University of Oxford Glossary




A cost charged (usually once a term) to each student by their college. This cost can cover accommodation, meals, printing and more. 


(‘An Oxford Blue’) 

The Blue is a formal recognition of the highest achievement in sport at Oxford, and is awarded to certain members of sports clubs who have competed in the annual Varsity Match. 

The Bod 

The Bod usually refers to the Bodlean Library on Broad Street. This is the largest of Oxford’s libraries.  


A party, usually hosted by a college in their Common Room or Bar.  


Exams taken at the start of each term in college which cover material covered in the previous term. These do not count towards your degree result. 


The member of college faculty responsible for supervising the conduct of the college undergraduates (or the Head of House at Christ Church). 

Domestic Bursar 

Member of college staff responsible for accommodation, security, housekeeping, and more. 


A PhD. 

Eights / Torpids 

Inter-collegiate rowing races in Trinity Term (Eights) and in Hilary Term (Torpids). 

Trinity Term 

The summer term, and the final term of the year. 

Michaelmas Term 

The winter term, and the first term of the year. 

Hilary Term 

The spring term, and the middle term of the year. 


A ceremony at the start of your first year which confers membership of the University on new students. This takes place at the Sheldonian. 

Formal Hall 

An optional evening meal held in college, often with several set courses and a dress code. These vary between colleges, check out your college website! 

High Table 

The table in a college dining hall where the college fellows (tutors) dine. 


The Junior Common Room is the undergraduate body of a college. This can refer to the formal student organisation (with a committee and meetings) but often to a space for students to meet and socialise. 


The Middle Common Room is the postgraduate body of a college. This can refer to the formal student organisation (with a committee and meetings) and also to spaces for students to meet and socialise. 


Moderations are exams other than final exams taken in some degrees in the first or second year of an undergraduate degree.  


Exams taken at the end of your first year in most undergraduate degrees. 

Noughth Week (or Oth Week) 

The week before the beginning of term starts. The subsequent eight weeks of the term are then named accordingly First Week, Second Week, Third Week, and so on… 

Permanent Private Hall

(or PPH) 

A hall which has been licensed by the University to matriculate students for degrees. 


Research graduate student. 


Taught graduate student. 

Pigeon Post 

The University’s free internal mail system. Each student has a pigeon hole (or ‘pidge’) where their mail arrives, usually in their Porters’ Lodge. 


Porters are college’s gate keepers and unsung heroes. Their roles vary from college to college but they are generally staff members in charge of entry to college, mail, and providing security and maintenance. They are based in the ‘Porters’ Lodge’ - the entry point to most colleges where mail is delivered etc. 


University staff who are responsible for aspects of student discipline, examination conduct, complaints, and some ceremonies. 


Shorthand for Sabbatical Trustees, the people you elect to run Oxford SU.  


The formal outfit worn by students and academics on certain occasions, such as exams and graduation. It is made up of a dark suit, white shirt, and either a bow tie, tie, or black ribbon, worn with a black gown and a mortar-board. 


(or ‘Tute’) 

A session (often with one or two other students) with a tutor to discuss a topic in your degree. 

Varsity Match 

Sports fixture between Oxford and Cambridge. 


Oral exam. 


Entertainment/events. This can refer to parties or activities, or the student representatives who organise them. 


Quadrangle’ - the central square of a college. Usually grassy and surrounded by buildings. 


A senior member of a college - usually a tutor. 

Vacation (or ‘vac’) 

The holidays. 


There are four academic divisions, which each department belongs to, Humanities;?Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences; Medical Sciences; and Social Sciences. 


Intercollegiate competitions. 


Incredible members of college staff responsible for cleaning college spaces and accommodation.  

Bod Card 

Your University card, detailing that you are a student and often giving you access to buildings.