Glossary of Terms

This is a list of some common academic terms that you and your student are likely to encounter in the first year. This list offers common definitions. You should refer to the institution's catalog to see how your student's college or university uses the term.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

A -

Academic Advisor

A faculty or professional staff member assigned to advise students individually on selections of course and related curriculum topics.

Academic Dishonesty

Covers a range of offensives including plagiarism, cheating, and copying assignments. All are serious offenses that may result in failing the course, being placed on academic probation, or being dismissed from the institution.

Academic Probation

Temporary dismissal or threat of dismissal for failing to achieve or maintain a specific level of academic performance. Each institution establishes its own guidelines for removing students from probation status.

Associate's Degree

A two-year degree in the arts (AA) or sciences (AS). An AA offers general college curriculum and is the equivalent of the first two years of a bachelor's degree, while an AS tends to be more narrow focused and may lead to immediate employment in a technical or health-related field.


To attend a class but not receive a grade or credit. Not all courses can be audited. Instructor's written permission is needed.


B -

Bachelor's Degree

Commonly referred to as a four-year degree. Students earn a bachelor's degree after successfully completing a program of study in a particular discipline.


C -


A campus publication providing information on academic and non-academic programs, institutional policies, student rights, and graduation requirements. Also included are the institution's academic and non-academic calendars. Many catalogs are now available on the web.


Faculty member responsible for administering an academic department.

College or School

A smaller unit within a larger institution of high education. The college (or School) groups a number of academic departments under a single administrator. For example, a college of liberal arts may include departments of English, foreign languages, the social sciences, history, philosophy, and political science.


A requirement that must be completed at the same time as the course for which it is required.

Course Number

Combination of a departmental abbreviation and number that identifies a course (i.e. CHEM 1100 for Chemistry 1100). Course numbers are an indication of the level of the course, with higher numbers representing more advanced courses.


Unit used to measure course work. Students must earn a minimum number of credits in a specified area to earn a degree.


D -


Senior academic officer of a college who oversees a college or school in the larger institution.


The combined faculty within each academic field of study. The department decides how many courses in specific areas a student must take to receive a degree in a particular field of study.


The primary online tool used to distribute course content and quizzes to students. Faculty can provide online video and audio lectures, PowerPoint presentations, and PDF documents for students to review at their convenience.


Period at the beginning of the academic term when students may make changes in their course schedules without having the changes entered on their permanent record.



E -


Courses of interest taken for credit. A certain number of elective hours are required for graduation but may not apply toward a major or minor.


F -

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Asks students and parents (of dependent students) to provide information related to personal income and tax liability to determine eligibility for federal grant, loan, and work-study programs.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act

A federal legislation in the United States that protects the privacy of students' personally identifiable information (PII). The act applies to all educational institutions that receive federal funds.


G -

GPA (Grade Point Average)

Measure of student's overall academic performance. Individual course grades are assigned a point value. Total number of points earned divided by number of course credits attempted is the GPA.


H -


I -

Independent Study

A program where students take a course for academic credit under a professor's direction without classroom participation.


Work experience for which students receive academic credit toward the major. A professor or faculty member monitors the process. The student may be required to write a paper or make a presentation on the experience.


J -


Student portal where you can go to get quick access to news feeds, calendars, and link to e-mail and other student services.

JSAC (Jaguar Student Activities Center)

Building located in the middle of the Summerville campus, in which the food court, library, and meeting rooms are located.


K -


L -


A required hands-on course that allows students to test and explore concepts from a related lecture course. Typically associated with the sciences, but other courses may also require.

Liberal Education / General Education Requirements

Courses in a variety of disciplines taken to obtain a broad range of knowledge, create a spirit of inquiry, and develop an appreciation for diverse perspectives.


M -


A primary field of study. Students must complete a specified number of courses in a specialized area of study.


A secondary field of study. In some cases, the minor is related or complementary to the major.


N -


O -


P -


Instead of receiving a letter grade, students may opt for a pass or fail determination. They receive credit for courses with a passing grade, but these courses are not included in the GPA calculation.


An Augusta University intranet site that provides a secure location for departments to post documentation and information for customers.


Banner web services site that allows students to view their financial aid information, register for classes, pay fees, and access final grades. It also provides a place to review your personal information (name, address, phone number) and insurance/tax documents.


A requirement that must be completed before enrolling in a course. Pre-requisites ensure that all students enter the course with the same background knowledge.

Program Study

Course a student is required to take before he or she can graduate.


Q -


R -


Person who processes and maintains student transcripts and other official records affiliated with student attendance and accomplishments.


The process of enrolling in college courses.


S -


A professor's plan of action for the class. It is a schedule of requirements, usually explaining course purpose and goals and outlining the student's responsibilities.


T -


The compilation of courses taken and grades received during the student's college career.


U -


V -


W -

Work Study Program

Campus jobs offered to students who need financial assistance.


X -


Y -


Z -