A glossary of key terms related to your experience at UMass.
A routine part of the college experience where you talk with an advisor about academic experiences, goals and plans.
A resource to you on navigating campus and expert in degree requirements for your major. Provide support for connection to opportunities on campus, creating 4-year plan, course selection.
Academic Deans are affiliated with your college and help with complex academic issues, student petitions, or policy regulations. Academic Deans work with teams of advisors, faculty, staff, and partners on campus.
Academic Requirements Report
Also known as the ARR, the online tool in your Spire Student Center providing a degree audit that outlines Gen Ed, College and Major degree requirements, identifies what has been satisfied already and what is remaining.
Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher to be in good academic standing with the university.
A term used to describe the first 1 – 2 weeks of each semester. Add or drop classes without a “W” (for “withdrawal”) on your transcripts. The last day to add or drop classes (without a “W”) for each semester is posted in the academic calendar.
The billing and payment gateway to UMass Amherst. Tuition & fees are paid through the Bursar’s Office.
Career Advising / Advisor
Prepare for your life post-UMass through support such as for resume, cover letter, internships opportunities, preparing for career events.
A multi-semester commitment to a company with a mix of working and courses. Offers an extended experience with one company and are typically paid employment experiences.
Dean of Students Office
The Dean of Students Office in Whitmore assists students with individual needs, concerns and crisis.
Getting involved and being a contributing member to campus. Participate in programs and services, be a volunteer or leader, and share your interests with peers.
Specifies the beginning and end date and time that you are eligible to register for courses in Spire.
First Generation College Student
A student whose parent or guardian did not attain a 4-year bachelor’s degree.
General Education Requirements
A set of requirements that all UMass students must complete in order to earn a degree. “Gen Ed courses” provide you with experiences, knowledge, and skills necessary to become well-educated and valuable contributors to our ever-evolving complex and global communities.
Secure your success post-UMass by using this online tool for scheduling career advising, finding and RSVP’ing for career events, scheduling on-campus interviews with employers, searching and applying for internships, co-ops and full-time job opportunities.
Hold / Service Indicator
Officially called a ‘service indicator’ but often referred to as a ‘hold’ in SPIRE.May block ability to register for courses or progress as a student at UMass. Placed for a variety of reasons – required academic advising appointment outstanding financial balanced, etc. View your holds/service indicators in Spire student center. Only the unit that placed the hold can remove it.
A one semester commitment to a company to gain professional experience related to your career development. Can occur during the fall, spring or summer semesters, may be paid or unpaid, and can often earn academic credit.
Connect with staff, advisors and campus resources through our online appointment and communication tool, Navigate.
The Ombuds Office is a confidential, neutral, and informal resource to help you with conflicts or concerns about fairness while you’re at the University.
Instead of earning a letter grade (A – F), you will earn a ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’ for the course. You can elect to take one course Pass/Fail each semester, but these courses won’t fulfill major or general education requirements. If students opt to take an elective course pass/fail and earn a grade that will improve their cumulative GPA – the letter grade will appear on the transcript instead of the p/f unless the student indicates otherwise prior to graduation.
The office on campus responsible for keeping and maintaining official student records and academic policies. Offering resources and information related to the schedule of classes, registration, exam schedules, transcripts, requirements, transfer credit, etc.
Process of selecting and enrolling in courses for the upcoming semester.
A tool used during the registration process. Think online shopping. As courses are reviewed, add courses of interest to your ‘shopping cart’. View shopping cart to see all the courses of interest in one place. Use shopping cart to quickly register for courses at the time of your enrollment appointment.
Success is different for each and every individual. Define and measure your own success by setting goals and working toward them. Track your progress towards goals and adjust as needed. Success isn’t linear. At each curve, there are resources to support students – Ask!
The main source for notifying students of important deadlines and opportunities. You are responsible for reading and responding to the email from UMass offices.
Follows the add/drop period and ends-mid-semester. If you drop a class before this mid-semester date deadline (see the Academic Calendar), you will receive a W on your transcript.
In person and on-line assistance with all kinds of writing.
There are a lot of abbreviations that students need to be aware of......here are some that are used often!
Schools and Colleges:
SBS: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
CNS: College of Natural Sciences
ISOM: Isenberg School of Management
HFA: College of Humanities and Fine Arts
SPP: School of Public Policy
SPHHS: School of Public Health and Health Sciences
CICS: College of Information and Computer Sciences
CHC: Commonwealth Honors College
ARR: Academic Requirements Report
CPE: Continuing and Professional Education
BDIC: Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration
UWW: University Without Walls
IPO: International Programs Office
ICAF: International Course Approval Form
SYIA: Senior Year in Absentia
MTB: Mass Transfer Block
ESL: English as a Second Language
Gen Ed: General Education Program
IR Certificate: International Relations Certificate
LARP: Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
NSO: New Students Orientation
STPEC: Department of Social Thought and Political Economy
CESL: Civic Engagement and Service Learning
Student Services/Student Life/Student Resources:
DOSO: Dean of Students Office
SACL: Students Affairs and Campus Life
CCPH: Center for Counseling and Psychological Health
CWC: Center for Women and Community
RSO: Registered Student Organization
SORC: Student Organization Resource Center
CMASS: Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success
RAP: Residential Academic Programs
DC: Dining Commons
LRC: Learning Resource Center
ONSA: Office of National Scholarship Advisement
UHS: University Health Services
MSP: Massachusetts Society of Professors
MTA: Massachusetts Teachers Association
PSU: Professional Staff Union
GEO: Graduate Employee Organization
USA: University Staff Association
AFSCME: American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees
TEFD: Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development
CTS: Classroom Technology Services
OIR: Office of Institutional Research
ISSR: Institute for Social Science Research
OAPA: Office of Academic Planning and Assessment
OWL: Online Web-Based Learning
PERI: Political Economy Research Institute
EO&D: Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office
PVTA: Pioneer Valley Transit Authority
FAC: Fine Arts Center