Navigating freshers’ week is hard enough without a multitude of new terms and expressions to get to grips with. Before I went to uni, I thought a rag was something you cleaned with, but on campus I discovered a whole new meaning. And as for ‘matriculation’, ‘viva’ or ‘entz’, I’d have guessed they were the members of a new indie band before I became a student. If there’s some kind of strange-sounding academic or campus term you discover, this short article series might just help to decode its meaning.
Taken from A Guide to Uni Life by Lucy Tobin.
A couple of paragraphs summarising a dissertation, often required before students submit work that counts towards a degree.
The university year, normally running from September/October to June/July.
Money that universities offer to help students in financial difficulty.
Working (or going out) all night.
A graduate of a university.
ATTILA (as in the Hun)
Slang for a 2:1 degree.
BACHELOR (of Arts, Education, Science, etc.)
The undergraduate degree you’re almost definitely working towards, abbreviated as BA, BSc, BEd, etc.
Big parties, usually involving dressing up in suits or dresses, often to celebrate the end of year or graduation.
Prounounced ‘Bee-knock’, this term describes someone who is a ‘Big Name on Campus’, usually a student who is extremely sociable, with many groups of friends.
Cheesy student disco nights, often themed around fancy dress.
Cash given to students who fulfil particular criteria.
British Universities and Colleges Sport
The area of buildings and grounds that make up a university. Sometimes unis have a few campuses.
Person who offers religious support. Usually universities have chaplains for various religions.
COME UP/GO DOWN
Arriving at uni at the start of term (even if you live north of campus), and leaving at the end. Mainly Oxbridge terms.
Points you need to ‘collect’ (through coursework, exams, attendance at lectures, etc.) to earn a degree.
A further education institution, or one of the units that makes up the university at a collegiate institution like Oxford, Cambridge and Durham.
Posh word for graduation.
A body in charge of teaching and research in a particular subject. Also known as faculties and schools.
Referring to the iconic South African cleric Desmond Tutu, this is used as Cockney rhyming slang for a 2.2 degree.
A long written piece of research that’s usually submitted to be marked as part of your degree.
Lecturers, professors, tutors and generally clever people who teach and research at unis.
That’s ‘entertainment’ – student-run events like bops, pub quizzes and karaoke.
The individual person or organising group of people in charge of a particular society or union.
Your third (or fourth) year exams that usually make up a big chunk of your degree. The ill-looking people working towards Finals are ‘Finalists’.
The highest degree classification.
To drop out of uni.
A formal dinner, usually three courses served by waitresses and waiters, where students dress up in posh togs or even black tie.
A first year student.
As in Geoff Hurst, slang for a First.
See ‘come up/go down’.
A student who has finished Finals but hasn’t yet attended their graduation ceremony (or been awarded their degree). You will probably only hear this word during the first half of your graduation ceremony!
What you’re aiming to become– someone who has completed a degree.
Someone with an undergraduate degree who’s studying towards another one (also know as a postgraduate/postgrad).
The ceremony where you wear the world’s silliest hat (the mortarboard, that one with the swinging tassel) and are awarded your degree.
Emma Davies works within the editorial department at Trotman Publishing. Graduating from her Masters degree in 2017, she is familiar with all aspects of the student journey through university. She is passionate about helping students find the right career, and was a member of the SYP’s inaugural committee in the South West.