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Study with us | How you’ll learn at university 

Study with us | How you’ll learn at university 

by Katherine Hanrahan

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

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. 


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 (2022) and hold the QAA Quality Mark for the high quality of our academic standards and learning opportunities. 

In practice, 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 Covid-19 restrictions for England have now lifted, but because we know how quickly things can change, we have measures in place to make sure our students have a safe and fulfilling university experience.

You can find out more about our approach to teaching in 2022 and how all students studying on an on-campus programme will receive in-person teaching here.

 

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  

And 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. 

 

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.   

And if you need a little extra help developing the numeracy and writing skills you need for university study, we also offer two study support services  Maths-Aid and our Writing Development Centre. 

Our Maths-Aid programme can help you master mathematical methods, revise for exams with a maths element, understand statistical tests and more.  

Our Writing Development Centre can help you develop the techniques you need for academic writing, as well as other academic skills, including critical reading and effective note-taking, revision strategies, how to plan and manage your time, and how to get the most out of lectures and seminars. 

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

We hope you've found this blog useful. To learn more about what it’s like to study with us, read the other blogs in our series: Study with us| Adding to your degree and Study with us | A guide to our facilities.