Wondering what certain words or phrases mean? Read our handy jargon buster where we'll give an explanation of the most common words and phrases used throughout our elections.

Jargon Buster

Wondering what certain words or phrases mean? Read our handy jargon buster where we'll give an explanation of the most common words and phrases used throughout our elections.


A group of specialised words or phrases, usually used by a particular group for a particular thing, which can be difficult to understand if you don’t have a Jargon Buster handy.

Allied Courses

Students studying at Barts and The London who don't study Medicine or Dentistry.

Alternative Vote

See Instant runoff voting

BAME Students

BAME stands for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. BAME students self-define as of African, Asian, Caribbean, Arab, Latin American and Pacific descent.


Activities which candidates and their teams do in order to get elected, e.g debates, videos.


Someone standing for election to a post. Students vote for the candidates they want to see in the post next year.

Candidate Expenditure/ Expenses

The money spent by a candidate while they are campaigning. In this election, candidates have to declare what they’ve spent on the candidate expenditure form, available from the QMSU website.

Clinical Medical Students

Medicine students in years 3, 4 and 5 (the “clinical years”) of their course. See also ‘Pre-Clinical Students’.

Cross-campus role

A role where the holder represents students from more than one campus, For example, the Commercial Services Officer is a cross-campus role and the Postgraduate Taught Representative (BL) is not a cross-campus role (since it only represents students at Barts and The London).


A public meeting held between several candidates where they give speeches and try to convince the audience to vote for them and not their opponents.

Distance Learning Students

Students studying programmes, modules or short courses that QMUL runs where students never come onto campus.


When a person or body publicly supports and/or helps a candidate in an election. In this election, QMSU societies are forbidden from endorsing any candidate.

Executive Officer

Also called “sabbatical officer”. These are QMSU’s full-time paid student representatives who lead the students’ union on a day-to-day basis. They represent the student body in meetings with university officials and the community. They can be mandated by Student Council via policy to take actions.

Instand Runoff Voting

Also called “alternative vote” or “preference voting”. This is a system where voters rank candidates in order of preference by number, putting 1 next to their preferred candidate. (Voters don’t need to rank all candidates, or even more than one.)

When the votes are counted, the winning candidate needs to get over 50% of the total vote. If the leading candidate does not have 50%, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and their voters’ second preferences are taken into account; in other words, we pretend the election took place without the least popular candidate and allow the votes of the people who voted first-choice for them to “instantly run off” onto their second choices.

This process repeats until one candidate has 50% of the remaining votes; that candidate is the winner.

Instant runoff voting is a specific type of Single Transferable Vote system where there is only one winner per election. Single Transferable Vote is explained in this video – it’s relevant to this election except for when it talks about more than one winner per election.

Watch video
LGBT+ Students

Students who self-define as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or any other LGBT+ identity – or who are questioning whether they are in this group.


A document that a candidate creates in order to publicise their ideas, show their experience, and ultimately get people to vote for them. In this election, candidates need to submit a manifesto by a deadline in order to stay nominated. This is not the same as a candidate slogan. All Manifestos also come with a plain text version.


An application to be a candidate in an election. In these elections, candidates nominate themselves via the QMSU website. There is a window in which candidates can nominate themselves, with a deadline.


Postgraduate research; refers to postgraduate degrees mainly focused on research.


Postgraduate taught; refers to postgraduate degrees mainly focused on taught lectures and classes.


A list of documents documenting beliefs that QMSU has, or actions that QMSU should take. Policy is written by students and passed in Student Council.

Polling Station

A place where you can vote for candidates. This often refers to the traditional physical stand where you can place your vote. However, for these elections, students can only vote online through the Students’ Union website, so technically speaking anyone’s phone is a polling station if you can get an internet connection!


A degree studied after you’ve completed an undergraduate degree, e.g. Master’s or PhD.

Pre-clinical Medical Students

Medicine students in years 1 and 2 (the “pre-clinical years”) of their course, as well as students studying a foundation medicine degree.

QMSU Staff Members

Full-time paid employees of QMSU who do the day-to-day work of the SU, e.g. Bar Manager, Governance Advisor, Marketing and Communications Coordinator. Staff members are neutral and cannot give a personal opinion on the election or the candidates running.

The term also can refer to part-time QMSU student staff members, e.g. reception worker. Student staff are neutral while they are working, but can campaign and vote outside of this time.


The announcement of the winners of the election. Results are counted by the Elections team and Deputy Returning Officer and are announced via the Students’ Union Website and at the Results party.

Preference Voting

see Instant runoff voting


Re-open nominations. This refers to one of two things: firstly, the option on every ballot to vote for “none of the above” and to re-open the nominations process for this role instead, in the hope that better candidates come along this time.

It can also refer to RON positions, the positions where no candidates have nominated themselves by the nomination deadline. Nominations are then re-opened for these positions.

Sabbatical Officer

see Executive officer


The act of saying something about yourself. For example, in this election, the Mile End BAME rep is elected by Mile End’s BAME students; to vote for this position, those students need to self-define as BAME in QMSU’s voting system.

Single Transferable Vote

see Instant runoff voting

Student Council

A body made up of QMSU’s part-time student officers and executive officers. Student Council is where QMSU passes policy, and can mandate the executive officers to take actions. Any student can attend and speak at Student Council, but only QMSU’s elected part-time officers can vote.

Social Media

Websites and apps which allow people to generate online communities e.g. Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn. Candidates can campaign on social media but there are rules regarding this in the candidates’ handbook.

Students with Disabilities and Specific Learning Differences

Students who self-define as having a disability or disabilities and/or a specific learning difference or differences.


A degree you can study with no university education beforehand, e.g. BA or BSc.

Women Students

Students who self-define as women.

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