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 Academic Glossary

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This information is provided to assist you in finding your way through academic life at OSU.

Also see Definitions and Course Numbering System.

Academic Probation: Students who have completed two or more terms at OSU and have an OSU cumulative GPA below 2.0 will be placed on probation. Students who attain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better are removed from academic probation.

Academic Suspension: Students who are on probation and have a subsequent term GPA of less that 2.0 will be placed on suspension. A student who has been suspended from OSU is prohibited from enrolling in classes, and must fulfill specified criteria before being re-admitted to the university (see Academic Regulation #22. Academic suspension is recorded on the student’s academic record.

Academic Warning: Students with a term GPA below 2.0 will be placed on academic warning.

Academic Year: The time period containing fall, winter, and spring terms.

Add/Drop: Students may add or drop classes during the first two weeks of each term.

Advanced Placement: Advanced placement and/or credit may be granted to an entering student who has satisfactorily completed College Board Advanced Placement Examinations taken during high school.

Advanced Standing Report: A summary of courses and credits completed by a student at one postsecondary institution and accepted by another institution at the time of admission. The Advanced Standing Report is used to determine the number of required and elective credits needed to complete degree requirements.

Advisor: A faculty member appointed by the department, school, or college to assist with the planning of academic programs.

Baccalaureate Core: The university’s general education requirements consisting of skills courses; perspectives courses; difference, power and discrimination courses; synthesis courses; and writing intensive courses. A baccalaureate core course is designated with an asterisk, *, a writing intensive course with a caret, ^.

BA Degree: The bachelor of arts is conferred for a broad and liberal education in humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences. College requirements provide (a) a breadth of preparation in these fields that is significantly greater than required of all undergraduates through the baccalaureate core; and (b) foreign language proficiency certified by the School of Language, Culture, and Society as equivalent to that attained at the end of the second year course in the language.

BFA Degree: The bachelor of fine arts is a professional degree requiring a minimum of 105 credits in the visual arts.

BS Degree: The bachelor of science is conferred for focused curricula that emphasize scientific ways of knowing and quantitative approaches to understanding in the sciences and social sciences, and for curricula in professional fields.

Certificate Program (Undergraduate): A specified interdisciplinary program of study leading to an official certificate and notation on the transcript. A certificate program draws from more than one department, rather than a single department (as with minors). A certificate program must be taken in conjunction with a formal degree program.

College: A subdivision of the university offering degree programs within a specific subject area. For example, the College of Forestry offers degree programs in forest engineering, forest resources, forest science, and wood science and technology.

Commencement: A term used to refer to the graduation ceremony held in June.

Corequisite: A course that must be taken concurrently with a course.

Course: An organized unit of instruction or research. Types include lectures, recitations, laboratories, discussions, internships, clerkships, reading and conference, and independent study.

Course Designator (Subject Code): An abbreviation representing the department, college, or program offering the course. Example: MB indicates that the course is offered through the Department of Microbiology.

Course Reference Number (CRN): A five-digit number used to select a specific course, lab, and/or recitation.

Credit: The academic value assigned to a course based on the type and level of the subject material, as well as the expected number of hours spent on class preparation. One credit represents approximately three hours per week of learning outcome related work for the average student over the course of a full academic quarter; thus one quarter credit represents approximately 30 hours of work.

Curriculum: An organized program of study and courses required for a specific degree program.

Discipline: A field of study in which a student may concentrate, such as sociology, anthropology, or mathematics.

Double Degrees: A student may earn two different degrees simultaneously. The degrees may be offered by the same college, or by different colleges. To earn double degrees, a student must complete a minimum of 32 credits above the minimum number of credits needed for one of the degrees. Advisors complete a separate graduation audit for each of the degrees. The student receives two diplomas. International Studies, Education, and Sustainability are examples of double degrees. The double degree may be earned concurrently or subsequently. (See Academic Regulation 26.) The student’s academic record will list each degree with its major, e.g. Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Bachelor of Arts in English.

Dual (or Multiple) Majors from Same College: A student may earn two or more majors within a single degree program (a particular combination of degree, college, and campus, e.g. BA degree from the College of Liberal Arts on the Corvallis campus). It is sometimes possible to complete two or more majors within the minimum number of credits required for a degree, but usually the student must complete additional credits to complete requirements for all of their majors. For this reason, dual (or multiple) majors are obtained within the same college. The advisor must complete one graduation audit that includes all of the majors. The student’s academic record will list one degree with two or more majors, e.g. Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Chemistry. The student receives one diploma. Dual (or multiple) majors may be obtained concurrently with the completion of the degree, or in some cases may be earned as a credential subsequent to completion of the degree. (See Academic Regulation 27.) Note: Occasionally, with careful planning, a student can complete two majors from separate colleges in less than the 212 credits required for two degrees. When this occurs a student can petition for an exception, and graduate with two majors from separate colleges. The student must pick one college as their home college and all majors will be associated with the home college. The student must have the support of advisors from both major programs to have their petition considered.

Electives: Courses that are not required as part of a degree program, but are generally chosen and used by the student to supplement or enrich the required curriculum.

Freshman: A student who has completed 44 of fewer term credits toward an undergraduate degree.

Grade-Point Average (GPA): Total number of grade points received for A, A–, B+, B, B–, C+, C, C–, D+, D, D– or F grades divided by total number of credits attempted.

Grade Points: Quality points assigned for one term credit of each grade: A = 4.0; A– = 3.7; B+ = 3.3; B = 3; B– = 2.7; C+ = 2.3; C = 2.0; C– = 1.7; D+ = 1.3; D = 1; D– = .7; F = 0.0. Grades of I, P, N, S, U and W are not computed.

Grades: Letters used to indicate the quality of academic work completed in a given course: A, A–, B+, B, B–, C+, C, C–, D+, D, D–, F, I, S, U, P, N, W.

Graduation Audit: An evaluation of a student’s academic record to determine if the graduation requirements set forth by the university, college, and major department have been fulfilled.

Interdisciplinary: A term that refers to a course or program that blends concepts, knowledge, or faculty from several fields of study and disciplines.

Junior: A student who has completed at least 90 but not more than 134 term credits toward an undergraduate degree.

Lower-Division Courses: Introductory course offerings usually associated with freshman and sophomores. Lower-division courses are numbered in the 100s and 200s.

Major: The primary field of study in which an individual wishes to receive a degree.

Minor: A second field of interest in the undergraduate curriculum, which officially consists of a minimum of 27 designated term credits of related course work, 12 of which must be at the upper-division level.

Option: A second field of interest in the undergraduate curriculum, which officially consists of a minimum of 21 designated term credits of related course work, 15 of which must be at the upper-division level.

Perspectives Courses: Courses that integrate fundamental knowledge from science and liberal arts disciplines to develop cultural, historic, and scientific perspectives.

Pre-Professional Program: Curriculum generally offered at the freshman and sophomore levels. A pre-professional program is designed to ensure students have the aptitude, motivation, and discipline to successfully complete advanced course work as well as achieve the standards for a chosen career field.

Prerequisites: Requirements that must be completed before enrollment in a particular course. The instructor may waive a prerequisite.

Professional Program: Curriculum generally offered at the junior and senior level, designed to prepare students for a professional career within a specific field (e.g., engineering, pharmacy). Admission to professional programs, often based upon prior course work and/or work experience, is competitive.

Senior: A student who has completed 135 or more term credits toward an undergraduate degree.

Sequence: Two, three, or four closely related courses that are usually taken in numerical order and through more than one term.

Skills Courses: Courses designed to give the student fundamental mathematical, communication, and fitness competence.

Sophomore: A student who has completed at least 45 but not more than 89 term credits toward an undergraduate degree.

Synthesis Courses: Upper-division courses that emphasize interdisciplinary, critical thinking approaches to global technological, and societal issues.

Syllabus: A list of course objectives, lecture topics, assigned reading, exams, etc., prepared and distributed by a professor at the beginning of the term.

TBA: Commonly used abbreviation for "to be arranged"; time, place, or credit of a course is to be arranged with the instructor.

Term: Usually one-fourth of the school year. Terms at OSU are fall, winter, spring, and summer.

Transfer Student: An individual who has completed 36 or more transferable term credits at another institution and will resume his or her college course work at a second institution.

U-Engage: First-year seminar designed to assist the transition of new students to college.

University: An assembly of colleges, each specializing in a different field.

Upper-Division Courses: Advanced course offerings at a level usually associated with junior or senior students. Upper-division courses are numbered in the 300s and 400s.

Withdraw: To voluntarily leave a course or the university without academic penalty. A W letter grade will be placed on the student's transcript for each course attempted.

Writing Intensive Courses (WIC): Designated upper-division courses in the major discipline that use student writing as a significant approach to learning. These courses are designated with a caret, ^.


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