UTSA Lingo 101

Talk the Talk

Everything may seem so different and strange at a new university. Even if you have transferred from another institution in the US, you will hear words and terms that may not be familiar! Here are a few of the words and terms used at UTSA and what they mean. If it is still confusing, ask an advisor or faculty member!

FULLTIME UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT - enrolled in at least 12 semester credit hours for a semester (fall, spring), or a summer term. A fulltime Graduate Student must take 9 semester hours

TERM or SEMESTER – the way in which an academic year is divided for course enrollment and credit. At UTSA the year is divided into fall semester, spring semester, and summer term. We use the words term and semester interchangeably.

SEMESTER CREDIT HOUR – the number of hours a course is worth determined by the hours it meets in a semester. For example, a one-semester credit hour course meets one hour per week in a semester; two-semester credit hour course meets two hours per week; three-semester credit hour course meets three hours per week; and so on. Summer courses are condensed, but the actual class time is the same as long semesters.

STUDENT CLASSIFICATION – a system of levels determined by student’s earned credit hours used primarily for priority student registration.

Undergraduate students:
Freshmen 0-29
Sophomore 30 – 59
Junior 60-89
Senior 90 and over

Graduate Students – students who have attained an acceptable undergraduate or baccalaureate degree and have been accepted into an advanced level program. These students are referred to as master’s level or doctoral level.


COURSE NUMBERS – a numbering system that indicates the academic level, academic subgroup or sequence, and credit hours of the specific course.
For example, all UTSA numbers are four digits. Look at MAT 1023 as an example:

MAT 1 0 2 3
1 - The first digit is the academic level: 1-freshman ( 2-sophomore, 3-junior, 4-Senior, 5,6,7- graduate)
02 – the sequence assigned to this course by the Math faculty
3 – the credit hours that the course meets per week (determines a value of the course in the grade calculation)

All courses beginning with a 1 and 2 are considered “lower division” and those beginning with 3 and 4 are "upper division." This is important for registration and for university requirements for graduation.

DISCIPLINE – the academic course label determined by the college or department and faculty. For example, MAT 1013 is MATH from the Math department. A listing of these labels is always in the course schedule book for each registration period.

COURSE/CLASS SCHEDULE BOOK – this book lists all of the courses and sections of courses offered for registration in a specific semester or summer term. It lists the time the class meets, the building and room number, and the name of the instructor. This book gives registration instructions, and entries can be changed by the university. This is not the catalog.

UTSA INFORMATION BULLETIN – specifically for undergraduate students, this bulletin is published annually and gives all of the policies and procedures concerning the university calendar, history, tuition, fees, charges, deposits, admission, and general academic regulations. This bulletin takes the place of any former bulletins and governs these rules for the year that the bulletin is in effect.

CATALOG OF GRADUATION - the University publishes a catalog every two years (longer time period for graduate catalogs). It is the catalog that is in effect at the time the student actually first enrolls at UTSA. It lists all of the courses required for the student’s degree completion and any prerequisites. This plan of study does not change.

PREREQUISITE – a requirement that must be completed before a desired course can be taken. That is, without the knowledge from the prerequisite, it is likely that the student will have difficulty with the desired course.

GRADE POINTS – points earned for each letter grade earned. Used to determine grade point average. UTSA is on a 4.0 grade point system.

A+ = 4 points
A = 4 points
A- = 3.67 points
B+ = 3.33 points
B = 3 points
B- = 2.67 points
C+ = 2.33 points
C = 2 points
C- = 1.67 points
D+ = 1.33 points
D = 1 point
D- = 0.67 points
F = 0 points

GRADE POINT AVERAGE – a calculation of grade points earned for the credit hours attempted in a semester or term. For example, a student enrolls in 15 semester credit hours, each course is 3 credit hours, and earns grades of A, B+, C, C-, & F.

A = 4 points x 3 semester credit hours = 12 grade points
B+ = 3.33 points x 3 semester credit hours = 9.99 grade points
C = 2 points x 3 semester credit hours = 6 grade points
C- = 1.67 points x 3 semester credit hours = 5.01 grade points
F = 0 points x 3 semester credit hours = 0 grade points

Add up the credit hours attempted = 15
Add up the grade points earned = 33
Divide the grade points by the credit hours for GPA = 2.20

The student records system keeps a calculation for each semester or term of UTSA coursework and also gives an overall UTSA GPA for all semesters or terms of UTSA coursework.

myUTSA Account – the Automated Student Access Program is on the UTSA BANNER web site. Students can create a personal identification number and access their grades, registration, financial obligation, account balance, and many other very useful data.

ACADEMIC ADVISOR – a professional staff advisor who assists students with academic planning and supports students in ways that promote academic success. All undergraduate students, are advised by professional staff determined by their chosen major. (*Faculty can serve as mentors and advisors in various colleges.)

FACULTY GRADUATE ADVISOR OF RECORD (GAR) - Graduate students are advised by the faculty graduate advisor of record (GAR) associated with the department or college of their advanced studies. Typically, the GAR will assign faculty mentors to assist with academic advising.