Glossary of Academic Terms

Academic Alert

An Academic Alert email is sent to any student whose cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0, but who has not yet attempted at least thirty (30*) University of Cincinnati semester credit hours. An email is sent to serve as a reminder that continued below-average academic performance may result in Academic Probation, and possibly Academic Suspension in later terms. An Academic Alert is not the same as being placed on Academic Probation; it is simply a means to direct the student toward academic improvement. *For the purposes of determining academic standing, withdrawal hours will be included in equation to review for 30 attempted hours.

Academic Block

A registration restriction placed on A&S first year and sophomore students with below a 2.0 cumulative grade point average at the end of each term. The restriction can be removed following term upon participation in a college recommended academic component i.e. completion of Success Seminar Skills or successful participation and completion in Learning Assistance Center's academic coaching or tutoring sessions.

Academic Course Load

The number of credit hours in which a student is enrolled during a semester.

Academic Fresh Start

Academic Program

A series of credit courses designed to lead to a degree, diploma or certificate in a field of study or occupation.


The process of increasing an academic course load.

Advanced Placement (AP)

A program administered by the College Board through which a student can earn college credit for examinations taken in high school. Click here for a complete AP Key.


An educator assigned to provide academic advice and general guidance on learning-oriented issues related to academic planning and student success. (See also: college advisor).

Associate Degree

The degree typically awarded by a community or junior college (UC Blue Ash & UC Clermont College branches, for example) following the completion of a two-year program of study or approximately 60 credits. Select colleges on the Clifton campus also offer associates degrees.


The process by which a student can register for a course(s) for a no-grade, no-credit basis. Students should indicate that they will audit a course at the time of registration.

Baccalaureate Degree

An academic program generally of 120 semester credits, including completion of the General Education program and course requirements for each major. Programs are designed for a full-time student to complete in four years, provided the student enrolls in and successfully completes 15 credits per regular academic semester.

Bachelor's Degree

Same as a baccalaureate degree. B.S.= Bachelor of Science degree; B.A.= Bachelor of Arts degree. B.I.S.= Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies.

CAS (Course Applicability System)

The Course Applicability System or (CAS) is used to determine course equivalencies between different universities. CAS was designed to provide a Web-based advising system for potential transfer students and University of Cincinnati students taking courses as guests at other institutions. Students should always consult an advisor when planning on transferring coursework to the University of Cincinnati.

Call Number

The 6-digit number that appears next to the section code ENGL 1001-001: 600132. This number identifies the specific course and section, in this case, English Composition, section 001. This is the number entered into the registration system on Onestop to enroll a student in the class.


An academic program generally of around 18 semester credits. Some certificate programs are designed to provide specialized programs for people who already have diplomas or degrees; others are for people who want to complete a program that leads directly to a specific job quickly.

Course Number

The 4-digit number identifying each Course within a discipline. ENGL 1001. In this example, 1001 is the course within the Department of English.


One of UC's degree-granting administrative units. There are ten undergraduate degree-granting colleges at the Clifton campus.

College Advisor

A professional educator assigned to provide academic advice and general guidance on learning-oriented issues related to academic planning and student success. A&S college advisors DO NOT advise students on major or minor requirements. Students should contact their academic department for major or minor advice.



The university's formal induction into the university is held for first year students the Friday before the start of the Fall semester.


Course or courses that a student is required to take along with another course in which the student is enrolled.

Credit or Credit Hour

Each credit hour is a unit of time during which a class will meet each week during a semester. The number of credit hours for each course usually indicates how much time is spent in the classroom each week.

Cross-College or Double Major

A&S permits students enrolled in other colleges to complete the major requirements of a particular department. By completing this coursework and receiving certification from that department, the student can add a second major to their degree.

Cum Laude

Undergraduate students who earn a minimum of 60 semester credits will qualify for graduation with Latin honors as follows: University Grade Point Average between: 3.60 and 3.7499 Cum Laude (The University Grade Point Average will have no effect on the college or departmental honors for which the student may qualify).

Cumulative Grade-Point Average (GPA)

The weighted mean value of all grade points a student has earned by enrollment in UC courses through any delivery system and at any location or through credit examination.


A prescribed set of courses leading to a degree or certificate.

Dean's List

A recognition of academic excellence. To be on the Dean's List, a UC student must achieve a semester grade-point average of 3.4 or higher while enrolled in six or more credits per semester.

Degree Progress Audit (DPA)

DARS is an automated degree audit system that reflects the progress a student has made toward the completion of their degree requirements.

Degree Requirements

A list of courses, subject areas and credit hours needed to obtain a specific degree or certificate. The College of Arts and Sciences degree requirements can be found at:

Discipline/Subject Code

The 2, 3, or 4-letter abbreviation that appears before the course and section numbers as in ENGL 1001. This code identifies the specific department, in this case, English.

Dismissal (Academic)

A student who is readmitted to the University following Academic Suspension will be reinstated on Academic Probation. While on Academic Probation, the student must earn a minimum term GPA of 2.0 to continue enrollment. A student on Academic Probation following Academic Suspension who fails to earn a minimum 2.0 term GPA will be academically dismissed from the University.

Should the student's UGPA ever drop below 2.0 after returning to Academic Good Standing, s/he is subject to Academic Dismissal at the end of any academic term in which the UGPA drops below 2.0.

Academic Dismissal permanently denies all future registration privileges at the University. Dismissal is the most serious academic standing classification denoting a repeated failure to meet minimum university academic standards. Therefore, as a matter of general policy, students are not eligible for readmission to the University of Cincinnati following Academic Dismissal.

Academic Dismissal is recorded on a student's academic transcript. A student may not graduate from the University of Cincinnati upon being academically dismissed.

Double Major

A&S students majoring in two A&S majors.


The process of decreasing an academic course load during the beginning of each semester (deadlines are shortened during summer terms). Courses dropped during this time will not be recorded on the academic record.

Cross-College Degree

A student can complete all the requirements for a degree from another college, but also indicate to A&S that they intend to complete one of our programs. Students seeking a Cross-College degree must announce their intentions to A&S, complete all requirements as outlined by the A&S core requirements checklist, and also complete all of the major requirements in an A&S department. If that student had announced their intentions to us, then their graduation application would be certified. At the same time, the student must complete all course work required by their second UC college in order to receive their degrees.Notes on the dual degree:

  • Students can "double-dip" some of the requirements for both colleges. They only need one sequence of English composition, for example.
  • Student must verify both degree applications in the graduation application website:
  • A student should wait to officially graduate from either college until a single simultaneous commencement date. This is because students are ineligible for many sources of funding if they already hold a bachelor's degree.


College-level courses in which a student may enroll that do not fulfill specific requirements, but may count toward the total number of credit hours needed. Students may choose electives depending upon his or her interests and needs. When choosing electives, students should consult their advisor.


A student who has completed fewer than 29.5 posted semester credits.

Freshman Seminar

A highly interactive, small enrollment seminar and course designed to immediately bring freshmen into the intellectual life of the college. It allows freshmen the opportunity for in-depth study of a current and relevant topic. Your professor will help you understand the process of knowledge discovery and how to become a successful university-level scholar. These three credit hour seminars and courses are offered throughout the year and count toward A&S graduation requirements.

Full-Time Student

A student enrolled in twelve or more semester credits during a semester.

General Education Program

Courses in liberal arts and sciences that are typically introductory and provide students with general knowledge and reasoning ability rather than specific skills for employment or specialized knowledge required for a major. UC's program consists of six Breadth of Knowledge Requirements and four areas of experience. The courses to be taken for this program depend upon major and student's home college, and should be chosen with the aid of an advisor. Students enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences will fulfill the general education requirements as outlined by the A&S Core Requirements Checklist.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Indicates a student's academic progress and status on a 4.0 scale. It is calculated by adding quality points earned and dividing by total number of credits attempted. Semester GPA is based on the most recently completed semester. College GPA is the accumulated GPA as a matriculated student in A&S. University GPA is the accumulated GPA of all courses attempted as a UC student.

Grade Point Average (GPA) to Graduate

A&S must have a cumulative (university) and final semester GPA of a 2.0 or better in order to graduate.

Grade Replacement

Graduate Degree

A degree awarded for education at a level beyond the bachelor's degree. State universities offer graduate certificates, master's degrees and specialist degrees in various professional and liberal arts fields, such as medical or law degrees.

Graduation Application

Students applying to graduate must do so on-line at:

Graduation Certification

Graduation certification begins with an on-line application to graduate. The department conferring the degree then certifies that students have fulfilled their major requirements. The college office then certifies that students have fulfilled college and university requirements. Certified graduates are forwarded to UC's Registrars office for the awarding of earned diplomas.

High Honors

Students who have shown exceptional distinction in the field of concentration may be awarded the degree with Honors or High Honors. A student enrolled in the University Honors Program is eligible to receive the degree with College Honors or High College Honors.

Holds on Student Records

Holds are actions taken by University offices to restrict a student's registration ability or prevent the student from receiving a transcript or diploma. Holds are usually placed for academic, financial, or conduct reasons.

Honors Scholars Program

The University Honors Scholars Program serves students from all UC colleges. The curriculum is highly flexible, broad in scope and designed to provide the student with the opportunity to learn in a manner associated with a small college but with a range of intellectual activity that can only be found in a large university.

Honors Societies

The University of Cincinnati has held a charter from the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa since 1898. The following honor societies confer membership on undergraduate students in the various departments of the college in recognition of high scholarly attainment and outstanding achievement in the areas indicated: Alpha Epsilon Delta (pre-medicine), Delta Phi Alpha (German), Gamma Theta Upsilon (geography), Omicron Delta Epsilon (economics), Phi Alpha Theta (history), Pi Delta Phi (French), Psi Chi (psychology), Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish), Sigma Gamma Epsilon (earth sciences), Tau Kappa Alpha (communication), Sigma Alpha Eta (speech and hearing), Iota Sigma Pi (chemistry), Sigma Pi Sigma (physics), Alpha Kappa Delta (sociology) and Pi Sigma Alpha (political science).

Incomplete Grade (I grade)

Instructors use the "I" (Incomplete) when students fail to submit all of required coursework by the end of the semester. An "I" grade should only be awarded if it is possible for students to complete the work without class attendance. In undergraduate courses, the "I" does not factor into the grade point averages during the semester immediately after it is awarded. Following that subsequent semester, the "I" carries zero (0) quality points-treated like the "F" and the "UW." After one (1) year, any "I" remaining on students' records automatically and permanently changes to the "I/F," which carries zero (0) quality points and affects students' GPA like the "F."


A student who has completed more than 59.5, but fewer than 90 posted semester credits.

Learning Community

A Learning Community is made up of a small group of about 20 students enrolled in two or more courses that are linked. These students will also share "common hours" each week facilitated by a Peer Leader - i.e. a time to get to know each other, the campus, and have some fun!

Magna Cum Laude

Undergraduate students who earn a minimum of sixty semester credits will qualify for graduation with Latin honors as follows: University Grade Point Average between: 3.75 and 3.8999 Magna Cum Laude (The University Grade Point Average will have no effect on the college or departmental honors for which the student may qualify.)


The subject area leading to a degree or certificate in which a student chooses to concentrate his/her academic work.

Major Advisor

A professor in students' major department advises students on the major requirements to earn their college degree.

Master's Degree

An academic degree program of 32 or more semester credits in courses at the graduate level.

Matriculated Student

A student who has been officially admitted to A&S as either a degree-seeking student or an exploratory student.


An academic program generally of 18 credit hours. Minors must be completed before or at the same time that the student earns his or her bachelor's degree.

Minor Advisor

A professor in students' minor department advises students on the minor requirements to earn any minor being added to an undergraduate degree.

New Student Bearcats Bound Orientation

A day and a half program during the summer that all new first year students are required to attend. At this program, crucial information about a student's UC college and its requirements are delivered, and students meet with an advisor to plan and register for classes.

Non-Matriculated Student

Students may take classes at UC without being enrolled in a UC degree program. Their official status is "non-matriculated," which is a traditional academic term meaning "not enrolled in a degree program."


A website focused on student services, where students may go to check e-mail, register for classes, view/pay bill, view grades, check on financial aid, and have other general questions answered. Onestop is also a physical location in University Pavilion where students may go to receive assistance in-person.

Part-Time Student

A student enrolled in fewer than semester quarter credit hours during a semester.


Juniors and seniors in good academic standing may, within the first two calendar weeks of the semester, elect to take one course each semester on a pass/fail basis. Pass/fail courses apply only as elective credit toward the degree. Pass credit (with a grade of P) is not used in determining a student's grade point average, but a failure shall count against the average.

Placement Test

Tests taken by all new students prior to Bearcats Bound Orientation, generally in Mathematics, occasionally in English. Results of this test are used to place students at the appropriate entry level in each subject. Foreign Language placement is determined by language units completed in high school and is determined during the admissions process. Foreign language placement tests are used for students who intend to "test out" of the college language requirement by showing full proficiency.


A course or courses a student must complete before being allowed to register for a more advanced course in the same or related area.


Academic Probation is intended to inform students making unsatisfactory progress of their need to alter study habits and seek additional academic advising. Early recognition will indicate to the student the possible jeopardy to academic goals and will allow an opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance.

For a student to be placed on Academic Probation two things must occur. First, the student must have attempted at least thirty (30) UC semester hours. Second, the student's UGPA has dropped below 2.0.* While on Academic Probation, the student must earn a term GPA of 2.0 or greater. Academic Probation will continue until the UGPA reaches 2.0 or greater. Once that condition is satisfied, the student will be returned to Academic Good Standing.

Academic Probation is not posted to the student's official UC transcript but it will be noted on the student's term grade report. A student may not graduate from the University of Cincinnati while on Academic Probation.

A student's class enrollments for the subsequent term are not affected by being placed on Academic Probation. Given this fact, Academic Probation is not an appealable academic standing. Faculty grade changes will affect Academic Probation.

Program of Study

The subject area in which a student chooses to concentrate his/her academic work.

Quality Points

The number of quality hours (for a course) multiplied by the numerical value of the grade earned (A = 4.0 points, B = 3.0 points, etc.). The total number of quality points divided by the total number of quality hours equals a student's cumulative grade point average (GPA).

Quality Hours

Credits earned which affect a student's GPA.


Students who are returning to A&S and have NOT attended any other institution while not enrolled in A&S can apply for re-admission by submitting an "application of change in college and program application for readmission" or found online:


A recitation is a discussion carried by a teaching assistant (TA) or instructor to supplement a lecture given by a senior faculty at an academic institution. During the recitation, the leader will review the lecture, expand on the concepts, and carry a discussion with the students. In classes involving mathematics and engineering, the recitation is often used to perform derivations or solve problems similar to those assigned to the students.


Students must be matriculated in the College of Arts and Sciences for at least the last full academic year (the two semesters preceding graduation). Students must earn at least 30 semester credit hours of coursework while matriculated in the college. At least 12 credit hours toward the satisfaction of the field of concentration requirements must be taken from the controlling A&S department(s).

Section Code

The 3 digits that appear after the department/subject code and subject number in the schedule of classes, as in ENGL 1001 -001. This number refers to the specific day and time that the course is offered.


A student who has completed more than 89.5 posted semester credits.


A student who has completed more than 29.5, but fewer than 60 posted semester credits.

Summa Cum Laude

Undergraduate students who earn a minimum of 60 semester credit hours will qualify for graduation with Latin honors as follows: University Grade Point Average between: 3.90 and 4.0000 Summa Cum Laude (The University Grade Point Average will have no effect on the college or departmental honors for which the student may qualify).


Academic Suspension is posted to a student's official record if a student currently on Academic Probation fails to earn a term GPA of at least 2.0. This is reviewed at the end of each term.

The length of the Academic Suspension is three full semesters (i.e., one academic year).

A student serving Academic Suspension may not enroll in classes offered by any other academic unit at the University of Cincinnati during the suspension period. If a student has already registered for classes for the subsequent term prior to being placed on Academic Suspension, those classes will be administratively dropped (i.e., enrollment is cancelled).

Readmission after the mandatory suspension period is not automatic. Suspended students must petition for readmission after serving the suspension period. The suspended student must submit an application for readmission supported by a letter documenting the reasons for the previous academic difficulties, and a college-approved plan for achieving a UGPA of 2.0 or greater.

At the college's discretion, college approval may require the student to satisfy certain specified conditions. A student may not graduate from the University of Cincinnati while on Academic Suspension.

A student who is approved to return to UC after the mandatory suspension period will be placed on Academic Probation. The student will remain on probation until the UGPA has increased to 2.0 or greater. Once that condition is satisfied, the student will be returned to Academic Good Standing.

Suspension Appeal


A document provided by an instructor that describes the content, learning objectives and expectations of a course, the grading policy, a list of assignments and due dates, and related information such as the required textbooks and other course materials, the instructor's office hours, contact information, etc.


Written record of a student's academic performance. Students may obtain official transcripts by contacting the Registrar.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit refers to units (hours) of academic credit awarded at a receiving institution in recognition of college level credit earned at a sending institution. Academic institutions operate under a variety of systems (e.g., semester or quarter).

Transfer Module

The Transfer Module contains 36-40 semester hours of specified course credits in English composition, mathematics, fine arts, humanities, social science, behavioral science, natural science, physical science, and interdisciplinary coursework. A transfer module completed at one college or university will automatically meet the requirements of the transfer module at the receiving institution, once the student is accepted. Students may be required, however, to meet additional general education requirements that are not included in the Transfer Module.

Transfer Student

A student applying for admission to The University of Cincinnati (UC) who has formerly attended another regionally accredited institution of higher learning. A student is also considered a Transfer Student if he/she attended UC after high school, transferred to another school and is returning to UC.

Welcome Day

A mandatory day for freshmen entering A&S Fall semester held the Friday before classes begin in August. The day provides freshmen the opportunity to meet and interact with deans, faculty, staff and fellow students. Freshmen meet with their departments and exploratory students meet with exploratory academic advisors.


The process of dropping a course (or courses) after the first 15 calendar days of the semester. Withdrawing from ALL coursework is referred to as a Complete Withdrawal. When a student withdraws from a course, a grade of "W" (or "F") is assigned. The "W" has no impact on the GPA. Withdrawals must occur by the posted deadline each term.

Withdrawal On Probation

Voluntary separation from A&S while on probation, which is equivalent to a suspension in its effect. Students who withdraw while on probation must apply for readmission.