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Glossary of Terms



A grading option only for elective courses. If an A grade is earned, it is recorded. If a B, C or D grade is earned, a Pass grade is recorded. An F grade is recorded as Fail.

Academic Achievement Center (AAC)

An office that provides a variety of resources to help students succeed.
Academic Calendar Calendar of events that includes dates of breaks and final exam weeks.

Academic Coach

A professional who assists students in creating an individual plan for academic success.

Academic Dismissal

Students who do not meet the required grade point average are dismissed from the university. They must wait at least two semesters before being considered for reinstatement.

Academic Warning (Warning)

Students who do not meet a required grade point average are placed on academic warning. Academic warning may precede dismissal.

Academic Year

The academic year consists of three semesters: fall, spring and summer. K-State's academic year, which begins in August, includes 16-week fall and spring semesters and a shorter summer semester.


Recognition that a university or program meets national or regional standards.


A claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.

Assistant Community Coordinators (ACC)

Graduate students who live in the residence halls and assist with day-to-day operations.


An exam that is a college admission requirement for many universities. The test measures students' English, reading, math, science and writing.

Academic Advisor

A professional who provides guidance on course enrollment, academic progress and graduation. Students typically meet with an advisor each semester before enrolling.

Advanced Placement (AP)

College-level courses taken while in high school. Students may receive college credit based on their AP exam scores.

Alumni (Alumna/Alumnus)

People who have graduated from K-State. A female graduate is an alumna; a male or female graduate is an alumnus.

Associate Degree

Usually a two-year degree awarded to students who complete community or technical college requirements. With careful planning, the degree can match many requirements for a K-State four-year degree. The K-State Polytechnic campus offers associate degrees.


Not existing or happening at the same time (i.e. discussion boards or watching video lectures outside of class time)


An option that allows a student to participate in a course and learn the material without receiving a grade or credit.



A bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

A type of degree that includes modern language courses.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Most common type of bachelor’s degree. In some programs that offer B.A. and B.S. options, it is a degree that does not include the same modern language course requirements.

Bachelor's Degree

Degree awarded to students who graduate from a four-year college or university, and typically required before a master’s degree. You can a B.S. or B.A.

Berney Family Welcome Center

Located in the Old (aka Memorial) Stadium, which is across the street from the parking garage. Home of New Student Services and the Career Center.



An online system where students view course syllabi, documents, submit assignments, monitor grades and much more.

CAT Cash

A prepaid account connected to your Wildcat ID card that can be used for purchases only on the K-State campus.

CAT—(Connecting Across Topics) Communities

A group up to 22 first-year students who take two regular courses and a small one-hour connection course together.

Cats’ Cupboard

A pantry that provides free food, hygiene and cooking equipment for K-State students. Located in 009 Fairchild Hall.

Class Schedule

A list of courses in which a student is enrolled, along with when and where the classes meet. Students access their class schedule through KSIS.


An academic subunit of the university concentrated around areas of study. K-State has nine colleges.

Community Coordinator (CC)

A professional who lives in the residence halls and oversees hall staff and day-to-day operations.

Cocurricular Activity

Any out-of-classroom event or opportunity that complements what students are learning in their courses.


The official title of the graduation ceremony. Two ceremonies are offered each year: one in May and the other in December.

Complete Withdrawal

An academic status when a student ends enrollment in courses during a semester.

Comprehensive Exam

A term often used with final exams. A comprehensive final exam will be over all the material in the course.

Connections Course

The one-hour class for a CAT community group that connects two larger courses.

Counseling Services

An office that provides counseling services to students for various needs. The first four visits to Counseling Services each year are free for enrolled students.

Course Catalog

A list of the courses offered by the university, organized by academic year.

Course Number

The number associated with a specific course, such as MATH 100 for College Algebra.

Course Reference Number

A five-digit number specific for a course and its sections. A specific section of MATH 100 might be 34567.


A formal ceremony that celebrates the entrance of students into K-State.


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

Cost of Attendance

The total expenses for a student to attend K-State, including tuition, books and supplies, housing, food and other necessities.

Course Load

The number of credits and/or courses that a student takes during a semester.

Course Schedule

A listing of courses offered by semester, college and department.

Credit Hour

The number of hours assigned to a course, which often reflects the approximate time spent in class per week. Many classes are three credit hours, which means they meet three times a week for 50 minutes, or two times a week for 75 minutes.

Cross-Listed Course

The same course offered by two or more academic units and identified by the same course name, but with different course prefixes (Ex: Administration of Health Care Organizations is FNDH 720 and MPH 720).


The courses required to earn a degree in a major.


Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)

An online system that shows a student’s academic progress toward their K-State degree.

Dead Week

The week before finals week when no exams may be scheduled, except in specific courses. More formally known as Prep Week, when students prepare for final exams.


The leader of a college within the university.


Failure to repay a loan.


A plan allowed under certain conditions to delay payment on a loan.


The title awarded by K-State to a student who completes a curriculum and graduates; e.g., a bachelor’s degree.


A term for a loan whose payments are not received on time.

Doctorate, or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The highest degree achievable. Students usually receive a bachelor's degree and a master's degree before they earn their doctorate.


A unit within a college that brings together faculty in an academic discipline or area.

Department Head/Chair

The leader of a department.

Discussion Board

An online message board where students share their reflective responses and unique perspectives over a particular prompt, with feedback from other students and professors. You might encounter discussion boards via Canvas, Google Classroom, Blackboard, or TopHat.


During enrollment and the beginning of a semester, students may add and/or drop courses from their schedule.

Dual Degree/Major

Term for when a student is pursuing two degrees.


Education Abroad

The office that offers international educational experiences.


K-State username. This comes before @k-state.edu in a K-State email address.


A course that a student chooses to take that may count toward degree requirements.


The process of selecting and enrolling in courses through KSIS. Also referred to as registration.

Expected Family Contribution

A value from the FAFSA that represents the amount a student or family should be able to contribute toward their college costs.



Professors and instructors who teach and/or conduct research.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA must be completed each year in order to receive need-based aid from the government, such as the Pell Grant or work-study awards.


Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act. This law governs how colleges protect and share student information.

Financial Aid

Financial support that students receive for college expenses. Some financial aid, such as loans, must be repaid, while other forms, such as grants or scholarships, do not need to be paid back. Collectively all the financial aid that students are offered is known as their financial aid package.

Final Exam

An exam that typically is given during finals week, the last week of the semester.

First-Generation Student

A student whose neither parent nor guardian have earned a four-year degree.


An organization of men to build community. Some provide housing so that members can congregate and live together.


A first-year college student, or one who has earned fewer than 30 credit hours.

Full-Time Student

A student enrolled in at least 12 credit hours during the fall/spring and/or nine hours in the summer semesters.

First Year Seminar (FYS)

Small classes with up to 22 students offered to first-year students.


General Education (Gen Ed) Classes

Course requirements that all students must complete to graduate. At K-State, these are called K-State 8 courses.

GPA — Grade Point Average

A measure of course performance. A GPA is obtained by dividing the number of grade points by the credit hours completed, where each credit hour of an A = 4 points, a B = 3 points, a C = 2 points, a D = 1 point, and an F = 0 points.

GPS — Guide to Personal Success

K-State First's mentoring program. First-year students are matched with a K-State professional to share experience and advice.

Graduate Student

A student who has graduated with a bachelor's degree and is pursuing a master's or doctoral degree.


A form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid.

Great Room

A notable historic room in Hale Library that has a number of murals.

GTA — Graduate Teaching Assistant

Graduate student who teaches or assists in teaching undergraduate courses.



The Career Center's recruiting and career services platform.


A restriction in KSIS that limits a student's ability to enroll, receive a diploma and/or other actions until the hold is removed.

Housing and Dining Services

The department that manages the residence halls and dining centers on campus.

HRIS — Human Resources Information System

The online portal for those who have a campus job to access important job information, report hours, etc.


The fields of art, dance, drama, English, foreign languages, literature and music.


In-State Student

A K-State student who is a Kansas resident.


A faculty member who teaches.


A temporary professional experience typically in a student's career field or major. It can be paid or unpaid and can sometimes be taken for academic credit.


Courses offered between semesters in January, May and August.


Individual and team sports for K-State students.



A third-year college student, or one who has earned at least 90 credit hours.


K-State Book Network (KSBN)

The university common read program. Every incoming first-year student receives the same book to read the summer before they start at K-State.

K-State First (KSF)

An office that coordinates classes and activities to support first-year student success.

KSIS — K-State Student Information System

The online system students access with their eID to enroll in classes, view their student bill, access their DARS report, see advisor's name, apply for graduation and complete other requirements.

K-State 8

K-State's general education program. Students must take at least one course tagged in each of the eight areas.


LA — Learning Assistant

An undergraduate peer mentor who helps students in and out of their K-State First course.


Short for laboratory: a part of a course where a student completes hands-on activities. It is also a term used for spaces where some faculty conduct research.

Learning Management System

An online platform to access your course content such as CANVAS, Microsoft Teams, or others.

Lecture (Lec.)

A course where the teaching is done mostly through oral presentation.

Legacy Student

A student who is related to a person who graduated from K-State.

Liberal Arts

A term that refers to subjects such as humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics.


Financial aid that must be repaid. Student loans typically come from the government or from private banks.



The concentration of courses required to earn a degree. For example, a biology major is pursuing a degree in biology and will take courses oriented to that area of interest.


The process of a student being accepted to K-State and enrolling in classes.

Master's Degree

A graduate degree usually completed after the bachelor's degree; most commonly two years in length.

Meal Plan

The number of weekly meals purchased at campus dining centers. For example, a student might be on a 14 meals per week meal plan.


A student who receives support, guidance and advice from a mentor.


A fellow student or professional on, or off campus, who provides support, guidance and advice to a mentee.

Midterm exams (aka midterms)

Exams offered around the midpoint of a semester.


A concentration of courses a student chooses to complete in addition to their major. Minors are at least 15 credit hours.


Natural Science

A term that refers to subjects such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, botany, archaeology and geology, among other disciplines.


A socially acceptable way of communicating on the internet.


An out-of-state student.


Students who live off campus.

Nontraditional student

Most commonly describes a student starting college later in life rather than right after completing high school, or one who is a parent.


Office Hours

Specific times that faculty are available in their office to meet with students. Students are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities, usually no appointment is needed.

Old Stadium/Welcome Center

More officially known as the Berney Family Welcome Center.

Online Classes

Courses taught primarily online, typically using Canvas, and not in a classroom on campus.

Out-of-State Student

A student who is not a resident of Kansas. Tuition for out-of-state students at K-State is higher than in-state students.


A semester enrollment of over 21 credit hours, which requires approval of the college's deans' office.


Part-Time Student

A student enrolled in fewer than 12 credit hours during a fall/spring semester, or fewer than nine credit hours during the summer semester.

Peer Mentor

A student who provides support, guidance and advice as a mentor to fellow student.

Pell Grant

Federal financial aid for undergraduate students with financial need; it does not have to be repaid.

Powercat Financial

Free financial counseling for enrolled K-State students. Topics include budgeting, credit use, student loans, saving, managing debt, transitioning to work after college, job offers and employment benefits, and identity theft.


A course that must be completed before taking another course. For example, Spanish I is a prerequisite for Spanish II.

Private University/College

A university that does not receive state funding. Manhattan Christian College, which is across the street from the Manhattan campus, is an example of a private college.


A faculty member who has a Ph.D. or other equivalent degree. A professor may advance from assistant to associate to full professor.

Public University

A university that receives state funding. Tuition is lower for students who are residents of that state than for out-of-state students. K-State is a public university.


Quick Cats

Five campus convenience stores that provide drinks, snacks and personal care items for purchase.


A short assessment of knowledge given to students in courses.



A small course section often taken along with a lecture.


The process of being accepted back to the university after academic dismissal.


The process of being accepted back to a major in a college within the university, following academic dismissal.

Resident Assistant (RA)

A student, employed by Housing and Dining Services, to live in a campus residence hall or apartment and serve as a resource and role model to students.

Residential CAT Community

A program where first-year students live together in residence halls and take courses together.

Residence Halls

Buildings on campus where students live, eat and engage in activities together.


The university official who oversees enrollment, student grades and transcripts.


Commonly used to refer to in-state students.


Term that refers to students who live on campus in residence halls or apartments.



Penalties or other means used to provide incentives for compliance with rules and regulations.


A form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid.

Scholastic Honors

An award an undergraduate receives based on the GPA earned.

Secondary Major

A complementary major completed along with a primary major. It is similar to a minor but requires more hours to complete.


The time period during which courses are offered. K-State offers 16-week fall and spring semesters, and a shorter summer semester.


A fourth-year college student, or one who has earned more than 90 credit hours.


A second-year college student, or one who has earned more than 30 and fewer than 60 credit hours.

Shopping Cart

An online shopping cart in KSIS, where students add courses in which they plan to enroll.

Social Science

The study of human society and the social relationships. Often used to refer to the following disciplines: American Ethnic studies, anthropology, economics, gender studies, geography, history, law, politics, psychology and sociology, among other disciplines.


An organization of women to build community. Some provide housing so that members can congregate and live together.

Student Life

Usually used to refer to the Office of Student Life, which provides services to support students academically and personally.

Subsidized Student Loan

A loan that is not charged interest and does not require payments while the student is in school.


A document that describes important information about a course. It may include items such as office hours, required books or other materials, assignments, due dates, grading scale, expectations, procedures and policies.


Happening at the same time.


Teaching Assistant (TA)

An undergraduate student who usually has completed the course and assists an instructor with a course. Duties may be similar to a graduate teaching assistant.


Another name for a semester.

The Rec

The recreation center for students, formally the Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex. It offers various exercise options free to students.

Traditional Student

Most commonly describes a student starting college right after completing high school and who is not a parent.


An official record of the courses a student has taken, and the grades received at a college or university.

Transfer Credits

Credits from courses completed outside K-State that are transferred in for academic credit.

Transfer Student

A college student who completed courses at another college or university before enrolling at K-State.


A trained current student who assists other students in learning course material. K-State students have free access to tutors.



A student who is pursuing but has not yet received a bachelor's degree.

Unsubsidized Student Loan

A loan that is charged interest while the student is in school.





An option in KSIS when a course is full, where students can join a queue, or waitlist, to enroll in the course. If room in the course becomes available, the waitlist order is typically used to allow students to enroll. The automatic waitlist is active for the first week of the semester only.


K-State email provided by Outlook, accessible with an eID.

Week of Welcome (WOW)

The first week of the fall and spring semesters when K-State welcomes new and returning students.

Wildcat ID (WID) Number

A nine-digit number found on your Wildcat Card and in your eProfile.

Wildcat Card

Official K-State ID card obtained from the ID Center.


The process of ending enrollment in a course. Students may withdraw from courses without penalty early in a semester. Withdrawing later results in a Withdraw, or W, designation being placed on the transcript to indicate that the class was begun but not finished. The W does not count toward the GPA calculation. For withdrawing from a course, see Complete Withdrawal.


Part-time work offered by the university as part of your financial aid package from the federal government.

Writing Center

A free service for all students to help them improve their writing.







A video communications website connecting people through video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.