Glossary

ADC - the Amateur Dramatic Club, the leading university drama society; their Theatre.

Addenbrooke's - the main hospital in Cambridge.

Admission - the act of granting and receiving a degree.

Affiliated Student - a graduate of another university who can take the Cambridge B.A. degree in two years rather than three.

Alumnus - a former student of the university. Plural alumni.

ASNC (or ASNaC) - Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic.

Assistant Staff - the non-academic staff of the University.

B.A. - see Bachelor, Bachelor of Arts.

B.A. Status - a graduate student who does not hold a Cambridge degree has B.A. Status in the university. Such a student wears a B.A. gown without strings.

Bachelor - a person holding the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Such persons are colloquially called B.A.s.

Bachelor of Arts - one of the lowest forms of degree in the university, abbreviated B.A. In medieval times obtained by disputation after studying the Trivium, now obtained by obtaining honours in sufficient Tripos examinations and by keeping nine terms. B.A. degrees come in two types: Honours and Ordinary.

Bachelor of Divinity - this is a higher degree, so senior that it outranks a Doctor of Philosophy. Abbreviated B.D.

Bachelor of Medicine - apart from Divinity, Medicine is the highest ranking bachelors' degree of the University, awarded to those who are qualified to practise in the profession of medicine. AbbreviatedM.B. See also: First M.B., Second M.B., Final M.B.

Bachelor of Surgery - a degree awarded immediately to all who pass the Final M.B. examination to enable them to practise in the profession of medicine without having to wait for a Congregation at which to take the M.B. proper. They usually take the M.B. within the next year. Abbreviated B.Chir.

Backs - an area in Cambridge around the river between Silver Street and Bridge Street. The former name for Queen's Road.  This may well be on your route from Eddie's to lectures!

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Baits Bite - a lock on the River Cam. The sport of rowing is normally confined between Jesus Lock and Baits Bite Lock.

Bands - a small piece of academic dress worn at the collar by male graduands.

BAS - British Antarctic Survey.

B.Chir. - Bachelor of Surgery.

Blue - sporting colours awarded by certain university clubs after a match against Oxford.

Board - in the university, a general term for a committee which is grander than a Syndicate, but not as grand as a Council. Each Faculty is governed by a Faculty Board.

The Boat Race - a rowing competition between Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Botanic Garden - the University's Botanic Garden lies between Trumpington Street and Hills Road.

BRP - Biometric Residence Permit.  Required by all overseas students studying under the Tier 4 Visa.

Bumps - a form of rowing race where competing boats start simultaneously but at fixed distances from each other. The aim is to bump the boat in front before being bumped by the boat behind. If neither happens, you are said to row over. A significantly dangerous pastime, and therefore an excellent spectator sport.  There are two Bumps competitions in each academic year - Lent Bumps and May Bumps.

Bursar  - a College administrative officer. See also: Senior Bursar, Junior Bursar, Domestic Bursar.

Bye-Fellow - a college fellowship of lower status than an official Fellow.

Caius - (pronounced Keys) Gonville and Caius College.

Cam - the river - a tributary of the River Ouse. Too narrow for conventional rowing races, hence the development of bumps and heads races.

Cambridge blue - a pale blue, Pantone 284.

Cambridge end - see punt.

Catz - St Catharine's College.

Chancellor - the nominal and ceremonial head of the University. See also: Vice-Chancellor.

Chapel - a building found in all colleges (except New Hall and Homerton); formerly attendance at chapel was compulsory. 

CICCU - (pronounced Kick You) Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union.

Class - a grade of honours, as in First Class, Second Class, Third Class.

Class-List - the list of successful candidates of a University examination, usually divided into Classes,and published by being posted outside the Senate House.

College - at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, an endowed charitable foundation providing teaching for its students to first degree level, and accommodation, food, welfare and recreational activities for both its students and Fellows. The colleges are self-governing corporate bodies independent of the University.

Combination Room - common room, at St Ed's we have the Combination Room (for all students) and Senior Combination Room (for Fellows). Hence CR, SCR. Hence also the committees or representative organisations responsible for the rooms. The expression CR may according to context refer either to the room or the organisation.

Composition Fee - a single composite fee charged by the University or a College for all academic services.

Compsci - (pronounced Compski) student slang for a student reading Computer Science.

Congregation - a meeting of the Regent House at which University business is transacted or degrees awarded.

Courts - the grass areas enclosed by College buildings. Never referred to as quads (an Oxford expression). At St Edmund's, there is no court that you cannot walk on.  In most other Colleges, please observe the signs on the courts.

CUBC - Cambridge University Boat Club.

Cuppers - intercollegiate sporting knock-out competitions.

CUSU - Cambridge University Students' Union. Nothing to do with the Union Society.

DAMTP - (pronounced dampt) Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

Dean - a college officer. At St Edmund's College, the Dean is also our priest and praelector, Father Alban McCoy.

Degree - (from the Latin gradus meaning step) status or rank within the university. Not necessarily a mark of education.

Degree Committee - subcommittee of each Faculty Board, determines the award of higher degrees.

Department - part of the university devoted to one academic subject; see also: Faculty.

Desmond - student slang (current in early 1990s) for Honours Class 2-2, as in "I got a Desmond". Named after Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Development Office - the fund-raising office of the University or College.

Director of Studies - a college officer (usually a Fellow) responsible for oversight of an undergraduate's academic studies, and for appointing supervisors for the student.

Division of Term - a date half-way through Term (not Full Term) . Of little practical significance, though many university bureaucratic formalities have a deadline of the Division of Term.

Doctor - in the university, a higher degree than Master. From the Latin, meaning "learned".

Domestic Bursar - A college officer responsible for the buildings and services.

Double First - the obtaining of First Class Honours in both Parts of a Tripos, or of different Triposes.

DPMMS - (or DPM-squared-S) Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics

Easter - the third of three Terms in the academic year, between Easter and midsummer.

Eddie's (i) - St Edmund's College.

Eddie's (ii) - Our College Bar.

Eddie's or Eddies' (iii) - St Edmund's College students, there is some dispute as to where the apostrophe should be placed...

Emeritus - when applied to Professor, Reader or Fellow, means that the person has retired from that post.

Emma - Emmanuel College.

Estate Management - the maintenance department of the University.

Exeat - permission to leave Cambridge overnight, or at the end of term.

Faculty - a number of University Departments gathered together for administrative purposes. See also: Schools.

Federation - the four Theological Colleges associated with, but not colleges of, Cambridge University: Ridley Hall (Anglican), Wesley House (Methodist), Westcott House (Anglican), Westminster College (United Reformed).

Fellow - an academic post in a college (as distinct from the university). Fellows may be male or female.

Fenners - the University cricket ground.

First - as in "a First": First Class Honours.

Fisher House - the Catholic Chaplaincy to the university.

Fitz - Fitzwilliam College.

Fitzbillies - a cake shop - purveyor of the Chelsea bun.

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The Fitzwilliam - Fitzwilliam Museum, on Trumpington Street.

Footlights - a university drama society devoted mainly to comic revues.

Full Term - a period of 60 days within Term (53 days in the case of Easter Full Term) within which most university and college teaching takes place. Full Terms always begin on a Tuesday and end on a Friday.

Gardies - student slang contraction of Gardenia's. Formerly a restaurant noted for its microscopic cellar eating area; now a take-away.

General Admission - the main degree awarding Congregations in late June.

The Gogs - the Gog Magog Hills, to the south of Cambridge.

Governing Body - the ultimate authority within a College, consisting of most of the Fellows.

Gown (i) - academic dress. Undergraduate gowns differ according to college, and are quite small. The higher your degree, the longer your gown gets. In particular, the sleeves get longer.

Gown (ii) - in opposition to Town, a colloquial term for the university and all its members, as in Town-Gown rivalry.

Grace - a prayer, usually in Latin, said by the priest before and after Hall.

Grad-Pad - the University Centre in Granta Place.

Graduand - a person who is about to graduate.

Graduate (verb) - to progress to a degree higher than the one currently held, if any.

Graduate (noun) - a person who already has a first degree.

Graduate Student - a student reading for a Ph.D., M.Phil., or certain Diplomas. To be distinguished from Postgraduate Student.

Grand Arcade - a shopping centre and car park in the centre of town.

Granta - an alternative name for the river Cam. Usefully applied to distinguish the upper river from the rest.

Great Court Run - an attempt to run round the outer path of Great Court, Trinity College, during the time it takes for the clock to strike twelve. Significantly difficult, but usually made more so by the contestants all being drunk at the time.

Great St Mary's - parish church opposite the Old Schools, used for university ceremonies before the Senate House was built.

Guildhall - the offices, on the Market Square, of the Cambridge City Council.

Half Blue - a Blue in certain minor sports.

Hall - the dining hall in college.

Hawks Club - private university club, for men who have been awarded blues. Formerly they had rooms at the Pitt Club. See also Ospreys.

Heads  - a form of rowing race where competitors row individually and are timed over a fixed distance.

High Table - Normally the table in Hall at which Fellows dine.  At St Edmund's there is no such rule as to where a student or fellow should sit at a normal meal - however at Formal Halls, a seating plan is in place.

Hill - We don't really have hills in Cambridge...as such anywhere with 'hill' in the title is notably flat, as in Castle Hill, Market Hill and Peas Hill.

Hobson's Conduit - streams of water running in gullies beside some streets in Cambridge.

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Honours - classifications of success in Tripos examinations. Honours may be First Class, Second Class, Third Class. The Second Class is often divided into the Upper Division and the Lower Division, as in 2-1 or 2-2.

Hood - academic dress which can be worn only by graduates. The colour and material of the hood identify the wearer's degree. Hoods are worn only on defined occasions or in defined places, such as chapel, or upon admission to a degree.

HSPS - Human, Social and Political Sciences.

Intermit - to interrupt an academic course, with the intention of resuming it later.

JCR - see Combination Room.

Judge Business School - university building of the Department of Management Studies, in the former Old Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Keep - as in Keep Term, to sleep overnight within three miles of Great St Mary's Church for the requisite number (59 for Michaelmas and Lent, 52 for Easter) of nights within Term. An essential qualification for many degrees.

Kettle's Yard - an art gallery on Castle Hill.

King Street Run - the feat of consuming in as short a time as possible one pint of beer at every public house in King Street. Now much easier than it used to be.

Kite - an area of Cambridge largely demolished to make way for the Grafton Shopping Centre.

Lady Margaret - the Boat Club of St John's College (LMBC).

Lammas Land - grazing land between Newnham Village and Cambridge proper.

Lecturer - the most common university academic appointment, having both teaching and research obligations.

Lent - the second of three terms in the academic year, between Christmas and Easter..

Lent Races - the inter-collegiate bumping races held in the Lent Term.

Lents = Lent Races.

Lion Yard - a shopping centre and car park, part of which was formerly the yard of the Lion inn.

Long Vacation - the vacation over summer between Easter and Michaelmas Terms.

Lucy - Lucy Cavendish College.

M.A. - see Master of Arts.

Madingley Hall - the home of university's Department of Continuing Education.

M.A. Status - a status achieved by a Cambridge graduate student not less than six years from the end of their first year of residence. Such a student may wear the M.A. gown without strings.

Magister (m), Magistra (f) - Latin for Master.

Master of Arts - a degree higher than a B.A. and lower than any Doctor. In medieval times obtained after studying the Quadrivium; now obtainable by any Cambridge Bachelor of Arts six clear years aftermatriculation.

Mathematical Bridge - a popular, but erroneous, name for the bridge over the Cam at Queens'.

Mathmo - student slang for a mathematician.

Matriculate - (verb) to become a member of the University.

May Balls - periods of conspicuous consumption and self-indulgence held in the second half of May Week

May Races - the bumping r aces held in the first half of May Week.

May Week - a fortnight in June, comprising the last week of Easter Full Term and the week after.

M.B. - Bachelor of Medicine.

Michaelmas - the first of three terms in the academic year, between October and Christmas.

Mill - there were formerly three mills in Cambridge at the limit of navigation from the sea. King's Mill and Bishop's Mill stood side by side between the end of Mill Lane and Laundress Green. They were demolished in the 1920s and only the two mill races remain. Newnham Mill is now Mill Works restaurant. The public house called The Mill faces the site of the former King's and Bishop's Mills.

Mill Lane - a university site at Mill Lane.

Mitchams Corner - the junction of Victoria Avenue and Chesterton Road.

Motor Proctor - university officer responsible for issuing motor vehicle permits to persons in statu pupillari.

MML - Modern and Medieval Languages.

MRC - Medical Research Council; their laboratories in Cambridge.

Natsci - (pronounced Natski) the Natural Sciences Tripos, or a student studying the Tripos.

New Museums - a university site off Free School Lane and Pembroke Street.

Old Schools - the buildings used in former times for university teaching, in which the administrative offices of the University are now housed.

Ordinances - internal University legislation, made under powers granted by Statutes, enacted by Regent House voting on a Grace. The current edition of Statutes and Ordinances runs to 1153 pages.

Ordinary (i) - a classification of success in a Tripos examination below Honours, and just above outright failure. Formerly known as a Special.

Ordinary (ii) - a type of Bachelor of Arts degree conferred upon a student who has not obtained sufficient honours in Tripos examinations to qualify for an Honours Degree, yet is not unworthy of a degree.

Ospreys - female version of Hawks (q.v.).

Oxford - the other place.

Oxford end - that which a double-ended Cambridge punt does not have.

Parker's Piece - open land in the town, in the centre of which is Reality Checkpoint.

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Part - a stage of Tripos examination, as in Part I or Part II. Part II is normally a third or fourth year examination. Part I may be subdivided into Parts Ia and Ib, normally taken in the first and second years. It is usually necessary to obtain honours in all parts to qualify for a Bachelor of Arts degree.

PGCE - Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

Piece - land, as in Christ's Pieces, Parker's Piece. Now usually laid to grass.

Pigeonhole - (noun) a personal mailbox.  Any post ordered to College will be put here for you by the reception staff.

Pitt Club - private university club having a building in Jesus Lane.

Plodge - student slang for Porters' Lodge.

Porter - (or Gate Porter) a College staff member who tends the gates of the college. Not someone who carries your luggage. From the Latin porta, door.  We do not have Porters at St Edmund's, but we do have reception staff who can help with most things you may need including topping up your dinner card and letting you back in to your locked room.

Porters' Lodge - place where the Gate Porters work.  We have a Reception at St Edmund's.

Postgraduate - at Cambridge, a student reading for a Master's degree (other than an M.Phil. or M.A.), some Diplomas, or Certificates. To be distinguished from Graduate Student.

Praelector - a college officer (formerly known as Father of the College) who is responsible for matriculating students, preparing supplicats, and presenting graduands for their degrees.

Precincts of the University - everywhere within three miles of Great St Mary's Church, within which students must reside in order to keep term.

Preliminary Examination (colloquially Prelims) - a progress examination in the university, not contributing to degree qualification.

Proctor - university disciplinary officers. There is one Senior Proctor and one Junior Proctor, and several Pro-Proctors.

Provost - at King's College, the head of the college.

Punt - a long flat-bottomed shallow boat, originally evolved for shooting wild-fowl, but now popular at both Oxford and Cambridge as a pleasure craft. Propelled by sticking a pole in the river bed and pushing. Oxford, in misguided idealism, insist on punting from inside the boat rather than from on top of the till (or "box" as it tends to be called in Oxford) and propelling the punt with the till end facing forwards. Cambridge, in their pragmatic scientific way, have determined that it is far easier and safer to punt from the till (locally known as the "deck") at the back of the punt. There are some advantages to this: punters are less likely to drip on their passengers and can steer more easily by swinging the pole behind them.

Punting - the act of propelling a punt. Punting correctly (in a dead straight line with no apparent effort) is more difficult than it looks. The secret agenda appears to be that both Oxford and Cambridge have discovered this to be a way of getting tourists to pay large amounts of money to make fools of themselves in public.

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Queens' College - the common name of The Queen's College of St Margaret and St Bernard in the University of Cambridge.

Queens' Green - common land between Queen's Road and Queens' College.

Queen's Road - road along the Backs; nothing to do with Queens' College.

Read - to study, as in reading Natural Sciences.

Reality Checkpoint - a lamppost in the middle of Parker's Piece.

Residence - the process of keeping terms; being up at Cambridge. See also: Excess Residence.

Rosie - the maternity hospital at Addenbrooke's.

Round Church - the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; or its congregation as transferred to St Andrew the Great.

Rustication - a form of punishment whereby a student was sent out of residence for the remainder of the term.

Sabbatical - system of academic leave, where every six term's service qualifies one for one term's paid leave to undertake research free of all other teaching and administrative duties (or six years earns one year's leave).

Scarlet - the festal gown for Doctors, normally bright red.

Scarlet Day - a day in the university calendar when Doctors wear Scarlet.

School - grouping of University Faculties, by broad subject area. Each School is governed by aCouncil.

SCR - see Combination Room.

Second - as in "I got a Second". Second Class Honours.

Sedgwick - the Museum of Geology. Not to be confused with Sidgwick.

Senate House - university building beside the Old Schools where Congregations of the Regent Houseand Discussions of the Senate are held.

Senior Tutor - college officer responsible for college teaching and discipline, assisted by the other Tutors.

Shire Hall - the offices, on Castle Hill, of the Cambridgeshire County Council.

Sidgwick - a university site between Sidgwick Avenue and the UL. Not to be confused with Sedgwick.

Slits - Undergraduate and B.A. gowns have slits cut in the fronts of the sleeves through which the arms can be passed when eating so that the sleeve proper does not trail in food. M.A.s and higher degrees do not have these slits; perhaps they are reckoned not to have such problems at table.

in Statu Pupillari - the state of being an undergraduate or graduate student in the university. All persons in statu pupillari must have a Tutor, and are subject to disciplinary rules.

Statutes - the formal legal powers granted to the University or a College by the Crown, acting through the Privy Council, enabling the University or College to be a self-governing corporation. Within the framework of Statutes, the University enacts Ordinances by Grace, creating internal legislation defining how the University conducts itself.

Steward - college officer responsible for the kitchens and food in Hall.

Stipend - Cambridge academics have stipends, not salaries.

Strings - bits of a Cambridge B.A. or M.A. gown; signify the wearer is a Cambridge graduate. Those who hold merely the status of B.A. or M.A. should remove the strings from their gown.

Suicide Sunday - the Sunday immediately after the end of Easter Full Term, after exams have finished, but before the results have come out. Usually celebrated with cocktail parties.

Supervision - a tutorial held by a Supervisor.

Supervisor - person appointed by the college to teach students. At Oxford, such a person is called aTutor. The supervisor for a research student is appointed by the University.

Term - one of three periods (Michaelmas, Lent, Easter) in the academic year which students mustkeep in order to qualify by residence for their degree. See also: Full Term.

Tit Hall - Trinity Hall.

Town - in opposition to Gown, the non-university parts and people of the City of Cambridge, as in Town Bumps, rowing races for town clubs.

Tripos - the formal university examinations in which undergraduates are required to obtain honours in order to qualify for the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Triposes may be divided into two Parts, taken in succession as Part I and Part II. The word tripos is reputedly derived from the legend that the examiner sat on a three-legged stool.

Tutor - a college officer who does not teach you - the person to go to with any issues you may have.

UL - University Library

UMS - University Messenger Service - internal postal service if you need to send anything to a friend or colleague at another College or department - no need for a stamp.

Undergraduate - (literally: under the step) a member of the university who does not have a degree.

Union - according to context, may mean (i) a college union; (ii) CUSU; (iii) the Union Society.

Union Society - the university debating club. Not a Students' Union.

Vacation - those parts of the year which are not term; a period when academic study is pursued away from the university.

Van of Death, Van of Life - student slang names for certain purveyors of fast-food, which the laws of libel prevent me identifying any more closely.

Varsity - a student newspaper.

Vice-Chancellor - the effective head of the University.

Visiting Scholars - a society for providing assistance and information to overseas visiting academics and their families.

Week - a system of week numbering within Full Term has recently spread to Cambridge from Oxford. Used at Cambridge mainly in connection with drama, as in "a 6th-week production''. Week counting is easier at Oxford, where Full Terms start on Sundays and end on Saturdays.

West Cambridge - university site where many scientific departments are being relocated.

Wooden Spoon - until 1909, the object presented to the student who came bottom in the Mathematics Tripos.