What is the difference between "Class of 2004" and "Batch of 2004"? I have a feeling that one means the students who joined the university in 2004 and the other means those who graduated in 2004. Is that correct? And if so — then which is which?

  • 5
    I work in an education-related field (granted, a pretty esoteric branch of it, but still) and I've never heard of "batch of 2004".
    – Marthaª
    Jan 4, 2011 at 15:17
  • 8
    Batch makes you sound like an item of bakery! Do avoid.
    – Noldorin
    Jan 26, 2011 at 23:46
  • I've never heard either used in a British context -should this be tagged american-english? May 19, 2012 at 23:00
  • 2
    @TimLymington Don’t think so, since I’ve never heard in an American context, either. If I really had to using something other than class, I’d be a lot more apt to use crop of 2004 than batch, which sounds too much like you’re making jam, instead of talking about something that’s living and growing. I guess you could sneak in vintage if you were creative.
    – tchrist
    May 19, 2012 at 23:26

6 Answers 6


My source in the Registrar's office - and the documentation for our registration system - refers to a groups of students registering at the same time as "cohorts" - In fact, the term is used a lot in the Faculty of Nursing where they group the students for not only classes but training sessions and in-hospital experience.

  • This is also the language I'm familiar with as in the "2004 Honors cohort" or the "Spring 2004 cohort" who would be expected, but not guaranteed, to graduate in the Class of 2007.
    – Rache
    Nov 7, 2016 at 14:07

In the Philippines, where my wife went to school, batch is synonymous with graduating class, and is used in preference to class. They say "Batch of 2004" the way Americans say "Class of 2004."


I've never actually heard of "batch of" — the "year of" is aways a reference to the year the group graduates.

I work at the U of Manitoba, and I know there are times when the administration wants to deal with groups in other contexts. Especially when dealing with class loads in early years the counts are on the number of students who entered, and may graduate in three, four or more years depending on their programs. A three year major, a four year hons or various other students may all need to take the same first year courses, so considering the 'batch' count aot the numbers at graduation gives you a better handle on the number of seats you'll need in some course like first year English which is a lead in for multiple course paths — all with different lengths.

I shall have to talk to my pals in the registrar's office and see if there is any use of the phrase in this university.

  • 1
    Did you talk? what they said?
    – Anwar
    Oct 6, 2015 at 7:18

batch (OALD): a number of people or things that are dealt with as a group.

A quick search on google and bing shows that "batch" (to refer to a group of students) is most commonly used on the Indian subcontinent, and in parts of Africa. I speak from the way I have used and understood these words:

  • "Batch" refers to students graduating (or enrolled) in a particular year across all classes (faculties / fields / branches). The university may have a unique set of rules and policies for the 2004 batch, for example.
  • "Class" refers to the group of students who attend classes at a particular department, and may happen to be classmates in one or more courses.

"Class of 2xxx" is associated with the graduation year:

a body of students or alumni whose year of graduation is the same

But "batch of 2xxx" is not so clear, and can be associated with pretty much anything.
A batch refers to a quantity (as of persons or things) considered as a group.
This page, for instance, mentions a "Batch 2010/2011 Admission List".
Actually, you can also find the entry and graduation years associated with "batch of". See this page: "batch of 2008 - 10".

  • 1
    Thanks. Is there any unambiguous word that can be used for "students who joined the university in a particular year"?
    – JP19
    Jan 4, 2011 at 12:35
  • @JP19: maybe "promotion"?
    – VonC
    Jan 4, 2011 at 13:02
  • 1
    @JP19: Aren't they always called "class of year_expected_to_graduate"? I know that we were called "class of X + 4" when we were welcomed into our university on the first day (which was in year X).
    – Kosmonaut
    Jan 4, 2011 at 15:42
  • At Oxford they number people according to the year of matriculation. It might be due to some courses being 3 years, whereas others are 4 (or even 6 for medicine).
    – Carlos
    Jan 25, 2011 at 17:04
  • 2
    Not sure it's noteworthy, but the first example is from Nigeria (land of the scammers... j/k, no offense intended to actual Nigerians present ;-)) while the second is from India. Not trying to slight either country, but I'd usually not take English-language advice from them (as long as it's not about regional variants) Jan 30, 2011 at 20:25

Batch means the students joined the university in 2004 and class means the students graduated in 2004.

So you can use "welcome, batch 2004!" or "congratulations, class of 2004!"