Common Terminology

The following glossary is meant as a quick reference to explain the most common academic terminology and abbreviations used at LMU. Under all conditions, the University Bulletin contains the official policy on each topic.

Academic Advising— LMU offers an advising model based on a close student/faculty advisor relationship. This relationship offers assistance to students in achieving educational, career, and personal goals through the use of the full range of institutional resources.

Academic Calendar — LMU offers two fifteen-week semesters plus a week of final examinations for each semester and two six-week summer sessions which include final examinations.

Academic Disqualification — matriculated students are subject to disqualification if, in two consecutive semesters on probation, their term, major or cumulative grade point average on all courses falls below the stated career requirement. For undergraduates, the summer terms are excluded; for graduates, they are included in determining subject to disqualification.

Academic Major — indicates a particular curriculum which leads to a degree. Undergraduate students must complete the requirements for a primary academic major, including the University Core Curriculum and college or school requirements, to be eligible for a degree.

Academic Second Major — undergraduate students may declare a second academic major in addition to their primary major by obtaining the approval of the department chair of the major and the Associate Dean in that college.

Academic Minor — undergraduate students may declare an academic minor from among the LMU departmental minors.

Academic Overload — for undergraduate students, more than 18 hours in a semester or six hours in a summer term.

Academic Probation — undergraduate and graduate students are subject to academic probation if their term, major, program, or cumulative grade point average on all courses taken at LMU is lower than the stated career requirement.

Academic Program — a combination of courses and related activities organized for the achievement of specific learning outcomes as defined by the University. This includes programming at the undergraduate and graduate levels and consists of degrees, majors, minors, concentrations, and certificates.

Academic Satisfactory Progress — a policy set in each College or School which measures success in fulfilling degree requirements.

Academic Standing — a student must maintain in each semester the stated minimum cumulative grade point average for each of the requirements in the degree program.

Academic Term - see Semester.

Accreditation - The United States is divided into seven educational ‘regions’ each responsible for attesting to and maintaining the quality, academic integrity, and accreditation of the educational agencies under their charge. Those regional accrediting bodies are: (1) Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, (2) New England Association of Schools and Colleges, (3) North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, (4) Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, (5) Southern Association of College and Schools, (6) Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Loyola Marymount University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Add/Drop (without grade of W) — adding a course, dropping a course, or both through PROWL prior to the deadline of 11:59 pm on the Friday of the first week of classes. In reference to a semester course(s), Withdraw and Drop are used interchangeably prior to the drop deadline.

Address – Change Of — Students may change their permanent, mailing, and billing addresses through PROWL. Students must update their emergency contact information through PROWL. International students are required to notify the Office of International Students and Scholars if wishing to change their permanent address.

Administrative Drop — The University does not remove courses for those students who stop attending a course. It is the sole responsibility of the student to ensure that his/her class schedule is correct, including dropping or withdrawing from any courses prior to the respective deadlines in the semester. Failure to withdraw officially from a course will result in a grade of “F” or other as assigned by the instructor.

Advanced Placement — undergraduate students may be granted credit at the time of entrance into the University for subjects in which they have completed the AP examinations with minimum score of four (4).

Application for Degree — the official online form used in the student's application for a degree.

Area of Concentration — a concentration of coursework within a major offering such.

Attempted Hours — total number of credit hours in which a student enrolls and receives a grade of A, B, C, D, or F. All other grades do not affect the GPA.

Attendance — class attendance expectations and consequences for absences from class are left to the discretion of individual instructors and shall be announced by the faculty member at the first class meeting or listed on the class syllabus. Students are accountable for all course assignments, whether or not the assignments were announced during an absence. LMU does not drop courses for non-attendance.

Audit — as a non-degree student, to attend a class regularly without receiving credit. Does not count toward full-time enrollment or lead to degree-seeking status.

Baccalaureate Degree — a degree awarded for the successful completion of an approved undergraduate academic program - see Degrees.

Bachelor’s Degree — see Baccalaureate Degree.

Bulletin — The University Bulletin contains the academic and administrative policies and regulations that govern enrollment of undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students at Loyola Marymount University.

CAPP/Degree Audit — CAPP (Curriculum, Advising, and Program Planning) is the online degree audit system which evaluates progress toward a student’s stated undergraduate or graduate programs at LMU. CAPP is accessed through PROWL.

Certification Programs For Teachers — awarded by the State of California for coursework taken at LMU. The University does not grant teaching credentials.

Change Of Major/Concentration/Minor — a requested change to a student’s academic major, concentration in the major, or a minor, within the same college/school or requesting a change to another college/school.

College — an academic unit of the University, headed by a Dean, offering instruction and granting degrees (or degree designations) in several areas of study (see School).

Commencement — the graduation ceremonies occur on Commencement Weekend in May. The ceremony for Bachelor’s candidates is held on the Saturday after final examination week, and that of the Master’s and Doctoral candidates is on the Sunday after final examination week.

Concurrent (Term) Enrollment — by LMU degree-seeking undergraduate students at another institution for the purpose of transferring credits is not permitted.

Confer (a degree) — award, upon successful completion of requirements.

Core Requirements — common set of LMU courses and/or categories of courses which are required of all undergraduate students in order to complete a degree at LMU.

Co-requisite — a requirement that one course must be taken at the same time as another course.

Course — an official structured course of study for a semester or term.

Course Challenge — credit earned by challenge examination.

Course Load — in a Fall or Spring semester, the normal load for full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students in good standing from the previous semester is 15-18 semester hours. For summer, undergraduate students in good standing may register for six semester hours per session.

Course Meeting Pattern — the schedule of days and times during which a course(s) will take place on a regular basis.

Course Terminology — core courses are identified as fulfilling the University Core Curriculum requirements; major courses are identified as fulfilling the academic major requirements; minor courses are identified as fulfilling the academic minor requirements; elective courses are identified as not fulfilling core, major, or minor requirements, but do fulfill overall semester hours requirements.

Credit by Examination — see Course Challenge.

Credit Hour — see Semester Credit Hour.

Credit/No Credit Grade Option (CR/NC) — a grade of CR may be given for performance equal to or greater than a grade of “C.” Graduate students require permission of the Director or Dean to take a course CR/NC.

Cross-Listed Course — a cross-listed course is one that carries credit in more than one department or program. A student may not receive double-credit.

Cumulative GPA — grade point average based on all courses attempted at LMU.

Curriculum — an academic program of study.

Dean — chief academic and administrative officer of a college or school.

Degree — University’s recognition and official statement that a student has successfully completed a course of study. It is noted on a student’s transcript and diploma.

Degree Requirements — candidates for an undergraduate degree at Loyola Marymount University must complete all requirements for a bachelor’s degree as set forth by the University, their college or school, and academic departments or programs. Candidates for a graduate degree at Loyola Marymount University must complete all requirements for a Master’s or Doctoral degree as set forth by the University, their college or school, and academic departments or programs. Failure to understand those requirements does not relieve a student of his or her responsibility.

DegreeWorks - information pending


  • B.A. - Bachelor of Arts, a baccalaureate degree
  • B.B.A - Bachelor of Business Administration, a baccalaureate degree
  • B.S. - Bachelor of Science, a baccalaureate degree
  • B.S.A. - Bachelor of Science in Accounting, a baccalaureate degree
  • B.S.E. - Bachelor of Science in Engineering, a baccalaureate degree
  • Ed.D. - Doctor of Education, a graduate (doctoral) degree
  • Ed.S. - Education Specialist, a graduate degree
  • J.D. - Doctor of Jurisprudence, a graduate (doctoral) degree
  • M.A. - Master of Arts, a graduate degree
  • M.A.T. - Master of Arts in Teaching, a graduate degree
  • M.B.A. - Master of Business Administration, a graduate degree
  • M.F.A. - Master of Fine Arts, a graduate degree
  • M.S. - Master of Science, a graduate degree
  • M.S.A. - Master of Science in Accounting, a graduate degree
  • M.S.E. - Master of Science in Engineering, a graduate degree
  • Baccalaureate Degree — a degree awarded for the successful completion of an approved undergraduate academic program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree — see Baccalaureate Degree.
  • Graduate Degree - a degree awarded for the successful completion of an approved graduate academic program.

Department Chair — Chairperson of an academic department.

Diploma — the physical decorative documentation of a student’s degree. It includes the student’s major(s) as well as Satin honors at Commencement (Comma Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Cum Laude). Diplomas do not show concentrations or minors.

Dissertation — a written report of doctoral-level research completed in fulfillment of the requirements for a doctoral degree.

Doctoral Degree — a graduate degree awarded for the completion of an advanced course of study emphasizing research, typically requiring 80 or more hours of course and research work beyond the bachelor’s degree, the completion of an independent research project, and the completion and successful defense of a dissertation - see Degrees.

Double Credit — a student may not count a course as fulfilling both a major and minor program, unless both programs require the specific course. A student may not count the same course to meet the requirements for both an undergraduate and graduate degree.

Drop/Add — see Add/Drop.

Drop A Course (with a grade of W) — a student may drop a course from the term schedule after the registration period and before the drop deadline in a semester and receive a grade of W. In reference to a semester course(s), Withdraw and Drop are used interchangeably prior to the drop deadline.

Earned Hours — total number of credit hours awarded for completed courses in which the student has earned a passing grade.

Electives — courses taken for credit and grade but not to meet specific major course requirements for graduation. Electives count toward the required number of semester hours needed for a degree program.

Enrollment — Students must be officially registered via PROWL for all classes in accordance with the regulations, procedures, and dates published in the Academic Calendar for a term. Registration is subject to full payment of tuition, room and board charges, and other fees associated with enrollment. The University reserves the right to deny registration to any student for reasonable cause.

Enrollment Verification — printed confirmation through the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) of current or past enrollment. This confirmation may be used to officially respond to requests of enrollment verification.

Faculty Advisor — the faculty person assigned to assist the student in program planning and course selection.

Fee — a charge paid by students for services, e.g., course fee, student activity fee, health fee, etc.

FERPA — Federal Rights and Privacy Act. A federal law governing the access to, the privacy and ownership of student records at LMU. See topic on the Registrar website.

Final Exams — students are required to take all scheduled examinations. Final examinations are to be held at the time published by the Office of the Registrar. No student is allowed to take a final examination before the scheduled time.

Final Grades — a grade report is issued to each student at the end of a term which shows the courses and their final grades for a term just completed.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress — required for eligibility for federal, state, and University financial aid programs. Consult Financial Aid website.

Freshman — undergraduate student with fewer than 30 earned credit hours.

Full-Time Student — an undergraduate student enrolled in 12 or more hours in a semester or six or more hours in a single summer session; a graduate student enrolled in six or more hours in a fall or spring semester, or six or more hours in a single summer session.

GMAT — Graduate Management Admissions Test administered by the Educational Testing Service and used by some business colleges and schools as one item in the application packet for predicting success in graduate school.

Good Standing — completed academic term status accorded students who meet certain grade point average requirements and/or other conditions set forth by student’s Dean.

Grade Point Average (GPA) — calculated as total earned grade points divided by total grade point hours.

Grade Point Hours — credit hours attempted/awarded for letter graded courses. See Letter Grade.

Grade Points — grade points are a measure of the quality of the academic work completed. Assignments are four points for each credit hour of A, three for each hour of B, two for each hour of C, one for each hour of D, zero for each hour of F. May also be referenced as quality points.

Grade Report — See Final Grades.

Grades & Grading — the work of all students at LMU is reported in terms of grades. Instructors are required to assign a final grade for each student registered in a course.

Graduate Coursework — all courses in the 600-699, and 6000-6999 numbered courses.

Graduate Degree - a degree awarded for the successful completion of an approved graduate academic program - see Degrees.

Graduate Student — a student who has already earned a baccalaureate degree and who is admitted to the Graduate Division and enrolled in graduate courses which would lead to a master’s or doctoral degree.

Graduation — LMU grants degrees three times per year: at the end of the Summer (August 31), Fall (December 31), and Spring (May) terms. (See Commencement.)

GRE — Graduate Record Examination administered by the Educational Testing Service and used by some departments as one item in the application packet for predicting success in graduate school.

Holds — See Registration Holds.

Incomplete (I) — a grade that an instructor may assign to a student who has completed at least 80% of the course requirements, but not all, for a course prior to the end of the semester.

Independent Studies Course — one-semester, individualized course of study approved by a faculty instructor, department chair, and Associate Dean of the College or School of the course.

Individualized Study Program — an individualized degree program designed by a student in consultation with faculty and/or degree college advisers in lieu of a regular major.

Junior — undergraduate student with between 60 and 89 earned credit hours.

Leave Of Absence — may be granted to students who apply for a temporary break from studies for two years or four semesters. Students on a processed Leave retain their admitted status; however, they are not registered and therefore do not have the rights and privileges of registered students.

Letter Grade — a grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F.

Lower-Division Undergraduate Coursework — courses within the 100-299 numbered courses.

Major — the subject matter declared for in-depth study toward a degree program.

Master’s Degree — a graduate degree awarded for the completion of an advanced course of study, requiring a minimum of 30 hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree. - see Degrees.

Matriculate — to enroll as a degree-seeking student at a university.

Mid-Term Deficiencies — Notifications are sent to undergraduate students who are performing at the level of C- (1.7) or less; to graduates who are performing at the level of B- (2.7) or less.

Minimum Degree Requirements — minimum fulfillment of each specific requirement.

Minor — a secondary field of study in addition to the major.

Non-Degree Student — undergraduate non-degree students are allowed to study for no more than three semesters or 18 semester hours, whichever occurs first. Graduate students may register for more, but only two courses taken in the non-degree status may apply toward a degree or credential. Non-degree status does not guarantee admission to a degree-seeking career at LMU.

Online Enrollment — a Web-based process (PROWL) of choosing and officially registering in a set of courses for a semester or term.

Overload — see Academic Overload.

Petition — a formal, written request usually requesting an exception to University policy.

Placement Examination — a non-credit examination taken to determine the level in which a student should enroll in a sequential series of courses. This examination does not award college credit.

Post-Master’s Coursework — coursework completed after a master’s degree is conferred.

Prerequisite — a requirement, usually earned credit in another course, which must be met before a particular course can be taken.

Probation — an academic warning printed at the end of a term on the transcript that a student is in academic difficulty, which could lead to suspension from the University.

Registration — consists of advisement through the college office, enrollment in courses, and payment of tuition and fees.

Registration Appointments — see Registration Time.

Registration Hold(s) — A hold is an academic or administrative "process block" on a student's record which prohibits the student from a series of functions until the student has addressed the hold/block with the office which placed it. Once successfully addressed, the office will remove the hold on the particular process, e.g., registration, issuance of diploma or transcript, etc. Review the "View Holds" option in the "Student Services" tab in PROWL. Resolve any holds that appear prior to your registration time by contacting the department that placed the hold.

Registration Period — the time between the opening of registration for an upcoming term and 11:59 pm on the Friday of the first week of classes. Students may add/drop during this time without a grade of W posted to the transcript.

Registration Restrictions — a qualification for registration placed on a course for registration. The student must meet the qualification for enrollment.

Registration Time — for continuing students, the assigned time at which a student may register for a subsequent semester. A student may register any time after the time/appointment.

Repeat Policy — allows a student to repeat a course (on the same grade basis and for the same number of units) so that the grade of the repeated course in calculated into the GPA while the grade of the previous course is excluded.

Scholarship — a cash award or tuition waiver awarded to a student.

School — an academic unit of the university, headed by a dean, offering instruction and granting degrees (or degree designations) in several areas of study. (See College)

Semester — a 16-week academic session – including the week of final examinations.

Semester (Credit) Hour — semester credit hours are a measure of the quantity of work in a particular course, e.g., 4 units, 3 units, 2 units, 1 unit, 0 units.

Semester GPA — grade point average based on all courses attempted during a single semester at LMU.

Senior — undergraduate student with 90 or more earned credit hours.

Sophomore — undergraduate student with 30 – 59 earned credit hours.

Special Studies (x98) courses — a non-regular occurring course within a department. These courses may be used for major or elective requirements. Consult the Bulletin.

Summer Session — two non-overlapping six-week semester sessions held in May - August.

Thesis — a written report of research or creative activity completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements of a course or degree.

TOEFL — Test of English as a Foreign Language administered by the Educational Testing Service and used to determine the level of English proficiency for students for whom English is a second language.

Transcript — a printed report of a student’s academic record requested through PROWL. The official transcript will bear the seal of the university and the signature of the Registrar of the University. LMU does not issue “unofficial” transcripts.

Transfer Course Equivalent — an LMU course that substantially matches the content and credit hours of a transfer course.

Transfer Course Substitution — a transfer course that, while not equivalent to a specific course at LMU, is similar enough in content that it may be used to fulfill the requirement that the LMU course fulfills.

Transfer Credit Evaluation — an assessment of a student’s transfer credit, generally performed at the time of admission, in which LMU course equivalencies are established (if possible) for individual transfer courses.

Transfer Work — credit earned at another accredited institution which may be transferable to LMU.

Tuition — the charge in addition to enrollment fees paid by all students to enroll in courses at the university.

Tutorial(s) — an option to register for an existing LMU course which is not otherwise offered in the term.

Undeclared Student — students normally declare a major at the time of application to the University. If a student is unsure about choosing a major, some colleges may allow for an undeclared status within that College. This option is at the discretion of the College or School. Under normal conditions, an undergraduate student has decided on a particular major prior to earning 60 semester hours of credit.

Undergraduate — a student enrolled in courses leading to a baccalaureate degree.

Unit Overload - see Academic Overload.

Upper-Division Undergraduate Coursework — courses within the 300-599 numbered courses.

Withdraw From A Course — see Drop a Course.

Withdrawal from the University — a withdrawal from the University is the termination of the academic program and relationship with the University.