ArmsGlossary of Cambridge jargon

Caius - (pronounced Keys) Gonville and Caius College.

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

Cambridge - a market town on the edge of the East Anglian fenlands, and formerly the limit of trading navigation on the river Cam. Now a tourist trap.

Cambridge blue - a pale blue, Pantone 284.

Cambridge end - see punt.

Cambridge Foundation - a fund-raising trust for the University.

University of Cambridge - "A common law corporation, being a corporation by prescription consisting of a Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars who from time out of mind have had the government of their members and enjoyed the privileges of such a corporation." Probably originated in the 12th century.

Cap - academical head-dress, see also Square.

Careers Service - university department which advises members on career choice, etc. Formerly known as the Appointments Board.

Catz - St Catharine's College.

Cavendish - the University Department of Physics, at the West Cambridge Site. Nothing to do with Lucy Cavendish College.

CCAT - the former Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology. Later AHEC, now APU. They still row as CCAT.

CCK - Certificate of Competent Knowledge in a foreign language.

CCT - Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, a provider of Bursaries to overseas students.

Certificate of Advanced Study - usually, the qualification obtained in the fourth year of a four-year undergraduate course if the student qualified for a B.A. after three years.

Chair - the university post occupied by a Professor.

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.

CIAO - Cambridge Intercollegiate Applications Office.

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

Clare Novices - a rowing competition.

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.

Clinical School - the university clinical teaching department at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Closed scholarship - (now extinct) a scholarship which could only be awarded to candidates satisfying certain conditions, most commonly tied to specified schools.

Cockcroft - a lecture room in the Cockcroft Building on the New Museums Site.

Cockcroft Building - formerly the H.T. Wing of the old Cavendish Laboratory, on the New Museums Site.

Cockerell Building - part of the Old Schools.

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.

Colleges Committee - the intercollegiate committee of Heads of Houses.

College Union - at Queens', an umbrella organisation of the JCR, MCR and United Clubs.

Colman - library of the Department of Biochemistry.

Combination Room - common room, as in Junior Combination Room (for all students), Middle Combination Room (for graduate students), Senior Combination Room (for Fellows). Hence JCR, MCR, SCR. Hence also the committees or representative organisations responsible for the rooms. The expression JCR may according to context refer either to the room or the organisation.

Come up - to come to Cambridge, e.g. at the beginning of term, or at the start of one's career here.

Commencement - an obsolete term, difficult to render into modern usage. A student would commence as a Bachelor when he graduated B.A., for instance. But Commencement was also a time of year.

Commissary - an extremely obscure University Officer, who "shall perform such duties as have heretofore been customary".

Commoner - a student who is not a scholar, and who therefore pays for his tuition and commons. Nowadays all students start out as commoners. Pensioner means the same as commoner.

Commons - formerly an entitlement to cheap food taken in college; the food itself.

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.

Cory - library of the Botanic Garden.

Council - at many colleges (but not Queens'), an executive committee of the Governing Body. Usually established where the Governing Body is too large to transact business effectively.

Council - in the university, a general term for a committee which is grander than a Board. Each School is governed by a Council. The Council of the Senate is even grander, and the most important Council of all; it submits Graces to the Regent House.

Courts - the areas enclosed by college buildings. Never referred to as quads (an Oxford expression).

Crackling - decorative strips on the undergraduate gown of St John's College.

Craik-Marshall - university building on the Downing Site.

CS - Computing Service (also UCS)

CST - Computer Science Tripos.

CU - (i) Cambridge University; (ii) Christian Union.

CUBC - Cambridge University Boat Club.

CUCA - Cambridge University Conservative Association.

CUED - Cambridge University Engineering Department.

CULES - Cambridge University Light Entertainment Society.

CUMS - Cambridge University Music Society.

CUOTC - Cambridge University Officers Training Corps.

CUP - Cambridge University Press, the publishing arm of the University.

Cuppers - intercollegiate sporting knock-out competitions.

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


This compilation is Copyright (C) R.D.H. Walker 1991-97.