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What does this mean?

There is a list of terms we use in UCD and across the BA. We may use some terms differently here than other contexts in which you might be used to hearing them, so it is good to familiarize yourself with what we mean by them.

The short ‘Guide to the BA’ for new students gives you a very comprehensive explanation of terms such as colleges, schools, programme offices, school offices, pathways, stages, years, modules, credits, re-sits, repeats and so on.

You can access the Guide here.

Some terms to get you started:

Programme: This is your chosen degree e.g. The BA in French and Spanish, The BSc in Human Nutrition...

School: Your subjects will be located within a particular school e.g. The School of History, The School of Languages and Literature…

College: Your School is located within a particular College e.g. the College of Arts and Celtic Studies or the College of Human Sciences…

Subjects: These are the subjects that you choose to make up your BA e.g. French, Spanish, Geography, Art History...

ModulesEach subject has a certain combination of modules which are essentially short courses which will include some form of assessment.  Modules can be core, elective or optional.

Module Descriptor: A module descriptor captures important information about a module including:

  • A description of the module listing the learning outcomes and means by which they will be assessed.
  • An indication of the expected student workload.
  • The school and module coordinator responsible for the module.
  • The credit value, level, semester, curriculum and other information

Detailed module descriptors can be found by Module title on the UCD course search website here.

Learning Outcomes: Learning outcomes are a description of the knowledge, skills and abilities that students are expected to have achieved or have made progress towards achieving on completion of a module.  Having an awareness of module learning outcomes will allow you to critically evaluate your own learning

Credits:Each module has a certain number of credits associated with it, most BA modules are 5 credits though some are 10.

Stage: Your BA is divided into two stages – stage 1 and stage 2, each stage has a required number of credits to complete. While it is usual to complete Stage 1 in one year, your 'first' year, this will not be the case for Stage 2 which will take at least two years.

Progression: You have to complete the requirements of stage 1 to ‘progress’ to stage 2, and complete the requirements of stage 2 to complete your degree.

Grade: You get a grade per module you complete based on the quality of your assignments and exams – the grades are letters A+, A, A- etc

GPA: This stands for grade point average. It is the measure of your academic performance, the higher your grade point average the better the quality of your degree. Each grade has a number associated with it (ranging from 4.2 (at the top) down to 0) and your grade point average is the average of all these grades added together. 

Levels: Some modules are more difficult than others. Level 1 is easier than a level 3 module, but you need a range of levels to complete your degree.

SemesterUCD organises its undergraduate programmes into two 15-week semesters.  The first semester in an academic year begins in September and ends in December. The second semester begins in January and ends in May

Lectures: Lectures tend to be much larger and more formal than tutorials.  They usually take place in a theatre.  It is the opportunity for the lecturer to set out the topic of the module, the challenges that it poses and to indicate the various connections that exist between this topic and others.

Tutorials: Tutorials are small group classes that are designed to complement the modules that you are taking.  They are used to develop skills and deepen knowledge and you are required to play an active role in them.

Do refer to the ‘Guide to the BA’ for more information on these terms. You can access the Guide here

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