Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
In this lesson, I'm going to talk about some education-related expressions.
I've broken this lesson into two parts. I'm going to introduce some past tense expressions you can use to talk about education that's finished, and some future tense and present tense expressions you can use to talk about your education plans and continuing education.
So, let's get started!
I want to begin this lesson with past tense expressions.
So these are things you can use to explain your education, education that has finished, you're done, it's complete. We use this expression to talk about high school and college or university-level education that's done.
The pattern is, "I graduated from… high school or university/college in a [year)]."
So for example:
"I graduated from high school in 2000."
"I graduated from college in 2006," for example.
So, the difference between "university" and "college," in general, there's not a difference. In American English, we tend to use "college" a little bit more, but both are okay to use. You might hear British English speakers use "university" a little bit more often than college.
So we only use this for high school and for university-level education. We do not use this or this pattern, rather, for education lower than high school so please keep this in mind. Here, we'll also see, in past tense, we're using the verb "graduate," in past tense, it's "graduated," graduated. Don't forget this "from."
"I graduated from high school."
"I graduated from university."
You can also, instead of saying "university," you can include the name of your university, so, "I graduated from ABC University in (year)" or "I graduated from ABC College in (year)" if you want to be very specific. So, this expresses the completion point of your higher education, usually.
When you want to explain your studies, you can use a couple of these patterns. It depends on what you'd like to emphasize. We have these two expressions; "major," I've used it as a verb here, "to major in (something)" and "to minor in (something)." Let's look at this verb form first. "To major in (something)" is to make something, make a subject your main focus of study, your major focus of study. So this is like the number one thing you're studying at university usually.
So we use "major" and "minor" to talk about your university studies. We don't use these in high school because generally in high school education, we're learning lots of just general information and it's not so focused. We don't choose something necessarily in high school, so we use this to talk about our major and our minor studies.
So in US Universities, we commonly have the ability to choose a major as I explained, your main focus of study and your minor. So, your minor is like your secondary focus of study. So maybe, you want to have like a subspecialization, another small specialization. So you have a main specialization, a main focus and then this other kind of smaller focus.
So as I've said, we can use these as verbs or as nouns. I've used "major" as a verb here. "I majored in (subject)" is the pattern we use with a verb here. If you want to use it as a noun, we'll use it with the verb "is," in this case, past tense, "My minor was (subject)." So we could change this to use either form. For example, "My major was (subject)." "I minored in (subject)." So, either pattern is fine. They mean the same thing.
When I say "subject" here, it's usually like a broad topic.
So, for example:
"I majored in English."
"I majored in Chemistry."
"My minor was Business Communication."
So, it's usually something that's kind of a big topic that's easy for lots of people to quickly understand.
Then, if you want to talk about your degrees, specifically, the degree that you received when you graduated or when you finished your course work, you can use one of these expressions. So, we're using this "have" to mean this is something a degree that you currently own, you currently possess this thing. So, after four years of study in most US universities, in a lot of universities around the world, actually, we receive a bachelor's degree. So, that's commonly called like a BA for like Bachelor of Arts or BS, Bachelor of Science.
So, "I have a bachelor's (degree) in [subject].
I've got (degree) in parenthesis here because sometimes, people choose to drop the word "degree" because we understand this word "bachelor's" means degree.
"I have a bachelor's in, I don't know, English Language, for example.
So, "I have a bachelor's in Mathematics."
"I have a bachelor's in Engineering."
Whatever your subject is.
The next level here is "master's," master's.
So "master's" is part of graduate school programs. So, after you complete a bachelor's degree, after finishing 4 years of study, you can choose to continue to the next level of study. Master's degree programs are usually about 2 years, so studying another topic in depth, like a very specific topic for 2 more years and completing coursework will get you, hopefully, a master's degree. So a master's degree in (subject).
"I have a master's degree in Architecture."
Finally, if you choose to continue studying, you can get a "PhD," a PhD.
So, a "PhD" is the highest level of education. We do not use "degree" with this expression.
"I have a PhD in Medicine."
"I have a PhD in Communications."
Whatever your subject is.
PhDs are done after master's degrees and they usually require another 3 years, depending on your course of study.
So bachelor's degree, master's degree, PhD, those are the three types of degree we talked about.
Okay, though, if you have some other type of certification, some other kind of qualification that did not come from a university or it's not a degree, this is some sentence you might use to express that. Here, we used the same "have." We'll use this word, "I have a certification in [skill]." So, certifications commonly are for a specific skill, something you are able to do. It could, in some cases, perhaps, be a subject, but we often see certifications for a specific type of skill.
So, we'll use certification which a certification is a document or it's some kind of recognition that you have achieved a level of mastery in this skill. So you can say, "I have a certification in "skill" and finish the sentence there, that's okay or, "I have a certification in "skill" from a school or some other organization.
Another good keyword to know for something like this and maybe for other things here too is this word, "vocational school," vocational school." So the root of "vocational" is this word, "vocation." So vocation means "job" or "profession." So a vocational school is kind of like a university or a college, but it's a type of school students attend to learn like a specific skill. So maybe, there's like an electrician's vocational school or like some kind of construction vocational school or maybe like a computer or computer-related vocational school.
So, some people choose, instead of going to a, like large university or a large college, they choose to focus on one skill and they attend a vocational school. This is the word you can use to describe that.
So, for example:
"I have a certification in English teaching from ABC Vocational School," for example.
Or, "I have a certification in First Aid from ABC Organization."
So, you can talk about many different skills with something like this. So, these are all kind of past tense ways to talk about your education, the things that you have achieved, so things that are complete, in other words.
So, with this in mind, I want to continue on to some present tense and future tense expressions. Here, you'll notice I'm going to use the progressive tense for a couple of these to talk about future and ongoing education-related topics.
First, let's look at this, "I'm graduating (from) in [year]."
So, this is for students who are currently in school. You are in school now. This could be high school. It could be university or college. It could perhaps be a vocational school as well. I'm using the progressive tense here because we can use the progressive tense to talk about an action in the future that we have a higher level of certainty of. So for example, if you know you're going to graduate in the year 2023, you can say, "I'm graduating in 2023."
Here, I have (from) in parenthesis. I had it over here, "from," with high school or from university or college. I've included this here because you can say, if you like, "I'm graduating from high school in 2023" or "I'm graduating from the university in 2023. You can say that. I included it in parenthesis here because, many times, when you're speaking with someone, they can guess which level of education you are based on your appearance. If you are a high school student, perhaps, it's easy to see that you're studying in high school right now. So you can choose to say this if you like, I'm graduating from high school in 2023, if you want to be specific. You could change this if you like, "I'm going to graduate in 2023," that's fine as well. This is just the one that I chose for this lesson.
You cannot say; however, "I will graduate in 2023," or if you do, it's gonna sound a little less natural than I'm going to. So, "I'm graduating" or "I'm going to graduate in 2023" sounds the best. I recommend that pattern.
Okay, so, let's compare this, or rather, let's add to this, the present tense expressions for your focuses of study. So over here, we looked at how to express your completed education. I explained we can use major and minor as verbs and as nouns. So here, I talked about using "in" and "was" for past tense expressions. We can keep the same idea here and just make it a present tense statement.
So, if you are a student in university or a student in college now, you can say:
"My major is Art."
"My major is Mathematics."
"My major is Biochemistry."
You can use, "My minor is (the same idea)."
If you want to use this as verbs, you can say, for example, "I'm majoring in…," I'm majoring in… This is another thing that you can say if you like. "I'm majoring in (subject)." I feel; however, that, at least when I was a student, I tended to use this pattern more. I tended to use it more as a noun than a verb, and then, I'll actually use it in verb form more for past tense expressions. That's my personal preference, I think. Both are okay. Those are both fine to use. I think I would probably use this form a little more often, okay.
Then, if you want to be very specific about your degree, which degree you're currently studying for, you can use something like this, "I'm studying for my bachelor's in [subject]."
"I'm studying for my master's in [subject]."
"I'm studying for my PhD in [subject]."
So again, we're using the same degree-related vocabulary words and again, you can choose to include "degree" after bachelor's or master's in this expression, "I'm studying for my bachelor's degree in [subject]." I'm studying for my master's degree in [subject]" is okay.
"I'm studying for…" So this progressive tense shows that this is something that is ongoing for us. "For" shows us the purpose. "I'm studying for my master's degree." So don't use "to" here. "I'm studying for…" It shows us the purpose, the aim, okay.
Then, I want to include a couple more points down here for, maybe, depending on your situation, you might have something a little bit different from maybe typical studies. So if you are researching something like it's perhaps a little bit in an education setting, maybe a little bit in like a business setting, depending on your… your situation, you can use this, "I'm researching" pattern. "I'm researching" plus a topic.
So, some people choose to remain in a university setting to do their research, so you can still use this even if you're not a student like, "I'm researching communications in the USA," or "I'm researching data use on the internet." So again, we use this -ING, the progressive form to show that it's continuing. This is something that's going now. "I'm researching [topic]."
Finally, these last two example sentences are for people who perhaps are thinking about their studies. So if you are a high school student or if you are a junior high school student maybe, you can use expressions like these, "I want to study [subject]," I want to study [subject].
"I want to study English."
"I want to study Mathematics."
"I want to study Science."
"I want to study Chemistry."
So, you can talk about the things you are interested in and maybe after high school, the kinds of things you want to learn more about."
One more example, "I'm interested in [subject]."
So, "I'm interested in Art History."
"I'm interested in Music."
"I'm interested in…" whatever it is that you're interested in.
So, you can use this too to talk about maybe what you would like to study in the future when you get to university or to college, what do you want to do.
So, "I'm interested in [subject]."
"I want to study [subject]."
So, use these two, kind of future… future forward-thinking ideas to talk about your goals for your studies in the future.
Okay, so I want to finish today's lesson by looking at the specific words that we use for school years. So, in high schools and in universities throughout the US, we typically have four years that are required for schooling. And for every year of schooling, we have a specific word for the students in that year. So first-year students, second-year students, third and fourth, each have a specific word we use.
So, the word we use for first-year students in high school and in university is "freshman," freshman. You'll notice this word ends in "man," yes, but we use this to talk about male and female students, so all first-year students are called "freshman." In the plural form, "freshmen." Singular form is "freshman."
"I'm a freshman."
"They are freshmen."
So "freshman," "freshmen."
Second-year students are called "sophomore" students, sophomore." The pronunciation here is "sophomore." So, in the plural form, we say "sophomores," sophomores.
"A group of sophomores"
or "I'm a sophomore."
Third-year students are called "junior," junior students.
"I'm a junior student."
"They are juniors."
"Junior students" are third-year students.
Fourth-year students are called "senior" students.
"He's a senior."
"She's a senior."
"They are seniors."
So, these are the four words you'll hear quite commonly to talk about your age or your level of schooling in high school or in university, so you can use these two. It will sound quite natural to use these, actually. Of course, if you prefer, you can use it for a second, third or fourth year, that's fine as well, but this is something that you can use a little bit in your day-to-day life, especially if you're studying abroad. This will sound quite natural.
Okay, so with that, that's a quick introduction to some education-related expressions that you can use. I hope that this was helpful for you and I hope that you found something that you can use to talk about your education. But if you have any questions or if there's something else you would like to know how to say, to explain your education, please feel free to leave a comment and we will check it out. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again, soon. Bye-bye!