Glossary of Terms

The following are terms students encounter throughout their orientation experience as well as their first semester on campus. This glossary was created by the Academic Advising Center.

Bursar’s Office  Coordinates the billing and collection of payments from university students, including tuition, fees, and residence hall expenses. (

Catalog  The online University of Colorado Boulder Catalog provides definitive information on university academic and administrative policies, degree requirements, and course descriptions. This website IS the main catalog. For archives of previous University of Colorado Boulder Catalogs or other CU-Boulder types of catalogs, click the buttons on this site's homepage.

Corequisite  A course that is required to be taken simultaneously with another course.

Core curriculum  Requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences in various skill and content areas. The skills areas are: foreign language; quantitative reasoning and mathematical skills (QRMS); and written communication. The content areas are: historical context; human diversity; United States context; literature and the arts; contemporary societies; ideals and values; and natural science.

Course reservation  The Course Reservation Program helps undergraduate degree-seeking students get the courses they need to graduate. The Course Reservation Program allows eligible students who have been wait-listed for a course but did not get in to reserve their enrollment in that course the next time it’s offered. (

Course schedule  Consists of all courses for which a student has registered in a single academic term.

Course section number  This three-digit number refers to the specific meeting pattern of the course. 

Credit hours (semester hours/credits/hours/units)  Credit earned for the successful completion of a course in an academic term. A unit of academic credit is based on the number of contact hours spent in class per week. For example, a 3-credit course requires three hours in class per week. 

Degree (vs. major)  A major is the area of study within the larger college degree program. For example, students may earn a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Arts and Sciences, with a major in sociology.

Degree audit  A web-based tool that displays your progress toward graduation. It tracks students' MAPS, core, major, and elective requirements and lists courses that fulfill each requirement students still need. Degree audits may be viewed via MyCUinfo.

Departmental advisor  A professional staff or faculty member who advises declared majors in one or more academic departments. Students with a declared major at the end of the first year will transition to a departmental advisor for their sophomore year through graduation.

Disability Services  Provides students with disabilities the tools, reasonable accommodations, and support services to participate fully in the academic environment. DS works cooperatively with students as they develop self-awareness and independence, learn self-advocacy, and create a network of resources. Their services are based on evaluation of each individual’s diagnostic/assessment information. DS addresses students’ needs and concerns on a case-by-case basis. Emphasis is placed on developing strategies so that students feel empowered and self-reliant. 303-492-8671 (

Double degree  Two different degrees earned within the College of Arts and Sciences or from two schools or colleges at CU-Boulder.  

Double major  Two declared majors within one degree program. For example, a student in Arts and Sciences with a double major in history and philosophy will earn one bachelor of arts degree. 

Drop/add  Period after registration a student can add or drop courses and change credit designations without instructor signatures. (

Elective hours  Hours students can choose out of interest or toward a minor or certificate program. Elective hours are simply hours that students need toward graduation that are not used to fulfill core or major requirements. 

Enrollment Appointment (registration time)  Time designated for student to start registering for courses. Generally designed so that seniors register first, followed by juniors, sophomores, and freshmen. This time can be found on your MyCUinfo portal.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)  The leading provider of student higher education financial assistance, located at  

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974)  A federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the protection from inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings. 

Final exams  Students may find the final exam schedule on the registrar’s office website each fall and spring semester. Exams are listed by class meeting time. If a student has three or more final exams scheduled on the same day, they are entitled to arrange an alternative exam time for the last exam or exams scheduled on that day. To qualify for rescheduling final exam times, students must provide evidence that they have three or more exams on the same day, and arrangements must be made with their instructor no later than the end of the sixth week of the semester. (

First-year advisor  A professional staff member who supports students in their transition to college life and encourages exploration of academic interests. A first-year advisor works with students in all majors and offers support through individual appointments, walk-in hours, workshops, small group meetings, and classroom presentations.

“Full-time” status  To be considered a full-time student, students must be registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours in a single term. “Full-time” status may affect eligibility regarding housing, tuition, health insurance, etc.

General education requirements (core curriculum)  Refers to those requirements that apply to all students within a particular college regardless of major. Such requirements, in addition to major requirements, must be fulfilled at the time of graduation.

GPA (grade point average)  The overall CU-Boulder GPA is computed as follows: the credit hours and credit points are totaled for all courses; then the total credit points are divided by the total credit hours. Transfer work is not calculated into your CU-Boulder GPA.

Holds  A hold can prevent a student from registering, returning to school, obtaining an official transcript, or receiving their diploma. Students can check their registration status for any holds and follow up with the originating office about how to have them released.

Honor code  The honor code at the University of Colorado Boulder exists to secure for students an environment in which all individuals have responsibility for, and are appropriately recognized for, their individual academic and personal achievements. (

Honors  Distinction achieved through general honors courses or a departmental honors program (requires special courses and a thesis). 

IdentiKey  Automatically assigned to all incoming students, an IdentiKey account consists of your CU login name and a unique password. New students need to activate their accounts via MyCUinfo. For help, call 303-735-4357.

Linked activity  A course that has at least two components that are linked together; a lecture and a lab, for example, or a lecture and a recitation. Where a course has a linked activity, students select the lecture first and then select a corresponding lab or recitation.

Lower division/upper division  Courses numbered 1000–2999 are lower division. Courses numbered 3000–4999 are upper division. It is rare for first-year students to take upper-division classes.

Major (vs. degree)  A specific area of concentrated study, usually within one department. Required major credit hours vary. 

Major restriction  A restriction placed on certain courses in order to ensure that only students with a particular major have access to those courses.

MAPS (minimum academic preparation standards)  Admission requirements for all students graduating from high school. MAPS deficiencies must be completed after starting at CU-Boulder through course work or equivalency tests.

Matriculation date  Serves as the official date of initial registration as a degree-seeking student.

MyCUinfo  Student web portal serving as the official source for information on everything from registration and billing to final exams and student employment. (

Open option  Major category in the College of Arts and Sciences for freshmen and sophomore students who have not yet declared a major. 

Pre-law  If a student is thinking about attending law school after graduating from CU, then the pre-law advisor at the Pre-Professional Advising Office can help you achieve their goal. Each year, several hundred CU graduates are accepted by law schools across the nation. A pre-law advisor can help a student determine, first, if law school is the right choice, and then help determine a student's path through undergraduate preparation and the application process. No specific prerequisites are required to apply to law school. Students will be expected to complete the requirements for an undergraduate major and to get involved in campus activities and take advantage of leadership opportunities.

Prerequisite  A course that is required to be taken before taking a more advanced course.

Recitation  A small discussion class, usually led by a teaching assistant, that clarifies lecture information and offers individualized attention. Attendance in recitations is generally required.

Registrar’s Office  Assists students in the processes of registration, orientation, and many specialized services such as transcript distribution, enrollment verification, and withdrawal. (

SID (student identification number)  SIDs are assigned to all students. SIDs are system-generated and unique, and students will be asked to use their SID as their primary student identifier on campus.

Student Academic Services Center (SASC)  The Student Academic Services Center provides eligible students with comprehensive academic support services designed to improve their learning potential and reach educational goals. The center helps students develop effective academic strategies for college courses and obtain tutoring when necessary. 303-492-3842 (

Syllabus  Course outline provided by professors that lists course requirements, grading criteria, course content, expectations, and other relevant course information. 

Upper division/lower division  Courses numbered 1000–2999 are lower division. Courses numbered 3000–4999 are upper division. It is rare for first-year students to take upper-division classes.

Wait lists  Throughout the registration and drop/add periods, if a student is eligible to take a course but finds it is full, the student may put their name on a computerized wait list. As spaces open in a course, they may be automatically enrolled in the class. It is their responsibility to monitor if they have been enrolled in a course from the wait list. If they do not attend a course they have been enrolled in, they will receive an F for that course.  

Withdrawal  A formal leave from all a student's classes for a given term at the university. (