Glossary of Terms

Tripos/Tripos subject this is the name given to Cambridge degree subjects – for example, English or Modern and Medieval Languages, or Natural Sciences.
Faculty the Cambridge term for a department – for example, History, Chemistry, Engineering, etc., though the term often used interchangeably with “Department”.
Faculty buildings are where lectures are housed, and, often, departmental libraries.
Coursework the term for take-home exam papers for which students have to do independent research.
Supervision this is a small-group or one-to-one teaching session with a lecturer in the subject.
Papers these are the classes available within each Tripos subject – for example 20th century European History is a class in the Historical Tripos. Papers are taught through a combination of supervisions (see above), lectures and sometimes seminars.


Please note: Cambridge University sets Tripos degrees/subjects and all students must study one Tripos subject – a list of those offered at the University can be found here. Students gain entry to the University through a college – for example Pembroke, Clare, Corpus Christi, etc – and colleges offer most, but usually not all, Tripos subjects. Pembroke does not, however, offer Geography or Education Studies.