Applying 411

Graduate school glossary

Your P.I. suggested you apply for an NSF GRFP because the funding will help you be competitive for admission to an R1

Does the sentence above make sense to you?

Maybe it does if you spent time in a research lab as an undergraduate. However, it’s possible some or all of the bold words aren’t familiar.

  • Don’t panic: Just because you don’t know a word or acronym doesn’t mean you’re not prepared for graduate school!
  • Zoom in: Academics often use jargon – technical language and acronyms that are highly specific to the unique context of a university.

Learn the jargon

In this post, we cover common grad school terms to help you learn or refresh your chemistry grad school jargon.

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you would like to suggest an addition, feel free to email us at!


Looking for more information on a term we didn’t cover? Contact us at for help. We would love to add more information to this post based on your input!

Up next: Unpacking the personal statement