Academic Vocabulary

Here you will find my list of Academic Vocabulary to supplement any lessons you may have on education, university or school. For more words relating to education, have a look at my school vocabulary list. If you would like to print out my Academic Vocabulary list, you will find the download button at the bottom of the page.

Types of Degrees

Bachelor's Degree an academic degree awarded by a college or university, usually lasting 3 to 4 years e.g. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
Undergraduate degree the first degree you study towards at University, a Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree an academic degree awarded by a College or University to those who have completed 1 to 2 years of prescribed advanced study beyond the Bachelor's Degree e.g. Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S. or M.Sc.)
Doctorate a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.), but it is awarded in all disciplines. It usually requires several years of study beyond a Master's Degree.
Postgraduate degree a degree that is done after the Bachelor's Degree has been completed


These terms often refer to slightly different positions and job descriptions in different countries. I have tried to give the definitions that are most commonly used, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States. For a comprehensive list of academic ranks in various countries, have a look here.

Administrative Positions
Chancellor the head of the University (this term is used in Great Britain, the United States and many commonwealth countries)
Rector the head of the University (this term is used in Europe, Latin America, Russia and other countries with a European tradition)
Dean the head of a faculty
Academic Positions
Professor in Europe this title is used for the most senior academics and refers to a highly recognised and accomplished academic teacher, the title is only awarded after decades of scholarly work. In the United States and Canada it is granted to all scholars with a Doctorate.
Lecturer an academic who gives lectures, leads research groups and supervises research students
Tutor a teaching assistant, sometimes a graduate who helps undergraduates
Undergraduate a student studying towards a Bachelor's Degree
Postgraduate a student who already has a Bachelor's Degree and is studying further
Alumni people who have graduated from a particular university


to hand in to give an assignment to the teacher/lecturer for marking
to hand out to distribute (e.g. notes) around the class
submit to hand in, to give an assignment to the teacher/lecturer for marking
to enroll to register
hit the books to study
to study up on to learn all one can about someone or something


scholarship financial aid offered to a student usually because of academic excellence
bursary financial assistance offered to a student, usually because of financial need
student loan a lower interest rate loan offered to students to help pay off education related expenses
elective an optional subject that is not compulsory for the student's programme
major the area of specialization within the degree
discipline a subject of study within a department
faculty a group of related departments (e.g. the Language Faculty would have German, English and Spanish Departments)
plagiarism to take somebody else's work or writing and pretend that it is your own
tertiary education higher, formal, non-compulsory education in Colleges, Polytechnics or Universities

Free Downloadable List

return to Home Page

to acquire

to go to town

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

My latest lessons

Eyewitness Accounts

Uncountable Nouns

Teach English Jobs