Term Definition
Academic Calendar The JMU academic calendar is based on the semester system. The unit of credit is the credit hour. A credit hour represents one 50-minute class period each week in the semester for lectures or two 50-minute class periods for each week in the semester for laboratory or fieldwork.
Academic Career A grouping of academic work undertaken by a student.
Academic Center or Institute (AIC) Academic institutes and centers (AIC) are administrative, organizational and/or budgetary units existing within the Academic Affairs Division of the university. Depending on their focus and breadth, an AIC may exist at the university, college or academic unit level. The AIC may be staffed by faculty members, staff members, and/or students, working together to achieve the research, instructional and outreach goals of the AIC. AICs may not offer courses or grant degrees.
Academic Program An instructional curriculum which leads to an undergraduate or graduate degree, or results in credits that can be applied to one of these degrees. A combination of courses and related activities organized for the attainment of broad educational objectives described by the institution.
Academic Unit Academic department or its functional equivalent, as identified by the Provost. Includes academic departments and schools, as well as programs that function independently from another academic unit, i.e., IDLS. Should be used when referring collectively to academic departments/schools/administrative programs.
Academic Unit Head A department head, school director, administrative program head or equivalent.
Academic Year The period of time generally extending from August to May, based on the first meeting date of fall semester classes and graduation. Usually equated to the two full fall and spring semesters.
Accrediting Agencies An external organization that provides quality assurance to educational programs by establishing standards and evaluating academic programs. A list of JMU's accrediting agencies is available online.
Add-on An individual who holds a teaching license may add an endorsement in specific areas to his/her license.
Admission Standards Some majors at JMU have admission or progression standards. Students must meet these standards to be fully admitted to the major. For information on admission standards, refer to University Advising.
Advanced Placement (AP) A program administered by the College Board through which a student can earn college-level credit for examinations taken in high school. A list of AP courses and required scores to receive JMU credit is online.
Anticipated Course Start Semester The semester and year that proposed curricular changes will in effect.
Anticipated Schedule of Offering The number and size of sections to be taught during a typical academic year for a proposed course.
Area of Emphasis A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. An area of emphasis may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for an area of emphasis does not require C&I approval and will not appear on a student's transcript. If accreditation agency language specifies the term "area of emphasis," that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.
Area of Interest A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. An area of interest may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for an area of interest does not require C&I approval (though individual courses require approval) and will not appear on a student's transcript. If accreditation agency language specifies the term "area of interest," that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.
Audit/Auditing (a class) Term used when a student elects to take a course but does not wish to receive credit for the course toward a degree or other formal award. In order to audit a class, a student must have the permission of his/her faculty adviser and the head of the academic unit offering the class. Audited courses will not affect a student's semester credit hours or grade point average.
Bachelor of Arts The B.A. is distinguished by its humanistic emphasis. Students who complete a B.A. may satisfy the B.A. degree requirements by taking courses that advance their understanding of human culture through analysis of ideas; perception of differences; appreciation of art and creative products through understanding art forms, beauty, and symmetry; knowledge of theories and principles of form, substance, argument and philosophy; understanding of the interaction between language and culture; achievement of linguistic competency in a second language.
Bachelor of Science The B.S. is distinguished by its scientific emphasis. Students who complete a B.S. may satisfy the B.S. degree requirements by taking courses that advance their understanding of the use of scientific analysis, experimentation and the application of scientific principles and facts in solving problems; understanding of the crucial role of mathematical reasoning; analysis and techniques in comprehending problems in the natural or social sciences.
Bachelor's degree An award (baccalaureate or equivalent degree, as determined by the U.S. Department of Education) that normally requires at least four years of full-time equivalent college-level work. A current list of bachelor's degrees offered by JMU is available online.
Capstone Capstone experiences for graduating seniors are designed to demonstrate comprehensive learning in the major through some type of product or experience. In addition to emphasizing work related to the major, capstone experiences can require students to demonstrate how well they have mastered important learning objectives from the institution's general studies program. The capstone experience is academic unit specific, in which The components and goals of each academic unit-specific program are laid out. Source: JMU Dictionary of Student Outcome Assessment.
Certificate A prescribed set or sequence of graduate courses that results in a student receiving a certificate issued by the university when the identified courses and experiences are completed satisfactorily and when all other conditions have been met in accordance with the definitions and policies governing certificates. Graduate certificates are administered through Outreach and Engagement. JMU does not offer undergraduate certificates.
CIP - Classification of Instruction Program Six-digit code that classifies instructional programs assigned by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. All majors and graduate programs have a CIP code.
Class Size Maximum number of students anticipated for a course. Each college determines the maximum number of students for their classrooms/labs.
Cluster Within General Education, a thematic group of courses or learning areas. Each cluster has established learning objectives. All five clusters must be completed by undergraduate students to satisfy their General Education requirements.
Cognate A set of courses associated with a major that is designed to complement other components of the student's course of study and to support selected professional goals. A cognate is not a required component of a program. A student does not have to formally declare a cognate and it will not appear on the transcript of record.
College An administrative organizational unit within the Academic Affairs Division of the university, as identified by the Provost.
Concentration A prescribed set of courses associated with a major or minor that is designed to focus a student's course of study according to interest and/or career goals. A concentration is not a required component of all majors and/or minors. The student must formally declare the concentration for it to appear on the transcript of record. The concentration will be noted on the transcript only after the student graduates.
Contact Hour 50 minutes, with 15 as the minimum number of weeks in a term, which gives a total of 750 minutes per credit hours per term. The lab experience is two contact hours per credit hour. Based on SCHEV regulation VAC 40-31-10.
Core A defined group of courses within a particular major or minor that is required of all students completing that major or minor.
Corequisite A requirement, typically a course, that must be taken at the same time as another requirement/course.
Course Component In PeopleSoft, a tab with course elements that are established through the C&I process. See the Registrar's website for details. 
Course Description Description of a specific course. 
Course Number Courses are assigned a three-digit course number. Undergraduate courses are numbered 100-499; master's level courses are numbered 500-799; doctoral courses are numbered 800-999.
Course Title (Long) The name of a course, which appears in MyMadison and the undergraduate or graduate catalog. The long course title does not appear on the transcript.
Course vs. Class A course is fully developed, numbered offering, such as ACTG 102. A class is each individual offering of a course, such as ACTG 102, section 0001.
Credential Defined as a specific aggregate of courses, completion of which is sufficient for licensing by the state to teach (or perform specific professional tasks) in the public school systems. No specific unit requirements are given for credentials generally; the curricular requirements are noted in the governing legislation as "competencies."
Credit Hour Represents one 50-minute class period each week in the semester for lectures or two 50-minute class periods each week in the semester for laboratory or fieldwork.In the development of courses, credit hours must be assigned in full numbers only.
Cross Disciplinary Academic offerings or units that extend over multiple academic units, typically across colleges. Contact the Office of Cross Disciplinary Studies and Diversity Engagement for additional information.
Cross-listed Course A course offered jointly by two or more academic programs that is assigned multiple subject identifiers, such as MATH/PHYS 105. Courses are not required to be cross-listed to share faculty or resources, or to be used within another academic program. 
Curriculum Preparation and implementation of academic programs and courses. Primarily used to refer to those courses required by the university for completion of a program of study.
Declared Students must specify the major which they plan to pursue by completing a Change or Declaration of Major form online. Some majors have additional requirements that must be completed before a student is fully admitted. For information on declaring or progressing in a major, see http://www.jmu.edu/advising/majors/
Degree A title conferred on students by the university on completion of a program of study.
Degree Requirements A formalized program of study specified by the university, the completion of which leads to a degree. JMU grants undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Degree vs Major Students receive a degree, such as a bachelor's degree, from the university. At the undergraduate level, as part of the degree, students must complete all requirements for the major, such as History.
Department An administrative organization within the university.
Distance Learning An option for earning course credit at off-campus locations via cable television, internet, satellite classes, videotapes, correspondence courses or other means.
Dual Credit A program through which high school students are enrolled in courses, taught at their high school, that fulfill high school graduation requirements and may earn the student college credits.
Dual-Level Course A course that is offered concurrently as the undergraduate and graduate levels, such as BIO 450/550. Dual-level courses must be no more than one level apart. The undergraduate and graduate sections of dual-level courses must have different descriptions and syllabi that indicate the differing requirements for each level course.
Early Action An admission plan that allows students to apply and be notified of an admission decision well in advance of the regular notification dates. If admitted, the candidate must submit a room or tuition deposit by May 1.
Elective A university course for which academic credit is earned toward the degree but is not specified in the requirements of a program.
Experimental Courses Courses that are offered on a temporary basis to assess student interest and refine course content. Experimental courses may be offered for up to two academic years (or four semesters) before undergoing the formal C&I process for course approval. Experimental courses must be proposed using the Experimental Course Proposal form and approved by an academic unit, the college and the Vice Provost for Academic Development. Courses are designated with an "E" (i.e., MATH 205E) and do not appear in the course catalog.
Faculty The Commonwealth of Virginia defines a faculty member as a nonclassified employee of an institution of higher education. For details on any faculty role, refer to the Faculty Handbook.
Focus A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. A focus may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for a focus does not require C&I approval (though individual courses require approval) and will not appear on a student's transcript. If accreditation agency language specifies the term "focus," that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.
Foundation Courses or academic knowledge deemed necessary by an academic program for beginning study of a discipline.
General Education A sequence of courses offered in five areas (Clusters) required by all undergraduate degrees at JMU.
Grade Point Average (GPA) A numerical indication of the final letter grades earned by a student. Computed for any period (semester, year, etc.) by dividing the number of quality points earned during that period by the number of credit hours attempted in that time period. A student's cumulative GPA is computed by dividing the total number of quality points earned at JMU by the total number of credit hours attempted at JMU.
Grading Option Specification of the type of grade that can be assigned to a course, which is determined at the catalog level.
Grading System The official record of a student's progress toward a university degree, available for student access through MyMadison, the online student information system.
Graduate Student A student who holds a bachelor's or first-professional degree or equivalent and is taking courses at the post-baccalaureate level. A student enrolled in a master's, educational specialist or doctoral program, not including candidates for first-professional degrees.
Instructor of Record The instructor with authority to enter final grades for a course. 
Lab Hours Two contact hours per credit hour. Based on SCHEV regulation VAC 40-31-10.
Licensure Program A set or sequence of courses and experiences required for a student to be eligible to obtain a license issued by an agency, group or professional organization (see Pre-Professional Licensure Programs).
Major A coherent set of required and elective courses approved by the Board of Visitors and meeting state criteria that, when completed by a student, signifies a degree of preparation in a field or fields of study. The credit hour requirements for the major are set by the respective colleges and academic units and may not consist of less than 30 hours. A student must formally declare a major. Each major is offered in an academic department.
Master's Degree An award that requires the successful completion of an established master's-level program of study beyond the bachelor's degree. For a list of master's degrees offered by JMU, refer to http://www.jmu.edu/grad.
Meets Degree Requirement For a curriculum proposal,  this field refers to courses that meet the B.A./B.S. degree requirements.
Minor A cohesive set of required and elective courses that, when completed by a student, connotes knowledge and skills in a discipline, region or topic area, but not at the depth of a major. The minor is designed for students who are not majoring in the same area and requires between 18-24 credit hours, as set by the respective academic unit and college. A student must formally declare the minor for it to appear on the transcript of record. A minor is not required for graduation. (Not offered at the graduate level).
Non-Credit Course A course or activity having no credit applicable toward a university degree. These programs are available for supplementing and updating knowledge, skills and abilities. JMU coordinates all non-credit instructional programs through Outreach and Engagement.
Off Campus Programs Academic programs that require instruction delivered off of JMU's main campus by any means.
On Campus Programs Academic programs that require instruction delivered on JMU's main campus.
Outreach and Engagement Outreach and Engagement offers credit and noncredit programs and targeted one-time courses, certificate programs, and complete degree programs at a distance.
Plan In MyMadison, an area of study, such as a major, minor or concentration, that is within an academic program or within an academic career.
Pre-Professional Advisory Program This program includes a set of recommended courses for students who wish to shape their undergraduate experience toward a related professional goal beyond the undergraduate degree, such as the pre-law. Pre-professional advisory programs appear on the transcript during a student's undergraduate career, but do not appear on the transcript after graduation.
Pre-Professional Licensure and Degree Program This program must be related to a student's major as part of a planned progress toward professional credentialing, such as the pre-professional teacher education programs. It creates a distinct set of knowledge or skills that qualify one to practice in a particular area or work in a specific field. This designation appears on the transcript.
Pre-Professional Programs A defined set of courses or course options and requirements that serve as prerequisites to upper or graduate-level professional program components or courses. A pre-professional program may coincide with a major, minor or concentration, or it may be comprised of courses from two or more disciplines and concentrations.
Preparatory Courses Courses that provide a base-level of academic knowledge required by a course or program that should be satisfied before full enrollment.
Prerequisite A requirement, typically a course, that must be taken before enrollment in another course. Prerequisites (if any) for a course are listed in the course catalog and MyMadison. Some prerequisites have their own prerequisites, forming a string of courses that must all be taken. The catalog course description shows the last course in the prerequisite string of courses.
Preview The first step in proposing a new program. As part of the preview process, the proposer must meet with the Associate Vice Provost for Cross Disciplinary Programs and Diversity Engagement to prepare information for review by the Provost's Leadership Team. A new program cannot begin the C&I process until it has completed the preview phase.
Professional Programs A defined group of courses or course options designed to prepare a student for a specific professional career, certificate or license. A professional program may coincide with a major, minor or concentration, or it may be comprised of courses from two or more disciplines and concentrations. The student must formally declare the professional program for it to appear on the transcript of record. The professional program will be noted on the transcript only after the student graduates.
Program of Study A course of study referring to any set of courses and experiences identified by the university as satisfying the requirements of a program or program component for a student or students. Also called an academic program.
Progression Standards Some majors at JMU have admission or progression standards. Students must meet these standards to be fully admitted to the major. For information on admission standards, see University Advising.
Resources Any financial, material or shared items or information required to implement or maintain academic programs or courses.
Short Course Title The abbreviated name of a course, limited to 30 characters, which appears on the transcript.
Specialization A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. A specialization may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for a specialization does not require C&I approval (though individual courses require approval) and will not appear on a student's transcript. If accreditation agency language specifies the term "specialization," that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.
Strategic Area A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. A strategic area may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for a strategic area does not require C&I approval (though individual courses require approval) and will not appear on a student's transcript. If accreditation agency language specifies the term "strategic area," that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.
Study Abroad Arrangement by which a student completes part of the college program studying in another country. Can be at a campus abroad or through a cooperative agreement with some other U.S. college or an institution of another country.
Subject Identifier A three to four character course designator, such as ENG (for English) or JUST (for justice studies). 
Subplan Within MyMadison, areas of further specialization within academic plans and tied to academic plans, such as a concentration or specialization (graduate).
Syllabus A grouping of requirements specifying the information students receive from their instructors regarding a course. Elements required by JMU are available online.
Teacher Certification Program A program designed to prepare students to meet the requirements for certification as teachers in elementary, middle/junior high and secondary schools.
Track A prescribed set of courses within a concentration. A track is not a required component of a concentration. A student does not have to formally declare a track and it will not appear on the transcript of record.
Transfer of Credit The policies and procedures used to determine the extent to which educational experiences or courses undertaken by a student while attending another institution may be counted for credit at the current institution.
Undergraduate A student enrolled in a four- or five-year bachelor's degree program, an associate's degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate.
Unit of Credit The unit of credit used by JMU is the credit hour.

Updated 1.29.18

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