Glossary of Higher Education Terms

Navigate college applications and campus life with ease using our comprehensive glossary. Find clear definitions and explanations for common terms in the world of higher education.





  • Academic Year
    • The period of time, usually about nine months, during which students attend classes. It typically starts in the fall and ends in the spring, with the possibility of taking summer classes.
  • Academic Advisor
    • A university staff member who guides students on course selection, degree requirements, and academic planning to help them achieve their educational goals. 
  • Admitted
    • A term used to describe students who have applied and have been accepted to the university in a degree-seeking status. Admission is not validated until the student registers for and attends classes.
  • Add/Drop
    • A period of time beginning with the first day of classes when students can adjust schedules by dropping or adding courses or changing sections of a course.
  • Academic Calendars
    • An annual publication listing all official dates and deadlines for the academic year.


  • Baccalaureate
    • Another term for a Bachelor’s degree, the traditional undergraduate degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree
    • A four-year academic degree awarded by universities and colleges upon completing a specific course of study. 
  • Bonner Program
    • A community service and leadership initiative that provides scholarships to college students in exchange for their commitment to regular volunteer work. 
  • Bulletin
    • Alternate term for Catalog at some other universities.
  • Bursar, Office of the
    • The university's department responsible for managing student billing, tuition payments, and other financial transactions.


  • Common Application
    • A centralized online platform that allows students to apply to multiple colleges and universities with one form. 
  • Cohort
    • A group of students who start and progress through a program or course together.
  • Commuter Students
    • Students who live off-campus and travel to the university for classes, rather than living in on-campus housing.
  • Catalog
    • An official publication from a university or college that provides details about courses, degree programs, and academic policies. 
  • Corequisite 
    • A course that must be taken at the same time as another specific course. 
  • Course Sequence
    • A specific order in which certain courses must be taken, ensuring foundational knowledge before advancing.
  • Credit
    • A unit used to measure a student's progress toward graduation. Typically linked to the number of hours spent in a class per week.
  • Cum Laude
    • Graduating with honors.
  • Curriculum
    • A set of courses and content in a specific area of study required for a degree or certification.
  • Commencement
    • The official ceremony celebrates students' graduation from a university or college.
  • Convocation
    • A formal gathering at a university or college, often marking the beginning of the academic year or celebrating academic achievements.
  • CSS Profile
    • An online application for international students to receive non-federal financial aid.


  • Degree Audit
    • A computerized evaluation comparing a student's academic progress against the requirements for their degree found in your MyStetson portal.
  • Dismissal
    • The formal removal of a student from a university or program due to academic or behavioral reasons.
  • Drop
    • The action of officially removing oneself from a specific course before a certain deadline, without it appearing on transcripts.
  • Dual Enrollment
    • Simultaneous registration at two educational institutions.
  • Doctoral Degree
    • The highest academic degree awarded by universities typically requires original research and a dissertation.


  • Early Action 
    • An admissions process allowing students to apply and receive a decision earlier than the regular deadline, without committing to attend.
  • Early Decision
    • An admissions process where students apply and receive an early decision and, if accepted, commit to attending that university or college.
  • Electives 
    • Any course that is not required as part of a student's degree requirements but applies to the minimum credits for the degree.
  • Enrollment 
    • Registration for coursework and payment of fees constitutes official enrollment.
  • Email (
    • all student and staff emails at stetson use
  • Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR)
    • A component of undergraduate business academic programs where students gain practical experience related to their field of study, such as internships or service projects. 
  • Expected Family Contribution
    • The estimated amount a student's family is expected to contribute towards college costs, is calculated based on a family's financial information.


    • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an online form used by US students to apply for federal financial aid for college. 
    • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a US. law that protects the privacy of student education records.
  • Faculty
    • People employed by the University for the purpose of conducting instruction, research, or public service as a principal activity.
  • Full-time student
    • A full-time undergraduate student who is enrolled in courses totaling 12 or more credits per semester.
  • Finance, Office of
    • The university or college department that assists students in obtaining funding for their education, including grants, loans, and scholarships.
  • Financial Aid
    • Funds provided to students to help cover education costs, which can come in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study opportunities.
    • Five-day comprehensive orientation program designed to help new students have a successful transition to life at Stetson University.
  • FSEM
    • First Year Seminar class taken on your first year
  • FTIC
    • First Time Incoming Student


  • Good Standing
    • Eligible to continue to register for university coursework.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • The ratio of grade points earned to semester credits carried.
  • Graduate Student
    • A student who has earned a baccalaureate degree and who has been admitted to the Graduate School to pursue a graduate degree program (master’s, specialist, engineer, doctorate).
  • Graduation Requirements
    • Major-specific requirements that must be met in order to graduate from Stetson University.
  • Green Pages
    • A comprehensive online directory that contains administrative, faculty and staff listings at all of the university's locations.


  • Higher Education
    • Learning opportunities after high school, including colleges, universities, and vocational schools.
  • Hatter Alert
    • Emergency notifications or warnings issued by the university immediately upon confirming a significant emergency or dangerous on-campus situation that involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. 
  • Hatter1card
    • The official ID card used by students, faculty, staff, dependents and alumni at Stetson University.
  • Hatter Saturday
    • Event held every Spring for students who are making their final decisions to be #NewHatters, where they can discover faculty, connect with peers, and prepare for a successful start.


  • Intramural Sports
    • Recreational sports organized within a university or college, where students compete against fellow students in various activities.


  • JSEM
    • Junior Year Seminar class taken on your Junior year at Stetson




  • Magna Cum Laude
    • Graduating with high honors.
  • Major
    • A subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization.
  • Matriculation
    • Initial term of enrollment and attendance.
  • Master's Degree
    • An advanced academic degree awarded by universities or colleges, typically requiring one to three years of study after a bachelor's degree.
  • Minors
    • An officially recognized secondary concentration of study in an approved subject area. Minors are optional.
  • Midterm
    • An exam or assessment given halfway through an academic term or course.
  • MyStetson
    • The online portal for Stetson University students and faculty, providing access to academic resources, personal information, and campus services.


  • Non-Degree Seeking Students 
    • A student enrolled in credit or non-credit-bearing courses who is not recognized by the College as seeking a degree.
  • Need-Based
    • Financial aid or scholarships awarded based on a student's or family's financial circumstances. 
  • Net-Price 
    • The total cost of attending a university or college, including tuition, room, and board, minus any grants or scholarships.


  • One Stop
    • A centralized service area or office at a university or college where students can access multiple administrative services, such as the financial aid, registrar, bursar and dining services offices.
  • On-track/Off-track
    • On-track refers to students who are meeting progress requirements each term, according to their majors' critical tracking plans. Off-track refers to students who are not progressing toward their degree requirements each term.
  • Orientation
    • Stetson hosts a fall, spring and summer orientation for new incoming students. Fall orientation is also referred to as FOCUS.


  • Pass/Fail Course
    • A course in which students receive a grade of either "pass" or "fail" instead of a traditional letter grade. 
  • Part-time Students 
    • An undergraduate student who is enrolled in less than 12 credits per semester, in any combination of programs, courses, contracts, or internships; part-time graduate students are enrolled in less than 9 credits per semester.
  • Post-baccalaureate Student 
    • A student holding a bachelor's degree who is enrolled in graduate or first-professional courses that do not result in a master’s degree.
  • Pre-requisite 
    • A condition that must be met to establish eligibility to enroll in a program or course.
  • Probation
    • Any undergraduate with less than a 2.0 cumulative UF GPA shall be placed on academic probation while a grade point deficit exists. 
  • Provost
    • The senior academic administrator at a university or college, often responsible for academic priorities, faculty matters, and curriculum oversight.
  • Public Safety
    • The department responsible for ensuring a safe campus environment, handling security, emergency response, and safety education.



  • Recruiter
    • A representative from a university or college who helps prospective students in their admissions process
  • Rolling Admissions
    • An admissions process where applications are reviewed as they are received
  • Registration 
    • The process by which a student officially selects and enrolls in university coursework.
  • Registrar
    • The university office responsible for maintaining student records, scheduling classes, and managing course enrollments.


  • Senior Research
    • A culminating project or study undertaken by final-year students to showcase their understanding and mastery of a subject.
  • Semester
    • A standard academic term (Fall, Spring, or Summer)
  • Summa Cum Laude
    • Graduating with highest honors.
  • Showcase Symposium
    • A celebration of achievement where student presenters share their research through presentations, portfolios, posters, readings, music and theater performances, art shows, and multimedia work.
  • Stetson Today
    • Stetson's news source


  • Tuition
    • The payment that students pay to attend classes and receive instruction at a university or college.
  • Term
    • A period of instruction. During the Fall and Spring, the term is a standard 16-week semester. During the Summer, various shorter length periods of instruction are offered.
  • Transcript 
    • An official record of a student's academic performance, showing courses taken, grades received, and degrees earned. 
  • Transfer Credit
    • Recognition given by a university or college for coursework completed at another institution, which can be applied toward degree requirements.
  • Tenure
    • A permanent status granted to professors, typically after a probationary period, providing job security and protection from arbitrary dismissal.


  • Undergraduate
    • A student pursuing a bachelor's or associate's degree.


  • Values Day
    • An annual tradition at Stetson, dedicated to examining our university's core values: personal growth, intellectual development, global citizenship, and personal and social responsibility.


  • Withdrawal 
    • The formal process of leaving a course or the university after the drop period has ended
  • Writing Requirement 
    • Stetson University requires all students to complete courses that involve substantial writing and meet specific criteria.
  • Work-Study Program
    • A financial aid program that allows students to work part-time jobs on or near campus to earn money for college expenses. 
    • World Outreach, Research, Learning and Development: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning