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Glossary of University Terminology Print
Academic Year
  The period of time when classes are taught
   
Semester
  An academic year is typically divided into 2-3 semesters, each lasting up to 15 weeks
   
Alumni
  People who have graduated from a particular university,college or school. The singular form is alumnus. For example, John is an alumnus of MIT
   
Advanced Standing
  Approval to register into a higher level of coursework, usually in recognition of prior learning ( eg polytechnic diploma or associate degree)
   
Adjunct Professor
  A part-time professor hired on a contract basis. An adjunct professor usually has a full-time job outside the university and he teaches occasionally
   
Associate Degree
  A sub-degree award conferred upon completion of a 2-year degree-level program. In USA, community colleges award associate degrees. The associate degree is recognized for advanced standing to a bachelor’s degree program
   
Bursary
  Money awarded to a student based on financial need and academic performance
   
Convocation/ Commencement
  A formal ceremony where degree / diploma are awarded to graduating students
   
Credit
  Every course in a university is accorded a credit value, anywhere from 1 to 5 credits. You will earn your degree once you have the pre-requisite credits and fulfill all other academic and administrative requirements as well
   
Elective
  An optional course that is not individually specific to your program
   
Dean
  The head of a school or college within a large university
   
Dean’s List
  An academic award for students who attain a specified Grade Point Average (GPA), usually 3.5 or higher
   
Provost
  A high ranking university administrator (usually No 2 to the President) who is responsible for overall academic integrity. He typically co-ordinates institutional level academic, financial and facilities planning.
   
Honors Program
  A special program for high achieving students in USA
   
Freshman
  A first year undergraduate student (USA)
   
Sophomore
  A second year undergraduate student (USA)
   
Junior
  A third year undergraduate student (USA)
   
Senior
  A fourth year undergraduate student (USA)
   
Major
  The main academic area a student specializes in
   
Minor
  A secondary academic area of study a student specializes in
   
Transcript
  A record of all the courses a student takes and the grades attained
   
Transfer Credit
  Academic credit awarded for courses taken at another university/college
   
SAT Tests
  There are SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests. These tests are required by most universities/ colleges in USA as part of the admission process. As university applicants come from different countries and different high schools with varying academic and exam standards, the SAT tests serve as an equalizer for all by using a common exam benchmark.
   
GRE
  GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is a pre-requisite for admission to most graduate schools in USA. If you wish to study for a Master’s degree, you have to take this test (MBA applicants will take the GMAT)
   
GMAT
  Like the GRE, the Graduate Management Admission Test is a pre-requisite test for students wishing to apply to MBA programs in USA. Similarly, the top business schools around the world also require applicants to have good GMAT scores. For example, the average GMAT score of Harvard MBA students is around 710.
   
TOEFL
  The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is an English proficiency test for non-English speaking students. It is required by most universities in USA and the English-speaking world.
   
Phi Beta Kappa
  In USA, an academic honor society for the most outstanding students of arts and social sciences at America’s top universities. Only top 10% American universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters.
   
Phi Kappa Phi
  America ’s largest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines
   
AP Exams
  These are rigorous national level exams administered at high schools in USA each May. High school students can earn college credits or college placement if they achieve high AP exam grades. High AP exam grades also help a high school student stand out in the competitive university admission process.
   
Liberal Arts
  In USA, there are liberal arts colleges like the prestigious Williams College which provides a well-rounded curriculum to develop a student’s intellectual capacity. Analytical writing and speaking skills receive emphasis in the liberal arts program.
The term liberal arts is actually a short form for liberal arts and sciences.”
All liberal arts colleges teach physical science subjects and humanities subjects.
   
College Education
 

The terms “university” and “college” are used interchangeably in USA. For example, Dartmouth College of the Ivy League is a university.

   
   
*More university terms will be added to the glossary in the next review. Source: www.rafflesleadership.com

 

 

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