Academic Lingo

14 Oct

At least the lecture halls looks familiar.

So I’ve been at St Andrews now for a little more than 5 weeks and I’m finally getting the hang of the academic vocabulary here! While it’s not too different from how we talk about school and classes at Purdue, it can be quite confusing until you understand what you are talking about! So I present to you my quick guide to Academic Lingo at St Andrews.

First things first, University equals College.  It has been hard for me to make this switch, but it is getting easier to say things like “I go to university in the States.”  This one also gets shortened to “uni” a lot.  You just have to accept it.  Now on to more important words.

Whenever you meet someone new they will probably ask you this, “What subjects are you taking?”  They are asking essential what your major is.  A proper answer would be something like, “Oh I’m in Maths and Divinity.”

If you happen to meet someone in same subjects as you they are very likely to ask what modules you are in.  Modules are best described as a course. It includes both the lecture, the tutorial/seminar, and the labs.  Lectures are just like the are at Purdue. For the 1st and 2nd year modules they are normally a pretty decent size so you don’t have to worry about getting called on.  A tutorial or a seminar (names used interchangeable) is pretty equivalent to our recitation classes.   These tend to be pretty small from 7-15 people. They are lead by your tutor. Tutors can either be a grad student or a professor.  These are the classes  where you are going to get called on to answer questions even if your hand isn’t up. Labs of course are just what you think they are–labs.

Sub-honors and honors are two terms I’ve had the most trouble with.  They can be equivalent to our terms of Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior; but they are also related to upperclassmen and underclassmen.  Sub-honors consist of your first two years at university.  They are the 1000 and 2000 level modules.  Honors then is the 3000 and 4000 level modules.  To make it into your honors modules you have to pass the sub-honors modules, you just can’t take the higher level classes like you can at Purdue.  To be super clear the terms sub-honors and honors do not in any way relate to things like the Honors College at Purdue.

One final term that you run into a lot is JSA or JYA.  These are acronyms that mean you are a Junior studying abroad (or year abroad).  This is probably my least favorite term I’ve learned here just because I get called a JSA a lot, but I’m not a J.  It blows peoples minds that I’m a senior studying abroad.  Studying abroad isn’t just for juniors.  It is for freshman, sophomores, seniors, and super seniors too.  We shouldn’t pigeon hole the study abroad experience.  It can offer you amazing life discoveries no matter what point you are at in your academic career.

I hope this guide can help you if you ever decided to study abroad! I know that I would have loved something like this to help me as I was prepping to come to St Andrews.  As always you can read more about my adventures studying abroad over on my main blog Mly Mllr’s Travels.

Until next time,



One Response to “Academic Lingo”


  1. New Post in which I define words and get a little philosophical | Mly Mllr's Travels - October 14, 2013

    […] here this time sadly.  It is over on Purdue Students Abroad.   Also a few new post by other Purdue students around the world at the moment […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: