CNR Student Services

CNR Advising
phone: (208) 885-5018
toll free: 88-88-UIDAHO
fax: (208) 885-5534
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1142
Moscow, ID 83844-1142
Glossary of terms-pink tree on U-Idaho campus

Glossary of Terms

You may come across some unfamiliar terms and phrases as you begin at the University of Idaho. Below is a brief glossary that may help you with terminology specific to the University of Idaho and higher education.

Academic Calendar: A calendar that lists important academic dates such has registration dates, drop/add dates, advising dates, University of Idaho holidays, etc. This calendar can be found on the University of Idaho registrar’s website. 

Academic Disqualification: Students on probation who earn a semester GPA below a 2.00 and their institutional cumulative GPA is also below 2.00. Disqualified students are not eligible to continue taking classes at the university without being reinstated by their college. 

Academic Probation: A student is placed on Academic Probation if their institutional cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0. Students on probation need to complete an academic plan and meet with their academic advisor. As long as a student’s semester GPA is above a 2.0, they will be allowed to continue on Academic Probation until their cumulative is high enough. If, at any time after being placed on probation, the student’s cumulative and semester GPA’s are both below a 2.0 they will be disqualified.

Academic term: Refers to the specific unit of time in which a course is taken. The University of Idaho operates on semesters (fall and spring), which are 15 weeks in length.


  • Academic: A professional who provides academic guidance for incoming students, currently enrolled degree-seeking students with no declared major, and refers students to appropriate campus services and resources; helps students plan semester schedules.
  • Faculty: Once a student completes their sophomore year they transition from an advisor in the Student Services Center, to a faculty advisor (transfer students will be advised by the Student Services Center for 1-2 semesters first, before transitioning to a faculty advisor). As students make preparations for graduation, faculty advisors are an especially valuable resource in planning for and discussing career opportunities and networking with potential employers.

Blackboard: Online course software that some professors use to deliver supplemental course materials and/or quizzes and tests. Contains tools that enhance your courses such as mail, chat and threaded discussions, student presentations, 24/7 access to grade and course information, online quizzes and exams.

Catalog, Undergraduate: Publication that contains general information about faculty, admissions, financial aid, student life activities, policies and procedures, course descriptions, degree requirements, etc. View catalog or it can be purchased at the University of Idaho Bookstore.

Chair or Department Head: The head of an academic department.

Change of Curriculum: A form that a student must fill out in order to change their major, add or drop a major, or add or drop a minor. 

Class Standing: Refers to the class rating (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) of undergraduates a student belongs to, which is based on the number of academic credits they have earned:
SENIORS / GRADUATE / LAW / WWAMI (90+ credits total completed plus in progress)
JUNIORS (58-89.9 credits total completed plus in progress)
SOPHOMORES (26-57.9 credits total completed plus in progress)
FRESHMEN (0-25.9 credits total completed plus in progress)

Co-requisite: Course(s) that must be taken concurrently.

Credit Hours: A unit of credit earned for taking a course for a period of time, usually for a semester. 

  • Attempted: Credit hours tallied for all enrolled classes beginning the first day of the semester and including those added during Drop/Add week; attempted hours may exceed earned hours.
  • Earned: Credit hours accumulated for all course work at the University of Idaho as well as approved transfer credit hours; excludes course credit hours for which a grade of 'F' was received. 

Dean: A college administrator who heads a specific college, overseeing degree programs and dealing with issues related to academic policy for his/her specific school. 

Dean’s List: Undergraduate students, enrolled in a minimum 12 graded credits, who attain a grade-point average of 3.50 for a given semester are placed on lists prepared for the college deans. These lists are publicized within UI and are distributed to news agencies.

Degree Audit: A specific accounting of remaining degree requirements as well as requirements completed and in progress for the student’s program of study. Reflects courses completed and in progress as they apply to institutional, general education, and major/minor requirements. VandalWeb login is required to access Degree Audit, and after login, it is located on the Student Menu.

Degree Requirements: Courses necessary for completion of a degree in a specific field. Some courses may count as credits toward your graduation requirements but not toward your major field. Your academic advisor can offer information and guidance.

Drop/Add: The process for dropping or adding classes within a specified period of time after initial enrollment. NOTE: Contact the Registrar's Office if dropping all courses. Once the VandalWeb (on-line access) deadline has passed, student must use a Add/Drop form to add or drop classes. Note that deadlines for full semester courses are different from courses that fall into the first or second eight-week part of the semester (which will have shorter deadlines). Additional information can be found on the registrar’s page. 

Email Account: Official college issued e-mail account provided by the University of Idaho to all students upon acceptance at the University of Idaho.

Elective: A course you may choose to take because of your academic or personal interest that may not count toward the general education requirements or your major or minor field. A limited number of electives are needed to meet general degree requirements. These courses are based on individual interests.

FERPA: Federal law (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) designed to provide students with greater access to, and control over, information contained in their educational records. It prohibits the release of information (other than directory information) without express written consent from the student. 

Financial Aid: Federal, state, college, and private programs which help students pay for college costs. Financial aid can be in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study programs. Additional College of Natural Resources scholarship information can be found here

Financial Aid Reinstatement: If a student does not meet the academic requirements set forth by the federal government and the University of Idaho, their financial aid becomes suspended and financial aid eligibility will need to be reestablished. Reasons for suspension may include: not maintaining a minimum GPA, not completing 67% of all attempted classes, and attempting more than 150% of credits required for the degree. Students receive notification from the financial aid office when their financial aid becomes suspended will need to meet with their academic advisor to discuss academic requirements and how they may be reinstated. 

General Education Requirements: Courses including English, math, science, history, social sciences, foreign language and humanities, which all students are required to complete for graduation; the backbone of a liberal arts and sciences education.

GPA: Grade point average; the average of your class grades, based on 4.0 scale.
  • Cumulative: Grade Point Average that includes all course work grades the student has completed at the University of Idaho.
  • Semester: Grade Point Average that includes only the course work grades the student has completed for a specific semester at the University of Idaho.
  • Transfer: Grade Point Average that includes all course work grades the student has completed from another college or university.

Graduating with Honors: Candidates for baccalaureate degrees are graduated with honors if they satisfy ONE of the following conditions. Note: Graduation with honors is determined at the point in time when the degree is posted to the student’s academic record based upon the student’s grade point average at that time. Grade corrections subsequent to the posting of the degree will be processed by the Registrar’s Office but will not impact the honors designation for the student. (1) Their cumulative UI grade-point averages would place them within the top 3 percent of graduates from their respective colleges over the preceding five years are graduated summa cum laude (with highest distinction) OR whose grade-point averages would place them within the top 6 percent (but below the top 3 percent) of graduates from their respective colleges over the preceding five years are graduated magna cum laude (with great distinction). OR whose grade-point averages would place them within the top 10 percent (but below the top 6 percent) of graduates from their respective colleges over the preceding five years are graduated cum laude (with distinction) (2) Both their cumulative UI grade-point averages AND their grade-point average from all sources (the overall GPA on Banner) are as specified in the three conditions specified in (1), and they have earned at least 32 credits in UI courses. No credits earned through correspondence study, bypassed courses, credit by examination, College Level Examination Program, experiential learning, or technical competence may be counted among these 56 or 32 credits. 

Honors Program: the University Honors Program (UHP) offers a stimulating course of study and the advantages of an enriched learning community for over 400 students from all colleges and majors. The UHP's diverse curriculum, including special topic courses and innovative seminars, serves a variety of needs and interests. Beyond the classroom, the program's extracurricular opportunities include concerts, plays, films, lectures, leadership retreats and other off-campus excursions that foster cultural enrichment, friendship, and learning. Admission to the program is selective and based on a correlation between high school GPA and an ACT or SAT score, and a two-page essay. Please visit the University Honors Program website for more information.

Interdisciplinary: Programs of courses using knowledge from two or more academic areas. Internship: A job in a student’s field of study that may include salary in addition to college credit.

Major: A student’s concentrated field of study in which she/he earns a degree.

Minor: A student’s secondary field of study outside the major discipline; a minimum 18 credit hours selected from a formally designated group are required. The student must formally declare the minor with the individual department to have the transcript reflect credit for work done in that minor.

National Student Exchange: The National Student Exchange (NSE) is a program for undergraduate exchange within the United States and Canada. Instead of crossing oceans, NSE students cross state, regional, provincial, and cultural borders.

Office Hours: In education, hours set aside by a professor/instructor to meet with the students. Generally posted on office doors. 

Program Lead: A faculty who oversees the administrative aspects of a particular program within the college. 

Prerequisite: A required beginning class that prepares students for more difficult classes. Course prerequisites can be found in the course description in the Undergraduate Catalog

Provisional admission: A freshman student receiving provisional admission has full admission status. Provisional status means that the student must complete 14 semester hours of baccalaureate-level courses during their first three (3) semesters at the University of Idaho. Twelve (12) of the 14 credits must be in four different categories of the university's general education requirements. Provisional students have three semesters to complete these requirements. If regular admission status is not achieved within three semesters, the student will be dismissed subject to the Admissions Committee's appeal procedures. Transfer students (with more than 14 transferable semester credits) admitted on provisional status must complete the first semester of their studies at the University of Idaho with a 2.0 GPA or higher. 

Registrar’s Office: Directs registration, maintains student transcripts, and performs other duties as assigned. The Registrar's Office also provides official student transcripts when requested by student; and evaluates course work taken by degree-seeking students at another institution for transfer credit to the University of Idaho. 

REU or Research Experience for Undergraduates: The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program.

State Board Core: Students who transfer from a U.S. regionally-accredited academic institution with an earned AA or AS degree have met the core requirements. Students who transfer from any U.S. regionally accredited academic institution who have completed the equivalent of Idaho's State Board of Education general education core (but have not completed an AA or AS degree) have satisfied the core requirements. However, these students must obtain certification of such completion from the transferring institution. 

Student Accounts: Handles payment of registration or academic fees.

Student ID:
Your student ID number is given on your letter of admission. It can be used to log in to the University of Idaho VandalWeb and also appears on your Vandal card. Your student ID number looks as follows: 999-99999 (include the hyphen).

Study Abroad: Programs where students go to school for some time in another country while making regular progress toward their degrees. Study abroad can often be done at no additional cost to the student except for airfare and personal expenses. Ask your advisor about these opportunities, or contact the International Programs office. 

Syllabus: A document that lists a course’s objectives and requirements along with subjects of lectures, reading assignments, due dates and an exam schedule. Each instructor distributes a syllabus at the beginning of the semester. 

Transcript: The permanent academic record of a student at the University of Idaho. It shows courses taken, grades received, academic status and honors received.

Undeclared: A term used to describe the state of not yet having chosen a major field of study; the opposite of having a declared major.

UI Core: The courses in the three categories below may be used toward the requirements in Communication; Natural and Applied Science; and Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science as specified in regulation J-3 in Part 3 of the general catalog.

Vandal Card: The official University of Idaho campus card used for identification, security, and access to campus facilities and services. Also features a discretionary spending account for use in the bookstore and for purchases in any campus food service location. 

VandalWeb: A computerized system set and maintained by the University of Idaho. Each student has an account within the system that allows for registration for classes, adjustment to semester schedule, ability to view course information, pay tuition bill online, ability to view personal and academic information such as grades, degree audit, unofficial transcripts and financial aid information. 

View Holds: View Holds is an option on the VandalWeb that lists any holds that students may have on their account. This can include an advisor hold, an accounts hold, and a probation hold, to name a few.

Withdrawal: The process for dropping one or all the student's classes after the drop/add period is over. Student needs to fill out paperwork and get official signatures. Simply not attending class does not officially withdraw student from class. Withdrawing from a class could change status from full time to part-time and withdrawing completely may take student off parents’ insurance. If receiving financial aid, student should report the change to a financial aid officer. The deadline for withdrawing without instructor permission is listed on the Registrar’s Web site. After the listed deadline date, the student must meet with Undergraduate Academic Services and provide documentation of mitigating circumstances. A student cannot withdraw after finals week has begun.