to replace it by transferring your visa to a new passport online. It costs £154 to replace your vignette.


A withdrawn application means a course choice has been withdrawn by either you or the university/college.
The reason will show up in on your application – maybe you didn't respond to emails/letters they sent, or missed an interview.

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