I'm curious about appropriate terms for students. What should I call somebody in:

  1. Primary school
  2. Secondary school
  3. College/university undergraduate program
  4. College/university postgraduate program

1 Answer 1


In general, I'd call a student in a school — or a pupil if you use that word — discipulus or discipula. It can be used of students and scholars at higher levels as well.

For "student" I would suggest simply studens. A participle can be treated as a noun, and in this case it does not matter much whether the translation is a canonical choice. The meaning is very clear both within Latin and by comparison to other languages. The word discipulus is also valid for "student", but I prefer to have a different title for the academic level.

If you want to specify where someone studies, you need to indicate the school level as you did in English. This can be complicated for a number of reasons. For example, I don't know where the line between primary school and secondary school is; the system I know has three school levels between kindergarten and university. Translating between the school systems in different cultures is difficult, so I will not even attempt to provide a general translation here.

Perhaps you could indicate the level by indicating the grade, but I don't know a good translation for "grade" that would allow you to translate "seventh grade student". The obvious candidate is gradus, but I'm not sure whether it works here.

For a graduate student I would go with doctorandus or doctoranda. Variants of this word are already in use in many languages (e.g. 'doktorand' in Swedish), and the meaning is pretty clear from form.

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