Student-Central, Tips-and-Tricks

College Terminology Guide

July 08, 2019
Students Pointing at Laptop


Going to college can be daunting enough, but it can be completely overwhelming when you’re bombarded with unfamiliar words and phrases. We’ve come up with this guide to give you a dictionary of common words you’ll likely hear at Concordia University Texas.

Academic Year

“Academic year” simply refers to the current school year. There are three semesters within an academic year, including the fall semester, spring semester and summer semester.

For example, here’s the 2019-2020 academic year:

  • Fall 2019
  • Spring 2020
  • Summer 2020

A traditional semester is 16 weeks long, while different programs (like the Adult Degree Program and graduate courses) have two 8-week sessions in each semester.

Online Undergraduate 

The Online Undergraduate (OUG) is geared for working adults. It offers intensive coursework in a compressed format to complement a full-time work schedule. Students attend classes only one night each week, and they can complete courses in just 8 weeks.

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard is the portal through which you gain access to class materials, submit your assignments and engage on discussion boards. Professors will post resources to Blackboard, like PowerPoint slides, and make announcements through it.


The academic catalog has all of the information you’ll ever need about courses, their descriptions and the prerequisites. It’s important to understand your specific degree requirements, and the catalog will help you do that. Additionally, your academic advisor will help you plan your degree.

Degree Abbreviations

Wondering what MEd means? What on earth is a BAAS? Discover some common abbreviations of degrees you’ll see at CTX.

Undergraduate Degrees

  • BA Bachelor of Arts
  • BAAS Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences
  • BBA Bachelor of Business Administration
  • BS Bachelor of Science

Graduate Degrees

  • MBA Master of Business Administration
  • MEd Master of Education
  • EdD Doctor of Education
  • PhD Doctor of Philosophy

Major vs. Concentration

A major is a specific program of study. For example, students can major in business administration or biology.

A concentration is a specific area of focus within a major. For example, students who major in business administration can concentrate in accounting and financial management.

At Concordia, you can choose from over 50+ majors and concentrations!


Modality simply refers to the way students learn. We offer students a variety of modalities:

  • Day classes on campus
  • Night classes on campus
  • Online classes
  • Hybrid of on-campus and online classes


The syllabus (plural is syllabi) is a document given to students (typically through email or Blackboard) that outlines the course objectives, what the professor expects, a description of projects and a schedule of due dates.

You’ll frequently reference the syllabus, so make sure you have easy access to it.

Types of Students

There are four categories of students at CTX.

  • First-time freshman — This is the first college the student has attended (may also be referred to as traditional or trad student).
  • Transfer student — This student has college credit and has transferred in from a community college or other university.
  • Adult learner — The adult learner student refers to working adults.
  • Graduate — This student has a bachelor’s degree and is working towards a graduate-level degree.

We hope this guide will help you navigate through the language of higher education.

Do you have questions but don’t know where to start? Visit Student Central, your one-stop shop for answers!