Jul 20, 2024  
Fitchburg State University 2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
Fitchburg State University 2015-2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Glossary


The bachelor’s degree; traditional first step on the ladder of higher education. It is characterized by a four year program which blends courses aimed at promoting the acquisition of broad knowledge through a solid foundation in the Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as courses designed to give depth of understanding in the major field.

Credit Hour

The University follows the Carnegie Unit for credit. Students are expected to spend a minimum of 45 hours of work for each credit. The most common breakdown for one credit is one hour of class instruction and two hours of homework for 15 weeks each semester. A three credit course demands nine hours each week. The credit hour definition applies to both undergraduate and graduate course work.


The College Level Examination Program by which up to 60 semester hours of credit may be earned towards an undergraduate degree. Contact the Career Center for CLEP information.


Arithmetic representation of the value of completed course work towards the degree requirements. One classroom hour and two hours of homework for the nominal 15-week semester usually counts for one credit. As the usual course responsibility requires three classroom hours per week, per semester, and six hours of work per week outside the classroom, the normal yield per course is three credits. Tradition and practice in the case of laboratory, studio, shop, and other practica awards proportional credit for hours of attendance.


An administrative subdivision of the faculty. Sometimes the department is identical with a discipline category such as English or mathematics. Departments such as Behavioral Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences represent an association of faculty members of related disciplines.


Those course selections by the candidate which are not predetermined by graduation, major, or minor requirements.


That structured experience in an academic field which constitutes the candidate’s specialization. All degree programs require a major.


Those courses which must be satisfactorily completed before admission to certain other courses. Prerequisite courses are listed in the course description of the course requiring them. See Course Descriptions for prerequisite information.


That construct of courses which satisfies the requirements for a particular degree.


That subdivision of academic programs which constitutes a unit of professional competence. Suggestive of the complexity of identifications involved in only one department, consider the example of Business Administration. This program includes concentrations in accounting, management, and marketing. The candidate should clarify with their advisor and major department the concentration which they are interested in pursuing.

Waiver of Regulations

Recognizing the inappropriateness of rigidity in endeavors to promote its goals, the university provides for waiver procedure relative to its rules, regulations, and programs. All petitions for waiver of regulations begin with the Office of the dean of student and academic life if they involve undergraduate requirements and the Office of the dean of graduate and continuing education for graduate requirements. The student should note that reasons for waiver must be as exceptional as the granting of one.