Glossary of Terms

Understanding the Language of College

Academic Advisor

Every College student has a Faculty advisor whose primary role is to assist students with course selection and refer them out to appropriate resources as needed. The major advisor assists students with the selection of classes for the major.

Academic Probation

Students in the College are placed on probation in a fall/spring term for any one of the following reasons:

  • Does not pass 12 credits
  • Does not earn minimum 1.800 GPA
  • Has more than one grade below C-

Students who incur probation in back-to-back terms, even with time away, are subject to suspension.

Academic Requirements Form (AR Form)

The AR Form tracks your progress towards graduation, showing which requirements — school, major, minor, concentration, track — you have satisfied and which are incomplete. It is is available for most students except non-degree and visiting students. This form is an essential too but does NOT take the place of meeting with your faculty advisor. It is an advising tool to be used by a student and their advisor to plan a course of study.

For help navigating this form click here or contact your Association Dean in Monroe Hall.

Association Dean

Association Deans provide broad academic support to students in the College of Arts & Sciences. Every student in the College, by virtue of their placement in an Advising Association, has an Association Dean. Your dean can advise you on academic matters, help you to think broadly about your long-term plans, and connect you to the appropriate support services at the University. They are committed to your academic success. If your Dean does not know the answer to your question, they will connect you to the person or office who does.

Bachelor's Degree

Commonly referred to as a four-year degree. Students in the College typically earn a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) degree; the science departments also offer a B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degree option.

College or School

Yes, you are in College but the College of Arts & Sciences, one of the 7 undergraduate schools, is typically referred to as simply THE COLLEGE. The other undergraduate schools include the School of Architecture, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, Curry School of Education, McIntire School of Commerce and School of Nursing. The School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers a BIS degree for students who have earned 60 credits elsewhere.

Course Number

Combination of a departmental abbreviation and number that identifies a course (i.e., ANTH 1010 for Anthropology 1010). Course numbers are an indication of the level of the course, with higher numbers representing more advanced courses. All 5000-level courses are considered to be graduate level courses but they are open to undergraduates.

Class Withdrawal

A term used when students choose to reduce their course load after the last day of the regular drop/add process. A class withdrawal leaves a grade of W on the transcript but has no impact on the GPA or credits earned. Students who fall below 12 credits are placed on probation and may incur other penalties such as loss of financial aid, car insurance, Visa status, NCAA eligibility, etc. Students should speak with their Association Dean before falling below 12 credits.

Course History in SIS

In SIS, you can select Course History from the drop down menu and see a quick list of all classes and grades. External credit is also included (though the grade earned is not).


A unit used to measure course work. Students must earn 120 credits for the B.A. degree.

Credit/No Credit

A class grading system that offers pass (CR) or fail (NC) determination instead of a letter grade. Students receive credit for courses with a passing grade, but these courses are not included in the GPA calculation.


The combined faculty within each academic field of study. The department decides how many courses in specific areas a student must take to receive a degree in a particular field of study. Majors are declared in a department of program.

Double Major

The completion of two sets of degree requirements. Students interested in a double major should work with their advisor to carefully plan their academic coursework. College students may have two majors.

Drop/Add Period

This is the time period at the beginning of the academic term when students may make changes in their course schedules without having the changes entered on their permanent record.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Asks students and parents (of dependent students) to provide information related to personal income and tax liability to determine eligibility for federal grant, loan, and work-study programs, as well as other types offinancial aid.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

Describes parents' rights regarding their children's educational records. These rights transfer to the student at either age 18 or entrance into a postsecondary institution.

Full-time Student

For the purposes of financial aid, visa status and NCAA eligibility (among others), students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits each fall and spring semester. Before dropping below 12 units, a student should consult with his or her Association Dean and the relevant office (e.g., Student Financial Services, Internationsal Studies Office, Athletics). Students can sometimes carry a reduced course load in the final term without penalty; this requires special permission.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

A measure of a student's overall academic performance. Individual course grades are assigned a point value (typically on a fourpoint scale). The total number of points earned divided by number of course credits attempted is the GPA.

Independent Study

The ability for a student to take a course for academic credit under a professor's direction.

International Studies Office (ISO)

The International Studies Office (ISO), a division of UVA Global, is a University-wide resource which contributes to UVA's global mission through activities, programs and services designed to support the development of a globally aware, culturally diverse education and research environment.


A required, hands-on course that allows students to test and explore concepts from a related lecture course. Typically associated with the sciences, but other courses may also require labs.

General Education Requirements (Gen Eds)

Courses in a variety of disciplines taken to obtain a broad range of knowledge, create a spirit of inquiry, and develop an appreciation for diverse perspectives. College students currently fill their general education requirements though the new College curriculum, a Forum, or the traditional curriculum.


A student's primary field of study. Students must complete a specified number of courses in a specialized area of study. Every student must declare a major before the end of the fourth semester. Students must complete the degree requirements for at least one major to be eligible for graduation. No student may have more than two majors.


A secondary field of study. In some cases, the minor is related or complementary to the major. Minors are not required; College of A&S students may have two minors providing one is in the College of A&S.

Office Hours

Every instructor of a class is required to have office hours every week; these hours should be listed on the class syllabus. Students should go to office hours to meet the instructor, ask questions, and/or to discuss the material being presented in class. Other questions about the discipline, other courses the instructor teaches, etc. are also welcome. If all of anstructor's office hours conflict with other classes a student has, the student should ask to meet at another time.


The University Registrar (UREG) is the administrator who processes and maintains student transcripts and other official records associated with student attendance and course completion.

The College Registrar (located in 138 Monroe Hall) can assist students with questions about missing requirements, missing AP credit, etc.

Schedule of Classes (The SOC)

The classes being offered for the upcoming term; accessed via the Student Information System (SIS).

Student Financial Services (SFS)

Oversees all financial aid for undergraduate students; offers financial counseling and sessions on financial literacy.

Student Information System (SIS)

The Student Information System, or SIS, is what students use to locate and enroll in classes, drop/add/swap classes, withdraw, access an unofficial transcript, and track progress toward the degree.


A syllabus is a schedule of requirements usually explaining course purpose and goals, listing deadlines and important dates and outlining the student's responsibilities (e.g., assigned reading, papers, exams). From the Provost's policy page;

All Instructors teaching courses for academic credit (including Instructors teaching discussion sections or labs associated with a course for academic credit) must publish a syllabus for each course they teach and disseminate it to students no later than the first day of classes in each term. Instructors are expected to abide by their published syllabus. Changes to the syllabus after the start of the academic terms should be communicated to students in writing (usually via e-mail or distribution of a revised syllabus).

Teaching assistants (TAs)

Usually graduate students, who either serve as instructors in introductory courses or assist faculty members with lab instruction, small-group work, or grading.


The official compilation of courses taken and grade received during the student's college career. Students can access, download and/or print an unofficial transcript at any time in SIS. Official transcripts can be ordered through UREG.