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ABD (All But Dissertation)

A title used to describe a doctoral candidate that has completed all their coursework and exam requirements, but still needs to write their dissertation.

ACT (American College Test)

A standardized test administered to students who want to be admitted into a college or university. It is designed to assess a student's readiness for college-level academic work.

AP (Advanced Placement)

A national program of standardized classes offered to high school students. AP courses are college-level courses that allow students to earn college credits with a qualifying score on the end of course AP exam.

Academic Advisor

A member of the faculty who provides advice and guidance on academic matters such as course selection.

Academic Honesty

Is the expectation that student's work is their own and based on their own knowledge, ideas, and thoughts. It is the absence of cheating and plagiarism.

Academic Year

The academic year is broken into fall, spring, and summer semesters and runs august to july.


The official recognition that a college or university meets the standards of regional or national organization.


A process that allows students to change their course schedules by adding or dropping courses.

Adjunct Faculty

Part time-instructors at colleges and universities that are hired as needed (usually semester by semester) with no guarantees of continued employment.

Assistant Professor

Untenured faculty on a tenure track. This is usually an entry-level position with a probationary period of approximately 5-6 years following the completion of a doctorate program.

Associate Professor

Tenured faculty at the intermediate level. Many faculty stay at this rank throughout their careers once it's achieved. However, some strive for the rank of full professor.

Associate's Degree

A degree that requires 60-80 specified credit hours which breaks down to approximately two years of study. It is awarded as associate in arts (AA) or associate in science (AS). Typically, associate degrees are awarded by community colleges.

Asynchronous Learning

A type of distance learning offered through online courses with no requirements for students and instructors to interact face-to-face.


Taking a class to gain knowledge about a subject, without receiving a grade or credit toward a degree.

Bachelor's Degree

A degree that requires 120+ specified credit which breaks down to approximately four years of study. It is awarded as bachelor of arts (BA), bachelor of science (BS), or bachelor of social work (BSW).

Book Order

The process of choosing a textbook for a course and placing the order with the university book store. Book orders must be submitted no later than 30 days before the start of the semester.

CRN (Course Reference Number)

A unique number assigned to a course that is used by students to register for the course.

CV (Curriculum Vitae)

A document that details your accomplishments similar to a resume, but longer. It is usually requested at academic institutions when applying for an academic position.


The generic term that is used to refer to any post-secondary institution. Typically a college only provides an undergraduate education. College can also refer to an academic division of a university like college of education.


A graduation ceremony that takes place in august, december, and may.

Community College

A public two-year postsecondary institution that offers two programs: a transfer program which consists of the first two years of a bachelor's degree and a terminal program which consists of vocational training resulting in an associate's degree.


Short for a comprehensive exam that is usually taken at the end of a master's degree program or at the end of coursework for doctoral students. The content, length, and time are determined by each department.

Core Requirements/Core Curriculum

Mandatory general education, usually interdisciplinary, course requirements needed for the completion of a degree.


Regularly scheduled class on a particular subject.

Course Load

The number of courses/credit hours a student takes during a specific semester.

Course Number

Every course has an identification number that distinguishes it from other courses in a particular subject. Course numbers increase as the difficulty of the course increases. For example, at

Course Offerings

A list of courses offered during a specific semester.

Credits/Credit Hours

Units used by institutions to record the completion of courses (with a passing grade) in a degree program.


A program of study made up of a set of courses offered by a degree program.


The director or head of a division of a certain professional school or college of a university.