College Terms

Academic Advisor - A faculty member in your academic field who will help you plan your semester schedule, provide short and long term advisement, and answer your questions.  

Adjunct - An instructor hired on a temporary basis to teach one or more courses. This person does not have the abilities and rights of a regular faculty member.

Bachelor's Degree - The formal name for a four-year college degree. The three major types offered at Millersville University are the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), the Bachelor of Science (B.S.), and the Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.E.).

Chancellor - The Chancellor is the administrator who heads the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). The Chancellor reports to the Board of Governors composed of members appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania.

Class Standing - The same terms used in most high schools: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior, except they refer to the number of credits completed, not how many years at the institution. Freshman is < 30 credits earned; Sophomore is > 30 but < 60 credits earned; Junior is > 60 but < 90 earned; and Senior is > 90 earned.

CLEP - Stands for College Level Examination Program, a series of tests you may take to demonstrate proficiency in various college subjects. For each test you pass, you will earn credit for college courses.

Commencement - The ceremonies or the day for conferring degrees to graduating students. Millersville University conducts commencement in May and December.

Course Number - Different colleges number their courses in different ways. Undergraduates take courses at the 100 level through the 400 level. Graduate-level courses carry higher numbers.

Curriculum - The courses offered by an educational institution or the set of courses constituting an area of specialization. The curriculum you need to complete at Millersville University in order to graduate is outlined on the general education and major and minor curriculum sheets.

Dean - college administrator who heads an academic college or is in charge of some type of related student service. At Millersville University, there are four Deans: Dean of Science and Mathematics, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dean of Education, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Dean's List - An academic honor given to persons who earn a high grade point average during a semester.

Degree Audit - Audit of a student's completed, in-progress, and remaining requirements. "Fits" coursework into requirements to show academic progress. 

Degree Works - Audit system that MU uses to track academic progress. 

Department - An organizational structure that includes one or more disciplines; for example, History (one discipline) or Foreign Language (several disciplines).

Discipline - A field of study. Ex. History or Spanish

Dismissal - Students may be required to leave Millersville University for academic or disciplinary reasons.

Doctorate - The degree title or rank of a person who has successfully completed the required course work, dissertation and oral examination of an academic program past the master's level. Most of your professors have a doctoral degree and are referred to as "Dr. ___".

Electives - An elective is a course you may select from an academic area of interest to you.

Exploratory - Student who is undeclared or undecided, or exploring areas of interest until a major is chosen and declared. 

Extracurricular - A word describing activities, clubs, or organizations you may join and participate in, above and beyond your academic courses.

Final Exams - Comprehensive exams held in each course at the end of the semester.

Full-Time Student - Students enrolled for twelve credits or more during the academic semester or six credits or more during a summer session.

General Education - A required program of study which introduces students to a broad, liberal course of instruction in the major areas of knowledge, generally constituting almost one-half of the course work of the baccalaureate program. Most of the courses are taken in the freshman and sophomore years and provide a foundation for learning in the academic major courses.

Grade-Point Average (GPA) - Sometimes called the cumulative average. Grades are based on the following scale, with points assigned to each grade:

A=4.0, A-=3.7, B+=3.3, B=3.0, B-=2.7, C+=2.3, C=2.0, C-=1.7, D+=1.3, D=l.0, D-=0.7, F/Z=0

To compute your GPA for one term you need only multiply, add, and divide. Multiply the number of points representing the grade you receive for each course times the number of credit hours for each course. Add the points for all courses to determine the total number of points you have earned for the term. Divide the total points by the number of credit hours you attempted that term. The result will be your GPA, sometimes also referred to as "QPA" at Millersville University. Use the GPA Calculator.

Grades or Grading System - The system used to assign a rating to the course work completed by the student.

Graduate Student - A person who has earned at least a bachelor's degree and is presently enrolled in a program granting a master's degree and/or a doctorate.

Greeks - Used to describe students who join fraternities or sororities.

Honors - Most colleges recognize good grades in the form of academic honors. Dean's List is the most common award. Honors are also awarded at graduation to students, and the following Latin words are used: cum laude (with praise), magna cum laude (with great praise), and summa cum laude (with highest praise).

Hours - Another word for credits. Generally there is a l-l relationship between the number of hours you spend in the classroom each week and the number of credits you can earn from the course.

Internship - An arrangement that permits a student to earn credits in a setting where they can apply the academic principles they have learned in their major.

Leave of Absence - Withdrawing completely from college with the intention of seeking re-admittance at a later date.

Major - Your field of specialization in college. Major courses usually carry higher course numbers. Your adviser will explain the requirements of your major.

Minor - A minimum of 18 credits that provides a specific focus in an area outside of your major. *See the MU Undergraduate catalog*

Orientation - During this period, new students and their parents are introduced to academic programs, facilities, and services provided by the college.

PASSHE - State System of Higher Education is composed of the fourteen universities operated by the state of Pennsylvania.

Pre-registration - Pre-registration occurs in the middle of the term prior to the one for which you are registering. Pre-registration is reserved for currently registered students.

President - The chief executive officer of the university or college. The president reports directly to the governing board of trustees who are community members appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania.

Probation - A warning that you are not making satisfactory academic progress toward your degree. Probation is followed by suspension/dismissal unless the situation is corrected. Probation may also exist for disciplinary reasons.

Professor - College teachers are ranked as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor. College teachers are generally referred to as "Professor", or if they have a doctorate, as "Dr.___".

Provost - Vice president for Academic Affairs. He/she acts in place of the President during his/her absence.

Registrar - The college administrator who directs the registration process and maintains your transcript and records.

Residence Hall - Another term for dormitory. A residence hall is student housing operated by the college.

Sabbatical - A period of paid release time for professors to conduct research or other activities that make a contribution to their academic discipline and/or the university.

Schools - An organizational unit within the university that contains several related departments. There are three schools at MU: School of Science & Mathematics, School of Education, and School of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Section - The different classes offered for a single course in one semester for ex., there may be twenty sections of the course English 110: English Composition.

Semester Hour - The unit of credit you earn for course work that takes a semester to complete. Most college courses carry three credits, or three semester hours.

Seminar - A course containing fewer students than a lecture class, in which the teacher facilitates discussions and all students participate.

Student Teaching - An internship in an elementary or secondary school that all education majors must complete before graduation.

Syllabus - One or more pages of class requirements a professor will give you on the first day. The syllabus acts as a course outline, telling when you must complete assignments, readings, and when exams will be held. A professor must include his/her grading system in the syllabus, and also may include the attendance policy, and a brief description of the course.

Thesis - An extensive research paper, usually written as partial fulfillment of the requirements for a masters degree. Some students may write a thesis in their senior year.

Vice President - Administrators at Millersville University who are responsible for four major areas of operations Academic Affairs, Finance and Administration, Student Affairs and University Advancement.