The specific language of academia can be confusing, especially when different universities may define terms in different ways. Below are a few common terms with BU’s definition.

Student Categories

First-year student
also freshman
A student who has completed high school or has a GED, and has taken 12 or fewer credits at another college or university.
Graduate student
also used as graduate, grad
A student who has completed a baccalaureate degree or equivalent and wants to do advanced study in a professional or academic field.
International student
A non-US citizen or non-US Permanent Resident (Green Card holder). Exceptions apply if you are currently in the US in one of the following statuses: Refugee, Asylum, Parolee, or Confidential Entrant. Internationals study at BU at the undergraduate and graduate levels and may transfer here from other universities.
Transfer student
A high school graduate (or GED recipient) who has completed one full-time semester (12 or more credits) as a degree candidate at another college or university.
Undergraduate student
also used as undergraduate, undergrad
A student enrolled at a college or university who has completed a high school program, but who usually has not received a college degree.

Academic Status

Full time
This term refers the number of credits taken during a semester. Full time status is achieved with registration for 12-18 credits. Undergraduate students generally proceed toward completion of their degree at the rate of 16-18 credits per semester.
Part time
Part time status is achieved with registration for no fewer than 4 credits, but no more than 12 credits in a given semester. Not all programs allow part time enrollment.

Other Terms

Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
(from core principles of integrity create a foundation for success in all of life’s endeavors. Integrity in academic settings is a fundamental component of success and growth in the classroom. It prepares students for personal and professional challenges as well as providing a blueprint for future fulfillment and success.
(from the ICAI)

Representing the work of another as one’s own. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to the following:

  • copying the answers of another student on an examination
  • copying or restating the work or ideas of another person or persons in any oral or written work (printed or electronic) without citing the appropriate source
  • collaborating with someone else in an academic endeavor without acknowledging his or her contribution
  • acts of commission: appropriating the words or ideas of another
  • acts of omission: failing to acknowledge/document/credit the source or creator of words or ideas
  • using audio or video footage that comes from another source (including work done by another student) without permission and acknowledgement of that source

Excerpted from the Boston University Academic Conduct Code. Read full definitions for plagiarism and conduct expectations.

The state of being proficient: having great facility (in an art, occupation, etc); expertness
(from Read BU’s requirements for English proficiency.
a division constituting half of the regular academic year, lasting typically from 15 to 18 weeks
(from See the specific semester dates at BU.