Higher Education / University Glossary

Higher Education Glossary

A-Z list of University definitions, jargon and acronyms


Higher education comes with its own set of terminologies, acronyms and jargon that can often leave students and educators feeling confused.
That's where a Higher Education Glossary comes in handy. uniRank publishes a comprehensive list of over 200 university glossary terms, definitions, jargon and acronyms listed in alphabetical order from A to Z.
This comprehensive guide provides clear definitions and explanations of commonly used terms, ensuring that you can navigate the complex world of higher education with confidence. Whether you are a student just starting out or an experienced educator looking to expand your knowledge, our University Glossary has everything you need to know.
Feel free to suggest missing higher education terms.

Higher Education Glossary

Academic Advising
Academic Advising is the support provided to students by academic advisors to help them navigate… learn more

Academic Calendar
An Academic Calendar is the schedule of important dates and deadlines, such as the start and end of… learn more

Academic Credit
An Academic Credit is a unit of measurement used to quantify the amount of academic work completed… learn more

Academic Governance
Academic Governance is the system of shared decision-making and oversight structures within a… learn more

Academic Integrity
Academic Integrity means the commitment to honesty, ethical behavior and responsible academic… learn more

Academic Probation
Academic Probation means a status assigned to students who fail to meet academic performance… learn more

Academic Staff
Academic staff refers to individuals who are employed by a university to teach, research and/or… learn more

Academic Standards
Academic Standards are the criteria and expectations for academic performance and conduct… learn more

Academic Standing
Academic Standing is a student's overall status with respect to their academic performance and… learn more

Academic Suspension
An Academic Suspension is a disciplinary action taken against a student who has failed to meet… learn more

Academic Term
An Academic Term is a period of time in which academic courses are offered, typically lasting… learn more

An Academy is a higher education institution that offers specialized training, often in fields… learn more

Academy (academic division)
An Academy is an academic division or subdivision within a college or university responsible for… learn more

Accreditation is the process of evaluating and certifying the quality and standards of an… learn more

Accreditation Agency
An Accreditation Agency is an independent organization responsible for conducting accreditation… learn more

Admission Requirements
Admission Requirements are the criteria and qualifications that must be met by students seeking… learn more

Admissions is the process of evaluating and selecting applicants for admission to a college or… learn more

Advanced Placement
Advanced Placement is a program offering college-level courses and exams to high school students,… learn more

Advisor is a faculty or staff member assigned to provide academic guidance and support to students… learn more

Advocacy Organization
An Advocacy Organization is a group that advocates for policies and practices that support and… learn more

Alumni Association
Alumni Association is an organization composed of former students of a college or university,… learn more

Articulation Agreement
Articulation Agreement means an agreement between two educational institutions outlining the… learn more

Assessment is the process of evaluating learning outcomes to determine the effectiveness of… learn more

Assistantship means a financial aid award that provides a stipend and/or tuition waiver to graduate… learn more

Associate Degree
Associate Degree is a degree granted by community colleges or some four-year institutions upon… learn more

Associate Professor
Associate professor is a faculty rank above assistant professor and below full professor. Associate… learn more

Audit means to attend a course without receiving credit or a grade. Students may audit a course for… learn more

Bachelor's Degree
Bachelor's Degree is a higher education undergraduate degree typically earned after completing three… learn more

Benchmarking means a process of comparing an institution's performance against other institutions or… learn more

Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees is a governing body responsible for overseeing the administration and financial… learn more

Bursar is a financial administrator responsible for managing student accounts, billing and… learn more

Campus is the physical location of an institution of higher education, including buildings, grounds… learn more

Campus Housing
Campus Housing means residential facilities on or near a college campus provided for students… learn more

Campus Safety and Security
Campus Safety and Security is a department or office responsible for ensuring the safety and… learn more

Career College
A Career College is a higher education institution that offers practical training in a specific… learn more

Career Fair
Career Fair is an event where employers and job seekers come together to network and discuss… learn more

Career Services
Career Services is an office or department providing resources and assistance to students and alumni… learn more

A Center is an academic division or subdivision within a college or university responsible for… learn more

Certificate is a credential awarded upon completion of a program of study in a specific area,… learn more

Certificate Program
Certificate Program is a program of study focused on a specific area of interest that leads to the… learn more

Chancellor is the chief executive officer of a university system or institution. learn more

Class Rank
Class Rank is a student's position within their graduating class based on their academic… learn more

Class Schedule
Class Schedule is a list of courses offered by an institution, including times and locations. learn more

Class Size
Class Size is the number of students in a particular class or course. learn more

College (academic division)
A College is an academic division within a university responsible for offering instruction and… learn more

Commencement is a ceremony to mark the completion of a degree program and the awarding of degrees to… learn more

Commencement Speaker
Commencement Speaker is a guest speaker chosen to address graduating students at a commencement… learn more

Common Application
Common Application is an online application used by over 900 colleges and universities to simplify… learn more

Community College
A Community College, also known as Junior College, is a higher education institution that provides… learn more

A Conservatory is a specialized higher education institution that offers training and education in… learn more

Continuing Education
Continuing Education means educational programs designed for adults who wish to continue their… learn more

Cooperative Education
Cooperative Education means a program that combines classroom instruction with practical work… learn more

Core Course
Core Course is a required course in a specific academic program that provides a foundation of… learn more

Core Curriculum
Core Curriculum is a set of courses that all students are required to take regardless of their… learn more

Counselor is a professional who provides guidance and support to students in various areas, such as… learn more

Course Catalog
Course Catalog is a publication that lists all the courses offered by a university, including course… learn more

Course Completion
Course Completion means finishing all the requirements for a course, such as attending lectures,… learn more

Course Evaluation
Course Evaluation is a process of assessing the quality of a course and the effectiveness of the… learn more

Course Load
Course Load is the number of courses or credits a student is taking in a given semester or academic… learn more

Course Syllabus
Course Syllabus is a document that outlines the objectives, requirements, assignments and policies… learn more

Course with a major research component
Course with a major research component means a course that involves conducting original research or… learn more

Course Withdrawal
Course Withdrawal means dropping a course before the deadline, usually without any academic penalty,… learn more

Credit Arrangements
Credit Arrangements are agreements between institutions to recognize credits earned at one… learn more

Credit Transfer
Credit Transfer is the process of transferring credits earned at one institution to another… learn more

Credits are units of academic measurement awarded for the completion of a course, usually based on… learn more

Curriculum means the set of courses and requirements for a degree program. learn more

Dean is the chief administrative officer of a college or school within a university. learn more

Degree Audit
Degree Audit is a review of a student's academic progress towards completing degree requirements. learn more

Degree Program
Degree Program is a set of courses and requirements leading to a specific degree, such as a… learn more

Degree Requirements
Degree Requirements are the courses and other requirements that a student must complete to earn a… learn more

A Department is an academic division or subdivision within a college or university responsible for… learn more

Department of Higher Education
A Department of Higher Education is a national or local government organization responsible for… learn more

Developmental Courses
Developmental Courses are courses designed to help students develop basic academic skills or to… learn more

Dining Hall
Dining Hall is a campus facility that provides meals to students and other members of the university… learn more

Distance Education
Distance Education or Distance Learning is education or learning that takes place remotely, often… learn more

Distance Learning
Distance Learning or Distance Education is education or learning that takes place remotely, often… learn more

A Division is an academic division or subdivision within a college or university responsible for… learn more

Doctoral Degree
Doctoral Degree is an advanced degree awarded in many fields of study, typically requiring several… learn more

Dormitory is a campus facility that provides housing for students. learn more

Dormitory Advisor
Dormitory Advisor is a staff member who provides guidance and support to students living in a… learn more

Dual Enrollment
Dual Enrollment is the process of enrolling in college courses while still in high school, often… learn more

Educational Opportunity Program
Educational Opportunity Program is a program designed to provide support and resources to students… learn more

Educational Technology
Educational Technology is the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. learn more

eLearning means electronic learning, often referring to online or web-based courses. learn more

Elective Courses
Elective Courses are courses that students can choose to take, often outside of their major… learn more

English Language Proficiency
English Language Proficiency is the ability to read, write, speak and understand english at a level… learn more

Enrollment is the process of registering for classes and officially becoming a student at a… learn more

Enrollment Deposit
Enrollment Deposit is a fee required by some colleges and universities to secure a student's spot in… learn more

Enrollment Status
Enrollment Status is a designation of a student's registration status indicating whether they are… learn more

Entrance Exam
Entrance Exam is an assessment test required by some universities to evaluate prospective students'… learn more

Essay is a written composition required by some colleges and universities as part of the admissions… learn more

Executive Education
Executive Education are non-degree programs offered by universities to provide continuing education… learn more

Extracurricular Activity
Extracurricular Activities are activities outside of the academic curriculum, such as clubs, sports… learn more

Faculty (academic division)
A Faculty is an academic division within a university comprising one field of study and responsible… learn more

Faculty (academic personnel)
Faculty is the academic staff at a college or university who teach courses, conduct research and… learn more

Faculty Advisor
Faculty Advisor is a faculty member who provides academic advising and guidance to students in their… learn more

Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate is a governing body made up of faculty members responsible for making academic policy… learn more

Fellowship is an award granted by a university or external organization to support graduate students… learn more

Field of Education
Field of Education is a specific area of study within the broader field of education, such as… learn more

Field of Study
Field of Study is the specific subject area in which a student is pursuing a degree, such as… learn more

Final Exam
Final Exam is an examination given at the end of a course to assess a student's understanding of the… learn more

Financial Aid
Financial Aid is financial assistance provided to students to help them pay for college, including… learn more

Foreign Language
Foreign Language is a language other than the student's primary language that is taught as part of… learn more

Fraternity is a social organization of male students at a college or university that typically… learn more

Fraternity House
Fraternity House is a residence for members of a fraternity where they live and socialize together. learn more

Freshman is a first-year undergraduate student. learn more

Full-time Faculty
Full-time Faculty is academic staff members who are employed by a college or university on a… learn more

Full-time Study
Full-time Study is a designation indicating that a student is taking a full course load and is… learn more

General Education
General Education is a set of courses required of all students in a college or university that… learn more

General Studies
General Studies is a degree program that allows students to take a variety of courses from different… learn more

Governing Body
Governing Body is the group responsible for making decisions and policies that affect a college or… learn more

GPA means grade point average, a measure of a student's academic performance calculated by averaging… learn more

Grade Distributions
Grade Distributions is a report indicating the distribution of grades received by students in a… learn more

Graduate Assistantship
Graduate Assistantship is a position in which a graduate student provides teaching, research, or… learn more

Graduate Attributes
Graduate Attributes mean the skills and knowledge that graduate students are expected to have… learn more

Graduate Certificate
Graduate Certificate is a non-degree program that provides specialized training and education in a… learn more

Graduate Degree
Graduate Degree is an advanced degree awarded to students who have completed a program of… learn more

Graduate School
A Graduate School is a division of a college or university that offers postgraduate or advanced… learn more

Graduation Requirements
Graduation Requirements are the courses, credits and other criteria that must be met in order for a… learn more

Grants are financial aid given to students that do not need to be repaid. learn more

Higher Education Award
Higher Education Award is a recognition of achievement or accomplishment in a specific field of… learn more

Higher Education Provider
Higher Education Provider is an institution that offers higher education programs or courses to… learn more

Higher Education Services
Higher Education Services are services that support the academic, social and personal development of… learn more

Honors Program
Honors Program means a program that provides advanced and challenging coursework to high-achieving… learn more

Honors Thesis
Honors Thesis is a research paper or project completed by a student in an honors program. learn more

Housing is accommodation provided to students by the institution or university they are enrolled in. learn more

Independent Study
Independent Study is a course of study designed by the student with approval from a faculty member. learn more

In-state Tuition
In-state Tuition means tuition rates charged to students who are residents of the state where the… learn more

Institute (academic division)
An Institute is an academic division or subdivision within a college or university responsible for… learn more

Institute of Technology
An Institute of technology is a higher education institution offering education and training in… learn more

Institutional Research
Institutional Research means research conducted by an institution to improve operations, policies… learn more

International Education
International Education means programs and initiatives that facilitate cross-cultural exchange and… learn more

Internship means work experience related to a student's field of study, often for academic credit. learn more

Joint Awards
Joint Awards mean collaborative awards given by two or more institutions or organizations. learn more

Junior College
A Junior College, also known as Community College, is a higher education institution that offers… learn more

Learning Outcomes
Learning Outcomes are statements that describe the knowledge, skills and abilities that students… learn more

Lecture is a method of instruction where the instructor delivers information to a large group of… learn more

Lecture Hall
Lecture Hall is a large classroom designed for lectures and presentations. learn more

Liberal Studies
Liberal Studies are a multidisciplinary approach to education that emphasizes critical thinking,… learn more

Library is a place where students can access resources, including books, journals and electronic… learn more

Major is the primary field of study that a student is pursuing in a degree program. learn more

Master's Degree
Master's Degree is a postgraduate degree that typically requires one to two years of study beyond a… learn more

Matriculation is the process of enrolling in a degree program or institution. learn more

Mentor is a faculty member or experienced student who provides guidance and support to a less… learn more

Merit-based Aid
Merit-based Aid is financial aid awarded to students based on their academic achievements or other… learn more

Ministry of Higher Education
A Ministry of Higher Education is a government organization responsible for licensing, overseeing,… learn more

Minor is a secondary field of study that a student may pursue in addition to their major. learn more

Minority Student Services
Minority Student Services are services and programs designed to support students from historically… learn more

Mode of Delivery
Mode of Delivery is the method used to deliver a course or program, such as in-person, online, or… learn more

Mode of Study
Mode of Study is the schedule and structure of coursework, such as full-time, part-time, or… learn more

National Honor Society
National Honor Society is an organization that recognizes high-achieving high school and college… learn more

Need-based Aid
Need-based Aid is financial aid awarded to students based on their financial need. learn more

Non-degree Seeking
Non-degree Seeking means enrollment in courses without pursuing a degree. learn more

Non-traditional Student
Non-traditional Student means a student who may not fit the traditional mold of a college student,… learn more

Office of Admissions
Office of Admissions is the department responsible for recruiting and admitting students to an… learn more

Office of Disability Services
Office of Disability Services is the department responsible for providing accommodations and support… learn more

Office of International Affairs
Office of International Affairs is the department responsible for supporting international students… learn more

Office of the Registrar
Office of the Registrar is the department responsible for maintaining student records, including… learn more

Online Courses
Online Courses are courses offered entirely online through a virtual platform. learn more

Online Learning
Online Learning are educational opportunities that use the internet to deliver course materials,… learn more

Open Day
Open Day is an event for prospective students and their families to visit a college or university… learn more

Orientation is a program or event that introduces new students to the college or university, its… learn more

Out-of-state Tuition
Out-of-state Tuition is the higher tuition rate charged to students who are not residents of the… learn more

Outreach Programs
Outreach Programs are programs that connect the college or university with the community, often… learn more

Overseas Study
Overseas Study means study abroad programs that provide opportunities for students to study in… learn more

Part-time Faculty
Part-time Faculty are instructors who are not employed on a full-time basis but are hired to teach… learn more

Part-time Study
Part-time Study means enrollment in fewer courses than a full-time student, usually with the… learn more

Peer Advisor
Peer Advisor is a student who provides advice and guidance to other students, often related to… learn more

Peer Tutoring
Peer Tutoring is a program in which students tutor other students in a particular subject. learn more

Placement Test
Placement Test is a test used to assess a student's knowledge or proficiency in a particular subject… learn more

A Polytechnic is a higher education institution offering vocational education and training in… learn more

Postgraduate refers to a student who has completed a bachelor's degree and is enrolled in a graduate… learn more

President is the top executive officer of a college or university, responsible for overseeing its… learn more

Presidential Scholarship
Presidential Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship awarded to students who demonstrate… learn more

Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator is the lead researcher on a grant-funded research project, responsible for… learn more

Professional Degree
Professional Degree is a degree that prepares students for a specific profession, such as law,… learn more

Professional Development
Professional Development means activities designed to improve a professional's skills, knowledge and… learn more

Professional School
A Professional School is a higher education institution that offers advanced programs in fields such… learn more

Provost is the chief academic officer of a college or university, responsible for overseeing its… learn more

Public Ivy
Public Ivy is a public college or university that is considered to provide an education comparable… learn more

Qualifications Authority
A Qualifications Authority is an organization that oversees the development, implementation and… learn more

Quality Assurance Agency
A Quality Assurance Agency is a public or private organization that assures the standards and… learn more

Recognition of Prior Learning
Recognition of Prior Learning is the process of granting academic credit or recognition for prior… learn more

Recreational Facilities
Recreational Facilities are facilities on a college or university campus that are designed for… learn more

Rector is the head of a university, typically used in european institutions. learn more

Rectors Council or Conference
Rectors councils and conferences are organizations that bring together university rectors to discuss… learn more

Registrar is the official responsible for maintaining student records and academic policies. learn more

Research Assistant
Research Assistant is a student or staff member who supports the research efforts of a faculty… learn more

Research University
Research University is a university that emphasizes research, often with graduate programs and… learn more

Residence Hall
Residence Hall is a dormitory or housing facility for college or university students. learn more

Scholarship is financial aid awarded to students based on merit, need, or other criteria. learn more

School (academic division)
A School is an academic division or subdivision within a college or university responsible for… learn more

Semester is a division of the academic year, typically lasting 15-16 weeks, during which courses are… learn more

A Seminary is a higher education institution that offers courses in theology, religious history,… learn more

Service Learning
Service Learning means an approach to education that integrates academic learning with community… learn more

Sorority is a social organization for women in college or university, often with a focus on… learn more

Student Affairs
Student Affairs is the department or division of a college or university responsible for student… learn more

Student Attrition Rates
Student Attrition Rates mean the percentage of students who withdraw or drop out of an educational… learn more

Student Center
Student Center is a central hub on a college campus that provides a variety of services and… learn more

Student Cohort
Student Cohort is a group of students who enter a program or university together and progress… learn more

Student Completion Rates
Student Completion Rates is the percentage of students who successfully complete an educational… learn more

Student Loan
Student Loan is a type of financial aid that must be repaid, often with interest, after a student… learn more

Student Union
A Student Union is an organization that represents and advocates for the interests and rights of… learn more

Study Abroad
Study Abroad is a program that allows students to study in a foreign country, often for a semester… learn more

Subject is a specific area of study within a larger field, such as english literature or chemistry. learn more

Support Staff
Support Staff are employees of a university who provide administrative and logistical support to… learn more

Syllabus is a document outlining the course objectives, topics, assignments and expectations for a… learn more

Tenure is a status granted to a faculty member at a university, which provides job security and… learn more

Thesis is a research paper or project that a student completes as a requirement for a degree. learn more

Trade School
A Trade School is a higher education institution that offers practical training in a specific trade,… learn more

Transcript is a record of a student's academic coursework and grades. learn more

Transfer Credit
Transfer Credit is credit for coursework taken at one institution that is accepted by another… learn more

Trimester is an academic term that lasts for three months, typically used in schools with a… learn more

Tuition is the cost of attending a university, which covers instructional fees and other charges. learn more

Undergraduate is a student pursuing a bachelor's degree, typically in their first four years of… learn more

University Alliance
A University Alliance, similarly to a University Association, refer to a group of regional or global… learn more

University Association
A University Association is an organization of multiple universities sharing common goals and… learn more

University Club
A student or faculty organization focused on shared interests or hobbies within higher education… learn more

University President
University President is the highest-ranking administrator of a university, responsible for… learn more

University Rankings Organization
A University Rankings Organization is an entity that ranks universities based on a ranking… learn more

University Society
Universities Society is a collective organization or group formed within a university or higher… learn more

Vice-chancellor is an administrator at a university who serves as the chief executive officer in the… learn more

Vice-chancellors Council or Conference
Vice-chancellors councils or conferences are organizations that bring together university… learn more

Vocational School
A Vocational School is an educational institution that offers practical training in a specific… learn more

Please feel free to submit missing university or higher education-related terms, academic jargon and commonly used acronyms.

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