Glossary of SJSU Terms

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This glossary is a list of terms commonly used on the SJSU campus. Search the glossary by pressing "Ctrl" and "F" (Apple-F on a Mac) on your keyboard together. Can't find what you're looking for? Send us feedback!

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M

N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Academic Renewal

The former term Academic Renewal (prior to Fall 2009) is now Grade Forgiveness.

Academic Renewal (previously Disregard of Previous Semesters' Work prior to Fall 2009)

In accordance with Executive Order 213, Academic Renewal, undergraduate students may petition for removal of previous term(s) work from degree consideration. SJSU may disregard up to two semesters of course work when such action will permit the student to graduate with a baccalaureate degree without further matriculation. For more information, refer to the SJSU Catalog Academic Regulations webpage.


A test taken (usually) in High School. One of these tests' scores must be submitted to SJSU by incoming Freshmen and transfers with less than 60 semester units to be considered for admission.

Add Code

Also called a permission number. A series of numbers given to students by instructors to allow a student to add a class after the class has already started.

Advanced Placement (AP)

AP tests are taken in High School, and depending on the score received and the course subject, college credit may be given for each score of three or higher submitted.


Assistance given by trained faculty, staff or mentors in matters relating to an academic career. Visit our Advisor/Counselor Contact Informaiton webpage for information on advising at SJSU.

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Alternative Media Center

The DRC provides academically related material in alternative formats for students who are registered with the center and who have been deemed eligible. The Alternative Media Center is a part of the new Emma E. Legg Adaptive Technology Center located in the King Library.


An alumnus (male) or alumna (female) of San José State is someone who has graduated from SJSU. "Alumni" is the plural form. SJSU has an Alumni Association for students to stay involved after they graduate.

American Institutions Requirement

Part of the general education requirements, which includes 3 areas: U.S. History, U.S. Constitution, California State and Local Government. Refer to the schedule of classes GE Requirements and Courses webpage for more information.

Area of Interest/Specialization

Study in a specific topic within your major. For a list of specializations, please refer to the online SJSU degree list. Also see Concentration and Specialization.


Articulation at SJSU refers to the process of comparing content from courses taken at another institution to courses at SJSU to see which, if any, can be used for SJSU degree requirements. SJSU has transfer course agreements with over 130 California schools. Visit the SJSU Articulation website for more information.

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The Academic Support Program for Increased Retention in Education (ASPIRE) program provides eligible students with comprehensive academic support services designed to strengthen learning skills. Under federal guidelines, students qualify for ASPIRE if they are low income, first generation in college (neither parent has a degree from an accredited four-year U.S. college or university), or registered with a disability hindering academic performance. Visit the ASPIRE website for more information.

Associate's Degrees (A.A., A.S.)

A degree granted upon completion of a program of at least two years in length at an institution of higher education. SJSU does not grant Associate's Degrees.

Associated Students

The Associated Students of San José State University are the students' voice on campus regarding fees, academic excellence and non-academic services as well as the center of student activism and representation regarding student life and shared governance.


SJSU has many sports teams. Visit the SJSU Athletics website for more information about joining a team or catching a game.

Audit (AU)

An auditor is a student who registered for a course without credit and without obligation to do work assigned to the class. Enrollment as an auditor is subject to the permission of the instructor, and shall be permitted only after students otherwise eligible to enroll on a credit basis have had an opportunity to do so. Eligible students may choose this option by turning in the audit form available at the Student Services Center prior to the last day to add during the late registration period. See the SJSU Catalog Grades webpage for more information.

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Baccalaureate - Refers to the Bachelor's Degree.

Bachelor's Degree (B.A., B.S., B.F.A.)

A degree award requiring completion of at least four years full time college level work (or the equivalent) in a specific field of study, which meets the degree granting institution's standards and additional requirements. SJSU grants the Bachelor's Degrees listed on the SJSU degree webpage.

BSAC (Business Student Advisement Center)

The Business Student Advisement Center is the central advisement office for all undergraduate and 2 nd baccalaureate business majors. BSAC provides information regarding academic planning (includes general education and major course requirements), college and university policies and procedures, advice for students on probation and those who have been academically disqualified from the university, and graduation.


A Business Officer, or Custodian of University Funds. The Bursar's Office is responsible for the billing and collection of tuition, fees, campus housing and other university related charges. The Bursar is located in the Student Services Center.

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Cafeteria (Old Cafeteria Building)

The Old Cafeterial Building is located to the west of the Student Union. This building houses the AS Print Shop, the University Room, eateries, and the Student Life & Leadership Office, where you can learn about student clubs and organizations.

Campus Village

The Campus Village opened in the Fall 2005. It offers a First Year Experience residence hall for Freshman, an apartment building for upper division students, and a faculty/staff apartment building. The Campus Village is located on the south-east corner of campus, and is a short walking distance to classes, and Downtown San José.

CAN (California Articulation Number)

The CAN system provides a cross-reference number or course identification for courses which are acceptable "in lieu of" comparable courses at participating California colleges and universities. These courses will be acceptable as equivalent in content and scope to identically designated CAN courses at transfer institutions and will satisfy comparable degree requirements at all participating campuses in California.

Career Center

The Career Center houses Career Consultants to help you in making career-planning decisions and marketing your skills to employers. The staff at the Career Center are able to help you in your quest to find a suitable major and occupation to go into after graduation. They also have tools to help you find a job during and after your university career. The Career Center can only help you choose classes in relation to preparation for your career choices, and does not provide academic advising.


Printed information about all things having to do with SJSU including policies and requirements for which students are responsible. There is a new printed copy of the SJSU catalog every two years, and can be purchased at the SJSU bookstore. The same information (although updated as the information changes) is also online at the SJSU Catalog webpage.

Catalog Rights

In general, students may follow the Undergraduate Degree Requirements listed in the SJSU catalog from the academic year they began their most recent term of continuous attendance. Students may also elect to use the catalog from their most recent admittance to SJSU or from their year of graduation. - As per the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 40401. For more information, see our Graduation Requirements webpage.

Chairperson (sometimes referred to as Chairman or Chair)

An administrator in academic departments on the SJSU campus.

Child Development Center

Since its founding in 1972, the Child Development Center has been providing high quality child care for the children of students at SJSU. The mission of the Center is to support the academic mission of San José State University by providing care for the pre-school age children of student parents, thus enabling the parents to fulfill their educational goals.

The Center is licensed by the California Department of Social Services and operates under guidelines established by the California Department of Education Child Development Division. The Center offers flexible scheduling to fit the needs of students for Fall and Spring semesters in a location close to campus. (Children of faculty and staff are accommodated when space allows.)

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Class Level

  • Freshman - 0 to 29.5 units completed
  • Sophomore - 30 to 59.5 units completed
  • Junior - 60 to 89.5 units completed
  • Senior - 90 or more units completed

Clear Standing

For undergraduate students, the state of maintaining a GPA of at least a 2.00 (C average) in SJSU and overall college work.

CME Society

The CME Society is a network of support services and programs for current and former foster youth who want to complete their college education at San José State University.


All the many activities and experiences that students participate in outside the classroom. These tend to complement, enhance and support the academic experience.


An academic unit of SJSU. San José State has seven colleges which house all major and minor departments.

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The College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College-Level Examination Program¨ (CLEP) is a set of 34 exams. Qualifying scores can be sent to San José State in order to waive certain introductory classes. For more information about qualifying exams and scores, refer to the SJSU Catalog Credit by Examination webpage. To find where to take a CLEP exam, please visit the CLEP Test Center Search webpage.


At SJSU, the commencement refers to the graduation ceremony in the Spring of each academic year.

Community College

A post secondary institution authorized to give associate degrees and certificates as well as offer a variety of both credit and non-credit learning experiences. Programs include the liberal arts, technical studies and enrichment opportunities.


Study in a specific topic within your major. For a list of concentrations, please refer to the online SJSU degree list. Also see Area of Interest and Specialization.

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Continuous Attendance

As per the California Code of Regulations, a student has maintained continuous attendance if he/she has been enrolled for at least one fall or spring semester throughout his/her academic career at any CSU campus, at any California community college, or any combination of California community colleges and campuses of The California State University.

Concurrent Enrollment

Students who have completed one Fall or Spring semester at SJSU and are in good academic standing may be eligible to enroll concurrently at one of our 22 CSU sister campuses for one term of academic work. For more information, refer to the Office of the Registrar's website.

Core GE

A set of courses that broaden students' education. Refer to the GE Information page for more information.


A course which must be taken at the same time as another course.

Counseling Services

Counselors at the Counseling Services Center assist students with personal, educational and psychiatric/psychological issues that may arise during your SJSU career.

Educational Counselors can help you with a variety of academic concerns, including but not limited to:

  • Adjusting to the university environment and academic expectations.
  • Improving study skills.
  • Choosing an appropriate major for long-term goals.
  • Enhancing individual learning style.
  • Overcoming academic difficulties and improving academic performance.
  • Utilizing better time management skills to accomplish priorities.

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Course Load

Refers to the number of units/credits a student takes per semester. Twelve units is considered full-time; most students take approximately 15 units per semester.


Individuals who want to teach in elementary school in California must earn a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Individuals who want to teach in high school in California must earn a Single Subject Teaching Credential. Individuals who want to teach special education students in California must earn an Education Specialist Instruction Credential. SJSU offers many credential programs. Visit the College of Education website for more information.


A student may elect to take a limited number of courses as credit/no credit. Eligible students may choose this option by turning in the CR/NC option form, available at the Office of the Registrar's Form webpage, by the add deadline. Credit = A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C; No Credit = C-, D+, D, D-, F, WU. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Grades webpage for more information.


The term credit is usually interchangeable with the term unit. You receive credit (aka units) for a class you have passed. Credit can also refer to a grade (CR). See CR/NC above.

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Credit by Evaluation

Credit given by SJSU for equivalent coursework that has been transferred in from other accredited institutions.

Credit by Examination

A process by which certain classes may be granted credit by approved examinations (e.g. CLEP).

Cross Enrollment

If you are a California resident currently enrolled at SJSU, you may be eligible to enroll in one undergraduate course per academic term at a participating University of California campus or California Community College. For more information, refer to the Office of the Registrar's cross enrollment website.

Cumulative GPA

Your cumulative GPA is a numerical average of all the grades you've received from SJSU. It is not the same as your term GPA.


Curricular refers to the academic, or course, related aspects of the university experience.

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The Dean is the person who is academically and administratively responsible for a College or other large academic unit.

Dean's List

Students on the Dean's List have a GPA of 3.5 or better.

Degree Progress Report (aka Degree Audit)

The Degree Progress Report, linked at MySJSU, allows students, advisors, and evaluators to determine which requirements a student has satisfied and which requirements are still needed. The progress report matches academic requirements (university and major) against a student's individual academic record. For instructions on how to access your degree progress report, see this CMS Help webpage.

Departmental Honors

Some departments offer honors programs for students in their major. Check with your major department to determine whether it is an option for you.

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Developmental Courses

Also called remedial courses. Students are required to take remedial English and Math courses if they do not score high enough on the ELM and/or EPT, the Math and English placement tests, to place into college level Math and English.


Your diploma is the document you receive after graduation, which certifies the successful completion of a course of study.

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is a comprehensive center, which aims to deliver services and promote access for students with disabilities in the classroom and throughout the campus. Students must visit the DRC, in the Admin Building, in order to receive any necessary accommodations.

Disqualification (DQ)

Undergraduate and graduate students are disqualified when, after being on probation, they drop below a specified SJSU GPA for their class level. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Disqualification and Probation webpage for more information. A disqualified student may not register as a regular student the following semester, although they may attend Open University.

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Distance Education

Any course in which the instructor and student do not share the same space in the learning environment. Most often distance education courses are taken online. SJSU's online courses are offered through eCampus.


SJSU not only values the diversity found here (e.g. age, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation), but seeks to support and nurture an environment welcoming to all. (from the WASC Accreditation webpage)

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Double Major

Students may elect to complete the coursework of two majors at once. Visit the department advisors for both majors for more information about completing a double major.

Drop Deadline

The deadline date by which all drops must be made without having a W on your transcript. To find a drop date, refer to the current schedule of classes calendar.


A shortened version of disqualification. See above for disqualification entry.

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Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

The Educational Opportunity Program is designed to improve access and retention of historically low-income and educationally disadvantaged students. You must apply for EOP. EOP helps smooth the transition from high school or community college to San José State University by providing:

  • Orientation services and information about the campus and the university
  • Assistance with scheduling classes
  • Exploration of career/major objectives
  • Resolution of personal concerns which affect academic progress
  • Academic assistance and support such as tutoring and study skills workshops
  • A summer enrichment program prior to the fall semester for eligible students
  • Graduate school planning and guidance for EOP juniors and seniors


Elective courses are generally classes you take that do not fulfill any requirements for General Education, your major or minor. You may be allowed to take elective classes (classes you choose) for your major. See your major advisor to find out if you are eligible to take elective classes.


All new students who do not show proof of exemption must take the Entry Level Math (ELM) and English Placement Test (EPT) and the results must be available before they will be allowed to enroll in courses. These tests are placement tools and have no bearing on eligibility for admission to the university. If you are unhappy with your ELM score, you may retake the test. However, the EPT can only be taken one time.

Excess Units

Undergraduate students can enroll for 18 or more units under the following conditions (units above 17 must be added after the start of classes.)

  • The student's major department chair, or program advisor, may approve programs to 18 units for students in good standing if the excess is essential to arrange a program.
  • Students with exceptional scholastic records, and/or with unusual need for programs in excess of 18 units, may submit a petition for excess units to the Student Services Center during the first three weeks of Advance Registration if their GPA is 3.0 or higher. The petition must be signed by a major advisor if the GPA is between 2.0 and 3.0. Petitions and information are available at the Student Services Center or at the Office of the Registrar's Form webpage.

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The members of the teaching staff at SJSU.


Free Application for Federal Student Aid - for information, go to This must be completed by all students applying for Financial Aid.

Federal Work Study

The Federal Work Study program allows SJSU students to gain valuable work experience while they earn money to help pay for college. A student must have applied for Financial Aid to be qualified to receive this award.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 helps protect the privacy of student records. The Act provides for the right to inspect and review educational records, to seek to amend those records, and to limit disclosure of information from the records. The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding.

Final Exam

A cumulative exam, taken at the end of a term, encompassing all material covered in a particular course.

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Financial Aid

An office on campus whose goal is to help students find the funding they need to afford a college education. See the Financial Aid & Scholarship Office's glossary for terms related to financial aid.

Former Student Returning (FSR)

Former students in good standing who plan to return after an absence of more than one semester must submit a new admission application at CSU Mentor. The application fee is required if they were not enrolled in either of the two semesters prior to the semester in which they are seeking admission or if they were enrolled in another institution during their absence from the university. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Policy webpage (click on Readmission) for more information.


"A local or national organization of male students, primarily for social purposes, usually with secret initiation and rites and a name composed of two or three Greek letters." -From To find more information about Fraternities and Sororities on campus, visit the SJSU webpage dedicated to Greek Life.


Students who have completed less than 30 semester units are classified as Freshmen.

Full Time Student

An undergraduate student must be enrolled in at least 12 units each semester to be considered a full time student.

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GE Advisor

GE Advisors in the Academic Advising & Retention Services advise students on which classes they are required to take for their General Education Requirements. They do not advise students on their major coursework.

General Education Program

The SJSU General Education Program incorporates the development of skills, the acquisition of knowledge, and the integration of knowledge through the study of facts, issues, and ideas. Regardless of major, all who earn undergraduate degrees should share common educational experiences, as they become university scholars. For more information, refer to our GE Information webpage.

Grade Forgiveness (formerly Academic Renewal prior to Fall 2009)

The process of taking a class over again for a better grade after receiving a C-, D+, D, D-, F, IC or WU the first time. The first grade will be excluded from the student's GPA. The option to repeat a course for Grade Forgiveness is subject to space in the course after the close of the advanced registration and open enrollment periods. To add a course for Grade Forgiveness, a student must:

  1. Obtain an add code from the instructor.
  2. Add the course online at

For more information, please refer to the SJSU Catalog Academic Regulations webpage and click on Repeating Courses.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The numerical average of graded coursework attempted within a particular level (undergraduate, graduate). Refer to the SJSU Catalog Grading System webpage (click on Grade Point Average) for more information.

Grade Point Scale

The chart below is a 4.0 grading point scale, which represents the numerical value of grades.

A+ = 4.0 A = 4.0 A- = 3.7
B+ = 3.3 B = 3.0 B- = 2.7
C+ = 2.3 C = 2.0 C- = 1.7
D+ = 1.3 D = 1.0 D- = 0.7

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Grade Points

Points earned with letter grades used in establishing your GPA. To calculate grade points: take the numerical value of the letter grade received and multiply it by the unit value. This number represents "Grade Points". Example: The letter grade of C in a 3 unit class is worth a numerical value of 2.0. Therefore, multiplying the numerical value of C (2.0) by the unit value of the course taken, 3 units, equates to 6 grade points.

Graduate Student

A student who holds a bachelor's or first-professional degree and is taking courses toward an advanced degree such as a Master's or Doctoral Degree. Examples of graduate degrees include:

  • EdD Ð Doctor of Education
  • MA Ð Master of Arts
  • MBA Ð Master of Business Administration
  • MS Ð Master of Science
  • MFA Ð Master of Fine Art
  • MLIS Ð Master of Library and Information Science
  • MPA Ð Master of Public Administration
  • MPH Ð Master of Public Health
  • MTM Ð Master of Transportation Management
  • MSW Ð Master of Social Work
  • California Teaching Credentials

Greek Life

Campus organizations that include Fraternities and Sororities. A list of Fraternities and Sororities can be found at:

Green Sheet

A green sheet (AKA syllabus) is an outline of a course's requirements distributed by a professor on the first day of class.

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Help Desk, CMS

The CMS Help Desk provides front line IT support to Faculty, Staff and Students of the university.


Holds on student accounts and records will prevent students from registering. Students should periodically check for holds at Follow the instructions on how to clear them. For more information about common holds, refer to the SJSU Catalog Registration Hold webpage.


There are several different honors programs and designations at SJSU to recognize and encourage superior academic achievement of SJSU undergraduate students. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Undergraduate Graduation webpage for more information.

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The International House is a co-ed residence for 70 US and International students attending San José State University. The House is located within 5 minutes walk of the SJSU campus and is a large, comfortable home with friendly interaction among students of many cultures.


The CSU designates programs as impacted when more applications from CSU regularly eligible students are received in the initial filing period (October and November for fall terms and August for spring terms) than can be accommodated. For more information, please visit the CSU Impacted Program webpage.

Incomplete ("I" Grade)

The symbol "I" (Incomplete Authorized) indicates that a portion of required course work has not been completed and evaluated in the prescribed time period due to unforeseen, but fully justified, reasons and that there is still a possibility of earning credit. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Grades webpage for more information.

Incomplete Charged ("IC" grade) -

Failure to complete the assigned work within the established calendar year period for an “I” grade will result in an automatic grade change to an “IC” grade which calculates as an “F” grade. For more information, please see the SJSU Catalog Grades webpage.

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Intercollegiate Athletics

The Spartan official sports teams. For more information, visit the SJSU Athletics website.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

A set of exams which, depending on the exam and the score, may grant students up to six semester units of lower division baccalaureate credit. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Credit By Examination webpage for more information.


Internships allow you to:

  • Gain practical work experience in your major
  • Explore and expand your skills
  • Develop interpersonal and communication skills
  • Make valuable professional contacts

For more information about internships, visit the Career Center.

Intramural Sports

Sports leagues available to all students, faculty, and staff and spouses on campus put on by Associated Students. For more information, visit the campus recreation webpage.

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Students who have earned a total of 30 through 59 semester units are classified as Juniors.

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The department for students enthused about some form of human movement: physical activity in general, physical fitness, exercise, sports, or wellness. This department also houses classes for physical education.

KSJS 90.5 FM

A campus radio station.

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The Learning Assistance Resource Center is designed to assist students in the development of their full academic potential and to motivate them to become self-directed learners. The center provides support services, such as skills assessment, individual or group tutorials, subject advising, learning assistance, summer academic preparation and basic skills development.

Late Add/Late Registration

Students may add courses after the add deadline with a fee penalty. For more information, refer to the SJSU Catalog Policies webpage (click on Registration, then Late Registration Fee Assessed).

Late Drop

Students may petition to Late Drop for serious and compelling reasons after the drop deadline (Check the official academic calendar to verify the date. A quick link is available on ). Reasons must be documented. For more information, refer to the Late Drop Policy.

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Leave of Absence

There are two types of the "Leave of Absence":

  • One Semester Leave: Students who have attended at least one semester as a matriculated student and who are in good or probation standing may choose to leave SJSU for one semester (Fall or Spring) without submission of a Leave of Absence form. Students choosing this option must return the following semester and continue their enrollment as a matriculated student.
  • A Planned Student Educational Leave permits a student to be absent from regular attendance for one or more terms while maintaining continuing enrollment status. Applicants must have an intention to return to formal study within a specified period and a plan for how the time is to be spent in relation to an educational objective.

For more information, refer to the SJSU Catalog Policies webpage (click on Leave of Absence).


Linguistics and Language Development. These courses are considered remedial English. Students are placed in these courses if they do not pass the English Placement Test (EPT).

Lower Division

Lower division (freshman and sophomore) courses are numbered 1-99 and cannot be used for credit in graduate or credential programs.

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The subject or area of study in which a student concentrates.

Major Advisor

An advisor in a student's major department who shows students which courses to take for their major.

Master's Degrees

A degree awarded for successful completion of a program generally requiring 1 or 2 years of full-time college-level study beyond the bachelor's degree. Examples include, but are not limited to Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Matriculated Students

Matriculated students are those who have been admitted to SJSU as regular students for the current semester or were registered as matriculated students in at least one of the two previous semesters and did not graduate.

McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program provides resources to students who hope to pursue graduate study at the doctoral level.

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Mediation Center

The Mediation Center provides dispute resolution services for SJSU students experiencing a conflict with another student, friend, family member, roommate, classmate, significant other, landlord, or a member of the university faculty or staff.


At the mid point of each semester, instructors generally give midterm exams which cover the material learned in the first half of class.


A minor may be required or recommended at the option of the major department. A student may also elect to complete a minor. The minimum criterion for any minor must be 12 units of course work completely distinct and separate from the course work in one's major. For more information, refer to the SJSU Catalog Policies webpage (click on Degree Requirements, then Minors).

MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center

The MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center provides a safe, educational environment fostering personal growth and development for all SJSU students, faculty, and staff.

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MySJSU is a portal for all students to use from application to graduation. Students and applicants for admission can use MySJSU to view application status, check their to-do list and messages, update personal data, add/drop classes, view financial aid status, pay fees and view grades. Student employees can use MySJSU to enter hours worked and have it approved by their managers.


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"The University Ombudsperson is an impartial party appointed to receive complaints, provide information, facilitate communication, and offer conflict resolution between students and members of the university community (students, faculty, staff and administrators). The Ombudsperson is not an advocate and does not take sides in a dispute." - From the Ombudsperson's Website.

Open University

"San José State University's OpenUniversity program lets you enroll in regular curriculum university classes on a space-available basis. There is no formal admission to the university. Registration is easy Ð you can usually confirm your space in class at the first meeting." - From the Open University website.


SJSU is pleased to offer a 1 ? day orientation program designed for freshmen and a one day recommended program for parents. This overnight program will help make the transition to college easier for you. Frosh Orientation is delivered and maintained by Academic Advising and Retention Services and Student Involvement. For more information, please refer to the Orientation website.

Over 60 Program

"If you are a California resident who is at least 60 years of age, you may qualify for a fee waiver that will exempt you from payment of the admission application fee and most registration fees. You would be open to attending any regular class for which you have the prerequisites completed; on a space-available basis. You could work towards a graduate or undergraduate degree, for credit or not; it is your choice. You would also have access to counseling and support services from SJSU's Counseling Services office." - From the Over 60 Waiver webpage.

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Part-Time Student

Generally, a part-time student is any student who takes less than 12 units per semester. Refer to the Office of the Registrar's Enrollment Status webpage for more information.

Peer Mentor

Peer Mentors are part of MUSE, and are trained undergraduates who help first year students to succeed at SJSU. Mentors serve as role models, will help with a variety of workshops, and some will work in the MUSE classroom by facilitating discussions on academic coping skills (such as how to approach assignments and use technology) and other student concerns (such as parking, finding resources on campus and making friends). For more information, refer to the Peer Mentor website.


Taken from SJSU's Policy on Plagiarism:

At SJSU plagiarism is the act of representing the work of another as one's own (without giving appropriate credit) regardless of how that work was obtained, and submitting it to fulfill academic requirements. Plagiarism at SJSU includes but is not limited to:

  • The act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts thereof, or the specific substance of another's work, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one's own work; and
  • Representing another's artistic/scholarly works such as musical compositions, computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures or similar works as one's own.

Planned StudentEducational Leave

A Planned Student Educational Leave permits a student to be absent from regular attendance for one or more terms while maintaining continuing enrollment status. Applicants must have an intention to return to formal study within a specified period and a plan for how the time is to be spent in relation to an educational objective. For more information, refer to the SJSU Catalog Policies webpage (click on Leave of Absence).

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A student who has already graduated with a Bachelor's Degree, but has come back for additional undergraduate study. For more information, see the Admissions website (click on Admission--Post-baccalaureate).

Pre-professional programs

Several sources of information and assistance are available for students who plan to enter the professions of art administration, dentistry, medicine, law, pharmacy, optometry, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, social work and theology. General information, including names and locations of faculty members who have been designated as "pre-professional" advisors, may be obtained from the appropriate academic department office. Refer to the Admissions Pre-Professional Studies webpage for more information.


A prerequisite course is one that is required to be taken and passed before a more advanced course. For example, MATH 31 is a prerequisite for MATH 32.


President Jon Whitmore is our newest University President. The President is the highest ranking officer within the University.

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Print Shop

The A.S. Print Shop is a self-supporting service of the Associated Students, SJSU. Their mission is to provide students, faculty and staff printing and copying services. These services support the academic and administrative needs of the SJSU community.


An undergraduate student is placed on academic probation if the SJSU cumulative grade point average falls below a "C" average (2.0). Refer to the SJSU Catalog Disqualification and Probation webpage for more information.

Professional Degree

A Degree sought after obtaining a Bachelor's Degree, in fields such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or law. This webpage provides a list of designations (for example: MD, OD, etc.) after a persons name and what they stand for.

Provisional Admission

San José State University may provisionally admit first-time freshman applicants based on their academic preparation through the junior year of high school and planned for the senior year. Also, San José State University may provisionally or conditionally admit transfer applicants based on their academic preparation and courses planned for completion. Refer to the Admissions Status webpage for more information.


The Provost is the chief academic officer of the University and has responsibility for the University's academic programs, personnel, resources and support services.

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The process of re-applying to SJSU after having already been a student. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Policies webpage (click on Readmission) for more information.


The Office of the Registrar is responsible for student records. They help students with transcripts and enrollment and GPA verification.

Registration Priority

Current work-in-progress is used to determine class level for registration purposes. All priority groups are approved by the Enrollment Committee of the Academic Senate. Refer to the schedule of classes Registration webpage (click on Who Gets Registration Priority) to view the current group priorities.


A process that occurs after a student has been disqualified in order to return to SJSU as a regular student. Students who wish to be reinstated following disqualification must see their graduate advisor to develop a program of study appropriate to their proposed major for coursework to be taken through San José State University Extended Studies Winter Session or Open University. For more information, refer to the SJSU Catalog DQ and Probation webpage (click on Reinstatement & Readmission).

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Repeating a Course

See Grade Forgiveness above.


Residency refers to students who are residents of California for tuition purposes.


Retention at SJSU refers to the rate at which students continue enrollment from acceptance to SJSU through graduation.

Report in Progress ("RP" grade)

The symbol indicates that work in progress has been evaluated as satisfactory to date, but that the assignment of a final grade must await the completion of additional course work. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Grades webpage for more information.

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Safety Report

The Annual Safety Report is a report created yearly by the University Police Department which is meant to dissemination about campus safety and gives statistics of campus crime.


Freshman and transfer applicants who have fewer than 60 semester or 90 quarter units of transferable college credit must submit scores, unless exempt. For more information, refer to the Admissions Frosh Requirements webpage.

Schedule of Classes

You can find real-time, updated class availability each semester at the mySJSU webpage. For an HTML or PDF view the schedule of classes, refer to the schedule of classes website.


A scholarship is financial aid given to a student on the basis of academic merit, and is not expected to be repaid.

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SJSU is on the semester system, meaning there are two main terms each school year: Fall and Spring. Each of SJSU's semesters are 15 weeks long with one additional week at the end for Final Exams. There are also schools on the quarter system, which have three main terms per school year. For more information, refer to the academic calendar.

Semester Leave

Students who have attended at least one semester as a matriculated student and who are in good or probation standing may choose to leave SJSU for one semester (Fall or Spring) without submission of a Leave of Absence form. Students choosing this option must return the following semester and continue their enrollment as a matriculated student. For more information, refer to the SJSU Catalog Policies webpage (click on Leave of Absence).


Students who have earned 90 semester units or more are classified as Seniors.

Service Learning

The Center for Service Learning on campus has been renamed to The Center for Community Learning & Leadership. Community learning is a teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that are directly related to course content.

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SJSU Studies

Formerly Advanced GE. Students must complete 12 units of upper division general education courses called SJSU Studies. These include areas R, S, V & Z. Refer to the SJSU Catalog GE for more information.


Students who have earned a total of 30 through 59 semester units are classified as Sophomores.


A Greek social organization for women, organized around a shared set of values and ideals.


The Spartan is SJSU's mascot. Wikipedia has a great explanation of the history behind the SJSU Spartans.

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Special Major

The Special Major is an individually designed course of study leading to a BA or BS degree when an existing university-level SJSU undergraduate degree major does not adequately accommodate academic professional aims.

Special Session

Although Special Session students may require formal admission and earn degrees like regular students, Special Session degree/certificate/credential programs have an alternative fee structure that only includes course fees and excludes all other fees. Only certain programs offer classes through the Special Session. For more information, see the Special Session website.

Specialization/Area of Interest

Study in a specific topic within your major. For a list of specializations, please refer to the online SJSU degree list. Also see Area of Interest and Concentration.


Step-To-College is a California State University program designed to foster collaboration between universities and high schools to increase high school matriculation to college. In addition, this program gives exceptional students the opportunity to experience the college environment and to increase their chances of being successful in college later in life. For more information, see the Step-to-College website.

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Student Conduct and Ethical Development

"The Office of Student Conduct & Ethical Development is part of the Division of Student Affairs. Our role is to administer the Student Conduct Code and the Student Organization Code of Conduct in a manner that is consistent with our core values of fairness, honesty and integrity. We are committed to the ethical development of our students while still balancing the interests of our community at large." - For more information, visit the Student Conduct and Ethical Development website.

Student Rights

"San José State University is dedicated to the principles of equal opportunity and nondiscrimination. These principles permeate all facets of University life: in the admission, housing and education of students; in policies and practices governing programs of extracurricular life and activities; and in the employment of faculty, staff, and students. Discrimination of any kind, including, but not limited to age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, marital status, medical condition, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation, is an affront to the entire University community and is strictly prohibited." - For more information, visit the Student Rights webpage.

Student Union

The Student Union is conveniently located at the heart of the San José State University campus. Visit the Student Union whenever you want to relax, buy textbooks and supplies, listen to some music, have a meeting, or grab a bite to eat. For more information, visit the Student Union webpage.

Study Abroad

SJSU students have the opportunity to study abroad on certified programs in over 200 universities in more than 40 countries. Programs are offered in English and sometimes in the language of the host country. For more information, visit the Study Abroad webpage.

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Subject to Disqualification

Within disqualification range, but because not on probation the previous semester, the student is not disqualified, but must attend SJSU the following semester and earn above a 2.0 GPA to keep form getting disqualified. A student must have above a 2.0 FPA for each semester while in the disqualification range.

Summer Term

The Summer Term is a shortened semester (either 6 or 10 weeks), which usually starts at the beginning of June and runs through August.


A syllabus (AKA green sheet) is an outline of a course's requirements distributed by a professor on the first day of class.

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Term GPA

The numerical average of the grades you earned during one semester.


Stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. SJSU offers a Master's Program for the TESOL, and an 18-unit certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is also available to both undergraduate and graduate students.


Theses are generally required for Master's students. A thesis is generally comprised of original research and analysis compiled into a lengthy paper and then presented to the graduate department as part of graduation requirements.

Transfer Orientation

The Transfer Orientation is a one-day program that will acquaint transfer students with the campus, introduce them to their college and major department, and provide them with critical academic planning information.

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One of the test options for international students with fewer than three years of full time study where English is the primary language of instruction. TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. Refer to the SJSU Catalog International Student webpage for more information.

Tower Card

Your student ID card. Use your Tower Card card as student identification to obtain services at the Library, Event Center, Santa Clara County Valley Transit (buses & light rail), Student Health Center, Admissions & Records, Career Center as well as to obtain parking permits and other frequently used student services.


An official transcript is a document produced by SJSU which covers the record of an individual student, listing information such as classes taken, grades received, GPA and degrees received.

Transient Students

Students visiting the SJSU campus from another institution for a short duration.

Transfer Student

An undergraduate student who is enrolled at SJSU after first attending another institution of higher education.

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The university accepts lower and upper division students who are not ready to declare a major academic objective into the undeclared category. Students selecting the undeclared category for admission must declare a degree major objective prior to applying for graduation. Students must obtain prior approval from the department in which they ultimately choose to major in accordance with university regulations. For more information, refer to the SJSU Catalog Student Classification webpage.


An undergraduate student is one who is pursuing an undergraduate degree. At SJSU, undergraduate students pursue a bachelor's degree.

Unit of Credit

The unit of credit is a semester unit, which is equal to one and one-half quarter units. Most courses at SJSU are 3 units.

Units Passed

Units completed this term toward the baccalaureate degree.

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Units Taken

Units attempted. Baccalaureate and non-baccalaureate classes are counted.

Units Towards GPA

Units attempted which are calculated into the grade point average (GPA). Non-Baccalaureate coursework is not considered.

University Honors

Criteria used to determine honors at graduation are those in effect as of the date of graduation. These include Summa Cum Laude (GPA of 3.85+), Magna Cum Laude (GPA of 3.70-3.84), and Cum Laude (GPA of 3.50-3.69). Refer to the SJSU Catalog Honors webpage for more information.

Upper Division

Juniors and Seniors are classified as in the upper division. Upper division (junior and senior) courses are numbered 100-199. Methods or professional courses given by or for other departments are allowed upper division credit and are numbered 300-399.

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Verification of Units

Some students may require verification of unit load for Veteran's Benefits, Scholarships or Insurance. This can be obtained at the Office of the Registrar.

Visitor Enrollment

Students who have completed at least one Fall or Spring semester at SJSU and are in good academic standing may be eligible to visit one of our 22 CSU sister campuses for one term of academic work. For more information, refer to the Office of the Registrar's website.

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Waitlisting puts you "in line" to get a space in an otherwise full class during advanced registration, should a space become available. The waitlist is removed once advanced registration ends, at which point a student must obtain an add code from an instructor once class is in session to add a course. See the current schedule of classes waitlist webpage for more information.

Welcome Convocation

An annual ceremony marking the start of the new academic year. Among other events, the University President makes a welcome address and there is a President's Picnic. See the Events Calendar for more information.

Winter Session

Winter Session is a compacted session between the Fall and Spring semesters, offering degree credit courses and some short courses. You can earn 3 units in 3 weeks.

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Withdrawal ("W" grade)

The "W" symbol indicates that the student was permitted to drop the course after the fourteenth day of instruction with the approval of the Director of Academic Advising and Retention Services. It is not used in calculating grade point average or progress points. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Grades webpage for more information.

Withdrawal Unauthorized ("WU" grade)

"WU" indicates that an enrolled student did not officially withdraw from or drop the course and failed to complete course requirements. It carries the same weight on your GPA as an F grade. Refer to the SJSU Catalog Grades webpage for more information.

Work Study

The Federal Work Study program allows SJSU students to gain valuable work experience while they earn money to help pay for college. A student must have applied for Financial Aid to be qualified to receive this award.


The Writing Skills Test is required of all undergraduate and graduate students prior to enrollment in SJSU Studies (Upper Division GE) courses.

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