Dictionary of University Terms

Dictionary of Terms Used in UCC



Academic disciplines: subjects or areas of study within institutions e.g. sociology, history, physics.


Arts: In the University context a group of intellectual disciplines which includes literature, philosophy, history, music etc. See also Humanities.


Assessment:  evaluation of a student's work. 




Bachelor's Degree: A first degree, usually termed undergraduate degree. It normally requires at least three years of full-time study.


Bibliography:  List of the works referred to or consulted by the author in an essay/academic book.  It is arranged in alphabetic order by author and includes title and publishing details.


Blackboard: This is an online area where tutors and lecturers upload notes, materials etc. for you to download. Make sure to familiarise yourself with this system, and ask your mentors if you need help! 


Book of Modules:  The Book of Modules contains descriptions of all modules offered in the University's modularised programmes. For UCC Book of Modules see www.ucc.ie/modules


Building Codes: Many locations on campus use acronyms or abbreviations. Some of the most common follow.


ORB – O’Rahilly Building

Main Rest – The main restaurant on campus

Mini Rest - Located above the Main Rest

Kampus Kitchen- Located in the Kane Basement

Boole Basement- Main lecture theatres on campus Aras na Mac Leinn- The student centre

The Amphi/Honan Plaza- The circular area located outside the student centre

Ard Patrick- Student Health Centre/ Counselling Service

WGB- Western Gateway Building

SU - the Students' Union

DSS – Disability Support Service




Calendar: the official publication of important dates, regulations and degree schedules for each academic year. For UCC Calendar see www.ucc.ie/calendar


Campus: any property owned or managed by the University. Encompasses all buildings whether for teaching, leisure or accommodation.


Citation:  A quotation from another work included in a text together with provision of details (author; page number) in the form of a footnote or reference note.


College: UCC is split into 4 colleges. They are:

  • Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science
  • Business and Law
  • Medicine and Health
  • Science, Engineering and Food Science




Deadline: A date by which assignment/essays must be submitted. Marks are deducted for late submissions.


Department: A branch of a school concerned with a specific area of study.  i.e. Physiology is a department within the School of Clinical Therapies


Diploma: A qualification at the undergraduate or non-degree level, usually after two years of study.


Distance Learning: Opportunities to follow a course primarily from one’s home environment or local community.  Classes can sometimes be taken at week-ends, or part-time and may involve online, televised, or on campus lectures. 




Elective: A course of your choice, as opposed to a required or mandatory course. May also be called an option.




Footnote:  A note of reference, explanation or comment typically placed at the bottom of a page as opposed to an endnote which comes at the end of the essay/chapter. 





NB - Some courses may vary from this. Check UCC Marks and Standards for specific course details here.

I-First Class Honours; 70-100%

2.1-Second Class Honours, first division; 60-69%

2.2-Second Class Honours, second division; 50-59%

Third Class Honours; 45-49% PASS; 40-44%

Fail- Below 40%

NOTE: The passing grade for Medicine, Dentistry & Pharmacy is higher than other courses, at 50%

REMEMBER THAT ANYTHING ABOVE 70% IS CONSIDERED EXCELLENT. In some countries the percentages go a lot higher, but in Ireland anything above 70% means a top award, and anything above 80% is extremely rare! 


Graduate: A graduate is someone who has had a qualification conferred on him/her by a 3rd level institution following the successful completion of an undergraduate course of study




Honours: All degree programmes in UCC are Level 8 (Honours Degrees). Pass Degrees (Level 7) are offered by Institutes of Technology.


Humanities: A traditional body of artistic and intellectual disciplines including philosophy, literature, history, as well as social sciences and other such subjects (See Arts/ Liberal Arts)




Liberal Arts: Refers to the humanities, the study of philosophy and literature, language and sometimes also the ‘fine arts.’ Generally, all subjects (other than the scientific, technical or professional) that emphasise the development of cultural awareness and critical skills rather than practical training for a career or profession.




MCQ: Multiple Choice Questions (Usually an exam format)


Moodle: Alternative system to Blackboard - Your lecturers will tell you if they use it or not




Option: A course of study /module/ subject chosen by the student within the academic programme




Plagiarism: To pass off as one’s own the work or ideas of another. See here for the UCC Plagiarism policy. See also Turnitin below.


Prospectus: A publication which outlines all available courses and detailed course information. It can include information about admissions requirements, staff and general administrative information. See www.ucc.ie/prospectus  



Reference/Referencing:  A reference note provides details of the sources quoted in an essay or book. Correct referencing is an important component of academic work. There are various methods/conventions of referencing (MLA., Harvard etc.)  Academic departments usually provide students with details of the convention used. Essentially a reference/citation/footnote provides the reader of your essay with details of works from which you have quoted.   




School: The Operational units of the University which carry out teaching, research and scholarship functions e.g. School of Medicine


Semester: Divisions of the academic year. In UCC the year is divided into two semesters.  September – December and January - May


Social Sciences: The scientific study of society and social behaviour, or any science that examines an aspect of society or social behaviour, such as anthropology or psychology.


Supplemental Examinations: Offered to students who have failed modules. These usually take place in August and are known as the Autumn Supplemental Examinations. 




Turnitin: A system used for submitting assignments via Blackboard, designed to detect plagiarised materials.




Undergraduate student/Undergrad: A student who is studying/reading for a Bachelor’s degree in any subject area or discipline at a 3rd level institution.



Peer Assisted Student Support (PASS)

Tacaíocht Mac Léinn Piarchuidithe (PASS)