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Navigating Simmons Guide: Glossary

A guide of resources to support students during their Simmons journey


Get clarity on college related terms.
For example, "Check the library Course Reserves for this weeks readings..."

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3 + 1 Program
/THrē-pləs-wən/ n. — A collaboration between the undergraduate and graduate colleges. This program allows students to earn a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in four years. See also 3+2, 3+3, 4+1 among the Majors and Minors list.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). 3+1.


Academic Advisor
/ˌakəˈdemik ədˈvīzər/ n. — College staff or faculty member who assists students (advisees) with course selection, developing an academic plan, and providing advice regarding careers and/or graduate school.
Academic Calendar
/ˌakəˈdemik ˈkaləndər/ n. — Provides key dates and deadlines -- by term -- for an academic year, including add/drop deadlines, final withdraw date, registration dates, mid-term and final exam periods, school holidays, and more.
Academic Honesty/Academic Integrity
/ˌakəˈdemik ˈänəstēˌ akəˈdemik inˈteɡrədē/ n. — Ethical standards applied to all students regarding conduct related to academic performance--on papers, tests, etc. Penalties vary from failing the work in question to expulsion from the institution. See the Academic Integrity Policy for further information. See also Code of Conduct, Plagiarism.
/ˌakəˈdemik ədˈvīzər/ n. — The honor society of Simmons University. Senior students who have demonstrated superior achievement according to the rules of the faculty and who have not been found guilty according to the Honor Code of Responsibility may qualify for admission after completing at least 48 semester hours of Simmons credit using the letter grade system.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Academy.

Accessibility Services
/əkˌsesəˈbilədē ˈsərvəs/ n. — The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) provides reasonable academic and co-curricular accommodations and assistance for students facing accessibility barriers related to learning, physical, and/or emotional/psychiatric disabilities.
/əˌkrediˈtāSH(ə)n/ n. — The oversight of a university, college, or academic program by one or more outside organizations. Accreditation organizations certify that an institution is following certain guidelines and policies.
Ad Board
/ad bôrd/ n. — The Administrative Board is a governing body at Simmons which rules on cases regarding academic exceptions.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Ad Board.

/ad-dräp/ n. — A short time period at the beginning of the semester in which students may add or drop courses from their schedules without them showing up on their transcript.
Adjunct Faculty
/ˈaˌjəNGkt ˈfakəltē/ n. — A professor who teaches on a limited-term contract, often for one semester at a time, and who is ineligible for tenure. See Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Full Professor.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Adjunct Faculty.

/əˈləmnī/ n. — Graduates of a college or university.
Assistant Professor
/əˈsistənt prəˈfesər/ n. — A member of a college or university faculty who ranks above an instructor and below an associate professor. See Adjunct Faculty, Associate Professor, and Full Professor.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary (n.d.). Assistant Professor.

Associate Degree
/əˈsōsēˌāt,əˈsōSHēˌāt dəˈɡrē/ n. — In the United States, associate degrees are usually earned in two years or more and can be attained at community colleges, technical colleges, vocational schools, and some colleges/universities. A student who completes an associate's program can earn an Associate of Arts/Associate in Arts (AA) or an Associate of Science/Associate in Science (AS) degree.
Associate Professor
/əˈsōsēˌāt,əˈsōSHē prəˈfesər/ n. — A teacher in a college or university who ranks above an assistant professor and below a professor. See Adjunct Faculty, Assistant Professor, and Full Professor.

Collins Dictionary (n.d.). Adjunct Professor.

/ˈôdət/ n. — An arrangement in which a student participates in a course but does not receive a grade or credit. Full-time undergraduate students after their first semester may formally audit one course per semester. A formal audit course may not be used to satisfy any university requirements. A formal audit may be elected by any full-time undergraduate student after the first semester, provided that she has her instructor's permission and agrees to abide by the instructor's conditions for the audit. A student may formally audit no more than one course each semester. A formal audit will appear on the student transcript, but no credit is given. A formal audit may not be used to satisfy any of the all-University requirements. More information on the formal audit option is available on the Auditing/Grading Options page.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Audit.


Baccalaureate Address/Service
/ˌbakəˈlôrēət əˈdres,ˈaˌdres ˈsərvəs/ n. — A farewell sermon made to graduating seniors, families and friends in conjunction with commencement ceremonies.
Bachelor's Degree
/ˈbaCH(ə)lərs dəˈɡrē/ n. — Requires the completion of a minimum of 120 credit hours of academic work, sometimes including a concentration in one or more academic majors.
Blue Book
/blo͞o bo͝ok/ n. — Small, traditionally blue-covered booklets filled with ruled notebook paper that many college instructors use for short-answer and essay exams.


Campus Card
/ˈkampəs kärd/ n. — The official Simmons University ID, used for access to Simmons campus buildings and certain spaces, in campus dining spaces, for Simmons Library services, for printing services, etc. You are required to have an ID issued by Simmons.
Certificate Program
/sərˈtifəkət ˈprōˌɡram/ n. — Involves a small group of related courses designed to provide expertise in a particular field and can be added to any degree.
Code of Conduct
/kōd əv ˈkänˌdəkt/ n. — The Student Code of Conduct is a guide to expectations of behaviors by our students and by student organizations in accordance with the Simmons University values of respect, integrity, inclusion, honesty, and trust. See also Academic Integrity.
Colleges of the Fenway (COF)
/ˈkälijes əv T͟Hə fenwā/ n. — Colleges of the Fenway is a collaborative effort of six neighboring Boston-based colleges in the Fenway area. These colleges include: Simmons, Emmanuel, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Students can register for courses across these colleges--see Cross-Registration.
/kəˈmensment/ n. — Graduation.
Commuter Student
/kəˈmyo͞odər ˈst(y)o͞odnt/ n. — A student who does not live on campus and who drive to campus each day they have classes or other commitments.
/kənˈsent/ n. — In some cases, including for certain upper level courses, students cannot register themselves for a course and require consent in order to register. Learn more on the Instructor Consent page.
/ˌkänvəˈkāSH(ə)n/ n. — A ceremony at the start of the academic year to welcome incoming students.
Core Curriculum
/kôr kəˈrikyələm/ n. — A broadly based educational experience that defines a liberal arts education, otherwise known as the Simmons PLAN (Purpose Leadership ActioN). All students, regardless of major field, are required to complete the PLAN requirements.
Course Catalog
/kôrs ˈkadlˌôɡ/ n. — Official list of programs and courses offered at a college or university that outlines critical information about admissions and academic requirements.
Course Load
/kôrs lōd/ n. — The number of credit hours for which a student is enrolled in a given semester.
Course Name/Number
/kôrs nām, kôrs ˈnəmbər/ n. — A cataloging system that contains a series of letters and numbers to designate a course by the department that teaches it and the academic level. For example, ENGL 150 is a freshman-level course taught in the English department.
Course Reserves
/kôrs rəˈzərv/ n. — A specific set of library books and items submitted by course instructors for access to textbooks, media, and assigned readings. 1 A collection reserves are traditionally set aside in bookshelves behind a library service desk, course reserves also are located electronically as records and electronic formats. 2 Refers to the physical or digital location of the items set aside as course content and are often organized by professor and course-code. 3 A library service where course instructors may submit items for student access, sometimes limited to borrowing periods and subject to certain library policies.


"The library Course Reserves are located behind the service desk as well as online."

Course Section
/kôrs ˈsekSH(ə)n/ n. — When the same course is offered multiple times in the same semester, each course is designated with a section number. For example, BIOL 113-01, BIOL113-02, etc.
Credit Hour
/ˈkredət ˈou(ə)r/ n. — A unit of measurement that determines the amount of time (per week) students are engaged in course study in and out of class. In a typical 14-week semester, a 3 credit course requires approximately 9 hours of study per week--3 hours in class and 6 hours outside of class.
Credits for Prior Learning (CPL)
/ˈkredəts fōr ˈprī(ə)r ˈlərniNG/ n. — The Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) program for degree-seeking Dix Scholars offers an opportunity to receive college credit for knowledge gained through life experience. CPL students can apply for up to 24 credits for learning attained through employment, volunteer work, hobbies, travel, or other activity. Credit is not granted for the experience itself but for the university-level learning that resulted from the experience.
Cross Registration
/krôs ˌrejəˈstrāSH(ə)n/ n. — Simmons undergraduate students are eligible to cross-register at Colleges of the Fenway (COF) schools. See the Cross-Registration page for detailed information.
/kəˈrikyələm/ n. — The subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college.


Dean's List
/dēn list/ n. — The Dean's List was established to recognize undergraduate students' academic excellence. To be included on the Dean's List, which is compiled each semester, a student must have obtained a semester GPA of at least 3.50, have earned at least 12 credits using the letter grade system, and shall not have been found guilty of violating the Honor Code of Responsibility during that semester.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Dean's List.

Declaration of Major
/ˌdekləˈrāSH(ə)n əv ˈmājər/ n. — Students may elect a major any time after completing 32 credit hours, but not later than completing 80 credit hours. Students failing to declare their majors upon the completion of 80 credit hours will not be permitted to register for further course work. Declaration of Major forms are available in the Office of the Registrar.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Declaration of Major.

Declaration of Minor
/ˌdekləˈrāSH(ə)n əv ˈmīnər/ n. — A student may elect to minor in a subject area in which the University currently offers a major; although not all departments and programs offer this option (a number of interdisciplinary minors are also available). A minor consists of 20 semester hours. Declaration of Minor forms are available in the Office of the Registrar.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Declaration of Minor.

Degree Audit
/dəˈɡrē ˈôdət/ n. — This is a tool on Workday where students can monitor their progress through their program. The Degree Audit shows the requirements students have completed and what they still need to complete to graduate. If there are any issues with your Degree Audit, please email

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Degree Audit.


Elective Course
/əˈlektiv kôrs/ n. — A course that is not required for any major, minor, or general education requirements, but used to fulfill the credit hours required for a degree. Most degree programs allow for at least a few elective courses.


/fər pa/ n. — "FERPA is a federal law that governs and protects your rights to your individual educational records. As a student over the age of 18 years or enrolled in a post-secondary institution, your primary rights under FERPA are: Your right to review and inspect your educational records; Your rights to have your educational records amended or corrected; Your rights to control disclosure of certain portions of your educational records. You can find more information about FERPA on the U.S. Department of Education's website" (Simmons Registrar, n.d.).

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). FERPA.

Full Professor
/fo͝ol prəˈfesər/ n. — A teacher of the highest academic rank in a college or university, who has been awarded the title Professor in a particular branch of learning; a full professor. See Adjunct Professor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor.
Source (n.d.). Professor.


Grade Scheme
/ɡrād skēm/ n.

The grading symbols are defined as follows:

A = Excellent P= Pass
B= Good I = Incomplete
C=Fair W= Approved Withdrawal
D=Poor AU=Formal Audit
F=Fail RW=Required Withdrawal

In determining the general quality of a student's work, the following valuations are used to calculate a grade point average:

A= 4.00 C-= 1.67
A- = 3.67 D+ = 1.33
B+ =3.33 D = 1.00
B = 3.00 D- = 0.67
B- = 2.67 F = 0.00
C+ = 2.33 RW= 0.00
C = 2.00


Consider your option to appeal decisions. See Student Code of Conduct and the Handbook based on your program of study


Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Grade Scheme.


/hōld/ n. — A hold (or registration hold) can be placed on a student’s account due to academic dismissal, not fulfilling required faculty advising, a disciplinary problem, money owed to the University, failure to return library books and/or other supplies, or non-compliance with housing and health center regulations.
Honors Program
/ˈänərs ˈprōˌɡram/ n. — The Honors Program provides an opportunity for students with distinguished high school academic records who are newly entering the University. The program combines a four-year curriculum, co-curricular activities, and community for its members.


/ˈinfō ˈɡrafik/ n. — "An abbreviation of 'information graphic.' This term has gained popularity recently based on the increased use of graphics in online marketing over the past few years. Some use this term to connote the unique format that has been widely adopted for this application, which is characterized by illustration, large typography, and long, vertical orientation displaying an assortment of facts. We refer to such graphics as editorial infographics, which can also be presented in different formats. We will use the terms information graphic and infographic interchangeably, and we feel the need to maintain a very broad definition for both of these terms. Simply put, an infographic uses visual cues to communicate information. They do not need to contain a certain amount of data, possess a certain complexity, or present a certain level of analysis. There is no threshold at which something 'becomes' an infographic. It can be as simple as a road sign of a man with a shovel that lets you know there is construction ahead, or as complex as a visual analysis of the global economy" (Lankow et al., 2012, p. 20).


"Create an infographic combining qualitative and quantitative data about your topic"


Lankow, Jason, et al. (2021). Infographics: The power of visual storytelling. John Wiley & Sons.


Lab/Laboratory Class
/lab, ˈlabrəˌtôrē klas/ n. — Learning environment in which hands-on work is completed, typically in science and foreign languages. Is often tied to a lecture portion of a course.


/ˈmājər/ n. — A concentration of courses that is a student's primary course of study. Students must major in a subject while in college. See also Declaration of a Major.


Non-Credit Course
/nän ˈkredət kôrs/ n. — A course in which no credit is offered toward degree requirements.
Non-Traditional Student
/nän-trəˈdiSH(ə)n(ə)l ˈst(y)o͞odnt/ n. — Any student who is outside the age range of traditional-aged students (18-24) is considered a non-traditional student.


Office Hours
/ˈôfis,ˈäfis ˈou(ə)rs/ n. — The days and times that college faculty set aside to meet with students enrolled in their classes. Traditionally these take place in the instructor’s office (not in the classroom).
On-Ground/On-Campus/Face-to-Face/F2F (course or program)
/än,ôn-ɡround, än,ôn-ˈkampəs, ˈfās-tə-ˈfās, ef-to͞o-ef/ n. — A course or program that is offered in-person on the university campus and classroom activities are conducted face-to-face.
Online (course or program)
/änˈlīn/ n. — A course or program that is offered 100% online and all of the classroom hours are conducted online via synchronous and asynchronous activities. At Simmons University, online programs are often offered via the 2U platform.
Open Educational Resources (OER)
/ˈōpən - ˌejəˈkāSH(ə)n(ə)l - ˈrēˌsôrses,rəˈsôrses/ n. — Teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in the public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities - Retain – make, own, and control a copy of the resource, Reuse – use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly, Revise – edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource, Remix – combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new, Redistribute – share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (Creative Commons, n.d., para. 2).

Creative Commons. (n.d.). Open education.

/ˌôrēənˈtāSH(ə)n/ n. — A program that introduces newly admitted students to Ferris and the academics, customs, traditions and opportunities of the university.


Part-Time Student
/ˈpärt ˈ-ˌtīm ˈst(y)o͞odnt/ n. — A student enrolled in fewer credit hours (and courses) in a given term than the college considers as full-time. A change to part-time status typically affects things such as financial aid.
Peer Tutor
/pir ˈt(y)o͞odər/ n. — Faculty-recommended students who have successfully completed their courses who provide tutoring to individuals and study groups through the Tutoring Center. See also Tutoring.


/ˈrejəˌsträr/ n. — An administrator and office on any college campus who oversees such things as registration, storing academic credit records, maintaining academic audit sheets, and dealing with transfer credits from other colleges. See the Simmons Registrar website for further information.
/ˌrejəˈstrāSH(ə)n/ n. — When students enroll (register) for classes for an upcoming academic term. See the Registrar's registration page for further information.
Registration Priority
/ˌrejəˈstrāSH(ə)n prīˈôrədē/ n. — Each student will automatically receive a date and time after which they can register for classes. Students can find their individual time on Workday. Registration Priorities are assigned based on completed credits and then randomly assigned in each grouping.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Registration Priority.

Registration Guidelines
/ˌrejəˈstrāSH(ə)n ˈɡīdˌlīn/ n. — Registration Guidelines are the set of deadline for students to change their registration. This includes adding, dropping, auditing, and taking a class pass/fail.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Registration Guidelines.

/ˈro͞obrik/ n. — A scoring guide used to define what is expected and what will be assessed to evaluate an assignment.


/ˈskälərˌSHip/ n. — Monetary awards (that do not need to be repaid) presented to college students based on various criteria, such as need-based, academic excellence, leadership, community service, and extracurricular activities.
/səˈmestər/ n. — The academic terms during which courses are taught. Typical fall and spring semesters last 15 weeks, plus exam week. Summer semester varies in length.
Senior Audit
/ˈsēnyər ˈôdət/ n. — This form is required for Undergraduate students to complete during their juniors year to notify the Registrar's Office of their intent to graduate. This form also allows students to monitor the completion of the all university requirements.
Student Status
/ˈst(y)o͞odnt ˈstādəs,ˈstadəs/ n. — Full, Half, Less Than Half: Based on the credits the student is registered for currently.
  • Undergraduate
    • 1-5 credits is less than half time
    • 6-11 credits is half time
    • 12+ credits is full time
  • Graduate
    • 1-4 credits is less than half time
    • 5-8 credits is half time
    • 9+ credits is full time
Study Abroad
/ˈstədē əˈbrôd/ n. — College coursework that students take outside the U.S., providing a great opportunity to experience foreign cultures and travel.
Study Groups
/ˈstədē ɡro͞ops/ n. — Studying with a group of friends, which can be a fun and rewarding study method.
Syllabus, Syllabi (pl.)
/ˈsiləbəs, ˈsiləbī/ n. — A document or documents provided at the beginning of a term that outlines the key elements of a course, including things such as learning objectives, assigned readings, major assignments, test and quiz information, and other requirements or expectations of the course.


Tenure or Tenure-Track
/ˈtenyər, ˈtenyər trak/ n. — Tenure grants a professor permanent employment at their university and protects them from being fired without cause. The concept is closely tied to academic freedom, as the security of tenure allows professors to research and teach any topic—even controversial ones. For more information, see the AAUP's definition. Tenure-track positions provide a pathway to promotion and academic job security. It’s the process by which an assistant professor becomes and an associate professor and then a professor. See also Professor.

American Association of University Professors. (n.d.). Tenure.

/ˈtran(t)skript/ n. — Official record of a student's academic work showing dates attended, courses taken, grades earned, and credits received.
Transfer Credit
/transˈfər,ˈtransfər ˈkredət/ n. — Any course taken at a different college (outside of the Colleges of the Fenway) must be approved for transfer credit. Students must complete the appropriate petition to transfer credit prior form to taking the course and have an official transcript sent to Simmons University upon completion. Credit is not transferred for any course completed with a grade of less than C. In some disciplines such as nursing, a grade of C+ is required. Grades received in these courses are not included in the GPA. Learn more on the Transferring Credit page.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Transfer Credit.

Transfer Student
/transˈfər,ˈtransfər ˈst(y)o͞odnt/ n. — Student who attends one college but decides to leave that school and apply for admission to a different college or university. The student then transfers some (or in rare cases, all) credits from old school to new school.
/t(y)o͞oˈiSH(ə)n/ n. — The amount of money charged for instruction and does not include charges associated with room and board.
/ˈt(y)o͞odəring/ n., v. — An option offered to assist students who need assistance in a particular subject. See the Tutoring Center page for further information. See also Peer Tutor.


/ˌverəfəˈkāSH(ə)n/ n. — An Enrollment Verification is for current students to show the number of credits registered for each semester and the corresponding status, as designated by number of credits. This form also lists the anticipated graduation date and anticipated degree to be earned. A Degree Verification is used to show that a student graduated from Simmons University and lists the conferral date and the type of degree earned. Learn more on the Verifications page.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Verification.


/wiT͟Hˈdrôl,wiTHˈdrôl/ n. — If a student withdraws from all of their courses, fails to return from leave of absence after the date approved by the registrar, or fails to register for any courses by the end of the fourth week of classes, they are considered to have withdrawn from the University.

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Withdrawal.

/wərk dā/ n. — An online registration and student information system, where students can manage their personal and profile information, register for courses, order transcripts, and monitor their progress in completing their university and degree requirements. Workday is accessible for current students and recent graduates with their Simmons login information at

Simmons Registrar (n.d.). Workday.

Writing Center
/ˈrīdiNG ˈsen(t)ər/ n. — Writing Center: Writing consultation provided free of charge to all Simmons students either face to face or online. The mission of the Writing Center at Simmons University is to foster academic excellence by providing resources and one-on-one support that meet the needs of graduate and undergraduate students.