Academic Action

An academic action is a change in academic status because of grades earned (for example, the student is “placed on academic probation” or “removed from academic probation” or “dismissed from the university”). (See Academic Standing and Satisfactory Progress for policy information.)

Academic Progress for Financial Aid

See Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid.

Academic Standing

Students are identified as having one of three different types of academic standing or status.

  • Regular Academic Standing

    Students whose term and cumulative grade point averages are 2.0 or higher are in Good Standing (or regular standing).

  • Probation

    Students in good standing whose term grade point average falls below 2.0 (but above 1.0) are placed on Academic Probation. (There are multiple levels of subsequent probation depending on how many semesters a student has earned unacceptable grades and on how low the grades are: e.g., continued on probation, final probation.)

  • Dismissed

    Students on probation who fail to raise the cumulative GPA to the minimum required in the time allowed and students who earn a term grade point average of less than 1.0 are ordinarily dismissed (or, in other words, not eligible to continue enrolling in courses due to academic performance). Dismissed is sometimes referred to as “Ineligible to Enroll”.

Academic Career

A grouping of all academic work undertaken by a student grouped into a single student record. For the University of Missouri, these groupings are undergraduate career, graduate career, careers for each professional school (law, medicine, nursing, etc.), and a continuing education career (to track CEUs).

Academic Plan

An area of study, e.g., majors and minors, within an academic program. An academic plan is the combination of degree objective and specific area of study. Academic Plans may be majors, minors, or certificates, e.g., Economics-BS, Economics-BA, Economics-PhD, Communication Studies-Minor.

Academic Sub-plan

An area of further specialization within an academic plan. An academic sub-plan is an emphasis area or concentration within a specific academic plan.

Academic Unit

The University is divided into different units that are authorized to grant degrees. These different units are called Academic Units (or AU’s). AU’s at Mizzou that offer undergraduate degrees include: Agriculture, Arts and Science, Business, Education, Engineering, Health Professions, Human Environmental Sciences, Journalism, Natural Resources, Nursing, and Social Work. Alternative words that can apply to these units are Colleges, Divisions, or Schools.


A&S stands for Arts and Science, one of MU’s undergraduate Academic Units. The abbreviation also designates the Arts and Science building located next to the Student Center. However, the A&S Offices (including the Advising Office) are NOT located in the A&S building: they are found in Lowry Hall.

Applied Course

An applied course is one focused on the personal practice of the subject matter. Applied courses are typically found in Music, Art, and preparation for certain vocations and are ordinarily used as elective credits toward graduation rather than General Education credits.

Auditing a Course (see also Hearer)

Students who wish to obtain knowledge from a course but do not need or want credit for graduation may enroll in the course as an auditor/hearer.



CAFNR stands for the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, one of MU’s undergraduate Academic Units. The College is also sometimes simply referred to as AG (for Agriculture). The School of Natural Resources is a separate part of the College.

Capstone Experience

Every major at MU requires completion of a course, project or paper that integrates general knowledge with the specialized knowledge each student has developed in his or her major area. Regardless of the format of this academic activity it is called a capstone experience. For specific requirements for the capstone experience in your major check the appropriate website or, better yet, speak with your academic adviser.


Commencement (literally meaning a beginning) is another term for a graduation ceremony. In May and December, MU schools and colleges hold commencement ceremonies for graduates, during which students walk across a stage and are recognized individually. Thus, students often refer to participating in the commencement ceremony as “walking”. Ceremonies are not held for summer session graduates; however, these students are invited to participate in May or December commencements. Students who participate in commencement ceremonies do not actually graduate until final grades are reported and completion of all requirements is verified. Students are not required to take part in commencement in order to graduate.

Consent Required

Enrollment in some courses requires consent, or permission. Consent may be given by the class instructor, the department offering the course or the academic unit in which that department is housed and is so indicated in the class detail in myZou. When consent is required, the student must obtain a permission number to enroll in the course using myZou.

Core Requirements

The basic, required courses or standards that students must meet for a given major, degree, minor, emphasis or concentration.


A co-requisite course is a class that must be taken before or at the same time as another course. It is the student’s responsibility to enroll in the co-requisite course.

Course Repeat

When a grade received in a first attempt, for an undergraduate course at MU, is a “C-” or lower, the grade may be replaced in the calculation of the GPA by the grade received in any second attempt of the same course at MU (unless the repeat grade is an “I” or “W”). Students must request that this replacement be done by completing the “Request for GPA Adjustment” form in the Registrar’s Office (130 Jesse Hall). No more than 15 semester hours will be dropped from the calculation of the student’s GPA.

Course Types

  • Lab

    The “practice” portion of a course where experimentation, class projects, or other exercises, in conjunction with material presentation, are performed. May also refer to a room (laboratory) in which these activities are completed. A laboratory is abbreviated as “Lab” in myZou.

  • Lecture/Standard

    A course is indicated as a lecture (LST) when the primary information-delivery portion of a course is presented in a group setting with the class materials presented by the instructor.

  • Independent Study

    Students can work independently, one-on-one with faculty members, in Independent Study work. This can be an on-campus course or one offered through Mizzou Online. When talking with an adviser or faculty member about independent study, the student should specify whether he/she is interested in on-campus or Mizzou Online work.

  • Discussion

    Discussion sections or classes, also known as discussion sections or classes, are those in which the primary mode of information presentation is in a small group. These types of courses are indicated in myZou with the abbreviation DIS.

Credit by Exam

Credit earned by passing advanced-standing examinations in a subject-matter field. Examinations can include: departmental exams, CLEP subject-matter exams, International Baccalaureate and Advance Placement exams given by the College Entrance Examination Board of Princeton, N.J.

Credit hour

Credit Hour is the term universities use to keep track of work completed. Many General Education, major and graduation requirements are defined in terms of specified numbers of credit hours. For example, a degree might require completion of 120 credit hours and include 9 credit hours in science coursework.

Do not rely on the summaries of credit hours earned and credit hours attempted that show on your transcript to monitor graduation progress. You cannot assume that all credit hours will apply toward degree requirements. You could have, for example, completed 126 credit hours but still be lacking a 3-hour math proficiency course.

According to State of Missouri policy, a credit hour is a permanently transcripted instructional activity in which one semester credit hour shall consist of a minimum of seven hundred fifty (750) minutes (for example, 15 weeks x 50 minutes per week) of classroom experiences, such as lecture, discussion, or similar instructional approaches, or a minimum of one thousand five hundred (1,500) minutes of such experiences as laboratory, studio, or equivalent experiences. Both of the above are exclusive of registration and final examination time. Greater amounts of supervised practicum or internship instruction are normally required to be the equivalent of one credit hour.

Cross-Level Course

A cross-level course is a course offered at both the undergraduate and the graduate level. Undergraduate students enroll in a course numbered in the 4000 range and graduate students enroll in a course numbered in the 7000 range. Lectures and discussions are held jointly, but different work is expected of students in the two different courses.

Cross-Listed Course

A cross-listed course is found in myZou under more than one department or program listing. For example, History 2600, Early Christianity, and Religious Studies 2600, Early Christianity, are identical. Students can enroll with a class number tied to either department and still be in the same class at the same time with the same instructor. Because more than one department offers this course, you can tell that the material included will cover different areas of study or differing perspectives.


This is an organized program of study arranged to provide integrated cultural or professional education.


Dean’s Stamp

Some actions on your part, such as withdrawing from a class after the drop deadline has passed or withdrawing from the University, require the approval of the Dean of the Academic Unit in which you are enrolled. Advisers in your School or College’s advising office have the authority to act on behalf of the Dean. If appropriate, they will give you the Academic Unit or Dean’s approval and let you know where approved paperwork must be processed.


A degree is the formal title conferred upon an individual for the completion of a program or course of study. When you graduate you will earn a degree. Different degrees have different structures and requirements. In some departments students can choose among different degrees (e.g., Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry or Bachelor of Science in Chemistry), while in other departments there is only one option (e.g., Bachelor of Science in Nursing).

Degree Program or Plan

Degree program is another term for “major” or “academic plan”. It is a field of specialized study.


A branch of learning or field of study (e.g., mathematics, history, psychology).

Double Major

This is the completion of one degree (e.g., Bachelor of Arts) with majors in two or more different disciplines (e.g., BA in English and Spanish). Requirements must be met for both majors, but University General Education and College Foundation Requirements are identical for both majors.

Dual Degree

This is the completion of two different degrees simultaneously. All major and degree program requirements for both degrees must be met and a minimum of 12 credit hours beyond those required for the first degree must be successfully completed.

Dual Enrollment

A dually enrolled student may be enrolled in courses for undergraduate and graduate credit simultaneously. Or a dually enrolled student may be enrolled in two or more different undergraduate academic units. Or a dually enrolled student may be enrolled at MU and another college or university. Or a dually enrolled student may be enrolled in college level courses while still in high school.

Obviously, this phrase is often confusing because it is used to refer to many different types of enrollment. If you are talking with someone about dual enrollment, make sure that you both are talking about the same type of dual enrollment.


Easy Access

See Visiting Student Program.


Electives are courses that students choose to take. All degree programs require completion of a minimum number of hours. Many, but not all, of those credit hours are specified. In addition to completing all specified requirements students must also complete enough additional credit hours of their own choosing (electives) to complete the number of required hours.

Emphasis Area

See Academic Sub-plan.



The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of educational records; to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their education records; and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through formal and informal hearings.

Full-time student

Undergraduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits for the spring and fall semesters and 6 for the summer to be considered full time for most purposes.


General Education (University)

The MU Faculty have developed a comprehensive program of University General Education course work that equips students with the skills, knowledge and foundations in the disciplines required of all informed citizens. All MU students must satisfy University General Education requirements as a part of their undergraduate degrees. Courses approved for General Education can be found on the Distribution of Content page.

GPA Adjustment

Students must request that the course repeat grade replacement be done by completing the “Request for GPA Adjustment” form in the Registrar’s Office (130 Jesse Hall). All attempts of a given course will appear on the official transcript with the grade(s) earned. The transcript will have an explanation that the GPA is calculated using all grades earned in a course except the initial attempt when a course has been repeated.

GPA of Record

GPA of Record: Grade point average is abbreviated GPA. The GPA of Record is a student’s official GPA. At MU the GPA of record is calculated using A-F grades earned in all University of Missouri System courses, as modified by the University of Missouri Grade Repeat Policy.

Grading Option

Most courses are graded on an A-F scale. A few, however, are only graded on an S/U (Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory) basis. Under specified conditions students may choose to be graded on an S/U basis in an A-F course, but not vice versa. If a student wants to enroll in a course on an S/U basis he/she must decide to do so early in the semester and must first have the approval of his/her academic unit. There is a deadline each semester for changing the grading option of a course.


Graduation is the act of having the degree(s) conferred. Taking part in Commencement ceremonies does not necessarily mean a student has graduated.


Hearers (see also Auditing a Course)

Students who wish to obtain knowledge from a course but do not need or want credit for graduation may enroll in the course as an auditor/hearer.


The College of Human and Environmental Science is abbreviated HES.

Honors Courses

Honors courses are designated in myZou (with an “H”) by the course number, e.g., Chemistry 1320 is a non-honors section; Chemistry 1320H is for honors students. Enrollment in these courses is ordinarily limited to honors-eligible students.


The School of Health Professions is abbreviated HP.


Ineligible to Enroll

This is another way to say “dismissed.” See Academic Standing.

Interdisciplinary or Multidisciplinary

A course of study which combines two or more academic disciplines.



A course or part of a course, which is primarily in a face-to-face format, and while it is usually presented in a group setting led by the faculty member, the course might also include group activities.

Lower Division

Undergraduate courses numbered less than 3000.



This is a primary field of specialized study which may also be referred to as degree program or academic plan.


A secondary field of specialized study that does not lead to a degree. A minor will be noted on the transcript but not on the diploma.



A course or requirement that must be completed prior to enrolling in a course is called a prerequisite course or condition. Some prerequisites are strictly enforced and students who have not met them may be dropped from courses in which they are inappropriately enrolled. If you have questions, see your academic adviser and/or the instructor of the course.


See Academic Standing.



Registration is the act of enrolling in classes for a given semester or term. Students may enroll in courses in myZou.

Registration Hold

There are several types of holds (also called negative service indicators), which are restrictions that may block registration. Students are notified in myZou on the self-service page if they have a hold. They should go to the location indicated in myZou to resolve the hold. Some examples are: Student Health Hold, requires the student contact the Student Health Center; Advising Hold, requires the student to contact their academic adviser or academic advising unit.

Regular Academic Standing

See Academic Standing.

Repeatable for Credit

The vast majority of courses are not repeatable for credit towards graduation. However, there are some courses that may be repeated for which credit can be earned for each enrollment (e.g., music performance courses). Courses that can be repeated for credit are identified as such in the course descriptions found in the Undergraduate Catalog.


A course, activity or accomplishment that must be completed successfully is a degree requirement. Requirements may be at the department, degree, academic unit, or university level. Many requirements include not only completion of specified courses, but also specified minimum grades in those courses.


Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid

There are four basic requirements students must meet in order to be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes: 1) pass 75% or more of credit hours attempted, 2) attempt fewer than 181 credit hours, 3) maintain a cumulative GPA of 1.67 or better if 60 or fewer credit hours have been earned or a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better if more than 60 credit hours, and 4) be enrolled in an academic program that leads to a degree.

Second Undergraduate Degree

Some academic units will admit students who have already earned one undergraduate degree to pursue a different degree program. Ordinarily students who enroll for a second degree are expected to meet requirements in place at the time of beginning work of the second degree instead of requirements in place at the beginning of work on the first degree.

Sequence of Courses

Two or three closely related courses that must be taken in specified order.

S/U Grading

(See grading option for additional information.) If a student is enrolled in a course on a Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis he/she will receive a grade of “S” if the grade earned is “C-” or better and a grade of “U” is the grade earned is a “D” or “F”. Credit hours are earned for courses completed with an “S” but not for courses completed with a grade of “U”.

Student Level

Students are assigned to a particular class level based upon the number of credit hours they have completed, i.e. freshman, sophomore, junior, senior. Class level is considered for a variety of different purposes (e.g., financial aid, priority in early registration times).



A Teaching Assistant is often called a TA or GTA (graduate teaching assistant). A TA may have grading and/or lecture and/or discussion responsibilities in a class. Some classes are co-taught by both a faculty member and a TA.


An option or other portion of a major that may be required or optional. A separate designation is not made on the transcript or diploma for an option or track.


Upper Division

Undergraduate courses numbered 3000-4000.


Variable Credit

For some courses, the student may choose the number of credit hours in which to enroll within a specified range. Different numbers of credit hours will require differing levels of commitment from the student. Students enrolling in a variable credit course should check with the instructor to find out class requirements and enrollment options.

Visiting Student Program

The Visiting Student Program is intended to serve non-degree-seeking students. Visiting Student Program students may enroll only as part-time students (maximum of 18 credits each regular semester or 9 credits in summer).


Waive (to)

To waive a requirement is to set it aside without credit. In other words, if a requirement is waived for a student that student does not have to meet the requirement, but no credit hours are earned. For example, an international student pursuing a BA degree in the College or Arts and Science has the foreign language requirement waived but will not receive academic credit for his/her native language.