Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Academic Advising Terms

ACADEMIC HISTORY: An unofficial record of a student’s attempted coursework from all institutions attended. Students can access this information through the portal.

ACADEMIC PLAN: A planning worksheet used to outline remaining course requirements semester by semester. Varies by college.

ACADEMIC PROBATION ADVISING: Students are placed on academic probation when either their cumulative GPA falls below 2.00 or their semester GPA falls below 2.00 for two consecutive semesters, regardless of their cumulative GPA. While on Academic Probation, a student must participate in a special advising session in Arts & Sciences Advising Services. See the UT Undergraduate Catalog, or ask your advisor for further details.

ACADEMIC YEAR: Refers to the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters occurring in one calendar year.

ADD SLIP: The form used for adding a closed or restricted course when an authorizing signature is required. For example,to add a closed course, both the instructor’s and the department head’s signatures are needed. The form is found at

CRN: Course registration number.

CATALOG: A student’s “contract” with the University. This on-line publication contains all academic policies and procedures, college and degree requirements, faculty, and course descriptions. All students are responsible for knowing information provided in this publication. Catalogs are in effect for 6years.

CATALOG YEAR: The year during which regulations of a specific education of the Undergraduate Catalog apply. Students may satisfy requirements for  a Bachelor’s degree using any catalog in effect during their attendance at the University provided the catalog has been in effect within six years of graduation. A new catalog year begins every fall term. Students beginning in a spring or summer semester are eligible to follow the fall catalog for that academic year.

CLOSED COURSE(C):A course that is filled to capacity and has no available spaces. Special permission from the instructor and department is needed to add a closed course. Add slips are available at A waitlist option is available for many courses.

CONCENTRATION: A specific focus within a major; for example, English majors may choose to concentrate in either literature or creative writing.

CO-REQUISITE: A course to be taken, or a requirement to be fulfilled, at the same time you are taking a particular course.

CREDIT HOURS: Refers to the number of credits or units earned by successfully completing a course. This is approximately equal to the number of hours the class meets per week; also referred to as semester hours.

COURSE LOAD: The average course load for any semester is 14 to 16 credit hours. Students registered for at least 12 hours are considered full-time. The maximum number of hours that may be attempted in one semester is 19 and for summer is 12. To request course overloads, permission from the College is required. (Requests can be filled out in 313 Ayres Hall or online.

DEGREE AUDIT REPORTING SYSTEM (DARS): An automated record of a student’s academic progress toward degree completion in a major. Students can access DARSweb by signing into MyUTK at https://

DEGREE PLAN: An academic planning worksheet used to keep track of projected and completed course requirements. Varies by college.

DROP/ADD: The process of adding or removing a course or courses from a schedule. Most dropping and adding can be done using MyUTK. Drop/Add deadlines are found at

DROP POLICY: A student is allowed four drops during his/her academic career. Please read the undergraduate catalog for additional information regarding the University’s drop policy.

ELECTIVE: A course that does not fulfill a specific requirement but that may be used toward the total number of credit hours needed for graduation.

GENERAL EDUCATION:Courses that allow a student to develop the basic skills, knowledge, attitudes, and judgements necessary for effective citizenship at all levels, local to global, for fulfilling interactions with others and the environment, and for an enriched personal life. General Education requirements are common to all UTK degrees.

GPA: The result of dividing the total number of quality points earned by a student by the total number of graded credit hours of course work the student has attempted. GPAcalculators can be found at http://registrar.tennessee. edu/records/grades.shtml.

GRADING SCALE: UT’s grading scale is a 4-point scale consisting of letter grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- and F, with an A worth 4 quality points and a F worth zero quality points.

INCOMPLETE(I): An “I” is assigned under extraordinary circumstances and only at the discretion of the instructor when a student whose work is satisfactory has not completed some portion of a course. The grade “I” is not computed into the student’s GPA. The terms for the removal of “I”, including time limit, will be decided by the instructor. Students should never re-enroll in a course in which an“I” was awarded.

MAJOR: Concentrated study in a subject area of special interest.

MILESTONE: In order to stay on track for a major or exploratory area, students must complete minimum requirements for each tracking semester known as milestones.

MINOR: An optional secondary field of study requiring fewer credits than a major.

MYUTK: Web based registration system found at

NETID: The first part of a student’s UTK email address received once attendance at UTK is confirmed. Your net ID is used each semester to register for courses, to log in to your UTK email account, to sign onto Blackboard, and to log in to your MyUTK account.

PREREQUISITE: A course to be completed or a level of skill or knowledge to be demonstrated before you may enroll in a particular course or degree program or associate with a particular college.

PROGRESSION REQUIREMENT: Courses and/or GPA requirements that must be met before a student may officially declare certain majors.

QUALITY POINTS: The number of quality points earned for each course completed is computed by multiplying the value of the grade received in the course (A= 4, B = 3, etc.) by the number of credit hours assigned to the course. Example: an A in Computer Science 102, a 4-credit-hour course, totals 16 quality points (4 x 4) for the work.

REQUIRED ADVISING: Before registering for classes, students are required to consult either their departmental advisor or an Arts and Sciences Advising Services advisor. For students who have earned less than 45 hours at UTK, advising appointments are scheduled once each term.  After 30 earned hours, students in good standing who have declared their majors and are on track schedule appointments once each academic year during a designated term.  Visit Advising Policy for more information.

SECTION NUMBER: A three-digit number that identifies the section of a particular course when multiple sections of the same course are offered.

SEQUENCE: Two or more courses that must be taken in sequence. These are often indicated by a hyphen between course numbers.

STUDENT ID NUMBER: Unique nine-digit number generated for students upon admission to the University.

TIMETABLE: List of all courses offered during a semester, including section numbers, times, and meeting places. You can view the timetable at MyUTK or at

TRANSCRIPT: An official record of attempted coursework from all institutions attended obtained in the records office.

UNIVERSITY/COLLEGE/DEPARTMENT: UTK is composed of 9 undergraduate colleges: Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; Architecture and Design; Arts and Sciences; Business Administration; Communication and Information; Education, Health and Human Sciences; Engineering; Nursing; and Social Work. Each college is divided into departments (for example, the Departments of English, Math, and Political Science in the College of Arts & Sciences).

UTRACK: An academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for a timely graduation.

WAIT LIST: Registration option on MyUTK for many courses. Allows students to automatically enroll in a closed course as seats become available.

WRITING EMPHASIS COURSE: Writing emphasis courses require a at least 2,000 written words, normally composed of one sustained essay or report of at least 1,000 words each, plus additional writing assignments, such as in-class essay exams, journals, and book reviews. These courses help students learn course materials by developing critical thinking skills, demonstrating the ability to sustain an argument, and strengthening existing writing skills.

WRITING INTENSIVE COURSE (WC): Courses designated “WC” are writing intensive and integrate writing as a vital component of the course. Writing intensive courses require a total of at least 5,000 words, with the writing taking many forms.