Glossary of Cambridge Jargon

ASNaC Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic. Either the subject or someone who studies it
BA Bachelor of Arts. Undergraduate degree (not necessarily in a humanities subject)
Backs Area of grass running along the backs of the colleges by the river
Bedder Member of college housekeeping staff
Boatie Cambridge slang for a keen rower
Bop Cambridge slang for a college-run party
College Your ‘home’ at Cambridge. Each college provides accommodation, food, welfare and social events for both its students and staff. For instance, they all have a library, a bar, a common room etc… Each has a slightly different atmosphere (for instance, some are bigger/more modern/located further away) but they’re much more similar than they are different. Peterhouse is the oldest and smallest of the 29 undergraduate colleges in Cambridge
Come up Arrive for your first term in Cambridge
CompSci Cambridge slang for a student studying Computer Sciences
Courts Those rectangles of grass in the middle of certain college buildings that we’re not allowed to walk on…
CUSU Cambridge University Student’s Union, an organisation that helps connect the student councils at each college
Dean (The) A member of college staff involved in student welfare. The Dean at Peterhouse is incredible – he’s utterly lovely and regularly invites everyone to free parties
Director of Studies (DoS) Member of college staff responsible for your academic life
Easter The third (of three) terms in the Cambridge academic year. Runs Easter – June
Faculty Another name for Department
Fellow A person (any gender) who holds an academic position at a college
Formal 3 course evening meal served in a college’s main Hall. Open to all students at that college and very affordable (typically £6-£10)
Full term The period of time within each term in which most teaching takes place (typically around eight weeks long)
Go down To go away from Cambridge e.g. at the end of term, at the end of your degree
Gown A black Harry Potter style item of clothing that you wear on top of your normal clothes on formal occasions
Gyp Cambridge slang for a kitchen
Hall The big dining hall within each college, or the meals eaten there
JCR Junior Combination Room. Can refer to either the big common room each college provides for its undergraduates or the elected student council of each college
Lent The second (of three) terms in the Cambridge academic year. Runs January – March
Long Vacation The really long summer holiday between June and October!
Master Head of a college (any gender)
Mathmo Cambridge slang for a mathematician
May Balls Famously wonderful all-night parties held in June (yes, I know…) after exams are over
May Week Some ten days of post-exam celebrations in June, consisting of May Balls, garden parties and lying around in the sunshine
Michaelmas The second (of three) terms in the Cambridge academic year. Runs October – December
MML Modern and Medieval Languages, the general undergraduate course for anyone studying languages
NatSci (pronounced Nat-ski) Cambridge student slang for a student studying Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences (NST) Cambridge’s all-encompassing undergraduate science degree, including people studying anything from Materials Science to Ecology
Peterhouse College …does not exist. Peterhouse has officially dropped the word ‘College’ from its name
Plodge Cambridge slang for Porter’s Lodge
Porter Vital members of college staff who are a combination of receptionists and security staff. They also know everything that goes on in college, so making friends with them is a really good idea!
Porter’s Lodge Each college’s reception and hub, where the post comes and where the Porters can usually be found
Punt A long, shallow boat which you propel by pushing a long pole against the riverbed. A very impractical and entertaining mode of transport especially popular with students and tourists…
Punting Floating around on the river in a punt. A lot harder than some people make it look…
Read To study, as in “She’s reading Medicine”
Scholar Student recognised for their academic excellence
Senior Tutor Member of college staff with overall responsibility for teaching, discipline and the students wellbeing
Set Residential room(s) in a college, usually with living space attached
Supervision A tutorial session held by a supervisor, normally for between one and three students
Supervisor Academic expert who runs supervisions for a particular topic
Tripos Formal term for Cambridge University exams. Often divided into Part I and Part II and taken over successive years. The word apparently comes from the legend that the universitys examiners used to sit on three-legged stools
Tutor A member of college staff who does not teach you but is there to look after your general welfare
UL University Library, an enormous library open to everybody
Undergraduate Member of the university studying for their first degree
Union (The Cambridge) Cambridges foremost platform for visiting speakers and debates, not a student union in the traditional sense and not to be confused with the Cambridge University Student Union (CUSU)