Academic Policies

Definitions of Key Terms

Academic Year:
The academic year refers to the part of the year defined by the Fall and Spring semesters, approximately mid-August through mid-May.
Academic Advisement Report:
Academic Academic Advisement Reports (major/degree requirements) display the requirements and approved courses for each undergraduate program at the University.
Audit is a registration status allowing students to attend a course without receiving credit.  See the full audit policy.
Baccalaureate Degrees:
Baccalaureate degrees are awarded for completion of an undergraduate program of study. The Colleges of Humanities, Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences offer the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. In general, all other baccalaureate degrees identify the college or field of study with which they are associated. Bachelor's degrees are comprised of general education courses, a major, elective courses, and in some cases a minor.
A course is a systematic plan of study which may utilize lecture, discussion, laboratory, recitation, seminar, workshop, studio, independent study, internship, or other similar teaching formats to facilitate learning for the student.
Course Load:
Course load refers to the total number of units taken for credit, audit, by correspondence, or through concurrent registration at another institution.
A degree is a title which a university confers on a student who has satisfactorily completed a required course of study. Degree requirements are established by the University, colleges and departments, and are approved by the University faculty, administration, and the Arizona Board of Regents.
A discipline is a recognized subject area or field of study within which courses and research are structured.
Double Major:
A double major is possible for students with two principal fields of study in programs that offer the identical degree type. For example, a student can major in both Art Education and Fine Arts Studies because both lead to the Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Electives are courses selected at a student's discretion. Electives may be partially restricted, such as a selection from a specified group of courses identified to fulfill a particular requirement or they may be "free" electives which may be selected from any course for which the student has proper prerequisites. Electives provide opportunities for students to pursue personal interests and to gain general knowledge.
The Grade Replacement Opportunity allows some undergraduate students to repeat, only once, certain courses for a new grade. Conditions of this policy differ for graduate students. Please see the policy for details.
Grade-point-average (GPA) or averaging of grades:
See GPA Calculation.
Hours of Credit or Semester Hours:
Hours of credit or semester hours are alternative designations for units of credit.
The major is a student's principal field of study.
The minor is a secondary field of study requiring fewer units than the major.
An option is a subspecialization within a major that allows a student to place special emphasis on a particular aspect of the major field of study.
Students must meet the course prerequisites or otherwise satisfy the instructor of their preparation to take the course.  Prerequisites can only be waived at the discretion of the instructor or department offering the course.
Residence Credit:
The University does not distinguish its credit offerings according to residence and non-residence credit. See the definition of University credit below.
Student Academic Advisement Report (SAAR):
Student Academic Advisement Reports summarize a student's progress toward graduation, by evaluating the student's completed course work against the requirements of the student's declared degree program. Students may request a SAAR through External Link UAccess Student.
Semester or Term:
Semester and term are used to identify the formally designated periods during which classes are scheduled. The University schedules classes during six terms: fall and spring semesters, each lasting approximately 15 weeks; a winter inter-session term of approximately three weeks; and three summer session terms, comprised of a three-week pre-session and two five-week terms. The term regular semester refers to fall or spring semester.
University Credit (formerly "residence credit"):
University credit is the term used to identify all credit offered by The University of Arizona with the exception of External Link correspondence credit and Special Examination for Credit. Only the grades of courses taken for University credit and by Special Examination for Grade are used in calculating the grade-point-average.