Common Terminology at Universities in the United States 


Credits: A standard course is equivalent to 4 credits. Students must earn 130 credits to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Full-time student: An undergraduate student taking 12 or more credits.

Grade point: A numerical value given to letter grades used to rate academic performance.

Grade point average: The average of all of the numerical values given to the letter grades.

Graduate student: A student registered in a program leading to a Master’s degree.

Major: The subject or area of a student's specialization in a degree program.

Prerequisite: If a course has a prerequisite, it means that another specific course must be taken before entry to the course with the prerequisite.

Registration or enrollment: The process of formally enrolling in courses. 

Term: A period of time in the academic year. Different kinds of terms are semesters (two terms per academic year), trimesters (three terms per academic year), or summer (courses taken in the summer).

Transcript: A copy of a student's permanent academic record including all of the courses taken and the grades received.

Undergraduate student: A student registered in a program leading to a bachelor's degree.