What Is a Second Year University Student Called?

Westend61/Getty Images

In the United States, a student in the second year of study at a university or college is called a sophomore. The sophomore year is preceded by the freshman (first) year, and followed by the junior (third) and senior (fourth) years.

Etymologists state that the term “sophomore” is likely derived from the Greek word “sophos” for wise and “moros” for foolish, as a reference to the dialectic or discursive exercises that come to the fore during the middle years of university.

At Oxford and Cambridge in the United Kingdom, the term “sophister” was once applied to students in their second or third years. This word is derived from “sophist,” which was a type of teacher in Ancient Greece.