Guide to College Lingo

Use this helpful glossary of University Terms to better understand academic lingo.

Academic Advisor
Staff or faculty member designated to assist an individual throughout his or her college career as an academic resource person.

Academic Calendar

The Academic Calendar contains key dates important to every student, including the registration deadlines, start and end dates of classes, holidays, and exam days. It is approved by the Faculty Senate, subject to change, and published by the Provost’s Office.

Academic Clemency

This is a policy whereby students who have been away from UA Little Rock for at least two full years can petition to remove earlier course work form their UA Little Rock academic record. The purpose of the policy is to allow students a second chance in college.

Academic Freedom
“Right” of faculty to decide what, within reason, will be done in the classroom, such as course content, teaching methods, attendance policy, etc.

Academic Probation
A student will be placed on Academic Probation at the end of a grading period if their cumulative GPA drops below a 2.00. A student will be placed on Probation Continued at the end of a grading period if their cumulative GPA remains below a 2.00 and were on Academic Probation at the end of the previous term. Students on Academic Probation are limited to 13 credit hours each semester.

Academic Suspension

If, after two successive terms of academic probation, the student’s current and cumulative GPA is below 2.00, the student will be academically suspended for one semester. If suspended at the end of the spring term, the student will be eligible to return the following fall term. If suspended at the end of the fall term, the student will be eligible to return for the summer term.

Associate’s Degree
Usually called the two-year degree, an associate’s degree (an A.A. or A.S.) requires completion of a minimum of 62 credit hours. At UA Little Rock, each associate’s degree is designed so the credit can also be applied toward a related baccalaureate degree at UA Little Rock or elsewhere.

Baccalaureate Degree
Also called a bachelor’s degree (a B.A. or B.S.), this is the standard undergraduate college degree. It is often referred to as a four-year degree, but some students complete it in three years while others may need a longer period of time. The number of credit hours depends on the area of concentration or discipline, but a minimum of 124 credit hours is required.


The Banner Online Service System or BOSS is a secure website with many useful tasks related to the University’s administrative information system. Students must login using their T-number and Personal Identification Number (PIN). Some of the common tasks related to BOSS are: registering for classes; adding or dropping courses; viewing academic records, grades, and transcripts; seeing financial aid information; checking an account balance and making a payment; changing UA Little Rock passwords; updating personal contact information; and applying for graduation.

Change Check
Any surplus amount of money will be refunded after all tuition and fees have been deducted from the agreed upon Financial Aid awarded to a student. The refund is distributed in the form of a change check which can be picked up in the Cashier’s Office or deposited directly to a checking account.

Confirmation (See Registration Confirmation)

Core Curriculum/ Core Requirement
The core curriculum at UA Little Rock is a 44-hour requirement designed to provide a foundation for the student’s further academic and professional activities. Required of all students seeking baccalaureate degrees, the core curriculum includes options from across the disciplines, including arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The core courses are designed to help students develop fundamental competencies, and they include active teaching and learning strategies, reading and writing experiences, and critical thinking activities. A list of the core courses is located in the undergraduate catalog.

A course that must be taken at the same time of another course is called a corequisite. If a course has a corequisite, the course description specifies it.

Course Description
A description of each course can be found in the UA Little Rock Undergraduate Catalog. A course description also can be seen when conducting an online class search by clicking on the name of the course. The course description will contain information regarding prerequisites, corequisites, and other pertinent information.

Course Number
A four-digit numbering system is used to designate each course at UA Little Rock. The first digit identifies the level of the course: 1 for freshman, 2 for sophomore, 3 for Junior, 4 for senior, 5 and above for graduate-level courses. The second digit is the number of credit hours. The last two numbers are assigned by the department.

Credit Hours
This is the standard unit of measurement for university-level work applicable toward a degree. One credit hour is equal to one 50-minute class period per week, per semester. Thus the usual three-credit hour course is based on meeting 50 minutes a day, three days a week for a semester. For laboratory work, one credit hour is equal to two or three hours of laboratory work. Thus, a laboratory that meets for one three hour session once a week for a semester would have one hour of credit. The term “credit hour” is often shortened to “hours.” UA Little Rock measures its work in semester credit hours; if you’re transferring from a college that uses quarter hours, the Office of Records and Registration will convert them into semester hours for you.

The term “degree” refers to a designation such as Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Education, Bachelor of Business Administration, and other general designations. UA Little Rock offers seven undergraduate degree types. All UA Little Rock undergraduate majors are grouped under one of these designations.

Department, College, or School

A department is the basic administrative unit at UA Little Rock. It consists of a group of faculty members and their chairperson. The department appoints faculty, develops courses and programs, and advises students. Departments with related interests are organized into colleges. Academic administrative units without departments are called schools. There are three colleges at UA Little Rock.

Developmental Courses
Courses at the “0” level are developmental courses and do not count toward the 124 hour minimum for graduation; nor do grades received count in the cumulative grade point average.

Drop and Add
A period of time is designated after classes have begun during which students may adjust their course schedules by adding or deleting (dropping) a class or classes without penalty. To determine deadlines for each semester, consult the academic calendar or registration guide.

An elective is any course that is not required, either by the University’s core requirements or by the requirements of a major or minor. Many degree programs will list the number of elective hours available. Electives may complement the rest of a student’s work or be taken just for fun.

Experiential Learning
The UA Little Rock curriculum includes a number of courses that allow or require students to work for credit in a professional or career setting. Sometimes this is a part of the regular course; other times it is a separate course. In the latter case, the course may have in its title an expression such as “cooperative education,” “field experience,” “internship,” “practicum,” “special project,” or “student teaching.”

First Year Colloquium

All full-time freshmen entering a college or university for the first time and transfer students with less than 12 hours of credit are required to take a First Year Colloquium. Some specialized first year colloquiums are aimed at students intending to major in particular subject areas, while others target special programs and scholarships. All students should consult with their academic advisor before registering for a first year colloquium.

Full-Time Student
A full-time student must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours. Financial aid often requires that a student attend full-time.

Fully Admitted Student
Students who have completed an admission application, submitted all required documents based on your student type, and have met admission standards. For more information check out the Office of Admissions website at

Good Standing
A student is considered in good standing at the end of a grading period if your current term and cumulative GPA are 2.00 or above.

Grade Point Average (GPA)
GPA is the indicator of a student’s academic performance, with a 4.0 being the highest level of performance. Quality Points are assigned to each letter grade received (e.g., A = 4; B = 3; C = 2; D = 1; F = 0). Some developmental course grades are excluded. The GPA is the standard measure for retention and graduation requirements. Your semester grade report will show both the semester and the cumulative GPA.

Important Dates Calendar
A calendar is maintained by the Office of Records and Registration that contains deadlines for financial aid and a schedule for registration and withdrawal. It is available to view online at and in the registration guides for each term.

The designation “I” or Incomplete is given when the instructor feels that circumstances beyond your control prevented completion of a course requirement. It allows you to finish a course requirement within a 90-day period after the semester is over. It is the student’s responsibility to discuss the problem with the instructor and request a grade of Incomplete. If the student receives an “I” and fails to complete the work on time, the result will be the “I” administratively changed to an “F.”


Freshman and sophomore courses (UA Little Rock course numbers beginning with 1 or 2) are called lower-level courses.

A major consists of coursework in a student’s primary area of academic concentration in addition to the UA Little Rock core requirements. Students are encouraged to declare a major as soon as possible on BOSS or in the Office of Academic Advising.

Master’s Degree

This degree is awarded after advanced graduate study to gain expertise in an academic discipline or professional field of study through intensive course work and, in most cases, the preparation of a culminating project, scholarly paper, thesis, or a comprehensive examination. An applicant to a master’s program must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with substantially the same undergraduate program as the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Additional supporting documents vary from program to program and may be required.

A minor contains coursework in a student’s secondary area of academic concentration. A minor is required in all undergraduate degree programs unless the major program specifies that a minor is not required.


An orientation is an introduction to the University for students new to UA Little Rock. This is a time when students learn about rules, procedures, facilities, personnel, services, etc.

Course required to have been successfully completed prior to enrollment in a more advanced related course. If a course has a prerequisite, it is listed in the course description.

Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) establishes the confidentiality of student records and the conditions under which students and others may review a student’s educational records. These records, including grades, are confidential and may only be released to the individual student to whom they pertain. For more information, consult the University Student Handbook or the Dean of Student’s office.

Records and Registration, Office of
Administrative Staff that is responsible for student records, transcripts, class registration, and graduation. This office is located in the Administration South Building.

Registration Confirmation

Students registered for courses at UA Little Rock must log-in to BOSS, select the Student Services tab, and click the link labeled Confirm Your Registration. They will be given a confirmation number at the end of this process. Students who do not confirm will be automatically dropped from courses.  Confirmation is a contractual agreement that obligates students to attend and pay for classes in which they register unless the official withdrawal procedures are followed.


A Section is mentioned when the same Course is offered at different times with different instructors. Each different offering is referred to as a section. When registering, make sure that you enroll in the section, as well as the course, you want.


Course outline of expectations, assignments, requirements, schedule, and materials needed for each specific class. Typically, the instructor distributes the syllabus during the first class meeting.

This phrase refers to receiving college credit by making an appropriate score on a comprehensive test in a certain area. UA Little Rock offers such test in two ways: those designed by UA Little Rock departments and those designed by national programs such as College Level Examination Program (CLEP). There is a charge for taking such tests. Contact the Office of Testing Services and Student Life Research for details.

This is the continuous, formal, and official record of your work at a university. If you are a transfer student, you are required to request that the Office of Records and Registration at all universities you have attended previously send an official transcript in a sealed envelope to UA Little Rock. The transcript lists all courses you take, grades, major and minor, and degree awarded. An unofficial and incomplete version of it, sometimes used by advisors, is called a worksheet.


This term refers to academic work leading to the associate or baccalaureate degrees and to students working toward these degrees. It is used in comparison to “graduate,” which refers to academic work taken by students who already have a baccalaureate degree.

Undergraduate Catalog

The catalog is an official publication of UA Little Rock, which is revised annually. It establishes degree programs, course offerings, and academic regulations that affect undergraduate students from date of enrollment through degree completion. Therefore, students should retain their original undergraduate catalog until graduation and granting of a degree by the University.

Junior and senior courses (UA Little Rock course numbers beginning with 3 or 4) are called upper-level courses. A baccalaureate degree requires a minimum of 45 upper-level credit hours.


The letter “W” is recorded when a student voluntarily and officially drops a specific course or all enrolled coursed at the University within a specified time period. If you never attend classes for which you are registered, you remain legal liable for tuition and fees, unless you follow official withdrawal procedures. In order to withdraw, you must obtain an official form from the Office of Records and Registration. For deadlines please refer to the academic calendar.