A Definition Primer for University Students

The following terms are used on a daily basis in describing academics and situations surrounding those we serve.

Academic Year

The period from September 1 to August 31 beginning with the fall semester (September to December), winterim (January), spring semester (January to May) and summer (May to August) in which classes are in session.

Add and Drop

This is a process designed for the purpose of changing a course schedule.


The process of providing a student with the most complete, current information related to university academics.


A type of course enrollment where a student chooses not to earn credit.  Enrollment is contingent upon instructor approval. 

Bachelor’s Degree

The degree received after completing a specific program of undergraduate study as well as the completion of all graduation requirements including a minimum of 120 credits.

Campus Card

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville identification card is called the Campus Card. This card functions as the meal access card for dining services if a student is participating in a meal plan.


The recognition by an outside organization of fulfillment of requirements to meet a professional standard.


A measurement of academic achievement based on the number of credit hours earned.


The university is comprised of three colleges, three schools and academic departments. Generally speaking, colleges, schools and departments are the administrative units responsible for the fiscal and academic concerns of the university. The chancellor is the chief executive officer of the university, the provost is the head of academic affairs, academic deans are the administrative heads of their respective colleges and department chairs/directors are the administrative heads of their respective areas.


A course that must be taken at the same time as another course.

Credit Hour

A credit hour represents one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week in an academic semester or an equivalent amount of work for other academic activities as established by the university including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Credit Load

The number of credits a student carries during a semester or session.


A university administrator, usually a member of the faculty, who serves as the administrative head of a college.


To be excluded from the university as a penalty for failure to meet academic or behavioral standards.  The term suspension is also used to describe a dismissal.


A designated group of courses within a degree program that provides students increased exposure directed toward their major area of study.

Full Time Student

A graduate student enrolling for at least 9 credits during the fall and spring semester.  Summer session students are considered full time with 6 semester credits.

Grade Point

The numerical value given to letter grades. At University of Wisconsin-Platteville, a 4.00 plus/minus system is used wherein an “A” has a numeric value of 4.00, a “B” has a 3.00 value, etc.

Grade Point Average

Grade points are multiplied by the number of credits in the course.  The G.P.A. is determined by dividing the total grade points by the total credit hours attempted.


Financial assistance that does not have to be repaid.


The grade assigned when the student is temporarily unable to complete course requirements because of unusual circumstances. The student must complete all work and assignments necessary to complete the class requirements within the time period designated by their instructor not to exceed six months.  Unless a grade of incomplete is changed by the instructor, the temporary grade will lapse and be recorded as an “F."

Independent Study

A course designed by a student and an instructor which is generally taken outside the “normal” classroom setting.


Supervised work in a company or agency related to a student’s degree program and career plans. An internship is usually taken for academic credit and occasionally for remuneration.

Master’s Degree

The degree received after completing a specific program of graduate study as well as the completion of all graduation requirements.


Students who have matriculated have been officially admitted to the university as degree-seeking students and enroll in classes.


A planned program of academic study chosen as a field of specialization leading to a master’s degree. This term is often used interchangeably with program plan.


Supervised work experience related to a program of study.


A course or experience that must be successfully completed before enrollment in a designated course.

Program Plan

A planned and approved program of study leading to a master’s degree.


The most recent grade is used regardless of whether it is higher or lower than the previous grade. If the repeat results in the grade of “F” and the student had previously earned a grade higher than “F,” the “F” replaces the grade in the calculation of the grade point average, and the student loses the credits since no credits are granted when a grade of “F” is earned.


An enrollment procedure for students who were previously enrolled at University of Wisconsin-Platteville, left for a time period, and wish to continue their studies.


The process of being advised, selecting courses appropriate to the student’s academic goals, and officially establishing a course load and schedule sanctioned by the advisor.


When a book is on reserve, it means that the book cannot be removed from the “reserve room” or may be borrowed only for a short period of time. This process is usually done when the library has only a few copies of the book and it is required reading for a particular class.


A unit of time, generally 16 weeks in duration. University of Wisconsin-Platteville has two semesters (fall and spring), and a summer session which is twelve weeks. 

Special Student

A student who has not matriculated as a degree-seeking student.

Student Conduct Code

Chapter 14: This is the state statute that governs student academic misconduct at the university. It describes academic misconduct, provides sanctions for those who are found to have engaged in academic misconduct and describes the disciplinary process.

Chapter 17: This is the state statute that governs student conduct at the university. It specifies conduct which is prohibited, provides sanctions for those who are found to have violated the code and describes the disciplinary process.

Chapter 18: This is the state statute that governs student conduct on university grounds. It describes misconduct and provides sanctions for those who are found to have engaged in misconduct on university land.

Teaching Major

A state Department of Public Instruction approved program for teacher certification for teaching at the elementary, middle or secondary school level.