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Academic Terminology

Knowing your terminology makes the study abroad process smoother.

Are you planning your higher education abroad? Then you should be aware of the terminology that Foreign Colleges and Universities use. Don’t worry! I have listed out the terms that your Advisors, Professors, and Peers use. We are open to expanding this list further if you want to add any term to the list, feel free to write to us or comment below.


  • Academic Advisor: A person from the university faculty who advises students on academic matters
  • Academic Year: The period of study, usually from September to May, often divided into two semesters
  • Alumni: A student who successfully completes his/her course from the university becomes alumni of that university
  • Accreditation: Recognized professional associations or regional bodies evaluate the credibility and competence of the College or University and present the certification
  • Advance Registration: Choosing and registering for the classes ahead of time
  • Assistantship: A grant of financial assistance for studies given to graduate students for assisting faculty members in teaching, lab supervision or in research
  • Associate Degree: Degree given to students who graduated from a two-year program
  • Attestation: Affirmation of a degree or transcript for authenticity
  • Authentication: Determining whether the information provided by students is genuine or not


  • Bachelor’s Degree: Degree given to students who graduated from a four-year program
  • Bursary:  A non-repayable financial aid provided to students to pay for their education at the University based on their Academic Performance and Financial Need.


  • Core Course: Courses that make the foundation of a degree program and are required by students of that program
  • Co-requisite: A course or any other requirement that a student must take up along with another course at the same time
  • Curriculum: Contents of the syllabus of the course/program
  • Credits: Units used to record completion of courses


  • Designated School Official (DSO): Person on campus who collects information of international students and assists them
  • Dissertation: This refers to the large piece of thesis/documentation (focusing on one subject area) that the student needs to complete and submit in the last year of the program/course


  • Electives: Non-mandatory courses that can be picked from any field of study


  • Fee Deferral: An arrangement or agreement made between the student and the University for some deviation from the normal deadlines to pay the tuition fee
  • Fellowship: Type of financial support, usually reserved for graduate students


  • GMAT: Standardized test for MBA applicants for testing their verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills
  • Grant: Non-repayable funding options provided to the students by organizations, institutes or any government bodies
  • Grade Points Average (GPA): The combined average of a student’s grade for all academic coursework, out of a 4.0 GPA scale
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Standardized test for graduate-level applicants for testing their verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills


  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Test for English language proficiency for applications whose native language is not English


  • Law School Admission Test (LSAT): Standardized test for law school applicants for testing their acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Academic studies in the field of humanities, the social sciences and the physical sciences where the students develop verbal, written and reasoning skills
  • LOR (Letter of Recommendation): Students need to submit Letters of Recommendation from their professors or employers to the universities at the time of the admission process. Universities use these letters to evaluate the student’s credibility.


  • Major: Student’s area of concentration for studies, where about 50% of the courses taken are relevant to their field of interest
  • Master’s Degree: Degree awarded to graduates who complete one or more year post bachelor’s degree
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): A standardized test for medical students to evaluate their writing skills, problem-solving, critical thinking and knowledge on relative concepts and principles. This test is the pre-requisite for the admission process to the medical program applied for.


  • Notarization: Certification of a document that makes it authentic and true by a public official


  • Orientation: A program organized at the beginning of the academic year for the new students to familiarize them with the university and the campus


  • Pre-requisites: Courses that have to be taken prior to taking an advanced course or program


  • Rolling Deadline: Universities/Colleges accept applications for admissions at any time during a specific time period until all the available seats are filled


  • SOP (Statement of Purpose): At the time of the admission process, students should provide this SOP to the universities. In this statement, they need to mention why they are interested in that particular university and program, and what are their goals and ambitions for life.


  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Test for English language proficiency for applicants whose native language is not English

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  • PREPARE - You can prepare and ace the mandatory tests like GRE, IELTS, etc. using our AI-enabled personalized adaptive learning platform and mock tests, at your own pace and comfort.
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  • SEARCH - You can then research these universities and get all the required information/data like required test scores, GPA, tuition fees, global and national rankings, WES evaluation, scholarships, etc., all in one place.
  • SELECT - Using our advanced filters like Tuition Fees, GRE Waiver, Duolingo acceptance, etc., you can shortlist and finalize the universities you want to apply to.
  • APPLY & ENROLL - You can apply to the universities finalized by using our step-by-step self-help resources (guides, videos, blogs, etc.) along with unique samples for SOPs, LORs, Transcripts, University Sample Applications, Admit Letters, Financial Documents, I20/COA/CAS, etc. You will also be getting WhatsApp/Email alerts to track the progress all along the process when you use our proprietary 'Application Tracking' feature.
  • VISA - Now that you have your I-20/CAS/COA, you can find step-by-step resources (guides, videos, blogs, etc.) along with samples for Visa Documents (DS-160 filling), etc as well as mock-visa drills to complete the most critical step of the entire process.
  • TRAVEL - You can find options/resources to book your flight tickets, buy forex/forex cards, international SIM cards, pay tuition fees, etc., all on our website.

In case, you need help at any stage of the process – from ‘shortlisting’ universities to finally ‘enrolling’ at your chosen university abroad, Ubergrad's Expert Counsellors are always available and are just a phone call away (Book a call by clicking on "Talk to Ubergrad Counsellor" button).