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Glossary of Academic Terms


Here is a helpful list of academic offices and terms that you may hear at Villanova.


A University employee who is committed to helping students meet their educational goals and to make informed and responsible decisions.

Academic integrity lies at the heart of the values expressed in the University's mission statement and inspired by the spirit of Saint Augustine. When one comes to Villanova, one joins an academic community founded on the search for knowledge in an atmosphere of cooperation and trust. Learning with integrity means students do not commit various types of academic dishonesty, such as cheating, fabrication of information, assisting in or contributing to academic dishonesty, plagiarism, submission of the same work for more than one class without the faculty member’s permission, unsanctioned collaboration, misrepresentation, forgery, taking credit for work done by others, stealing or damaging library books, or unlawfully copying computer software.  

Begins in August with New Student Orientation and Registration, continues through the spring semester and concludes with the summer session.

Students with disabilities may request support services in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students must self-identify by providing notice of their disability and the required documentation to Learning Support Services (LSS). 

A student may drop and/or add courses during the first five (5) class days of a semester without incurring academic penalty or affecting the student’s official transcript.

The Bursar’s Office manages the cashiering, billing, collection and student account services functions of the University. Students may pay bills, request refunds, obtain third party payment plan information and seek clarification related to University charges from the Student Account Representatives.

A member of the University Career Center staff who assist students and alumni with the development of  employment application materials, including resumes, cover letters, personal statements and LinkedIn profiles; practicing interviewing and networking skills; and learning the fundamentals of any successful job or internship search.

These rules and regulations—designed with the specific intention of enhancing the academic mission of the University—govern conduct among Villanova’s community of students.

A course that must be taken during the same semester as another course.

The number of credits a student is attempting during any semester or session. 

A unique number assigned to each course offered within a session that is needed to register for the class.

Each course taken will have an assigned number of credits, normally between 1- 6 per class. It is important for students to keep track of how many credits they have completed and taken each semester to ensure efficient progress towards completing their degree program.

Highest administrative officer of a college.

Students with outstanding academic records are honored by the dean of each college. To qualify for the Dean’s List, one must be a matriculated full-time student and earn a semester GPA of:

  • 3.5 in the College of Engineering
  • 3.5 (for both semesters) in the College of Nursing
  • 3.5 in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • 3.5 in the Villanova School of Business, no missing or non-passing grades

A department chair is the faculty member who manages a given academic department.

Some students have enough available credits during their program of study to pursue two different majors at the same time. A double major is a vigorous academic schedule during which students declare two majors and graduate with one degree.

Enrollment status indicates whether a student is, or was, full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, less than half-time, withdrawn or graduated.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid allows students to input financial information to be reviewed and evaluated in order for students to receive financial aid (federal grants, work-study, loans) based on their need.

A federal program offering part-time employment opportunities on campus to students pursuing a degree part-time or full-time. 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, enacted in 1974, protects the privacy of student education records. All educational institutions that receive federal funding must comply with FERPA.

A waiver completed where students can specify people in their lives to be able to look at their accounts and talk about the student’s records with University employees.

Money given to students or families to assist them in paying for their education. Types of financial aid include grants, work-study, loans and scholarships. It can come from federal or state governments, Villanova University or private institutions.

The Office of Financial Assistance will notify you of your aid eligibility, applicants may check through their Applicant Status Page (prospective students) or their MyNova account (current students and students who are offered admission and deposit). 

A student whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree.

A grade point average (GPA) is a single cumulative number that represents a student’s entire academic performance. GPA is calculated by translating letter grades onto a numerical scale that typically ranges from 0.0-4.0.

An administrative block that prohibits students from registering for courses or receiving a transcript or diploma. Most holds are due to not completing required processes or paying financial obligations.

A policy that allows students to interrupt their enrollment for a period of time for personal or medical reasons. Visit the Villanova Policy Library for  complete leave policy details.

An undergraduate student’s selected area of focus for their studies at Villanova.

The status of a student who has completed all admissions requirements and has registered for classes at Villanova University.

These scholarships are awarded on the basis of students’ academic achievements, proven leadership and participation in extracurricular activities, both in their schools and their communities. Villanova offers a number of merit-based scholarships

An exam given around the midpoint of an academic semester or session.

A secondary program of study that requires completion of fewer credit hours than a major.

A customized online gateway for accessing Villanova’s major systems and managing your University information on record. Students use MyNova to register for classes and view records such as midterm and final grades and transcripts. 

Each professor is required to set aside time for Office Hours, dedicated times during which students can visit them in their office. It is a great time to discuss academic issues, projects or chat about career goals with professors.

A course that must have been completed prior to registering for the next course in your Academic Plan.

The University’s Chief Academic Officer and the second ranking officer of the University, next to the President. 

When the amount of credit on your account exceeds the amount owed during any given academic session.

The Office of the Registrar is the custodian of students’ records. They register students, record grades, prepare student transcripts, evaluate academic records and schedule classes, among other responsibilities. 

Group of academic departments and/or programs administered by a college dean. Villanova has six schools/colleges within the University.

A course layout written by the professor given to students at the beginning of a course that informs them of requirements for the completion of the class.

UNIT’s TechZone is staffed with over 25 student consultants who work cooperatively with full-time professional staff for all hardware, software and technical problems students may have with their personal laptop and other on-campus computing experiences. 

A document listing official grades. Required for admission into Villanova and into other institutions, such as Graduate or Professional Studies institutions.

A student who has previously attended another university and now attends Villanova.

Villanova’s centralized IT team, dedicated to providing the University community with comprehensive IT services and solutions to support the University’s faculty, staff and students.

When registering, if a course is full, students have the option to join the wait list, which gives them first chances to register for a spot in the class that may open at a later date.

This bi-weekly email is sent to all undergraduate, graduate and law school students to promote University, College and Department/Program announcements, news and events.

 A withdrawal occurs when a student drops a class after the allowed add/drop period ends. A student may withdraw from a course without penalty until the final day for authorized withdrawal from courses (as indicated in the University’s academic calendar). The student will receive the grade of “WX” on their transcript.