Academic Lingo

Here are some key terms to help you understand the academic process:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) vs Bachelor of Science (BS): Most majors fall under one of these categories. A BS focuses more on math and science, while a BA focuses more on the humanities (more language, fine arts, social science courses).

Credits: College courses are measured in terms of credit hours, which usually equate to how many hours a student spends in class each week. Hint: Students need to earn 15+ credits each Fall & Spring semester to graduate in 4 years with 120+ total credits.

Exploratory studies: A major in exploratory studies indicates that the student is evaluating interests, looking at various degrees, and possible careers.

College: "College" is often used interchangeably with "university" and "school." Separately, "college" can refer to an academic division of a university, such as College of Education.

Department: A division of the college, made up of faculty and support staff, that gives instruction in a particular field of study.

Graduate School: The division of a college or university which administers graduate studies and awards master's degrees and graduate certificates.

Advanced Placement program(AP): A college board program that allows students to take college-level courses while in high school. Students can then take standardized AP exams; those with qualifying scores can earn credit at certain colleges and universities. SUU will grant credits for advanced placement examination scores according to the chart available at this link:

Co-requisites. Two classes that must be completed at the same time.

Prerequisite: A course that must be completed before a student is allowed to enroll in a more advanced course.

Transfer credit: Credit granted toward a degree on the basis of studies completed at another college or university; official college transcripts are required for transfer credits, including concurrent enrollment credits.

“TBA” listed for my class day/time: When TBA is listed on the location/day/time it indicates that it is an online course.

R listed for my class day: Thursday

TR listed for my class day: Tuesday and Thursday

General Education Courses: Broad subject-area knowledge and skills that are pertinent for achieving engaged, personalized and rigorous learning that transcends and complements a student’s major.

Electives: Courses that students can choose to take for credit toward a degree, but are not required for their major.

Major: Subject area that a student chooses to focus on during his/her undergraduate studies. Students choose their major by the end of their sophomore year, allowing them to take a number of courses in the chosen area during their junior and senior years.

Minor: An academic subject area that a student chooses to have a secondary focus on during their undergraduate studies. A minor enriches your educational experience by providing you with a chance to study something else interesting.

Based off the information in this section you should be able to answer the following questions.

  • When a student says they are an exploratory studies major, what does that mean?
  • What is the difference between a college and a department?
  • What is the difference between co- and prerequisites?
  • What is a major?
  • What is a minor?
  • Do you have to take elective classes in order to get a degree?
  • What does TBA stand for?