Glossary of Terms

At times, the amount of new terms and phrases that are used in college settings can be daunting. To help, we've created a list of many of the new words and acronyms you might encounter when coming to Purdue. Can't find the word or phrase you're looking for? Type in a keyword in the box below to search the page.

Academic Calendar

The calendar is the key dates and deadlines for Purdue. The academic year consist of two 16-week semesters. Summer session(s) may be one 4-week and one 8-week or two 6-week or other configurations as approved by the Provost's Office.

Academic Good Standing

A student is considered in academic good standing if his or her cumulative grade point average is 2.00 or higher.

Academic Probation

Academic probation indicates that the student’s academic performance puts him or her at risk of academic suspension. A student at Purdue University shall be placed on academic probation if his/her fall or spring semester or cumulative GPA at the end of any fall or spring semester is less than a 2.0.


Auditing a course allows the student to sit in a class without receiving academic credit. A student auditing a course may participate in classroom discussions but is not required to complete tests, projects, examinations, and papers (unless agreed upon by the student and instructor).


The Business Office for Student Organizations (BOSO) has the responsibility for exercising financial responsibility over all student organizations who must maintain accounts with that office.


The Bursar's Office is your one-stop shop for finding information on student tuition, viewing invoices, making payments and ensuring timely refunds. You can find valuable information regarding tuition, fees, rates and remissions, as well as our tuition calculator.


Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a team of multiculturally sensitive professionals delivering comprehensive psychological services to the students of Purdue University.


The Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) informs and empowers students and graduates using transformative career services, innovative technologies and collaborative synergies to connect with professional opportunities within Indiana, the United States and the world.


A Change of Curricula (CODO) occurs when a Purdue West Lafayette student requests to transfer to a program in another college or school in the University. To prepare for a successful CODO, students should review and meet all of the requirements which have been set forth by each college, school or department for their program of interest.


A ceremony at which academic degrees or diplomas are awarded. Degrees are conferred three times a year.


A course or other requirement that a student must take at the same time as another course or requirement.


Course Reference Number (CRN) is a unique number assigned to a course that is used by students to register for the course.


A course means that a single course is offered for registration under two or more departments.

Dean's List

At the conclusion of each semester, the registrar will indicate which undergraduate students are scholastically eligible to be included on the Dean's List. To be cited on the Dean's List for any semester, one must have at least 12 hours included in the overall GPA, have at least 6 hours included in the semester GPA, attain at least a 3.5 overall GPA, and have at least a 3.0 current semester GPA.


Division of Financial Aid (DFA) helps students and families find ways to eliminate financial barriers to a Purdue education. DFA will walk you through learning about types of financial aid available, how to apply for aid, how to keep your aid and ways to manage your finances throughout the college experience.


An academic discipline or field of study is a branch of knowledge, taught and researched as part of higher education.

Distance Learning or Distance Education

nstruction which is not time- or place-specific; can include online courses, televised lectures, preplanned course materials etc.

Directory Information

Institutions may disclose the following information on a student without violating FERPA if the student has not restricted their information. Directory information includes: name, e-mail address, address (local & home), telephone number (local & home), college/school and curriculum, enrollment status and credit hour load, dates of attendance, classification, receipt or non-receipt of a degree, academic awards received (dean's list, honors students), participation in officially recognized activities, sports photograph and position, weight, and height of athletes.


The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is the office designated by Purdue to provide services, resources, and programs to facilitate equal access for disabled students, resulting in their full participation in curricular and co-curricular offerings.


Students may modify full semester courses (including changing times of sections) during the first week of the fall and spring semesters via myPurdue.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, is designed to protect the privacy of students' education records and personally identifiable information. This federal law spells out the rights of students and the responsibilities of educational institutions.

First-Generation Student

First-generation students are defined as those students that come from families where their parents or guardians did not complete a four-year college degree. First-generation students at Purdue represent over 20% of the undergraduate student body.

Full-time Student

A student enrolled in 12 or more semester hours per semester. Students must be enrolled full-time to receive most type of institutionally-funded financial assistance.


A grade of incomplete is a record of work that was interrupted by unavoidable absence or other causes beyond a student’s control, which work was passing at the time it was interrupted and the completion of which does not require the student to repeat the course in order to obtain credit. The incomplete grade is not to be used as a substitute for a failing grade.

Purdue IT

Information Technology at Purdue is the University’s central information technology organization responsible for Purdue’s major operational systems, the campus wired network and one of the world’s largest wireless networks. Purdue IT also supports dozens of student computing labs as well as tens of thousands of desktop computers in classrooms, research laboratories and offices, and numerous petabytes of storage for business, educational and personal use.


A web-based tool used to monitor academic progress toward degree completion. It combines Purdue University's degree requirements and the coursework that have been completed with easy-to-read worksheets. These worksheets will show how courses that have been completed count toward degree requirements and show what courses and requirements still need to be completed.


Course schedules often use single-letter abbreviations to indicate which days of the week a class meets. Those day are Monday (M), Tuesday (T), Wednesday (W), Thursday (R) and Friday (F).


The Office of the Dean of Students consists of nine specialized areas that include: Center for Advocacy, Response and Education, Counseling and Psychological Services, Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life, Off-Campus Housing, Parent & Family Connections, Student Health Services, Student Legal Services, and Student Rights and Responsibilities.

PAL 3.0

Wireless data network


Purdue’s vocal music department offers six choral ensembles and one handbell choir. Many marvel Purdue provides so much in the field of musical entertainment, as the university has no school of music.


Purdue Memorial Union


Purdue University ID number


A student who is enrolled in a course under this option has the same obligations as those who are enrolled in the course for credit with letter grade. When the instructor reports final grades in the course, he/she will report that any such student who would have earned a grade of A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, or C- has passed the course, and that any other such student has not passed. The registrar will make an appropriate notation on the student’s academic record in place of a letter grade, but will not use the course in computing GPA.


A course which the student must have satisfactorily completed prior to registering for the next desired course.


A student shall be placed on academic probation if his/her fall or spring semester or cumulative GPA at the end of any fall or spring semester is less than a 2.0.


The Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity is Purdue's chief academic officer, reporting directly to the president. The provost is responsible for all academic programs, academic strategy and priorities, faculty-related matters and student academic affairs.


Purdue University Student Health Center our staff of board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners that provide student-oriented primary care as well as ongoing care for chronic conditions. PUSH’s single-minded focus of protecting your health and wellness allows you to focus on your educational and personal goals.


Question, Persuade, Refer. The QPR mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training.


Resident Assistant (RA) facilitates the social, academic, and personal adjustment of students to the residence hall and University.


Students shall register during a prescribed period prior to the beginning of each semester or session. Registration for courses shall be accomplished in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the registrar.

Registration Hold

An electronic hold placed on a student’s record which will need to be addressed to allow a student to register for classes. Common reasons for holds are nonpayment of library fines, parking tickets, and residence hall bills, disciplinary action taken by the Office of the Dean of Students, poor scholastic performance and failure to meet immunization requirements. A hold may be removed only by the office which placed it, and students with a registration hold should contact the appropriate office for information regarding the nature of the hold and the steps necessary for its removal.


The college or university official who is responsible for registering students and keeping their academic records, such as transcripts.


A description, table of contents or outline of course content, outcome, requirements, textbooks, and assignments, provided by the instructor to his or her students.


A status earned by faculty members at Purdue after demonstrating a strong record of research, publishing, and teaching.


An official record of courses completed and grades earned by an individual student.


Virtual Summer Transition, Advising, and Registration - A virtual experience for students designed for students to learn more about academic requirements for their college, meet virtually with an academic advisor to discuss/plan for course pre-registration


Waitlist is a process where a student can “wait in line” electronically through to register for the closed class


The name given to dropping a course(s) after the university-designated add/drop period.


A financial aid program funded by the U.S. federal government that allows undergraduate or graduate students to work part time on campus or with approved off-campus employers. To participate in work-study, students must complete the FAFSA. In general, international students are not eligible for work-study positions.