American University Phrases!

Instead of doing an American Slang Phrase this week, in honor of SUNY Oswego University classes starting – here are American University Phrases!

College terminology can be difficult for International students to learn or understand – as it is not typically in every day conversation!

Here is some terminology that is used in college classrooms or on college campuses!


Academic year: A full school year (August – May for Oswego)

Advisor: A school official who can help you choose classes and make sure you are on track to graduate

Associates degree: A degree for someone at a US Community College who has taken 2 years of classes

Bachelors degree: A degree for someone after 4 years of college

Course number: The number the University uses to classify a course

Credit hour: The number of hours per week that you are in class. (3 credit hour class – 3 hours of class per week)

Doctorate: The highest academic degree

Elective: A class that is not required by your major or minor

General Education classes: Classes that every student has to take no matter what their major or minor is. Gives students basic knowledge on a variety of topics

Grade Point Average (GPA): The average grade of all of your classes on a 4 point scale

Internship: A temporary job, paid or unpaid, typically in the field of your major

Major: Your concentrated field of study . What you plan to get a job in after graduation

Masters degree: A degree for Graduate students. Requires at least 1 year of study

Minor: A secondary area of study. A minor requires less courses than a major. Something that can support your major, or just something you take interest in

Office hours: A professors free time for students to meet with them and ask questions, etc.

Prerequisite: A class that must be taken before you take another class (a 100 level course could be a prerequisite for a 200 level class)

Syllabus: A description of the course that typically includes how the professor will grade, any policies the professor has, and dates of exams, assignments, etc.

Transcript: An official academic record from the University


Learn English for Academic Purposes at EC English Language Centres.






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