Academic Adviser: Member of the SSU faculty who advises students on academic matters. SSU assigns students to advisers upon enrollment. Subsequently, students shall consult with their adviser before registering for courses and should regularly visit the adviser’s office to discuss a variety of issues concerning their studies. Students may ask SSU to be assigned a different adviser if they so wish.

Academic Year: The length of formal academic instruction is made up of two semesters called fall and spring. Each semester lasts 16 weeks - 15 weeks of instruction plus one week for final exams. The beginning of fall semester in late August marks the beginning of the academic year. The end of spring semester in early May marks the end of the academic year. The time of no instruction between semesters is called a “semester break.”

At SSU we also offer some courses during the summer semester which is a shortened but intensified version of the regular semester - seven weeks of instruction plus a final exam date but classes last twice as long per week than the regular semester. Students may attend summer semester on an optional basis. Additional fees and tuition will apply. The purpose of offering summer semester courses is to offer students an opportunity to finish their degree faster than the regular four-year study time.

Add/Drop: A process during a specified time each semester where students can change courses by adding new ones or dropping ones that were pre-registered. In order to do so in either case, permission of the faculty teaching the course may be required.

Audit: To take a class without receiving a grade or credit toward a degree.

Academic Degree(s): SSU offers three types of degrees:

  1. Associate Degree; a two-year degree.
  2. Bachelor's (or Baccalaureate) Degree; it usually takes four years of full-time study to earn, and it is a prerequisite for studies in a graduate program. It is also referred to as undergraduate studies. If you have an associate degree it would usually take another two years of study to earn a bachelor's degree. Depending on a student’s field of study, two types of degrees are awarded: A Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.).
  3. Master's Degree; a graduate (post-bachelor's) degree. SSU offers two types of master’s degrees, one in Occupational Therapy and one in Teacher Education.


B.A Degree: See “Academic Degree(s).”

Baccalaureate: See “Academic Degree(s).”

Bursar: The highest administrative authority at the Office of the Bursar. This office collects all the money students have to pay to attend SSU. The Bursar issues students a bill requiring payments according to instructions issued with the bill. Students cannot attend classes unless cleared by the Office of the Bursar. See also “Registration.


Campus: The land or area on which the buildings of SSU are located. Many expressions, like campus-life, campus-activities, etc. are in usage when referring to what is taking place within the campus area.

College: Academic departments, such as the Department of Social Sciences, each offering a variety of degrees are housed either at SSU’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) or the College of Professional Studies (CPS). As such the term “college” in all SSU publications or on its online pages refers to the organizational structure of SSU. This term is also used by many institutions of higher learning in the United States which are a college but not a university. A college signifies an institution that offers a limited number of majors - see also “Major” - and only a four-year degree - see also “Degree.” A university offers a much larger choice of majors and graduate degrees.

College Catalog: The official publication of SSU that gives information about academic degrees or programs, course description, facilities (such as laboratories, dormitories, etc.), entrance requirements, student life, and other information. This catalog can be accessed online. Students are urged to consult the catalog as a first resource for answers to questions they might have in planning to attend or while attending courses at SSU.

Commencement: The name for the formal ceremony taking place at the end of each academic year on campus in honor of this year’s graduating students.

Core Courses: Any number of required courses for completion of a degree. These courses are specified by each degree in the catalog or the web page for each degree.

Course(s): Regularly scheduled classes of one to five hours (also called “units” – see “Course Credits”) of instruction per week for the duration of a semester. The courses offered each semester are available in a publication called the “Schedule of Courses” before each semester. This schedule can be accessed online. Students use this schedule to plan out the courses they wish to take any particular semester and in consultation with their adviser.

The Schedule of Courses lists courses in alphabetic order and also mentions classroom location, time, who is teaching the course, and how many units it contains. Each semester students enroll in courses as specified by their degree. The courses offered at SSU are assigned a name and a number. For example, a course in sociology would be listed as SOCI 1101, in Economics as ECON 2202, etc.). The first of the four numbers designates how rigorous (that is, its degree of difficulty) the course is.

Four numbers are used in undergraduate studies. They are numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each number corresponds to the four-year study that corresponds to the four-year degree. In this way, first-year students should take courses prefixed with 1 (also known as 100-level or 100-prefixed courses such as SOCI 1101) and so on. All courses prefixed with 3 or 4 (also known as 300- or 400-level courses) are collectively referred to as upper level courses – see “Upper Level Courses.”

Course Credits or Hours or Units: Each course has a number of credits (usually 1-5) or units which in essence signify the number of hours spent in the classroom each week. As such a course having three units means a student will spend three hours per week in the classroom for the duration of the semester – see also “Academic Year.” At the end of the semester and once a student has met all the requirements of the course as specified by the course syllabus (see also “Syllabus”) then the student has accumulated 3 units. Universities and colleges in the US, as well as SSU, use these numbers of units or credits or hours to record the completion of courses of instruction that are required for an academic degree.

Curriculum: An often-used term designating an academic program of study containing any number of courses. See also “Courses.”


Dean: Director or highest administrative authority within each of the two colleges of SSU – see also “College.”

Department: The administrative subdivision of SSU's two colleges which instruction in a certain field of study is given (such as the Department of the Social Science, the Department of Mathematics, etc.). Practically all degrees offered by SSU are housed in the various departments. The department is headed by the department chair who is also a member of the faculty. Accordingly, all professors or faculty (see also “Faculty”) belong to the various departments. The departments offer the variety of degrees found at SSU. As such, a student majoring in Sociology would belong also in the Department of the Social Science in which faculty teaching Sociology are housed.

Discipline: An academic field of study such as for example sociology that may lead to a degree if a degree in this discipline is offered at SSU. In this way, anthropology is a discipline and a few courses in this discipline are offered at SSU. However, SSU does not offer a degree in anthropology.

Dormitories: Housing facilities on campus for students to live in while attending classes at SSU.


Electives: These are courses that students may "elect," or choose, to take for credit toward their intended degree, as distinguished from courses that they are required to take. The number of electives is specified by each degree if any are included in completion of the degree. These courses include any course offered at SSU from tennis to advanced mathematics.


Faculty: The members of the teaching staff, and occasionally the administrative staff, of the university. The faculty is responsible for designing the plans of study offered by SSU, teaching courses, assigning grades, and advising students on academic matters.

Fees: An amount charged by SSU, in addition to tuition, to cover costs of a variety of institutional services.

Final Exam: An exam, taken at the end of each semester for each course. .

Financial assistance: A general term that includes all types of money, loans, and work-study jobs offered to a student.

Freshman: A first-year student at a university or college or at SSU.

Full-Time Student: One who is enrolled at SSU or at other institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and is taking a full load of courses; the number of units at SSU for a full-time student is a minimum of 12 units (e.g. four 3-unit courses) each semester during any academic year.


General Education Program (GEP): All students at SSU studying toward a baccalaureate (i.e. a four-year) degree are required to complete, in common with all other students in any other major or degree, a combination of required and elective courses. These courses, grouped in categories, are each chosen for the contribution each course makes to the skills or knowledge characteristic of a university graduate.

Grade: The evaluation of a student's academic work in a course as judged by the faculty teaching the course.

Grade Point Average (GPA): A system of recording academic achievement based on an average, calculated by multiplying the numerical grade received in each course by the number of credit hours studied.

Grading System: The type of scale (that is, a letter grade or pass/fail), used by schools, colleges and universities in the United States. Most institutions, including SSU, commonly use letter grades to indicate the quality of a student's academic performance: "A" (excellent), "B" (good), "C" (average), "D" (below average), and "F" (failing). Work rated "C" as a final quarter grade in a course is usually required by SSU in order for this course to count toward a degree.

Each of the four letters carries a numerical value as well. Correspondingly the numbers are 4, 3, 2 and 1. These numbers are used to calculate the student's Grade Point Average (GPA). Typically, the student in a course will receive a number of letter grades which at the end of the course collectively will determine the final course grade. Syllabi contain such grading info. Grades of "P" (pass), "S" (satisfactory), and "N" (no credit) are also used.

Greek: A particularly American description of a student who is a member of certain student organizations/clubs. They are called Greeks because of a tradition of naming their club by using letters, most often three such letters, from the Greek language alphabet. They undertake all kinds of activities on campus throughout the academic year. At SSU we have an annual event called Greek Week, during which many events take place organized by our clubs including recruitment of new members.


Higher education: Postsecondary (that is, beyond the high school) education at colleges, universities, junior or community colleges, professional schools, technical institutes, and teacher-training schools.

Hours (or Credit Hours): See "Course Credits".


International Student Adviser: The person associated with a school, college, or university who is in charge of providing information and guidance to international students in such areas as U.S. government regulations, student visas, academic regulations, social customs, language, financial or housing problems, travel arrangements, and insurance. At SSU most of these services are offered by the Center for International Programs and Activities (CIPA).


Junior: A third-year student at SSU or any university or college in the United States.


Language Requirement: A requirement of some majors that students must show basic reading and writing proficiency in one other language besides their own to receive their degree. At SSU, for example, the major of International Relations requires a year (that is two semesters) of taking courses in one language. SSU currently offers courses in French and Spanish.

Lecture: Common method of instruction by faculty in college and university courses by which the faculty verbally delivers course content. Students may ask questions during a lecture. Lectures may be supplemented with a variety of other pedagogical means such as small group discussions or by using audio/visual or computer-based material.

Liberal Arts or Arts and Sciences: A term referring to academic studies, leading to degrees, of subjects in the humanities (language, literature, philosophy, the arts), the social sciences (economics, sociology, anthropology, history, political science, etc.), and the physical sciences (mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry). At SSU these studies (degrees) are housed in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Lower-Level Courses: All courses that freshmen and sophomore students should take first in preparation for more advanced courses. At SSU these courses are designated by the 1 or 2 prefix (also known as 100- or 200-level courses) as in HIST 1112 or HIST 2250. See also "Course Credits."


Major: The subject or area of studies or discipline leading toward a four-year (also known as a baccalaureate) degree requiring a specified number of courses that a student in a major must take. Undergraduates usually choose or "declare" a major before enrolling at SSU for the first time. Students may at any time change majors if they so choose while at SSU. See also "Academic Degree(s)."

Midterm Exam: An exam administered halfway in the semester (around the seventh week of instruction). The exam covers all course material studied up to that point and as specified in the syllabus. See also "Syllabus."


Non-Resident: Students who do not meet the residence requirements of the state or city that has a public college or university. Tuition fees and admissions policies may differ for residents and non-residents. International students are usually classified as non-residents, and there is little possibility of changing to resident status at a later date for fee purposes. Most publicly supported institutions, like SSU, will not permit an international student to be classified as a resident student while on a student visa.

Notarization: The certification of a document, a statement, or a signature as authentic and true by a public official known in the United States as a notary public. Applicants in other countries should have their documents certified or notarized in accordance with instructions issued by SSU's Office of Admissions or as explained online or as directed by the U.S. Embassy/U.S. Consulate in your country.


Orientation: A time during the beginning of each academic year when university officials welcome new students and explain to them all kinds of necessary knowledge about the university.


Placement Test: An examination used to test a student's academic ability in a certain field (for example English language or mathematics) so that he or she may be placed in the appropriate courses in that field of study.

Prerequisite: Program or course that a student is required to complete before being permitted to enroll in a more advanced program or course. Courses requiring a prerequisite always specify which particular course is required.

President: The highest administrative officer of the university.

Provost: The Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Provost is the highest administrative officer for academic affairs and in charge of both colleges at SSU – the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Professional Studies – each headed by a Dean and organized into Departments headed by Chairs.


Quiz: Short written or oral test taken in a classroom as part of a course requirement and as specified in a course syllabus; a quiz is less formal than an exam.


Registrar: The name of the highest administrative SSU officer in charge of the Office of the Registrar inside the Student Business Center. (See also "Registration").

Registration: Process through which students select and then formally, at the Office of the Registrar or by going online through MySSU, enroll in the courses to be taken during a semester. Upon registration students must visit the office of the Bursar (see "Bursar") to pay for registration fees and tuition.


Scholarship: An amount of money in the form of a grant of financial assistance for which students may apply to if they qualify to do so. Grants specify the amount available, who qualifies, how to apply for one, and what the selection process will be. The money can only be spent toward defraying the cost of education at SSU. There are various grants available at SSU. View the grants online.

Semester or Semester System: see Academic Year.

Seminar: A form of small group instruction, combining independent research, class discussions, and oral presentations under the guidance of the faculty.

Senior: A fourth-year student at SSU or at other institutions of higher learning in the United States.

Social Security Number: A number issued by the U.S. government to jobholders for payroll deductions for old age, survivors, and disability insurance. Anyone who works regularly must obtain one. Many institutions use the Social Security Number as a student identification number.

Sophomore: A second-year student at SSU or at other institutions of higher learning in the United States.

Subject: Course in an academic discipline offered as part of a curriculum.

Survey Course: A course that covers briefly the principal topics of a broad field of knowledge.

Syllabus: An outline of topics to be covered in an academic course. It includes all kinds of information about the course as well as what students are expected to do while studying a particular course.


Test: A procedure measuring the academic progress of a student in a course. There are oral and written tests. The syllabus would specify what type of tests students will have in a course. The written test could be a multiple-choice, an essay, or a quiz or a combination of any of the three types.

Transcript: A certified copy of a student's educational record containing titles (name and number) of all the courses taken, the number of credits (hours or units), and the final grades in each course. An official transcript also states the date a degree, if applicable, has been conferred.

Tuition: The money SSU charges for instruction and training.


Units (or Credit Units): See "Course Credits."

University Electives: See "Electives."

Upper-Level Courses: All courses that may require junior and senior level status in order for a student to take. At SSU these courses are designated by the 3 or 4 (also known as the 300- or 400-level) prefix as in HIST 3325 or HIST 4410. See also "Course Credits."


Withdrawal: The administrative procedure of dropping a course or leaving SSU.

Work-Study: The name for the program where students may work at various jobs, when available, on the SSU campus and receive money for the work. While International students on a student visa are not permitted to work in the U.S., they do qualify for work-study on-campus jobs and many currently hold such jobs earning money while they study. The maximum number of hours a work-study student can work is limited to 20 hours per week.