Glossary of Terms


A major covers four years of work in one subject, and is sometimes referred to as the major concentration in the student's degree program. This concentration, unless otherwise specified, includes the courses which are prescribed for the particular subject of the major, plus six additional courses of three or four semester hours each in the same subject, for a total of 24 or more hours. Of this total, twelve semester hours must be in advanced courses — in courses numbered 3000 and up. Six hours of writing-intensive course work at the advanced level is required for all majors. Three hours should be taken in the junior year, and three hours in the senior year.


A minor or minor concentration usually covers three years of work, usually 18 semester hours, in a subject related to the major. It includes the courses prescribed in the general education part of the degree, plus further courses. At least 6 hours must be advanced-level work and in residence.


Courses not taken as prescribed courses and not included in the student's major and minor sequences may be chosen, within restrictions given below, as free electives to complete hours required for graduation.

Advanced Work

Of the total degree required hours (i.e. 120 hours for most degrees), at least thirty must be in advanced work, that is, selected from courses numbered 3000 and up. Of these advanced hours, at least twelve must be in the major and six in the minor.

Teaching Field

A teaching field consists of at least 24 semester hours (12 must be advanced) in a state-approved program of studies in a designated subject for students who are seeking secondary teacher certification.


One is recommended for a degree only on the following conditions: at least forty-five (45) semester hours of resident study at St. Mary's, twelve of which must be advanced in the major subject, and satisfactory fulfillment of all specific requirements for a degree. Of the last thirty hours offered for the degree, 24 should be taken at St. Mary's University.

Course Numbering

Courses are identified by department and number. Four-digit numbers are used, but only the first two digits are significant to the student:

  • The first digit of a course number designates the scholastic level. All courses with a first digit of zero are either review or deficiency courses and carry no semester hour value. All courses with a first digit of 1 are at the freshmen level, those with a first digit of 2 are at the sophomore level, and all courses with a first digit of 3, 4, or 5 are advanced-level (junior or senior) courses.

  • The second digit designates the semester hour credit of the course.

  • The third and fourth digits designate the departmental sequence of each course.

Thus, EN 1311 is a freshman-level course of three semester-hour value.

Unit of Instruction (Semester Credit Hour)

The unit of instruction is the semester hour, which is the credit given for one hour a week for one semester. Most courses offered at St. Mary's meet three hours a week, and therefore have a value of three semester hours.

The word "hour" in this publication designates a "semester hour" of credit, which is earned by attending class one hour a week for 15 weeks. A candidate for a degree must have no fewer than 120+ semester hours of credit, chosen in accordance with the requirements of the University.

Academic Classification

Classification of students:

A freshman is a student who has been admitted upon the satisfactory fulfillment of entrance requirements. A students is also considered a freshmen who has completed less than 30 hours.

A sophomore is one who has completed the prescribed program for the freshman year and has no fewer than thirty semester hours of credit.

A junior is one who has completed no fewer than sixty semester hours of credit.

A senior is one who has completed no fewer than ninety semester hours of credit.

A post-baccalaureate student is one who has already earned a degree, but is pursuing further undergraduate work for personal enrichment or for certification.

A graduate student is one who has been formally admitted into the Graduate School and is pursuing studies in the Graduate School.

A visitor (transient) is one who is still either in actual or technical residence at another school, but has received permission from a Dean to take courses at St. Mary's with the intention of transferring them to his or her own school. A visitor's status is limited to one semester.

A student may register to audit a class at St. Mary's University with permission of his Adviser and the course Instructor during the first week of school in the Fall or Spring semesters and during the first two days of instruction in the Summer sessions. An auditor is required to attend lectures and benefits from all regular services of the course Instructor, but does not receive a final grade or course credit. Upon completion of an audit course, the student receives a grade of AU (Audit). This does not affect grade point average. A student who officially drops an audit class receives a grade of "W." If the student stops attending class, the Instructor may drop the student with an NC (No Credit).