Glossary and Definitions

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Numbers + a-E



  • 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 Classes
  • 3MT
  • ABD ("All But Dissertation")
  • AEC
  • Alt-Ac or Altac
  • ASUO
  • Audit
  • Award
  • Bargaining
  • Board of Trustees
  • Candidacy/Advancement to Candidacy/Ph.D. Candidate
  • Canvas
  • Caucus
  • CBA
  • Certificate
  • Citation
  • Cohort
  • Committee
  • Comprehensive Exam
  • Copay
  • CV
  • Database
  • Dean
  • Deductible
  • Defense
  • Department Chair
  • Director of Graduate Studies
  • Dissertation
  • Duck Rides
  • EMU
  • Fellowship
  • Food pantry
  • FTE
  • Funding
  • GDRS
  • Graduate Employment, Graduate Employee (GE)
  • Grant Writing
  • Grant 
  • Grievance
  • GTFF
  • Handbook
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Incomplete
  • Independent Study
  • Instructor of Record
  • IRB or Institutional Review Board
  • ISSS
  • Journal
  • Lab
  • Literature Review
  • LTD
  • Mentor
  • Monograph



  • Office Hours
  • On Hold
  • On-Leave
  • Panel
  • Pass/Fail
  • Peer Review
  • Petition
  • Plagiarism
  • Poster
  • Produce Drop
  • Prospectus of Dissertation Prospectus
  • Provost
  • Rec Center
  • Residency
  • RSVP
  • Sabbatical
  • Scholarship
  • Sections
  • Silo
  • Steward
  • Strike
  • Teaching Assistant or TA
  • Tenure and Tenure-track
  • TEP
  • Thesis
  • Tuition-waiver
  • Union
  • University Housing
  • Workshop




100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 Classes: Each level corresponds to a level of difficulty. 100–499 are undergraduate courses; you may talk to a professor to audit them. 500-699 level classes are for graduate students. These upper division courses are generally more rigorous and are more likely to have pre-requisites.

3MT: The 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition held at the University of Oregon and at regional and national levels. The 3MT challenges participants to present their research in under 3 minutes, using only one slide in a way that is engaging and understandable to non-specialist audiences. This exercise develops presentation, research, and academic communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to explain their work effectively. Learn more.


ABD (“All But Dissertation”): This is when a student has completed all required doctorate coursework, but have not written and defended a dissertation.

Academic Standing: At the end of each term's grade processing, a term and cumulative UO grade point average (GPA) is calculated for each undergraduate student. Academic standing is based on the term and cumulative UO GPA. Academic standing is defined as one of the following conditions: Good Standing, Academic Warning, Academic Probation. Learn more.

AEC: The Accessible Education Center (AEC) is dedicated to facilitating and supporting accessible education through access and full inclusion of students with disabilities into the university environment. This is accomplished through effective collaborations/consultations with faculty/staff, proactive advising, and the fostering of systemic campus change. Learn more.

Alt-Ac or Altac: Alternative Academic refers to the group of Ph.D.-prepared scholars who work in non-faculty professional positions in higher education, not always in their primary fields of study.

ASUO: The Associated Students of The University of Oregon (ASUO) serves as the student-led and university-recognized student government at the University of Oregon. The ASUO is the primary campus mechanism through which students can express collective opinions on UO policies and procedures, as well as organize and advocate in campaigns to benefit student interests both on campus and throughout the wider community. The ASUO also recommends and allocates the student Incidental Fee, and coordinates the recognition of student organizations. Learn more.

Audit: Some students audit a class merely for enjoyment, including purposes of self-enrichment and academic exploration, with no need or desire of academic credit. It is the completion of a course of study in which no assessment of the performance of the student is made nor grade awarded. You need a professor's approval before auditing a course. 

Award: A prestigious accomplishment given by an institution or a donor to honor your work, your research, lived experiences, or any other aspect of your personal, academic, or professional life. It may or may not include funding. Usually, it adds value to your Curriculum and signals success in your career. It is typically awarded in a competitive process led by a selection committee. Learn about scholarships and awards administered by the Division of Graduate Studies.


Bargaining:  This means that a group of union members, a Bargaining Team, sits down with management to negotiate a union contract (also known as a Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA) with the employer. Bargaining sessions are open to the public and include discussion on topics such as pay, benefits, hours, holidays, sick leave, staffing levels, seniority, safety, supplies and other working conditions. Learn more

Board of Trustees: These are 15 people, including the President of the University who are the UO’s governing board. They are public officials who hold a fiduciary responsibility for the university. Fiduciary responsibility is often thought of as financial management. It is about overall management, oversight, and sustainability of the institution. Trustees are volunteers and do not get paid, excluding the President of the University. Learn more


Candidacy/Advancement to Candidacy/Ph.D. Candidate: A student advances to the status of Ph.D. Candidate once they have completed all coursework and other requirements as defined by their graduate program, and are ready to move forward to the dissertation phase.

Canvas: This is a course management system that supports online learning and teaching. It allows professors to post information, assignments, and grades online. Students can submit assignments, participate in discussions, view grades and course materials. The app also provides access to course calendars, To Do items, notifications, and Conversations messages. Canvas Student is available as an App on both Android and iOS devices. Learn more.

Caucus Council: UO's Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) organizes groups or caucuses of graduate employees (GEs) who share similar identities or shared social justice causes. For example, the Latinx Caucus is formed by GEs from Latin America or with Latin American heritage or students who research on topics related to Latin America or anyone that cares about the topic. Caucuses unite people to provide community, support and advocacy towards their shared goals. Learn more

CBA: A Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is a contract reached as a result of negotiations between representatives of a union and the employer. The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) CBA informs GEs of their rights and obligations. Learn more.

Certificate:  A certificate is awarded after completing a shorter program that concentrates on a specific field of expertise rather than an entire course of study. Graduate Certificates.

Citation: This a quotation from or reference to a book, paper, or author, especially in a scholarly work. It is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find the location details of that source on the reference or Works Cited page. A citation must include a set of parentheses. Common forms of citation are American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and Chicago. 

Cohort: This is a group of students working together in the same program, progressing through the same academic curriculum and finishing their degree together.

Committee: University committees and councils aid in the effective operation of the University by studying various issues and recommending changes to, or institution of, policies and procedures. Grad students often serve on committees within their department as service and professional development. Learn more

Comprehensive Exam: This is a test that is given to graduate students towards the end of their coursework, with the goal of determining how ready a student is for the next step of their academic career, that being their dissertation. The exam can be given in a variety of forms, such as oral or written.

Co-pay: This is the amount of a medical service or prescription that a patient is responsible for, while the insurance company covers the remaining cost. Your provider may ask you to pay your co-pay before your appointment begins. Learn more.

CV: A curriculum vitae is a comprehensive statement of your educational background, teaching, and research experience. It is the standard representation of credentials within academia. The full CV is only used when applying for academic positions in four-year institutions.


Database: This is an organized collection of structured information, or data, typically stored electronically in a computer system.

Dean: This is a title employed in academic administrations such as colleges or universities for a person with significant authority over a specific academic unit, over a specific area of concern, or both. deans are usually university professors who serve as the heads of a university's constituent colleges and schools. Learn more

Deductible: The amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay. See more insurance termsLearn more about UO student insurance. 

Defense: Dissertation defense or Thesis defense is an opportunity to defend your research study amidst the academic professionals who will evaluate of your academic work. A thesis defense can sometimes be like a cross-examination session.

Department Chair: Department chairs work as professors who also perform administrative duties. They set the department curriculum, interview potential new professors, manage faculty schedules, settle faculty and student disputes, and sometimes oversee research.

Director of Graduate Studies (DGS): They serve as the coordinator of graduate studies within a program. Together with the graduate program faculty and department and collegiate leadership, the DGS shares responsibility for guiding and improving graduate education within the program(s) under the DGS's jurisdiction. 

Dissertation: This is a long essay on a particular subject, especially one written as a requirement for a PhD degree. Learn more

Duck Rides: Duck Rides is a student-led organization dedicated to providing free and accessible transportation to all university students, staff and faculty. Learn more


EMU: The Erb Memorial Union (EMU) is the student center that provides commonplace services that make it easier for students to achieve their academic goals, whether it be affordable child care, healthy foods, ATMs, or computing labs that are open 19 hours a day, seven days a week. Learn more.


Fellowship: Fellowships are funded, short-term opportunities, that can last from a few weeks to a few years. They can be focused on professional, academic and/or personal development. Fellowships are sponsored by a specific association, organization, institution, or government which sets the eligibility requirements. Learn more about Fellowships administered by the Division of Graduate Studies and other Fellowships focused on Equity and Inclusion.  

Food-pantry: Also known as a food bank, a community food pantry's mission is to provide free food to residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within a specified area. Campus-based food pantries are like any other food pantries, though in most cases they're located on college campuses, and are often limited to students only. Learn more about food resources on campus

FTE: Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) is a calculation that translates student credit hours into an equivalent number of full-time, full-year students. The calculation varies depending on the level of student. The full-time equivalent for an undergraduate student is 45 student credit hours, or 15 credits for three terms. Learn more. FTE also pertains to Graduate Employee (GE) hours. Learn more.

Funding: Funding can come from a mixture of scholarships, grants, fellowships, federal work-study jobs, tuition reductions or discounts, in addition to student and parent loans. Securing funding can help lower the amount of tuition you are required to pay for your program. Learn about funding options here.


GDRS: General Duties and Responsibilities Statements (GDRS) is a document provided by a Graduate Employee (GE) hiring unit (generally your department) which explains your work policies and assignments. It describes the conditions under which GE appointments and reappointments are made, evaluations are performed, etc. Learn more.

Graduate Employment, Graduate Employee (GE): Employees at the University who are graduate students. They teach, do research, and administrative assistantships. They receive a monthly salary, full-time tuition waiver, mandatory fee subsidy, and subsidized health insurance premiums, including coverage for eligible dependents. Learn more

Grant Writing: The process of writing a grant in order to apply for funding your research. To be eligible for funding, an organization or individual must have an objective that aligns with a grant's specifications. Learn more

Grant: Grants for college are a form of financial aid that you typically do not have to repay. Grants can cover a variety of education-related expenses, such as tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies. Learn more.

Grievance: This is a complaint by a student involving the interpretation, application, or alleged violation of college policies and procedures. A grievance action may be initiated by a student against another student, an instructor, an administrator, or a member of the classified staff. Learn more.

GTFF: Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) is a labor union that represents graduate students performing instructional, research, and administrative assignments. Learn more


Handbook: The Student Handbook contains information about support services, student rights and responsibilities and College and academic policies. Learn more. Departments often also have their own handbooks to support you on detailed requirements and processes you may experience during each year of your learning.


Impostor Syndrome: Impostor syndrome describes the feeling of being a fraud. Students who experience the symptoms often suspect that they don't deserve their successes or that their good grades might be an accident. They also worry about someone "finding out" that they aren't smart enough.

Incomplete: A grade of Incomplete (noted "I" on the transcript) may be assigned when a student in good standing in a course has completed and passed a majority of the work required for a course but, for reasons beyond the student's control, cannot complete the entire course. Learn more

Independent Study: In an independent study, you essentially create your own course on a topic of your choice, working in concert with your faculty advisor or other faculty member.

Instructor of Record: Someone who has overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the course syllabus, for the day-to-day delivery of the course, for ensuring that course learning outcomes are covered and assessed, and for the issuing of grades. Learn more

IRB or Institutional Review Board: This is an administrative body established to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the institution with which it is affiliated. Before conducting interviews or collecting data with living people, students need to submit a IRB proposal, indicating all the methods and proposals that will protect their research’s interlocutors and participants. Learn more

ISSS: International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) provides a wide array of advising services and programs to more than 1,000 international students regarding visa and immigration matters, academic support and success, and social and cultural adjustment. Learn more


Journal: An academic journal or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as permanent and transparent forums for the presentation, scrutiny, and discussion of research.


Lab: A lab course is a smaller, individual course component that supplements larger lectures. Labs allow for hands-on, practical exposure to subject matter.

LGBTSS: The mission of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans Education and Support Services (LGBTSS) is to promote a safe, equitable, accessible, and affirming campus for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, aromantic, and agender (LGBTQIA3+) students at the University of Oregon. LGBTSS provides resource navigation, education, community building, and event (co-)coordination and implementation. Learn more

Literature Review: Also known as a "lit" review, this is the writing process of summarizing, synthesizing and/or critiquing the literature found as a result of a literature search. It may be used as background or context for a primary research project. 

LTD: Lane Transit District (LTD) is a bus service that goes through the Eugene and Springfield metropolitan areas, including the neighboring cities of Coburg, Junction City, Creswell, Cottage Grove, Veneta, and Lowell. Students can ride for free. Learn more


Mentor: For graduate students, a mentor is someone who serves as a guide throughout their professional training. They provide both professional and personal advice in transitioning into, and out of, graduate school. Learn more

Monograph: It is generally a single-authored, scholarly contribution of professional research on a specific topic or aspect of a topic.


Office Hours: When not in the classroom, professors usually prefer engaging with students during office hours in their offices, instead of informal corridor conversations. Office hours are typically scheduled in advance, unless the professor makes it clear that anyone can walk in. During office hours, students can ask questions, seek academic advice, discuss a need, etc.

On Hold: An academic hold is a type of restriction imposed by a school to prevent students from enrolling in classes or gaining access to their university's services. An academic hold may be imposed if a student does not pay their tuition fees or fails to return school property such as books or computers. Learn more.

On-Leave: Absent from duty with permission. Learn more


Panel: A small group of people brought together to discuss, investigate, or decide on a particular matter.

Pass/Fail:  Instead of a standard letter grading system, students who elect to change their grading basis to Pass/Fail will receive either a passing grade (PS) or a failing grade (F). A passing grade is not calculated into your GPA, but you will receive credit for taking the course. Learn more

Peer Review: The process by which scholars assess the quality and accuracy of one another's research papers before publication.

Petition: An Academic Petition enables students to request an exception to college policy or procedure when extenuating circumstances have occurred. Students may also request an exception for a degree/program requirement when the student would be better served by allowing substitutions or waivers. Learn more

Plagiarism:  Plagiarism means you take someone else's work or ideas and pass them off as your own. Also known as cheating or copying, plagiarism is not allowed at schools. Learn more

Poster: Research posters concisely summarize research and provide a starting place for discussion. Posters are typically a combination of brief text with tables, graphs, and/or pictures. Researchers will stand by their posters to discuss and answer questions. Learn more

Produce Drop: Produce Drops are like a pop-up farmer’s stand, but everything is free to eligible students and their families. There’s no enrollment or sign-up. Just come and fill a bag with what you need. Learn more

Prospectus or Dissertation Prospectus: A prospectus is a 20-30 page proposal for your dissertation. It describes the problem you have chosen to study and why it is important, as well as the specific questions you will pose and the method you will use to answer them. The style or norms of a prospectus vary by department.

Provost: The Provost, the chief academic officer of the university, reports directly to the President. Learn more


Rec Center: The Recreation Center or "rec" center for short is the university gym that features sustainable, accessible, and diverse facilities designed to enhance your fitness, no matter how you choose to work out. Learn more.

Residency: To qualify as an Oregon resident (for tuition purposes), one must live in Oregon for 12 consecutive months while taking eight credits or fewer per term while demonstrating that they are in the state for a primary purpose other than education (such as working, volunteering, or other purposes). Learn more

RSVP: RSVP comes from the French expression répondez s'il vous plaît, meaning "please respond." It usually comes in invitation emails or flyers, asking for people to inform whether they can participate or not in an event.


Sabbatical: A sabbatical leave is a leave for the purpose of encouraging faculty members (including administrative officers who hold faculty rank) to engage in scholarly research or other activities that will increase their scholarly achievement or their capacity for service to the University. Learn more.

Scholarship: A grant or payment made to support a student's education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement. Learn more

Sections: A group of students from a larger class who are under the teaching of a graduate employee. They meet to discuss the class further at a time separate from the class. These are required attendance and you cannot take the class without also signing up for a corresponding section. Not all classes have corresponding sections.

SEVIS: The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the Web-based system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security uses to maintain information on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools, F-1 and M-1 students who come to the United States to attend those schools, Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsors and J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program participants. Learn more.

Silo: Many professors suffer from what has been called “the silo effect.” This occurs when they become isolated in their own little part of their academic neighborhood and consequently experience minimal interaction with colleagues.

Steward: The conducting, supervising, or managing of something, especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care. Within the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) Stewards are responsible for checking with all department’s Graduate Employees (GEs) about their labor conditions, struggles, and demands. Stewards make the connection and communication between the fellow GE workers in their program and the GTFF.

Strike: A strike is a form of protest organized by students or workers. During a strike, workers stop performing their labor or students refuse to attend class to encourage the institution to address concerns that cannot be otherwise resolved. 


Teaching Assistant (TA): A graduate student who assists a professor with instructional responsibilities. A TA often assists the professor with creating and delivering learning materials in a course. TAs may help develop assignments, quizzes and exams to meet a course's objectives. Learn more.

Tenure and Tenure-track: Tenure grants a professor permanent employment at their university and protects them from being fired without cause. The concept is closely tied to academic freedom, as the security of tenure allows professors to research and teach any topic—even controversial ones. Learn more

TEP: The Teaching Engagement Program (TEP) is UO’s faculty and graduate-student professional teaching development office. It works to define, develop, holistically evaluate, acknowledge, and leverage teaching excellence to achieve the fullest promise of a UO education. TEP supports teachers across rank and discipline, building an inclusive, engaged, and research-informed campus-wide teaching culture. It creates occasions for faculty and graduate student instructors to develop and refresh their pedagogy in dialogue with one another; to engage with campus, national, and scholarly conversations about excellence in higher education; and to use teaching insights to inform UO policy and core curriculum renewal. Learn more

Thesis:  is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Each program has a format, norms, and style. Learn more

Tuition-waiver: A tuition waiver is when your college or university waives some or all of your tuition costs. A tuition waiver can help lower the total cost of college expenses, but it doesn't give you an all-expenses-paid education. Learn more


Union: A club, society, or association formed by people with a common interest or purpose. The Graduate Employee (GE) union at UO is the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) and is often referenced or called "the union" between grads on campus. 

University Housing: University Housing includes Apartments and Family Housing, Business Operations, University Catering and Conference Services, University Dining, Facilities and Maintenance, and Residence Life. Rent is still paid but is generally less expensive than off-campus options. Learn more


Workshop: A workshop is a method of teaching which is a mix between studio practice and a lecture. They are designed to enhance the students' practical skills, and to teach them about the theory and context behind such practice. View Library Workshops. See Craft Center workshops