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Learning and assessment for study abroad students

Stem Cell Summer School

As a study abroad student, you will be fully integrated into our community and take your modules (classes) alongside British and international students pursuing their degrees.

A different way of studying

Part of your study abroad experience will involve adapting to a new academic culture and system. We aim to give you a better understanding of how studying in the UK may differ and what type of classes you will attend. More about studying in the UK.

Grading system

The grading system at UK universities differs from those in other countries and can cause confusion if you're used to high achieving.

In the UK system:

  • 70% or above is the top band of grades (a 1st)
  • 60-69% (called a 2:1) is considered a good mark
  • 50-60% is called a 2:2
  • 40% is a pass (a 3rd).

Semester dates

While UK education is similar to the US system in that the main study semesters are autumn (fall) and spring, the UK system generally starts at a later date. For example, the autumn semester usually starts in late September. We do not have a summer semester. For exact dates, please visit our semester dates page.

Contact hours

If you study humanities or arts-based subjects, you may find you have less contact hours per week than you are used to in your home university.

This is because university study in the UK is aimed at encouraging a high level of independence and self-directed study. This means you'll be given guidance and help but expected to do a great deal of self-directed research which you may be asked to present or discuss.

Teaching methods and class types

Classes in UK universities are given through these types of classes:


Lectures are large classes that usually last for one hour. The lecturer gives a general overview of a topic and students take notes. There is usually little opportunity to ask questions.


Seminars are small classes of around 12 students that involve student interaction and discussion is encouraged. Seminars will be based around a theme, and you're often asked to prepare a short presentation or materials in advance.


Tutorials can be an individual meeting with a lecturer or with a small group. If it's with a small group, a tutorial can include discussions relating to a particular topic. If it's an individual meeting, the session can be an opportunity for you to discuss the progress of your work, a particular essay or any problems you may be having.

Labs and other subject-specific facilities

Study abroad students are fully integrated into the classes of other students at the University. This means you will work with them in subject-specific facilities such as laboratories and other practical environments.


While assessment methods vary between courses, there will probably be a difference to what you are used to in your home university. In arts and humanities subjects especially, you can expect to have a smaller number of longer assignments which you have to plan effectively in order to achieve high grades.

Assignments will require your own research and, where possible, your own ideas. You will commonly be able to write assignments on areas of particular interest to you within a broad area.

Examinations take place at the end of each semester.

Personal tutor

All students are allocated a personal tutor. Your tutor will be an academic member of staff who will check your progress and can assist you with any academic or personal problems.

Additionally, as a study abroad student, our team is available if you have any questions or concerns during or after your studies with us.


Here's a useful guide to better understand some British terminology:

UK systemUS system
Academic SchoolDepartment/college
Academic staff/lecturerFaculty
Full stopPeriod
Ground floorFirst floor
RefectoryDining Hall
TickCheck mark

Contact us

Study Abroad Office

Study Abroad Office