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Study with us | How you’ll learn at university 

Study with us | How you’ll learn at university 

by Judith Charlton

Wondering what it’s like to learn at university, how different lectures will be compared to classes at school or college, and how you’ll be supported to study?

Read on to explore some of the ways you’ll learn and find out how skills you’ve already mastered are about to make the move from school to university study much easier. 



  1. What’s it like to study at Newcastle University?

  2. What will teaching be like?

  3. How will I learn?

  4. How will my learning be supported?


What’s it like to study at Newcastle University?

We want you to have an outstanding learning experience with us and for University to be a place where you grow in confidence as a student.

We have been awarded 5 QS Stars for Teaching (2023) - that means you’ll learn from world-leading experts and top academics at the cutting edge of your discipline, including National Teaching Fellows recognised for their outstanding contribution to teaching.


What will teaching be like?

All students studying on an on-campus programme are receiving in-person teaching. Where online and digital options have enhanced the student experience, or been requested by our students, we will continue to use them to benefit learning.




How will I learn?

Let’s look at some of the ways you might learn with us:


  • Lectures

Probably the most well-known form of university teaching. Lectures can take place in an auditorium, lecture hall, regular classroom, or online.  

They're designed to introduce you to the main elements of your course and your lecturer will talk about their particular subject, sharing their expert knowledge. 

You’ll listen and take notes for further study to follow up in your own time – a skill you’ve probably already been developing at school or college. 

  1. What equipment will I need for university lecture? 
    You’ll need a notepad, pens/pencils and a highlighter for taking notes. Alternatively, if your lecture is online, you can use a laptop if you feel confident taking typed notes. 
  2. How long do lectures last? 
    Lectures can last between one to two hours and may involve the lecturer giving a PowerPoint presentation, using a whiteboard, or they might just talk to the class. 
  3. Can I ask questions? 
    This depends on your lecturer’s teaching style. They’ll probably tell you if they’re happy to take questions during a lecture, or if you should wait until the end. Sometimes, you may need to arrange to contact them at another time if you want to discuss something further. 
  4. Do I have to attend lectures? 
    Attendance at lectures is usually compulsory.


  • Seminars

These can involve a smaller number of students and are more interactive. Again, they can be held in person on campus or online.

During a seminar, you’ll be encouraged to ask questions and take part in discussions with your tutor and fellow students  

If you think that’s something you could never do, think again! Chances are you’ve been contributing to class discussions at school or college and have been developing the confidence and communication skills you need for discussion and debate. 

  1. How should I prepare for a seminar at university? 
    It’s important to read over course material and your relevant lecture notes in advance, so you’re ready to contribute your views and ideas. Identify areas you'd like to go over and prepare some questions you might want to ask. 


  • Small group learning

This will be your opportunity to tackle a project with other students, test out your theories and reinforce your understanding of your topic. You’ll work together as a group to carry out research and develop a presentation which you’ll deliver to your class.  


  • Self-supported study

Self-supported study is an important part of your degree, your learning experience at university, and your development as a student. 

Just as you’ve had to be self-disciplined in your learning at school or college, you’ll direct your own further study as you immerse yourself in your degree.

But this time you’ll have access to some extensive facilities, such as our state-of-the-art study spaces and the award-winning library service at Newcastle University. 


  • Research

With access to specialist subject facilities, you’ll be able to carry out original research, building your knowledge of a topic you’re passionate about

Find out about the five-star facilities you could be using at Newcastle to support your research and learning.  


  • Practical sessions and fieldwork


During practical sessions you’ll use industry-standard equipment and techniques, gaining hands-on experience that will prepare you for your professional future.

Fieldwork will give you the chance to learn from, and observe, professionals in your subject area and apply practical skills.




How will my learning be supported?

You’ll be assigned a personal tutor, an academic member of staff who’ll support you during your time at university, offering advice and guidance on your course.   

If you need a little extra help, we offer learning support, too. We’ve developed an online Academic Skills Kit to help you become an effective independent learner - from building digital skills to good academic practice, writing essays and dissertations, taking exams and delivering presentations.

Our numeracy, maths and statistics support includes our Maths Aid drop-in sessions where you can access help mastering mathematical methods, revising for exams with a maths element, understanding statistical tests and more.  

And if English isn't your first language, you can register for our free in-sessional English classes. You'll access support covering reading, writing, listening and speaking, as well as one-to-one writing tutorials where you can discuss an assignment you're working on. Classes are delivered in a lecture-style or workshop format and designed so you achieve your full potential in your academic subject.

At Newcastle University we educate for life, so your learning will be engaging and stimulating, and you’ll be supported to develop the skills and knowledge you need to succeed when you graduate. 


Get more advice for your journey to university HERE