IELTS Vocabulary Words: University Classes and Learning

You’ll find a lot of university vocabulary words on the IELTS. This is especially true on the Academic IELTS. (Although university vocabulary words sometimes come up on the IELTS General Training exam, too.) In this post, we’ll look at education vocabulary for IELTS, such as university coursework, study activities, places, services, and people. To help you remember the different education vocabulary for IELTS, I’ve created comic strips of each word for you. Enjoy!

Table of Contents

Education Vocabulary for IELTS: University Coursework and Study Activities


This is one of the most common words on the IELTS. This may seem like a very simple university vocabulary word. But many IELTS test-takers get confused. It’s easy to forget that this word can have two meanings. A “course” can be a single class that a student enrolls in, such as a one-semester history course. However, on the IELTS, a course can sometimes also refer to an entire degree. A bachelor’s degree can be called a four-year course, and a master’s or doctorate may be described as a postgraduate course.

IELTS University Vocabulary - course - magoosh

Note that in North American English, a course is almost always just one class. But of course, the IELTS is a U.K.-based exam. Test-takers who are less familiar with British English should be careful when they see this vocabulary word on the IELTS.

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A “module” is a section of a larger set of learning activities. On the IELTS, module usually refers to a unit within an individual semester course. A module will always have a specific focus. A general psychology class might have one module on developmental psychology, another module on abnormal psychology, and so on.

IELTS University Vocabulary - module - magoosh

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A “workshop” is a special group activity. In a workshop, students complete a special project or develop a special skill. A workshop can be part of a semester course. However, on the IELTS, workshop usually refers to a learning activity that is not part of a regular university class. Instead, workshop will often refer to a learning activity hosted by a counselling centre or an academic conference.

IELTS University Vocabulary - workshop - magoosh

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On the IELTS, a “tutorial” refers to a lesson between a teacher and one or more students. A tutorial could be a single lesson on the use of symbolism in a famous novel. Or a tutorial could teach students how to use a certain computer program. You get the idea. A tutorial could be one session in a semester course, a one-on-one meeting with a tutor, or a learning activity that is directed by a student club or university support centre.

Here again, we see education vocabulary for IELTS that is different in British and North American English. In American contexts, “tutorial” is more likely to mean an instructional video or booklet.

IELTS University Vocabulary - tutorial - magoosh

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Like “course,” sit is a very simple word with an unexpected meaning. When the IELTS talks about university learning, to sit is to be present for a course or exam. If someone fails a course or exam, the IELTS might say that they need to “resit” the course or exam. This construction can be hard to remember, especially for those who are more accustomed to North American English. Use the comic below to help you out!

IELTS University Vocabulary - sit - magoosh

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University Vocabulary: Places, Services, and People


A centre is a physical place on a campus where specific university tasks and activities happen. For instance, a university might have a plant biology research centre. In such a centre, the biology of plants is studied and researched. And some universities also have a counselling centre, a specific location on campus where students can see counsellors. A centre can be an entire building (as many research centres are), or it can be a room or office complex within a building (as is common for university counselling centres).

IELTS University Vocabulary - centre - magoosh

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When you hear or read the word institute on the IELTS, it will almost always refer to an entire university. “Institute” is another word for university or campus on the exam.

IELTS University Vocabulary - institute - magoosh

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At a university, a service is a kind of help that is available to students and others on campus. One service that’s often mentioned on the IELTS is information technology (IT) services. “IT services” refers to help and support for users of computers and computer programs. Other common campus services that may be mentioned on the IELTS include dining services—and yes, counselling services. (The IELTS really does love to talk about counselling and counsellors.)

IELTS University Vocabulary - service - magoosh

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Office Hours

University staff members may have office hours. These are scheduled when a faculty member is able to see students. For example, a professor might keep office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m. During those scheduled two-hour time periods, students could come see the professor, even if they didn’t have an appointment.

IELTS University Vocabulary - office hours - magoosh

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An administrator is a person on campus who manages a department or a programme. In IELTS Listening, you may hear a speaker identify themselves as a university administrator. Or you may read a short passage discussing the role of a specific administrator in a university programme.

IELTS University Vocabulary - administrator - magoosh

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When students have problems or feel stress, they can meet with a counsellor. At university, counsellors provide advice and assistance to students. They help students with challenges in school and in their personal lives. As the term is used on the IELTS, a university counsellor is both an academic adviser and a psychological therapist.

IELTS University Vocabulary - counsellor - magoosh

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Where can I find more IELTS vocabulary words?

We hope you found this list of university vocabulary words helpful! For more resources, check out our Complete Guide to IELTS Vocabulary.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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2 Responses to IELTS Vocabulary Words: University Classes and Learning

  1. majiujiu February 29, 2020 at 9:27 pm #

    i want IELTS Learning materials

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 13, 2020 at 11:36 am #

      You’ve come to the right place! Our blog has plenty of free resources throughout our blog, and our Magoosh Premium program provides comprehensive lesson videos, practice questions and expert support.

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