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Getting you up to speed Life at the University of Ulster

A guide for families 18/19

Academic Year At Ulster the academic year is divided into two semesters for most students (some students, e.g. Nursing, have a longer academic year). The first semester runs from September until mid-January, and the second from late January to May. Each semester comprises 12 weeks of teaching followed by an exam period. Full-time students will study at least three modules in each semester (18 modules of study make up a degree programme). Most modules are assessed through coursework and exams and both sections must be passed. The first-semester exams are in early January and the second semester exams in May.

Lectures, Seminars and Tutorials Teaching at Ulster is through lectures, seminars and tutorials and in some cases, practicals and fieldwork. Lectures are formal teaching sessions often with a larger group of students. Seminars, which usually provide a form of follow-up to lectures, take place in smaller groups and are often used to promote group discussion about a specific topic. In tutorials a small number of students meet with a tutor to discuss work and to raise points of particular interest or difficulty.

If you look at the timetable for a student, you will see that the number of taught hours at university is probably much less than at school or college. However, a full-time student should be studying approximately 40 hours per week. The main difference from school is that the student is expected to study independently – to organise his/ her time to study effectively and to decide which materials to study and how. Students are expected to read about their subject (reading lists are generally provided, particularly in the first year), prepare for seminars and complete assignments. Each student is allocated a Studies Adviser, but it is up to the student to keep staff informed of any difficulties he/she might be having.

Work Placement or Study Abroad Students may also be required or opt to go on work experience or study abroad during their third year at university. For some medical-related courses students will be required to undertake block work placements throughout the course. Placement adds valuable work experience to a CV which for many employers is an essential requirement. Graduates who have completed work placement have been proven to achieve higher awards in their degree and are more successful in securing graduate jobs.

Going to university - A guide for families (University of Ulster)  

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