A "Definition" Primer for University Students

We at the university use the following terms on a daily basis in describing academics and situations surrounding those we serve. We take the language we use for granted because we generally understand the terminology (at least we think we do). If you already know our lingo, disregard this "glossary" of terms.

Academic Bankruptcy

Students who transfer from one UW-Platteville program to another may be granted the option to have their academic record adjusted. Students wishing to file academic bankruptcy must do so within one semester of the change of major. For specific instructions students are requested to contact the Office of the Registrar.

Academic Year

The period from September to December, January through May in which classes are in session. Each of these periods is called a "semester."

Add and Drop

This is a process designed for the purpose of changing a course schedule. The student visits the Office of the Registrar and "Drops" the class not wanted, and "Adds" the class desired.


The process of providing a student with the most complete, current information related to university life. This may include, but is not limited to, information in the areas of academics, resident life, financial planning, career planning, and special events.

Bachelor's Degree

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


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

Class Load

The number of credit hours carried by a student in any given semester or session.

Class Standing

A measurement of academic achievement based on the number of credit hours earned. For example, students with 90 or more credits are seniors, juniors have 60 or more credits, and sophomores have at least 30 credits.

College Parallel Program

A program of study offered at some Wisconsin technical colleges, or at a recognized Technical College from another state. Courses in these programs have been identified in advance of transfer by the university and the technical college.


The university is comprised of three colleges, two schools and a host of 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 measure of academic duration. A one credit hour course generally represents one hour of class participation per week. A three credit course means three hours of class participation per week.

Credit Load

The number of credits a student carries during a semester.


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

Degree Program

A planned and approved program of study leading to a bachelor's degree.


A course chosen by the student but not considered as part of the explicit requirements of the student's course work. Students may choose electives in their major as well as in general education courses.


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

Full Time Student

An undergraduate student enrolling for at least 12 or more semester credits during the fall and spring semester. Generally speaking, students who carry less than 12 semester credits per semester may not be covered under their parents' health insurance policy. Summer session students are considered full time with 6 or more semester credits.

General Education Requirement

A component of a degree program which is designed to provide a broad-based education and competency, to include English, speech, mathematics, physical education, the humanities, the fine arts, historical perspectives, social sciences, natural sciences, ethnic/gender studies, international studies, and foreign languages.

Good Standing

A student in "good standing" is one who has maintained an academic record that meets the established UW-Platteville policy. Students in good standing may continue at the university, return to the university, or transfer to another institution. The grade point necessary to remain in good standing after one semester of attendance is 1.60. After the second and third semesters of attendance a student must have a cumulative GPA of 1.80 or higher.

Grade Point

The numerical value given to letter grades. At UW-Platteville we are on a 4.00 system wherein an "A" has a numeric value of 4.00, a "B" has a 3.00 value, etc.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The numeric value assigned to the earned letter grade for each class taken. The GPA 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 the course requirements within nine weeks of the next semester of attendance or the "Incomplete" grade will become an "F" grade.

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 often for remuneration.


Students who have "matriculated" have been officially admitted to the university and are degree seeking students.


A planned program of academic study chosen as a field of specialization leading to a bachelor's degree. This term is often used interchangeably with the degree program.


A sequence of related courses consisting of 24 or more semester hours of credit.

Pioneer Passport

Your UWP identification (I.D.) card is called the "Pioneer Passport." This card functions as your meal access card for dining services if you are participating in a meal plan.

Pioneer Planner/Student Handbook

The Student Handbook contains policies, procedures and a HELP directory for services as well as a day planner and schedule. This Handbook is free for all students at the University Textbook Center located in Doudna Hall.


Supervised work experience related to a program of study. The student generally pays tuition for this opportunity.


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

Probation, Academic

A condition of university attendance whereby students are permitted to remain with the understanding they meet established academic standards within a set period of time. Failure to meet the standard generally results in dismissal from the university.


An enrollment procedure for students who were previously enrolled at UW-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 13-16 weeks in duration. UW-Platteville has two semesters (fall and spring), and a summer session which is eight weeks in duration.

Special Student

A student who has not matriculated as a degree seeking student but has chosen selected courses for the purpose of investigation.

Student Conduct Code

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 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 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.


To be excluded from the university as a penalty for failure to meet academic or behavioral standards.

Teaching Major/Minor

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


The official record of a student's permanent academic record.

Transfer Credit

Academic credit earned at another institution and accepted toward a degree or program at UW-Platteville.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition is the monetary remuneration for courses taken. Fees are separate and are for the purpose of parking, residence halls fees, meal plan fees, special events, approved building projects, etc.