1. A warning – local variations

This list of vocabulary comes from the British educational system. Different countries and cultures frequently use their own terminology. For instance, in American English it is quite possible to describe university as “college” or “school”. These words mean something quite different in British English

  1. Graduate

Graduate (verb): Graduate from university.

A graduate (noun): A graduate of Oxford university/ a graduate in economics.

A postgraduate (noun): He’s a postgraduate student.

An undergraduate (noun): Undergraduates receive a grant.

A fresher (noun): Life can be difficult for freshers.

(it can replace the word “student”

note the different prepositions “of a university” and “from university” and “in a subject”

graduate is quite formal so in speaking you could use “I left university” instead a fresher is a first year student, Americans use “freshman”)

  1. Level of degrees

A first degree: The degree undergraduate do A bachelor’s degree: A synonym for a first degree.

A master’s (degree): He is doing a master’s in politics.

A PhD or a doctorate: Only a few students go on to do a PhD.

  1. Types of education

Higher education: University education

Further education: Normally for more vocational courses and may start from the age of 16.

Adult education: This is normally for non-degree programmes and often is part­time.

*Notes:if you receive a degree from a university, you are in higher education if you receive a diploma or certificate, you are in further education

  1. Types of course

A full- time degree course: Most students follow a full-time degree course.

A part -time degree course: If you are in full-time employment, a part-time may be more suitable.

A distance course: In the age of the internet, more and more people are studying by distance.

A sandwich course: If you want practical experience, a sandwich course is the best option.

  1. Forms of learning

Lecture: The students make notes and listen to lecturer. There may be a question and answer session at the end.

Seminar: Often led by a student on a particular topic. Normally, the idea is everyone gets the chance to talk. Often follows a lecture.

Tutorial: Sometimes teaching one-to-one with a tutor and sometimes the same as a seminar.

notes and common mistakes

a lecturer gives or delivers a lecture and is sometimes used as a rank of university teacher

a tutor is in charge of a seminar or tutorial

we don’t use “class” or “lesson” in university education (although Americans do use “class”)

  1. Financial aid for students

Scholarship: She won a scholarship for her dissertation. (a scholarship is won for academic merit)

Grant: Because she came from a poor background, she was given a grant by local government. (typically a grant is awarded either for a particular project or to allow a student to follow a course)

Loan: Almost all British undergraduates now have student loans that they need to replay when they start earning.