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Glossary of College Terms

Academic Year

The period which includes the Fall Semester and Spring Semester. (A separate Summer Session, not part of the Academic Year, is held, with dates as noted in the academic calendar.)


The type of recognition held by an educational institution. There are a number of nationally recognized accrediting agencies and associations which are reliable authorities on the quality of training offered by educational institutions. By voluntarily conforming to the standards of excellence set by an agency or association, an institution becomes eligible for inclusion in its accredited or approved list. Regional accrediting associations such as the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredit the institution as a whole; professional agencies such as the Engineering Council of Professional Development are concerned in particular with the standards of the professional schools or programs in their respective fields.


Acceptance of an applicant for enrollment.


The regularly scheduled meeting of an academic course; also a group of students whose graduation dates is the same - freshman, sophomore, junior, senior.


The designation used for the student's year of study in terms of progress toward the student's chosen degree - freshman, sophomore, junior, senior.


An organizational unit of the University normally offering courses and curricula leading to a particular degree or degrees, and supervising the academic progress of students working toward those degrees. The Office of Undergraduate Studies supervises all freshman programs but is not a degree-granting college with the exception of the BUS degree program.

Continuous Enrollment

Enrollment from one semester to the next.


A course that must be taken simultaneously with another course.


A particular subject in which instruction is offered within a given period of time - for example, a course in English.


A numerical system for evaluating a student's progress toward a degree, described in terms of semester hours (see definition of semester hours). In order to earn a degree in the normal four-year period, the student will average at least 16 semester hours credit per semester since the minimum credit required for any bachelor's degree is 128 semester hours.


A body of courses required for a degree or a diploma or constituting a major field of study.


A title bestowed as official recognition for the completion of a curriculum. The bachelor's degree is the first-level degree granted normally upon completion of a four-year course of study in a given field. The master's degree is an advanced degree which requires at least one additional year beyond the bachelor's degree. The doctor's degree, or doctorate, is an advanced degree requiring at least three years beyond the bachelor's degree. The professional degrees of Juris Doctor and Doctor of Medicine require three and four years, respectively, beyond the pre-professional curricula. The honorary degree is bestowed in recognition of outstanding merit or achievement without reference to the fulfillment of academic course requirements.


A division of a college which offers instruction in a particular branch of knowledge; for example the Department of English.


The process by which a student is dropped from all their courses due to non-payment of tuition or other university related action (e.g. suspension).


A course which the student may study by choice but which may or may not be required for the student's particular degree.

Fiscal Year

The period from July 1 through June 30.

Graduate Student

One who has earned a bachelor's degree and is enrolled for advanced work in the Office of Graduate Studies.


The field of study in which the student chooses to specialize.


The field of second emphasis. Fewer semester hours credit are required for a minor than for a major.

New Student

One who is registering for the first time in the University of New Mexico or for the first time in its graduate schools, its School of Law, or its School of Medicine, or a student transferring from non-degree to degree status in this University.


The requirement which must be met before a certain course can be taken

Readmitted Student

One who has previously registered for residence credit in this University but whose attendance has been interrupted by three or more semesters.


The act of enrolling in classes.

Resident-for-Tuition Purposes

classification as a resident of the State of New Mexico for purposes of assessing tuition determined on the basis of regulations applying to all institutions of higher learning in New Mexico.

Resident Study (or Residence Work)

Enrollment in courses on the campus or in courses off-campus which are allowed by special action to count as residence credit, as distinguished from correspondence or extension credit.

Returning Student

One who was registered in the immediately preceding session.

Semester hour

The credit that is earned for one 50-minute period per week throughout a semester in a lecture class. A course listed for three hours credit would meet for three periods per week throughout the semester; for example: on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 to 10:50 a.m.; or two days a week on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Credit for laboratory work, studio, activity physical education, and ensemble music requires more class time per semester hour.

Office of the University Secretary
MSC05 3340
Scholes Hall, 103
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505) 277-4664

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