Glossary of Terms
Academic advisor: A university employee who helps the student make informed and responsible decisions in the pursuit of the student’s academic goals.
Academic dismissal: Dismissal from a college or program for not maintaining the minimum required grade point average (GPA).
Advanced placement: Eligibility to enroll in courses beyond the entry level through transfer credit or examination.
Auditing: Registering for and attending class(es) regularly without being held responsible for the work required for credit. (No credit hours are earned and full tuition must be paid. The grade “AU” appears on the record.)
Bachelor of Arts degree: Distinguished by its concentration in liberal arts; typically focused on culture, arts, philosophy, and language.
Bachelor of Science degree: Grounded in the liberal arts and distinguished by its focus on mathematics, statistics, quantitative reasoning, and scientific analysis.
Bachelor’s degree: A degree granted after completing at least four years of full-time academic study beyond the completion of high school and fulfillment of graduation requirements.
Board: A term used for the meal plan (e.g., room and board) at a college or university.
Capstone course: A senior-level course within each undergraduate major. Normally it is among the last courses taken for degree completion.
Class standing: A classification based on the number of credit hours earned to classify a student at the freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior level. One’s classification, e.g., freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior.
Cocurricular: Being outside of but usually complementing the regular curriculum.
Cognate: A course related to the courses in a major program or to a degree requirement.
Commencement: The formal ceremony of conferring degrees at the end of the semester or academic year.
Concluding period: A period at the end of a semester when final examinations are given.
Concentration: A subset of courses within a major.
Concurrent enrollment: A term describing a student who is attending two higher education institutions simultaneously (e.g., GVSU and GRCC or MCC).
Corequisite: A requirement, usually another course that must be undertaken at the same time.
Credit/no credit: A method used to evaluate performance in courses, separate from the grade point system.
Credit hour: A unit of academic credit measured in semester hours or quarter hours. One credit hour usually represents one hour of class time per week.
Credit load: The total number of credits for which a student registers during a semester or session.
Deadline: The date by which certain information must be received by any given office or unit. (Current deadline dates are listed in the Annual Class Schedule.)
Dean: An administrator in charge of a division of a university or college.
Deans’ list: A public announcement, at the end of each semester, listing students who have achieved a specified grade point average (GPA) or level of achievement established by the dean of the unit.
Declaration of major/minor: To state formally one’s intention to pursue a specific major or minor, typically done through the university Record’s/Registrar’s Office.
Degree analysis: A report that shows the requirements for specific degree programs and details a student’s progress toward completion of the degree.
Degree-seeking student: An applicant who has been granted admission to a degree program under full, provisional, or conditional status.
Drop and add: The process of making certain changes (dropping and adding classes) in a student’s schedule of courses during the first five class days of the semester. Adding courses is possible only in this five-day period. See the class schedule listed on the Web for deadlines to drop courses.
Dual credit: An option applying to courses that may be taken for either graduate or undergraduate credit provided the student obtains special permission.
Elective: A course that will count as general credit toward a degree but is not a specific program requirement.
Emphasis: A defined subset of courses within a major that appears as an official designation on the transcript.
Encumbrance: A hold placed on a student’s record as a result of an unfulfilled monetary obligation to the university or of a disciplinary action by the university.
Full-time student: An undergraduate student taking 12 or more hours each semester, or a graduate student taking nine or more hours each semester. Undergraduates who are planning to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years need to average 15 hours per semester.
General education requirements: A defined selection of courses from all divisions of the university, making up the liberal arts base of each baccalaureate degree. The General Education Program is a required component of each bachelor’s degree.
Good standing: A designation that signifies that a student is eligible to continue, to return, or to transfer elsewhere. It implies good academic standing.
Grade point average (GPA): A student’s scholastic average, computed by dividing total quality points by quality hours attempted.
Graduate: One who has received an academic or professional degree; one who has completed the prescribed course of study in any school or institution of higher learning.
Graduation: The actions of receiving or conferring an academic degree after all requirements have been met.
Graduation audit: The final review of a student’s academic record that determines eligibility to graduate.
Grant: Financial assistance that is awarded to students and does not have to be repaid, usually based on need.
Guest student: A degree student from another college or university who is taking courses at Grand Valley for one semester. The credits earned are usually transferred back to the student’s home institution.
GVSU hybrid online course: A course that blends online and face-to-face on-campus meetings. At least 50 percent of the instruction and interaction is online.
GVSU online course: A course where all of the instruction and interaction is online. There are no face-to-face on-campus meetings.
GVSU traditional course: A course where the instruction and interaction is face-to-face on campus during class meetings. Web technologies may be incorporated into the course delivery.
High school scholars program: Concurrent enrollment in high school and college or university courses.
Honors: Designation indicated on the university degree and transcript to reflect outstanding scholarship.
Honors courses: Special courses offered by the Grand Valley State University Frederik Meijer Honors College designed to offer intellectual challenge and personal attention to particularly able students.
Incomplete: The grade “I,” sometimes granted when a student is temporarily unable to complete course requirements because of unusual circumstances.
Independent study: A course of study undertaken by a student under the supervision of one or more faculty members outside the classroom.
Interdisciplinary: Designating a combination of subject matter from two or more disciplines within a course or program.
Internship: Work in a firm or agency related to a student’s major program and/or career plans. Involves earning university credit and may or may not involve receiving payment.
Issues: The two-course upper-division component of the General Education Program in which students develop their ability to draw on previous knowledge and experience, collaborate with others, and address problems that connect to important world issues.
Loan: Financial assistance to students that must be repaid. Low-interest loans are available and financial need may or may not be a factor.
Major: A collection of related courses generally consisting of 30 to 50 semester hours of credit.
Master’s degree: A degree granted upon the completion of at least one year of graduate-level work beyond the bachelor’s degree.
Michigan residence requirements: The requirements for identifying or establishing permanent residency in Michigan for tuition assessment purposes.
Minor: A collection of courses generally consisting of a minimum of 20 semester hours of credit.
myPath: A Web-based tool that provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to monitor the progress to their academic degree.
Nondegree-seeking student: A student who has been admitted to a nondegree-seeking category (sometimes referred to as a continuing education student) and is not currently seeking a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Part-time student: An undergraduate student who takes fewer than 12 hours during a semester or a graduate student who takes fewer than nine hours during a semester.
Portfolio: A collection of work (e.g., paintings, writings, etc.) that may be used to demonstrate competency in an academic area.
Prerequisite: A requirement, usually the completion of another course, that must be met before a student may register for a course.
Provost: A senior academic administrator at an institution of higher education.
Quality point: The numerical value given to letter grades. For example an “A” is equivalent to four points per semester hour, a “B” to three points, a “C” to two points, a “D” to one point, and an “F” to zero points.
Readmission: An admission procedure followed by a student who was previously enrolled at Grand Valley and then dismissed.
Re-entry: An enrollment procedure followed by a student who was previously enrolled in good standing at Grand Valley but whose attendance was interrupted for two consecutive semesters, including the summer session.
Registration: The process of signing up and paying tuition and fees for courses each semester.
Residence requirement: The requirement that the final 30 semester hours of coursework before the bachelor’s degree be completed at Grand Valley. Graduate students must complete a minimum of 24 hours in residency at Grand Valley.
Scholarship: Financial assistance to students awarded on the basis of academic achievement. Financial need may or may not be a factor.
Semester: A unit of time, 15 weeks long, in the academic calendar.
Semester hour: The unit of academic credit, usually meaning the pursuit of a subject for one period a week for one semester.
Senior institution: An institution of higher education offering baccalaureate programs. Grand Valley is a public senior institution.
Service-learning: A method of teaching, learning, and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service throughout the community.
Student employment: Part-time jobs made available to students with financial need through federally funded programs (work-study) and to students without need through the Student Employment Office.
Study abroad: An arrangement by which GVSU students complete part of their degree program studying in another country.
SWS section: A section of a Grand Valley course that requires extensive writing to teach students to distinguish writing conventions and expectations in their major field from those in other fields while still recognizing that all writing depends on communicating purposefully with an audience.
Teachable major: A state-approved major program for teacher certification at the secondary and/or elementary level.
Telecourse: A course offered for credit on WGVU/WGVK-TV, channels 35 and 52.
Thesis: An extensive written discourse on a new point of view resulting from research, usually a requirement for an advanced academic degree.
Time limit: The length of time within which a graduate degree must be completed. At Grand Valley the time limit is eight years.
Transcript: A copy of a student’s permanent academic record at a particular institution. This term is also used to identify the financial aid form that indicates the amount and type of financial aid a student received from a college or university.
Transfer credit: Credit earned at another accredited institution and accepted toward a Grand Valley degree.
Tuition: The amount of money that must be paid for courses based on the number of credits for which one registers.
Undergraduate: A university student who has not yet received a first degree.
Upper division: Classification of students or courses beyond the second year.
Withdrawal: Withdrawal from a course or the university. The grade assigned will depend upon the time in the semester in which the student withdrew.
TOP OF PAGE