Terms to Know

Three students walking across campus


A Grade that represents a 4.0 in your Grade Point Average.

academic advisor

A professional who can help you create your academic plan, guide you through course selection and chart your academic progress. If you do not know who your academic advisor is, contact your department. If you are a student who is undeclared, admitted as GO, or non-matriculated contact Student Success.

academic load

A full-time undergraduate is someone who is taking 12 credit hours or more. The average academic course load is 12-15 credit hours, although many students are part-time 6.5-11 credits. Whatever works for you is the right number. To finish your degree in 4 years you need to complete a minimum of 30 credits a year.


Changing your course schedule after registration is completed and semester has started. An instructor's signature on an add form is required. FMI: Registrar


Each instructor decides his/her own policy on attendance, so check with each professor the first day of class.


A grade that represents a 3.0 in your Grade Point Average.


An online portal which acts as a gateway to various courses offered by UMS campuses.

blended course

A course which includes online (at least 50%) and on-campus instruction


A grade that represents a 2.0 in your Grade Point Average.

campus solutions

The student administrative section of MaineStreet


A student's primary information source that provides all program and course descriptions, policies, and procedures.

career decision-making

A process by which you decide or confirm your choice of career.


College-Level Examination Program. SeePrior Learning Assessment.


Course(s) that is required to be taken during the same semester as a particular course.

credit hour

A unit of credit earned in a course, usually based on the number of clock hours a class meets. A three credit-hour course typically meets for 2 1/2 "hours" per week, distributed in one, two, or three class meetings per week.

cum laude

Graduation with distinction. See your undergraduate catalog for more information.


A grade that represents a 1.0 in your Grade Point Average.


The administrative head of an academic school or college.

degree progress report

Lists classes that fulfill general education, major/minor and elective requirements. The degree progress report can also help you shop for a major by showing how classes you have taken might fulfill the requirements of various majors.

department chair

The administrative head of a department within a college or school.


Required to leave the University for academic or disciplinary reasons. Students who are dismissed may not return to USM as students.


A bad grade--no matter how you look at it. Try to avoid it. This computes into your Grade Point Average as a 0.0.

fall semester



An undergraduate registration status of 12 credits or more.


Grade Point Average. Calculate yours using the GPA Calculator


The Greater Portland Alliance of Colleges and Universities offers the opportunity of cross registration for courses not offered at the home institution to supplement their course options. Contact the Registrar’s Office to apply.


Incomplete. If a student has extenuating circumstances a professor may allow a student a specified period of additional time, not to exceed one semester, to complete a small amount of outstanding work for a course. If not resolved by the end of one semester the grade becomes an *I and counts as an F in the GPA.


Describes a course that is team taught by a group of faculty from different departments.


An opportunity for students to earn credits while gaining some "on-the-job" training.


Instructional Television system.


The grade of L may be assigned to students who stopped attending a course without officially dropping it. This will be computed as an F (0.00) in your Grade Point Average. Be sure to officially withdraw by the deadline to avoid this grade.


magna cum laude

A graduation distinction indicating high honors. See your undergraduate catalog for more information.


The University of Maine System's online portal through which we access our administrative computing system and other System-wide online resources. MaineStreet contains all term schedules, grades, academic history, financial aid, billing information, and other academic information.


A degree student; someone who has applied and been accepted to work toward a degree.


A missing grade which must be resolved with the professor by the end of the subsequent semester, or it is computed into the student's Grade Point Average as an "F" (0.0).


A non-degree student; someone taking classes but not formally admitted to USM.

open registration

A registration period for non-matriculated students, immediately before the beginning of each semester.


A primarily web-based class


A registration status of less than 12 credits (undergraduate), or less than 9 credits (graduate).


Grading option for students who want to broaden their educational experience without affecting their Grade Point Average. Note: There is a limit to the number of pass/fail courses you may apply toward your degree. Required courses for major, minor, general education, or Honors may not be taken pass/fail. Check your undergraduate catalog for more information.


Stealing someone else's intellectual property (cheating). Bad idea. The penalties are severe. FMI, review the Academic Integrity Policy and Community Standards


Course(s) required to be successfully completed before a particular course can be taken.

priority registration

A registration period for matriculated students, occurring towards the end of the semester for the following semester's courses. FMI:Registrar


Students may be placed on probation if their academic record does not meet minimum university requirements. Students on probation can still take courses within the constraints outlined by the student's department.

quality points

Grade points earned for a course multiplied by the number of credit hours assigned to that course. These are used to calculate your GPA.


Minimum level of skill in math that must be demonstrated by all students

spring semester

January - May

Student I.D. #

A MaineStreet seven digit unique number assigned to each student

summa cum laude

A graduation distinction indicating highest honors. See your undergraduate catalog for more information.

Summer Session

May - August


Students who have two consecutive semesters of probationary standing or a semester average below 1.0 may be suspended for one semester. During a suspension semester, a student may not take courses at any institution to count toward their USM degree.


Course policies, guidelines and requirements supplied by a course instructor.


Academic history that states the student's major, USM credits, transfer credits, grades, grade level status and GPA.

Winter Session

December – January (all Winter Session courses are offered online)

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