University vocabulary you should know

Are you on your way to University abroad soon? University jargon is a new language you will need to learn. These unheard words and acronyms will very quickly become a part of your everyday life both in and out of the classroom. You are not alone when it comes to deciphering this new lingo. It is always helpful to prepare a glossary of these terms so that you can step into your uni life with confidence.

We are going to cover some of the common one’s but if you come across something you are to sure of – reach out and we can help you translate. Here are some of the most popular.

Academic transcript

It is a record of your academic performance, both from your school and each semester of your University studies. At the end of your course you will need a final complete academic transcript for future University studies and job applications.

Academic year

Academic year refers to one complete educational year that consists of semester/quarter/trimester depending upon the format that your university offers. You should also know that a semester consists of 6 months, a quarter 4 months and trimester 3 months. Generally universities divide one academic year into 2 semesters, starting around August/September and ending around May/June.

Admission average

When you apply to a university, your high school grades in the main subjects are considered. The average of your high school grades is called an overall average. The average requirement you need depends on the course you are applying for. Different colleges have different admission entry requirements for the courses they offer. You should be aware of the minimum score required at the University of your choice.

Accredited university

Accredited universities are those universities which meet the applicable standards when assessed by the government organisation. While applying to University it is important for you to check their accreditation status which tells you whether they meet and maintain the standards set for education in that academic discipline.

Case study

Common in higher studies, a case study is a detailed description of the analysis you do on a single project or a program. In a case study you cover nearly every aspect of the topic. Case studies are done on real life topics or problems and can highlight nearly any individual, group, organisation, event, action or belief system. Case studies are commonly used to think about problems and solutions in a real world example.


Cohort is a group of students who start a particular program or course of study together.


If you are in need of a quiet study space, often libraries will have study carrels. They are quiet workspaces where you can work with a good level of concentration.


Credit or credit points is the measure of hours and academic load for a particular class. Credits are calculated for the duration of the course. Credits help you track of your progress towards earning a degree. Universities set their own credit requirements so it is always advisable to do prior research about the program. Each year you are awarded credit in every subject depending upon your workload, learning outcome and contact hours. The credit assessment is done on the basis of the amount of knowledge and skills you achieve once you complete the course. Some of the deciding factors for your credit points are your attendance, test score throughout the academic year, projects, and examination. You graduate when you complete your entire course of 3-4 years that consists of the sum of all the credits throughout the years.


Some universities calculate your academic achievement in terms of GPA. It stands for Grade Point Average and is the sum of all your grades divided by the total number of credits earned throughout your course term. Most commonly GPA’s are out of 4, 5 or 7.


Some postgraduate and doctoral programs require you to do research on a course related topic of your choice. The written presentation of your research work is called a dissertation. It is an original piece of work that contains your idea and conclusions on a specific topic area.


Dorm room is on campus accommodation where you share with other students. It is a place where you can have an enriching experience meeting people from different backgrounds. As you live in a space that is not private you unknowingly develop many soft skills like flexibility, problem solving, team work, persuasion, collaboration, networking, empathy, cultural awareness and many more.

Transfer Certificate

If you decide to transfer from your current Uni to a new one you need authorisation and a transfer certificate from your current institution. It certifies that you are no longer a part of your previous institution and what your results are. This also serves as notice to your institution to withdraw you from the program you are studying. The transfer certificate includes your personal details like your date of birth, details of your program at the college, mention of the statement that there are no dues towards the institution etc.


If you aspire to take your academic pursuits to the next level then you can go for a fellowship. A fellowship is monetary aid given to you for doing research on a specific subject area after clearing the qualifying exam. However, in some cases fellowships can grant you a status in an academic institution instead of financial aid. The amount of time required to complete a fellowship varies depending on the type of fellowship. Generally, a fellowship program lasts for at least a year and in most cases goes beyond a year. You should do research on the type of fellowship you are eligible for.


Major is a specific subject area that you specialize in during your undergraduate studies. Your graduate degree is a sum of a certain number of general courses and a major course of study. Once you have finished most of these general courses you progress towards your major course. A major equips you with the fundamental academic knowledge for a career that you may wish to pursue pursue in the future. When deciding on a major you should explore your passions, interests, consider your strengths and the career outcomes. Once you decide your major, which is generally starts during your second year, you should structure when you need to enroll in each of your major courses. You will not be able to graduate with a major unless you have completed all of the credit points.

Internships or placements

A placement or internship is a program where you work for a certain period of time during your study period. For example if you are studying teaching you will spend a certain amount of your course on placement in schools to gain the practical experience required.


You are called an undergraduate student until you complete your 3–4-year graduation program. Courses done after graduation are called post-graduation courses.

Now you are ready for your dream university. What are you waiting for? Let your Dream Maker help you get into your dream university. Contact Gradstar Global now and enroll yourself in your University.

Date Published: Feb-02-2023

Our Dream Makers are expert listeners, educators, career consultants and student supporters. They co-design your study abroad experience with you to empower you to reach for the stars. Because dreams deserve a helping hand.

About the author

Gloria is an educator and a writer with over 8 years of experience. Being an educator she has always enjoyed understanding students' goals and aspirations and guiding them for their paths ahead. Working with higher secondary students has given her a flexible perspective on the ecosystem of education. Apart from being an educator, she loves writing blogs and articles. She stands today as an educator and a writer to explore more of herself.