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University Lingo

University Lingo

Since joining the CSUSB pack, have you heard some phrases or words you've never heard before? You are not alone! We use a lot of acronyms and terminology in college so it is normal that you may not understand everything. Below we have provided a list (broken up by category) to help you understand the "University Lingo". 

Is there a word not on this list? Email and let us help you out! You also may not be the only one unsure. 



  1. Academic disqualification - A student who has been placed on administrative-academic probation may be disqualified from further attendance and is unable to register for further classes. 
  2. Academic Probation – It means that your "CSUSB" or your "cumulative" GPA is below 2.0. It is a warning. Most often, you will be required to sign a probation contract with Advising & Academic Services.  
  3. Asynchronous- Asynchronous learning happens on your schedule. While your instructor will provide materials for reading, lectures for viewing, assignments for completing, and exams for evaluation, you have the ability to access and satisfy these requirements within a flexible time frame 
  4. Bachelor's degree (also seen as B.A., B.S.) - The degree of bachelor conferred by universities and colleges (a four-year degree).  
  5. Bulletin/Catalog - The CSUSB Bulletin can be viewed at The bulletin states the general degree and major requirements for students who are admitted to the university. This includes all minors, certificates, graduate degrees and teaching credential programs.  All undergraduate and graduate policies and procedures are also listed.  
  6. Capstone – courses intended to apply all of the knowledge and skills you have gained over a college career in one assignment. 
  7. Census – End of the first four (4) weeks of classes in Spring and Fall terms. Adding or dropping classes will not be possible after the Census deadline except for serious and compelling reasons.  You will be required to provide documentation in order for the request to be considered. For Winter Intersession and Summer Session Census dates, please refer to the dates provided by the College of Extended and Global Education websites. 
  8. College - There are 6 colleges within CSUSB that provide the curriculum for the majors and programs offered by each:  College of Arts and Letters, College of Education, College of Natural Sciences, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Jack H. Brown College and the College of Extended and Global Education.  For example, if you are a Criminal Justice major, your college would be the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at CSUSB. 
  9. Commencement vs graduation - Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. Commencement is the ceremony that celebrates the completion of a degree. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not imply that you have officially graduated. 
  10. Conditional admission - also called “provisional admission” or “conditional acceptance,” means that you will be admitted to a college, university or academic program on the condition that you make up for a certain requirement you do not presently meet. 
  11. Co-requisite course - a course or other requirement that a student must take at the same time as another course or requirement. 
  12. Credit/No Credit- In courses for which a letter grade is not used (A -F), a grade of CR or NC is offered. Students who earn a grade of A through C- (C minus) will receive credit (CR).  Students who earn a grade of D+ (D plus) or less will receive a grade of no credit (NC). 
  13. Department (academic) - a division of a university or school faculty devoted to a particular academic discipline (I.e. Nursing, Psychology, Theater Arts, etc.). 
  14. Double degree/major - involves a student's working for two university degrees in at the same time (will graduate with two degrees).  
  15. Elective – a related course that will enhance career aspirations AND the courses that do not meet major of general education requirements.  
  16. Finals week - The week immediately following the last school day of each semester. There are no classes, but many courses require final exams and other assignments be taken during this week.  
  17. Full load- recommended course load is 15 units, credits, or hours per term (Fall or Spring). A full load will keep you on track to graduate in four years.  
  18. Full time - 12 units, credits, or hours per term at an institution. Full time credits or status is important for financial aid purposes (to receive a full financial aid award).  
  19. GE (General Education) – a set of courses intended to set an educational foundation of skills and knowledge to prepare students for success in their majors. 
  20. Good standing - A person or organization in good standing is regarded as having complied with all their explicit obligations, while not being subject to any form of sanction, suspension or disciplinary censure. 
  21. Graduation Requirement – Requirements that are necessary for students to earn a diploma, providing college and career readiness.  
  22. Graduate school - The collective name for all master’s and doctoral degree programs. Gaining entrance into graduate school requires a substantial application process. Students in any of these programs are often called “grad” or “graduate” students. 
  23. Holds- Holds are used for various reasons but most restrict a student’s ability to register for classes, drop classes, order transcripts, receive enrollment verifications, etc. 
  24. How GPAs are calculated in college – Calculated by dividing the total amount of grade points earned by the total amount of credit hours attempted.  Check out CSUSB's GPA Calculator.
  25. Hybrid class - A course that includes both in-person and online sessions. 
  26. Incomplete – When grade is not calculated in GPA because the course work was not completed. 
  27. Independent study - is a form of educational activity undertaken by an individual student with little to no supervision. A student and their professor will generally agree upon a topic for the student to research with minimal instruction and guidance from the professor for an agreed upon number of academic credits. 
  28. Late Registration – Begins after Open Enrollment, a late fee of $25 is charged for enrollment from zero units during this period and is open to all students who are eligible to enroll.  
  29. Leave of absence - Any student planning to be absent for more than two terms must file a leave of absence petition to preserve the student's current Catalog rights (following the same educational requirements and path you started with.  
  30. Lecture- An educational talk to an audience (presenting a topic/material). There may be little course discussion or activities.  
  31. Lower division – courses (numbered 1000-2999) are considered freshmen and sophomore level courses. Lower division courses are also all community college courses.  
  32. Major –An academic subject chosen as a field of specialization. 
  33. Minor - A minor is a set of courses, usually from 18 to 24 credits that students can take in addition to their major courses. Minors are optional in most majors, but are a good way to increase the marketability of the degree. 
  34. Noncredit hours - Noncredit classes are NOT applicable toward a degree. 
  35. Office Hours - Office hours are times throughout the week when students can visit their professor in their office. Students should stop by their professors’ offices during this time to ask questions about being successful in class. Office hours are often listed on the class syllabus, or you can ask your professor. 
  36. Open enrollment – runs between Registration Appointments and Late registration; open to all students who are eligible to enroll (not academically disqualified or have holds).  
  37. Part time - a student who takes only some selected courses, rather than a full load of course in each semester (anything less than 12 units). 
  38. Permission Request (Or PR) - This is a class permission request process, that is necessary when permissions to enroll (add) or drop are required.  Permissions to enroll are required once a class is closed, requires instructor or dept consent, requires pre-requisites, and other requests such as time conflict exceptions, permission to exceed the maximum course/unit load, and/or swapping one class and section for another.  Permission to drop or withdraw from a class or classes requires permission after the CENSUS date.   Students may submit a PR by logging into their myCoyote student portal and navigating to the My Academics tile, then the Permission Request tile.  
  39. Pre-requisite – a course or other requirement that a student must have taken prior to enrolling in a specific course or program. 
  40. Research - the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. 
  41. Registration Appointments - All eligible to enroll students are assigned a registration date and time to register for classes in a subsequent term.  This appointment will be posted on the student's myCoyote Student Center approximately one week prior to the start of the registration period.  Students may still register for classes beyond their assigned registration date and time if missed, however, please note that other students are also registering for classes at and around the same assigned time.  It is recommended that students prepare a class schedule in consultation with their academic advisor prior to their registration appointment.  Students will also want to clear any holds before their assigned registration date and time.
  42. Rubric - A document or guide that lists the specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests. 
  43. Seminar-a class at a college or university in which a topic is discussed by a teacher and a small group of students. 
  44. Service learning - a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. 
  45. Synchronous course- A course where you, your classmates, and your instructor interact in a specific virtual place, through a specific online medium, at a specific time. 
  46. Syllabus – an outline of the subjects in a course of study. A syllabus will also include the assignments and deadlines for those assignments (is always subject to change). Syllabi is the plural of syllabus. 
  47. Transfer credit - This is credit for courses completed and transferred from another university or college and provided to CSUSB by an official transcript.  
  48. University - an institution that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees is considered a university. 
  49. Upper division – Courses (numbered 3000-5999) are considered junior and senior level courses.  
  50. Waitlist – A class list that students can join through the same myCoyote registration process to wait for open seats in a class that is closed.  When a class reaches its maximum enrollment capacity it is then considered “closed”.   Department permission is required for all closed classes. If the class is waitlisted, students will need to add themselves to the waitlist and watch for email confirmation IF enrolled by the automated waitlist process. Waitlisted students are enrolled by order of position number on the waitlist.   
  51. Withdrawal (W) – A GRADE OF "W" WILL BE ASSIGNED for approved drops and withdrawals occurring after the CENSUS date.  If a student drops a class or withdraws from the university by the last day to drop (CENSUS) no record (and no grade of W) will be made of enrollment in the course(s). 



  1. Cost of attendance - The average cost to attend for one academic year (fall through spring). It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. 

  1. Disbursement – the act of paying out money from a fund (I.e. Financial Aid Disbursement) 

  1. EFC (estimated family contribution) - An index number that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school. 

  1. FAFSA – Federal student aid, such as federal grants and loans that gives students access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college. An online application that is the main source of student financial aid. Every eligible student should apply for the FAFSA each school year. 

  1. FERPA – The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that protects students’ rights to confidentiality and limit our ability to release information about financial records. 

  1. Grant - A grant is a financial award that students do not need to repay. Students can apply for grants through FAFSA, various university departments, and other organizations. 

  1. Promissory note – A signed document containing a written promise to pay a stated sum to a specified person or the bearer at a specified date or on demand. 

  1. Scholarship - an award of financial aid for a student to further their education. Scholarships are awarded based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.  

  1. Student Loan - designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and the associated fees, such as tuition, books and supplies, and living expenses. 

  1. Subsidized - The federal government pays the interest for Direct Subsidized Loans while the student is in college or while the loan is in deferment. 

  1. Un-subsidized - loan in which the interest starts accruing the moment you or your school receive the loan funds. 

  1. Work-study – Federally funded program that provides job opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students who are eligible to participate in need based financial aid programs 



  1. Academic Advisor- A faculty or professional staff member who helps students develop an academic plan toward graduation (may have been titled a counselor in high school or a community college). 

  1. Academic Affairs - All aspects of the university dealing with teaching, learning, study, and research. 

  1. Adjunct instructor - a professor who teaches on a limited-term contract, often for one semester at a time. 

  1. Advising vs counseling – Advising [provides guidance to students throughout their academic journey by assisting them in making informed decisions that support their academic, personal, and career goals. Counseling supports the university mission of academic success and social justice through promoting the mental well-being of students. This is achieved through mental health counseling, advocacy, and outreach and consultation.  

  1. Cabinet - a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the university.  

  1. Cohort – a group of people of people banded together or treated as a group who share similar characteristics. 

  1. Commuter – a student who commutes to school. Whether a student is commuting from across the street or 30 minutes away, they will receive the same experience and opportunities as other commuter students.  

  1. Dean - A college dean is someone who has responsibilities that involve students and faculty at a particular school. These can include academic or even duties that relate to student life.  

  1. Department chair - The highest position within an academic department and supports all other faculty in that department (e.g. Criminal Justice). 

  1. Faculty - teaching or academic staff of an educational system, that are hired with a purpose of providing education to the students 

  1. Faculty Advisors – Your Professors! This provides the opportunity to build a relationship with someone who can serve as a mentor and guide you in your career path. 

  1. First-generation - A student is first-generation if neither parent/guardian have bachelor’s degree (four-year degree). The status is based off parents/guardians, not siblings or other relatives.  

  1. Mentor- a trusted counselor or guide (you should have more than one!). Can be peers, faculty, or staff.  

  1. Ombuds Services - A person on campus who investigates and attempts to resolve complaints and problems between students and the University i.e. a professor, student, faculty, or staff. 

  1. Professor vs. Doctor- a person is referred to as “Doctor” if he/she has already finished a Doctorate (research PhD) in a certain subject. Meanwhile Professor is the academic title given to a faculty member, who has at least a terminal degree (the highest degree attainment for that area of study). Not all professors are Doctors.  

  1. Provost - The university’s chief academic officer and under the president is responsible for the creation and implementation of the academic priorities for the university and for the allocation of resources that will support those priorities.  

  1. Registrar - an official responsible for keeping a register or official records. 

  1. Resident Assistant – student who is responsible for supervision and assisting other who live in the same residence hall. 

  1. Staff – any person who works for the university.  

  1. Student Affairs - All aspects of the university involving student services, Student Engagement, Multicultural Student Services, Athletics, etc. Mostly non-academic services.  

  1. Undergraduate - A student at a college or university who has not yet earned a bachelor's or equivalent degree. 



  1. Career fair - An event at which people looking for a job can meet possible employers. 

  1. Club sports - Sport Clubs are student-run organizations recognized by the Office of Student Engagement and administered by Recreation & Wellness. The program offers a variety of competitive and recreational sports.  

  1. Fraternity and Sorority - A brotherhood or sisterhood formed around common goals and aspirations.   

  1. Internship - Work experience intended to enhance your exposure to a particular field or job. Student’s department/major may require students to complete an internship before graduation. The Career Center offers four programs that support and fund internship opportunities: Career Center Internship Award, Stand Up for San Bernardino, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and Insight to Industry. (pg.23) 

  1. Intramural - Whether you are an experienced athlete or just looking to learn a new sport, intramural sports provide students with a fun and safe activities for all skill levels and interests. Sports include basketball, volleyball, flag football, soccer, and more. 

  1. Study Abroad – the program that allows a student to live in a foreign country and attend a foreign university. 



  1. Blackboard and Canvas- The Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) and Canvas are e-learning portals used by CSUSB students, faculty, and staff to spark engagement, promote active learning, and enhance the online learning experience, available 24/7. A tool that allows faculty to add resources for students to access online.  

  1. Bursar’s office/Student Financial Services - The office on campus that handles tuition and other fees. They offer payment plan, direct deposit, emergency loans and work with third party organizations for scholarships or grants.  

  1.  Coyote Commons-  New housing and university dining’s hall.  

  1. Coyote Dining Dollars - Dining Dollars carry over from year-to-year and are not forfeited unless you graduate or withdraw. All students, faculty and staff with a valid identification number can deposit money. 

  1. Learning community - a group of people who share common academic goals and attitudes, who meet semi-regularly to collaborate on classwork. 

  1. myCAP- The myCAP is an academic planning tool, which allows students to plan courses to take throughout their academic career. These plans can provide valuable course demand data to academic departments. 

  1. MyCoyote - myCoyote is a one-stop, self-service portal for CSUSB. It provides integrated services for our students to check their to-do list, update personal data, add/drop classes, view financial aid status, pay fees, and view grades.  

  1. OneCard - The Coyote OneCard is your student identification throughout campus. Can be also used as a CSUSB student’s meal, library, fitness, medical, and debit card. 

  1. PAWS - PAWS is an automated credit summary, for undergraduate degrees, that provides students with a listing of all coursework required for graduation from CSUSB. It allows students to map out their course selection at any point in their academic career by comparing the classes they have taken or are now taking to those they will need to take in order to complete their undergraduate degree program. (pg. 36) 

  1. Residence Hall – living quarters for students to live, learn, and grow. You will have instant access to everything the campus has to offer -- the library, professors, computer labs, dining services, and recreation facilities. 

  1. Student Mentoring Program- Helps students with their next steps by pairing you with experienced CSUSB student mentors who can connect you with resources, faculty, and staff. 

  1. The Rec - the Recreational & Wellness Department is to provide a variety of safe and enjoyable programs and facilities to meet the diverse needs of the CSUSB community by creating a healthy social environment, enriching the quality of life and enhancing the educational experience. 

  1. Union/SU/Student Union - The Santos Manuel Student Union is the focal point of the campus, creating a home for learning and leisure, as well as contributing to retention of our students.