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Education vocabulary: 70 + essential words and collocations

Education vocabulary: 70+ essential words and collocations

Words and collocations 

Education is a life-long process of developing the intellectual faculties of people.

Albert Einstein defined education as what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Here is an education vocabulary list which includes a number of collocations and verbs relating to the term education.

education vocabulary

  • Degree

The qualification students obtain when they successfully complete a college or university course.

  • Bachelor’s degree

The first degree that students get when they study at the university for three or four years.

  •  Bachelor of Arts (= BA)

A first university degree in an arts or social sciences subject.

  • Bachelor of Science (= BSc)

A first university degree in science.

  • Higher degree

A degree taken after a first degree, at a more advanced level. For example, a Master’s Degree ( = MA = Master of Arts), a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) …

  • Dropouts

Students who left school before completing basic education.

  • Basic education

It refers to a variety of educational activities that take place in a variety of settings (formal, informal and non-formal). These activities aim to meet basic learning needs like writing, reading.

  • Compulsory education

A number of years or age span during which children are legally obliged to attend school.

  • Formal education 

Formal education refers to the education that students receive in an educational institution using a programme. This type of education leads to certification (diploma /certificate /degree)

  • Informal education

Informal education is learning that takes place outside the educational institution in the context of daily life and work. It is a lifelong process whereby people acquire knowledge, skills, and values from daily experience, family, the Internet, mass media, etc.

  • Non-formal education

Non-formal education usually results from a programme but it is not usually evaluated and learners don’t get a certificate. Specifically, The term non-formal education refers to adult literacy. This type of education is voluntary.

  • Self-directed learning

It is a type of learning in which a learner plans, implements and evaluates what he/she is learning without the help of anyone.

  • Vocational education

Vocational education is the kind of education that prepares students for careers or professions.

  • Vocational school

A school where learners learn and develop skills that are necessary for particular jobs.

  • Literacy

The ability to read and write. Nowadays, a literate person is someone who is able to use a personal computer as well.

  • Adult literacy

Teaching adults who are illiterate reading, writing, and arithmetic.

  • Adult education (continuing education)

Education for adults that is available outside the formal education system, for example at evening classes.

  • Educator

A person whose job is to teach or educate people.

  • Educationalist

A person who has a special knowledge of the principles and methods of teaching.

  • Private school

A school where the education of students is paid for by their parents. This type of school doesn’t receive any money from the government.

  • State school 

A school that is paid for by the government and provides free education.

  • Public school (in England)

A private school for young people between the ages of 13 and 18, whose parents pay for their education. The students often live at the school while they are studying.

  • Primary school (in Britain)

A school for pupils between the ages of 5 and 11.

  • Elementary education

Elementary education, also called primary education, the first stage traditionally found in formal education, beginning at about age 5 to 7 and ending at about age 11 to 13. In the United Kingdom and some other countries, the term primary is used instead of elementary. In the United States, the term primary customarily refers to only the first three years of elementary education—i.e., grades 1 to 3. Elementary education is often preceded by some form of preschool for children age 3 to 5 or 6 and is often followed by secondary education.

  • Secondary education

Education beyond the elementary grades; provided by a high school /a secondary school.

  • Elementary school (in the US)

A school for students between the ages of about 6 and 12.

A school for young people between the ages of 11 and 16 or 18. (

  • High school (in the US)

A school for young people between the ages of 14 and 18.

  • High school ( in Britain)

A school for young people between the ages of 11 and 18.

  • Tertiary education
    Refers to education at the college or university level.
  • Timetable (UK)/ Schedule( US)

A list of the times when classes in school happen.

  •  Principal (UK) 
  1. The person who is in charge of a college or a university.
  2. A teacher who is in charge of a school.
  • Headmaster (US)

A teacher who is in charge of a school, especially a private school.

  • Textbook(US)

A book that teaches a particular subject and that is used especially in schools and colleges.

  • Coursebook(UK) 

A book that is used regularly in a class for studying from.

  • Course

A series of lessons or lectures on a particular subject, usually leading to an exam or qualification.

  • Curriculum

The subjects which are included in a course of study or taught in an educational institution; a school, a college, or an institute.

  • Syllabus 

A list of the topics, books, etc. that students have to study in a particular school subject or a particular subject at university.

  • E-learning

It is a type of education and training that uses information technology such as computers and the Internet.

  • Active learning 

In this type of learning, students learn by doing things rather than sitting at their desks reading, listening to a teacher or doing exercises inside or outside of school. Education vocabulary

  • Library

A building where a collection of books, CDs, newspapers, etc. are kept for people to read, study or borrow.

  • Seminar

A class at university or college when a teacher and a group of students meet so as to study and discuss something.

  • Lecture

A formal event at university or college where a larger group of students listen to a lecturer and take notes.

  • Student counselor 

A person who is trained to listen to students and give them pieces of advice about their personal problems.

  • Tutor

A teacher who works with a student / a learner or a small group of students.

  • Professor 

A university teacher of the highest rank.

  • Lecturer

Somebody who teaches at a university or college.

  • Freshman

A student in his or her first year at a university or college.

  • Sophomore

A student in the second year of a course of study at a college or university.

  • Junior 

A third-year student at university or college.

  • Senior 

A fourth-year student at college or university.

  • Graduate student

A student with a bachelor’s degree (e.g. BA, BSc)

  • Fees

The amount of money students pay to go to a private school, university, etc.

  • Scholarship

An amount of money paid by a school, university, etc. to a student who has a lot of ability, but not much money.

  • A student loan

The money that a student borrows from a bank while at university or college.

  • MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) (Distance education/ distance training)

A course of study that is made available over the Internet. It is usually followed by a large number of learners.


Education vocabulary list of verbs

  • Attend: To go regularly to a school or university
  • Learn: to acquire knowledge, a skill or an ability to do something.
  • Learn by heart: memorize, commit to memory.
  • Study:  take a course or a number of courses on a particular subject.
  • Prepare for an exam/a test /a quiz: To review what you have already learned to get ready for an exam…
  • Take an exam/ a test/a quiz: To do an exam…
  • Pass an exam/a test /a quiz: To achieve a successful outcome from an exam…
  • Fail an exam/a test /a quiz: not to succeed in an exam…
  • Resit an exam: To take an exam a second time.
  • Graduate: To complete a university degree successfully.

This list of education vocabulary is not exhaustive. More words and collocates will be added to the list.

If you are interested in online education, check this post about the best online colleges and universities.

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