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Studying abroad doesn’t have to be confusing. Struggling to understand the difference between a Conditional and Unconditional offer? We’ve got you.

Use the glossary below to understand some of the words and phrases that are used when applying to a university in the UK.

  • A-D

Academic calendar

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

Applicant portal

The Middlesex applicant 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.

ATAS Certificate

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. This number will be sent to you in an email if you satisfy Middlesex University's requirements for a visa.

Once you have a CAS number you can begin the process of applying for a student visa.

Conditional offer

A conditional offer requires you to complete specific requirements and conditions before being accepted onto your course. This could mean passing your final exams, completing a visa credibility interview, or achieving a certain level of English language. The conditions specific to you will be highlighted in your offer letter.


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

Credibility interviews

Finding out if a student is sincere in their intentions to study in the UK is the purpose of a credibility interview.  During the interview you will also be expected to demonstrate  that your English language ability is sufficient to study your chosen course and level of study. Find out more about how to prepare for your interview.


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


A deferred entry means that you apply for a course, receive an offer,  and then take up to a year off before starting. This could be pre-planned, such as if you intend to take a gap year, or it could happen during the application process.

  • 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 course at Middlesex. Successful completion of this course can lead onto some of our undergraduate degree courses. 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 grants 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 how our postgraduate degree courses are referred to. In other parts of the world, it's commonly referred to as a "Master's" degree.

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 funds

When we require proof that you have sufficient funds to study in the UK, we will refer to this term. Bank statements or sponsorship letters may be required as "proof of finance" for you.

  • 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 courses. 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.
If your application is withdrawn, this will be communicated to you via email

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