University Vocabulary

UB students standing outside at Baird Point on UB's North Campus.

FAFSA, registrar, FERPA, credit hours ... sometimes, it seems like the world of higher education has its own language. In order to navigate your way through college, it’s critical to understand the terms and concepts associated with it. Below is a glossary of words you’re sure to encounter as an undergrad at UB.

Academic Advisement Report

Academic Advisement Report is an automated system that generates a report of each individual student’s UB and transfer coursework matched with the student’s degree requirements. In the HUB student center, it’s called “My Academic Requirements.” The report identifies coursework satisfying university, UB Curriculum/general education and major requirements. The report also identifies courses that will satisfy specific degree requirements yet to be completed.


A type of counselor who works with students to develop educational plans and clarify academic, career and life goals.


Unit of measurement for course credit; it is normally granted for satisfactory completion of one 50-minute session of classroom instruction per week for a semester of not less than 15 weeks.


A designed progression of coursework that frames your college studies. At UB, your undergraduate education is set within the framework of the UB Curriculum. It consists of four components—the UB Seminar, Foundations, Pathways and Capstone—comprised of 40 credits of study for all students. There is a specific curriculum for each major and minor at UB. Read more on the UB Curriculum website.


The head of an academic unit (i.e., a school or college). A dean sets academic policies, hires faculty, oversees a budget and performs other administrative duties. Each of UB’s schools and colleges has a dean.

Dean’s List

A way to recognize undergraduates who achieve the highest level of academic excellence. Official UB parameters to determine eligibility are found in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Department Chair

A faculty member who is chosen by the dean to manage a department.


Payment of funds to either the school or student.

Division I

The highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). UB has a Division I (D-I) athletic program.


A period of time where students can enroll and un-enroll in courses without financial or grade penalties.


An optional course of study that is not taken to fulfill a program requirement. Students still earn credits for courses.

Experiential Learning

Direct, hands-on experiences that take place outside of a traditional academic setting. UB’s Experiential Learning Network can connect you to these types of opportunities.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form determines your eligibility for federal financial aid.


FERPA, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, was enacted to protect student information. It mandates that you, the student, are allowed to inspect your education records and limit others from reviewing that information without your permission.

Finish in 4

UB’s commitment to your graduation. It’s a pledge by students to do what it takes to earn a degree in four years, and a pledge by UB to provide the resources and support needed to do that.


UB’s student information system that hosts MyUB.

Grade-point average

Grade-point average.

Latin Honors

Students earning baccalaureate degrees are eligible to receive Latin honors based on their UB cumulative GPA on the following scale:

Average (based on 4.0 = A)

  • 3.20 cum laude
  • 3.50 magna cum laude
  • 3.75 summa cum laude

To qualify for Latin honors, students must present a minimum of 60 credit hours of UB undergraduate coursework, at least 54 of which must be graded credits (i.e., not pass, no pass, satisfactory or unsatisfactory [grades of P, NP, S or U]).


MyUB is a web-based, personal portal to online UB. Instead of having to search throughout the UB website for what you need, you can log on to MyUB and find links to every major topic related to your academic life, such as your HUB Student Center, registration, financial aid, exam schedules, grades, student services, and career planning, plus campus events, UB and national news and more.

Office Hours

Time that professors set aside to meet with students one-on-one outside of class. Office hours are regularly scheduled, and students can walk in or set up an appointment. Bottom line: This time is for you! Take advantage of office hours to work through questions about your course material, network with your professors, and identify research, internship and job opportunities outside of class. Check your syllabuses for your professors’ designated office hours.


A course or requirement you must complete before taking an advanced course.


The president is the highest-ranking official at a college or university. A president leads the campus in achieving its mission, strategic goals and priorities. Meet UB’s president, Dr. Satish K. Tripathi.


The chief academic officer of a university, who is responsible for creating and implementing a university’s academic priorities and how resources are allocated in support of them. The provost works closely with deans, department heads, student services professionals, faculty and staff to provide the highest quality educational programming for undergraduate and graduate students. An important part of the provost’s job is to ensure UB recruits, retains and supports an outstanding and diverse faculty.


An official who is responsible for keeping student records.

The Spine

The main thoroughfare through UB’s North Campus that connects Baird Hall to the Mathematics Building.


A record of the courses taken and grades earned throughout your course of study.

UB Card

Your official University at Buffalo ID that is used across campus. Your UB card gets you into your residence hall, gyms, campus events and you can use it to purchase food.


Part of federal financial aid, this program provides part-time jobs to students with financial need.