The meaning of student in BrE

Is the word student used only to refer to a person studying at a university, or can it be used to refer to any person taught at all levels of education including primary education?

Is it correct to refer to a 12-year-old as student?

Hi Twin,

Especially in the US a child is referred to as a ‘school student’ while in the UK they are often called ‘pupils’. Let’s see what other forum members have to say on this.


TOEIC listening, photographs: Sun bathing[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Twin

In the UK all schoolchildren (including primary school ones) are students.

Also, as far as I’m aware, any person who attends any learning/traning course is also called student.

university student’ is a student of any university :slight_smile:

I, personally, have never heard ‘pupils’ being used to refer to schoolchildren. :slight_smile:

Thank you for your quick reply.
I would like to ask you about one more thing.
a university student would refer to a student of any university, would it, too, refer to a student of for example polytechnic or any other educational unit where you can earn a degree such as B.A. or M.A.?

Yes Twin, if you are on a B.A. or M.A. program, you are also a student earning your B.A. or M.A. degree.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: A game of tennis[YSaerTTEW443543]


Children attending school, no matter what age, are called students in the US. Five-year-olds might also be referred to as kindergarteners and kids in pre-school (younger than 5) are pre-schoolers. :smiley:

College/university students are also called students.
College students working towards a BA or BS are also called undergrads.
Students working on masters degrees are also called graduate students.


Twin, I know only under-graduate and post-graduate (university) students.
And also heard research students - for those who are doing their PhD dis. research.

How about something like
“undergraduate or postgraduate student”
“student at university level”?
Do you like any of these expressions? I need a term that would include all students studying for BA/MA not necessarily at a university.

Actually, I don’t know (and I’m not a native speaker).
Informally, I’d surely use ‘a college undergraduate’ and ‘a university undergraduate’…

Sorry, Twin… Wait for Alan…

Why don’t you use just ‘college and university students’?

That does not fit into the context, unfortunately. Colleges and universities are not the only educational institutions where you can get your BA/MA or their equivalents.

Hi Twin, mabye you can post your sentence here and we will find a solution together? By the way, I wonder what happened to the good old ‘pupils’? They seem to have vanished. Is this due to the fact that British people have much more exposure to American English than vice versa?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: A shipyard[YSaerTTEW443543]

The simplified version of the sentence goes:
The contractor shall be a ******* who has not attained to the age of 25.
******* stands for the missing word.
I would opt for undergraduate/postgraduate student. What do you think?

Hi Twin, I think undergraduate/postgraduate student would work fine here.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: A castle[YSaerTTEW443543]