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Glossary of United States Educational Terminology
Category: Education > US Education Terminology
Date & country: 14/10/2008, FI
Words: 161


ABD
'all but degree' Not a formal degree; applies to someone who has completed all the requirements for a Ph.D. except the dissertation.

Academic Advisor
The officer (a member of the faculty or another professional) who provides academic advice and guidance to students.

Acceleration
Completion of a college program of study in fewer than the usual number of years, most often by attending summer sessions and carrying extra courses during regular academic terms.

Accreditation
A process of granting recognition to academic institutions and professional programs offered by those institutions for meeting established standards of performance, integrity and quality and which entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public.

Achievement Tests
Subject examinations, administered by the College Board, used to measure academic achievement and for student placement.

ACT
A standardized external battery of tests administered by the American College Testing Program and covering English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning. The tests are designed to assess the student's educational development and readiness for college-level study and may used by institutions in lieu of the SAT.

Adjunct Faculty
Faculty members who teach part-time without appointments in the regular faculty.

Admissions Office
The office responsible for admitting students to the institution.

Advanced Standing
The practice of placing a student in a course based on previous achievement levels, e.g., study at an another institution, by challenge examination, AP or CLEP examination results.

AP
(Advanced Placement Program) A program offered by the College Board that allows students to take college-level courses while in high school and then take standardized tests to demonstrate whether they have attained college-level achievement. Universities and colleges grant students credit on the basis of AP test results.

Application Deadline
The last date on which a college will accept applications for admission to the coming term.

Assistant Professor
A junior member of the faculty who has not yet received tenure.

Assistantship
Award granted to graduate students and which consists of tuition remission and a stipend for part-time teaching or research. (see also graduate assistant; research assistant; teaching assistant)

Associate Degree
Degree granted upon the completion of a two-year academic program mostly offered at two-year institutions.

Associate Professor
A tenured member of the faculty.

Auditing
Taking a class to acquire knowledge but not for credit or grades. Audited courses do not count toward degree requirements.

Baccalaureate
Bachelor's degree

Bachelor's Degree
The first university degree awarded upon the completion of an undergraduate curriculum. The degrees are usually known as 'bachelor of arts'; 'bachelor of science'.

Bulletin
An institution's catalog of programs, curricula and courses.

Bursar
The university official responsible for collecting student fees.

Carnegie Unit


Catalog
see bulletin

Chairperson
The head of an academic department.

Challenge Examination
Examination created by an institution as the equivalent to a course. Students who pass challenge tests are commonly exempted from, or given credit for, the course counterpart of the examination.

Class Rank
The relative position of a student in his or her graduating class, determined by grade average.

CLEP
(College Level Examination Program) A program offered by the College Board designed to offer students the opportunity to earn college credit by examination.

Closed Course
Fully-subscribed course which is no longer enrolling students

College
A general term for post-secondary education. It often refers to institutions which offer undergraduate programs or to the undergraduate divisions of large universities.

Commencement
Graduation ceremony, usually held in May or June at the end of the academic year.

Community College
Public two-year institution supported by the local community. Community colleges offer two types of curricula: transfer (which consists of the first two years of work for the bachelor's degree) and terminal (vocational training for employment in a wide variety of semi-professional and technical areas).

Comprehensive Examinations
Broad examinations covering material in several courses, typically taken at the end of master's degree programs or after the end of doctoral course work before writing the dissertation.

Concentration
see major

Continuing Education
Educational programs offered by colleges and universities to adults in the community during the evening and on weekends. It usually refers to non-credit course work.

Cooperative Education
Educational program requiring students to alternate periods of full-time study and full-time work in their major.

Core curriculum
General education requirements set as a defined series of interdisciplinary courses that must be taken by all undergraduates enrolled in degree programs at an institution.

Course
A discrete subject studied during one semester or quarter.

Credit
Time-based quantitative measure assigned to courses or course-equivalent learning. One credit is usually defined as 50 minutes of instruction over a semester (semester credit) or a quarter (quarter credit). 'Unit' is another term for credit.

Credit-by-Examination
The practice of awarding students college credit for satisfactory performance on an examination.

Cumulative Grade Point Average
The numerical average of all the student's grades achieved during the period of study at an institution.

Curriculum
The body of courses and other formally established learning experiences which constitute a program of study.

Curve Grading
A system of relative grading based on the performance of all members of a class on an examination. It is also called norm-referenced grading.

Dean
Middle-level academic or administrative officer in charge of an administrative unit.

Dean's List
A published list of students who have earned a specified high grade-point average in a term.

Department
The formal faculty group, together with its support staff, responsible for instruction in a general subject area.

Discipline
An area of academic study.

Dissertation
The formal writing requirement -- often an original contribution to knowledge -- for a doctoral degree.

Distribution Requirement
The part of general education designed to ensure that each student takes a minimum number of courses or credits in specified, varying academic areas.

Double Major
Program of study in which a student completed the requirements of two majors at the same time.

Drop
To withdraw from a course.

Drop-Add
A period at the beginning of each term when students are allowed to change their class schedules by dropping or adding courses.

Drop-out
A person who has withdrawn from all courses. One who leaves school entirely is known as a 'dropout'.

Dual Degree
Program of study in which a student receives two degrees from the same institution.

Early Admission
A program allowing well-qualified high school students to enter college full time before completing secondary school.

Elective
A course chosen freely by the student from the institution's offerings. Also called 'free elective'.

Elementary School
Primary school (grades 1-6 or 1-8)

Enrollment
(1) The process of registering for classes. (2) the total number of students at an institution.

Exchange Scholar or Student
see visiting scholar or student

Exemption
The practice of exempting a student from a requirement. For example, if a college required all students to take freshman English, but on the basis of evidence of outstanding prior achievement (such as high scores on an examination) waived the requirement, this would constitute exemption.

Experiential Learning
Learning which takes place outside of the classroom through formal courses or other life activities.

Faculty
(1) The body of teaching personnel in a department, division, or an entire institution. (2) An academic administrative unit, e.g., The Faculty of Engineering.

Fellow
A student (graduate or undergraduate) granted a 'fellowship' on the basis of academic achievement.

Final Examination
A course-based examination taken at the end of the term.

Financial Aid
Scholarships, grants and loans provided for students by academic institutions from government and private sources to help defray educational costs.

Foreign Student Advisor
Official employed by the institution to assist foreign students, scholars and faculty with immigration, visas, orientation, insurance, and other such matters.

Freshman
First-year student (applies to both college undergraduates and high school students).

Full-time
Student taking 12 or more credits during any given term.

General Education
A component of the undergraduate curriculum designed to provide breadth to the curriculum and a common undergraduate experience for all students. It is usually defined on an institution-wide basis and involves study in several subject area.

GMAT
(Graduate Management Admission Test) A standardized external examination of verbal and quantitative skills usually required by graduate schools of business and used to assess the qualifications of applicants for MBA programs.

Grade
An evaluation (normally by letter on a scale of A-F) of a student's performance on an examination, a paper or in a course.

Grade-point average
The average of grades earned in all courses taken during a term divided by the number of credits.

Graduate
(1) A person who has successfully completed a program of study and earned the final award (2) as an adjective, refers to post-baccalaureate status.

Graduate Advisor
The faculty member who serves as advisor to all graduate students in a department.

Graduate Assistant
see 'research assistant'

Graduate School
The academic unit within an institution which administers graduate education.

GRE
(Graduate Record Examination) A two-part standardized external examination designed to measure general verbal, quantitative and analytical skills (General Aptitude Test) and knowledge and understanding of subject matter basic to graduate study in specific fields (Advanced Tests). The GRE is generally required by graduate schools and is used to assess the qualifications of applicants to master's a...

Gymnasium
The building which houses the sports facilities on a campus.

High School


Homework
Regular assignments to be completed outside the classroom and taken into account in the student's course grade.

Honors
Special recognition of students' outstanding academic achievement.

Incomplete
Temporary grade indicating that the student has not met all course assignments at the end of the term.

Independent Study
An assignment (reading or research) carried out by a student under faculty supervision.

Instructor
A formal term which designates a part-time, temporary, university teacher. It is also a synonym for teacher.

International Student Advisor
see foreign student advisor

Internship
Supervised professional training designed to allow students to apply previously acquired skills and knowledge to practical situations. Internships can be done as part of a course, during vacation or after graduation.

Ivy League
Association of institutions located in eastern United States originally organized for athletic competitions. The term has since become synonymous with highly selective prestigious and elite education. The Ivy League consists of: Brown Univ., Columbia Univ., Cornell Univ., Dartmouth Coll., Harvard Univ., Univ. of Pennsylvania, Princeton Univ, and Yale Univ.

Junior
Third year student. (Applies to both college undergraduates and high school students.)

Junior College
Private two-year institution.

Junior High School
see high school

Land-Grant Institution
A state-run institution founded under the terms of the 1862 Morill Act which granted public lands to the states to establish colleges to provide full-time education in agriculture and mechanic arts.

Language Requirement
An institution's requirement that its graduates master one or more foreign languages.

Letter of Recommendation
Letter written in support of a student's application for admission to a study program which assesses the candidate's qualifications for the program in question.

Liberal Arts
The traditional fields of study in the humanities, sciences and social sciences as distinct from technical and professional education.

Liberal Arts College
Higher education institution in which the bachelor's degree emphasis is on liberal or general undergraduate education.

Load
An informal term used by students and faculty to refer to the number of credits they are studying or teaching, respectively.

Lower-division
First two years of a bachelor's degree program which consists mainly of courses at the introductory and elementary levels.

LSAT
(Law School Admission Test) A standardized external examination used by law schools to assess applicants' verbal, analytical and reasoning skills

Major
Undergraduate student's area of specialization, it consists of a number of courses in one field or in two or more related fields. The major is also referred to as concentration.

Major professor
The professor who advises a doctoral candidate in the final stages of the program, also known as 'dissertation advisor'.

Make-up examination
A late examination for students who missed the original date.

Master's degree
A post-baccalaureate degree usually earned after one or two years of course work.