Glossary of Catalog Terminology

Last updated June 22, 2020

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Academic Calendar: (Relates to Semester, Session, Term) See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/introduction/academic-calendar/. Academic Calendar online: https://registrar.utexas.edu/calendars. Texas Administrative Code: Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4A, Rule 4.5 Common Calendar.

Academic Program: (also known as Educational Program) (Relates to Degree, Degree Program, Major, Program, Program of Study, Program of Work) Any grouping of subject matter courses which, when satisfactorily completed by a student, shall entitle the student to a credential from an institution of higher education.

Additional Coursework: (Also known as Certificate, Non-transcript-recognized, Specialization) Courses must be taken to achieve a defined learning outcome.  Courses may or may not be defined in the catalog.  Courses are displayed on the transcript, but no credential is awarded from the University for the additional coursework.

Affiliation Agreement: Document between college or business affiliate defining an educational partnership.

Approved List of Courses: (Also known as Hours from an Approved List) Generally speaking, all courses required for a degree plan should be explicitly listed as part of the appropriate degree requirement in the applicable University catalog(s). In some instances, colleges or schools may have situations in which degree requirements cannot be explicitly defined. In those cases, an approved list of courses may be utilized. An approved list of courses contains courses formally approved to count toward a degree requirement that cannot be published in the catalog, such as courses added to course inventory during off-catalog cycles.

Area of Study: (See Major) (Also known as Degree Major, Discipline) University Areas of Study can be found at https://www.utexas.edu/academics/areas-of-study (maintained by Admissions). Not the same as the field of study.

Auditor: See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/registration-tuition-and-fees/auditing-a-course/.

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Baccalaureate: A term used to describe undergraduate education, baccalaureate programs are typically completed within four to five years and require a minimum of 120 credit hours to obtain a degree. Bachelor’s degrees are classified as baccalaureate degrees.

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Catalog: See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/the-university/. Graduation under a particular catalog is also described in the University catalog.

Certificate: (See Certificate, Non-transcript-recognized and Certificate, Transcript-recognized)

Certificate, Non-transcript-recognized: (See Additional Coursework) (Also known as Specialization) Specifically defined and offered by an academic unit (department, program, school, or college), yet do not appear on the transcript as a separate credential.

Certificate, Preparation: Programs that prepare students to pursue certificates granted by external entities, such as a teacher certification granted by a state agency.  These certificates are not awarded by the University, nor do they appear on the transcript as a separate credential.

Certificate, Transcript-recognized: (Relates to Credential)

Undergraduate: Transcript-recognized complementary area of study that offers less depth and breadth than a major and may either be pursued in conjunction with the student’s major or function as a stand-alone sequence of coursework. Formal certificate program published in the catalog that students can pursue. Leads to an institutional credential awarded and recognized via the transcript once requirements are met. Can be awarded as early as time of degree conferral and as late as up to a year after degree conferral. See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/the-university/minor-and-certificate-programs/#transcript-recognizedcertificateprograms. Transcript-recognized certificates can be pursued in conjunction with a major or as a standalone credential to be awarded to degree holders up to a year after degree conferral.

Graduate: (Relates to Portfolio) Transcriptable credentials that require completion of coursework in a single field of study.  Available to degree-seeking and nondegree-seeking students. See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/graduate/graduate-study/certificates/.

Graduate stackable: Transcript-recognized credentials that can be awarded when program requirements are satisfied or concurrently with degree. See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/graduate/graduate-study/certificates/.

Certification: Certifying a student for eligibility or validating a credential for a student. Examples: Athletic certification (NCAA), Veteran (VA) certification, Enrollment certification, Degree certification.

CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs): The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) is a taxonomic coding scheme of instructional programs. Its purpose is to facilitate the organization, collection, and reporting of fields of study and program completions. The CIP was originally developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the U.S. Department of Education. The CIP titles and program descriptions are intended to be general categories into which program completions data can be placed. The vast majority of CIP titles correspond to academic and occupational instructional programs offered for credit at the postsecondary level. These programs result in recognized completion points and awards, including degrees, certificates, and other formal awards. See NCES/IPEDS for more information: https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/resources.aspx?y=56

Class: (Relates to Course, Section) An instance of a scheduled course offered to students via the Course Schedule. An instance of a scheduled course and can have multiple sections.

Co-enrollment: An alternative admission program that offers prospective students a clear path to completion of an undergraduate degree at the University. Example: Path to Admission through Co-Enrollment (PACE). See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/admission/undergraduate-admission/#freshmanadmissiontext.

College: (Relates to Department, School) Within a university, the term college refers to a larger academic unit than a school. Some colleges contain schools.

College Requirement: (See Requirement) (Relates to Degree Requirement, Major Requirement, Non-coursework Requirement) Required coursework and non-coursework requirements specific to the college. Common requirements that must be taken by all students within a college. Does not include university-wide, core, or major requirements.

  • Graduate School:  Not applicable at the graduate level.

Concentration: (Also known as Emphasis, Option, Track) (Relates to Major) An approved and defined group of courses within a major published in the university catalog that allows a student to focus in a particular area of that major. Concentrations are are not displayed on the transcript and are not considered a separate credential from the major.

Concurrent Degree: (See Dual Degree) (Also known as Dual Degree Program)

Concurrent Enrollment: (Relates to Inter-institutional) See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/registration-tuition-and-fees/concurrent-enrollment/.

Conferral: (Relates to Credential) The official institutional awarding of a transcript-recognized credential by the University to the student, such as a certificate, degree, honors, major, or minor.

Consortial Relationship: Two or more institutions share in the responsibility of developing and delivering courses and programs that meet mutually agreed upon standards of academic quality. See SACSCOC manual, Appendix B: http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/2018%20POA%20Resource%20Manual.pdf

Contractual Agreement: An institution enters an agreement for receipt of courses/programs or portions of courses or programs, e.g., clinical training internships, delivered by another institution or service provider. See SACSCOC manual, Appendix B: http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/2018%20POA%20Resource%20Manual.pdf

Core: Use of the word “core” in university catalogs is reserved for reference to institutional undergraduate core curriculum, which is approved, defined, and reported to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate-studies/academic-policies-and-procedures/#corecurriculum.

  • Graduate School: Use of the word “core” at the graduate level is used to describe required courses.

Co-requisite: Students are required to be enrolled two courses simultaneously by a major department or academic unit.

Course: (Also known as Coursework) (Relates to Class, Section) Defines the curriculum and content of a field of study and course number. Established in the Course Inventory and needed to create classes in the Course Schedule.

Coursework: (See Course)

Credential: (Relates to Certificate, Transcript-recognized, Conferral, Degree, Degree Major, Diploma, Major, Minor) A credential is a transcript-recognized attestation by the University to the completion of a program by a student. The University confers the credential to a student, maintains a record of the credential, and recognizes the credential via the student’s transcript. Examples of credentials include transcript-recognized certificates, diplomas, degrees, majors, and minors.

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Degree: (Relates to Credential, Dual degree, Integrated degree, Joint Degree) The academic credential the University c#onfers to a student for completed work in an area of study. Undergraduate and Professional Pharmacy Degrees, Graduate Degrees, Law Degrees, and Medical Degrees offered by the University are listed in the University catalog.

  • Graduate School: The Graduate School refers to the degree abbreviation (e.g. MA, MBA, MS, MSEcon, MSMarineSci, MSTC, AuD, EdD, PhD) as the “degree designator.” 

Degree Major: (See Major) (Also known as Area of study, Discipline) (Relates to Credential) Legislated major that students can pursue and leads to a degree. Consists of a specified number of hours from a defined group of courses in a primary discipline. Institutional Reporting, Research, and Information Systems (IRRIS) assigns a CIP code to degree majors. Degree majors are published in the catalog, along with a degree plan, and appear on the transcript.

Degree Plan: Identifies the requirements and list of courses and sequence of courses needed to fulfill the degree program.

Degree Program: (Also known as Educational Program, Program of Study, Program of Work) (Relates to Degree, Major, Program) A degree program is defined by two elements – the degree that is paired with a degree major. Degree programs must be approved by THECB and are published in the catalog. Degree name appears on both the diploma and transcript. Degree major only appears on the transcript.

Degree Requirement: (See Requirement) (Relates to College requirement, Major Requirement, Non-coursework Requirement) Required coursework and non-coursework requirements specific to the degree.

Department: (Relates to College, School) Within a university, the term department refers to an academic unit housed within a school or college.

Diploma: (Relates to Credential) See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/academic-policies-and-procedures/diplomas/.

Discipline: (See Major) (Also known as Area of study, Degree Major)

Double Major: (See Simultaneous major) (Also known as Dual Major)

Dual Degree: (Also known as Concurrent Degree, Dual degree program) See catalog:

Dual Degree Program: (See Dual Degree) (Also known as Concurrent Degree

Dual Major: (See Simultaneous major (Also known as Double Major)

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Educational Program: (See Academic Program) (Also known as ) (Relates to Degree, Degree Program, Major, Program, Program of Study, Program of Work) SACSCOC defines Educational Program as a coherent set of courses leading to a credential (degree, diploma, or certificate) awarded by the institution. SACSCOC: http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/2018%20POA%20Resource%20Manual.pdf

Electives: (Also known as Free Electives) Additional hours contributing to reach the degree plan total required hours that do not count toward any core, college, major, minor, or certificate requirement.

Emphasis: (See Concentration) (Also known as Option, Track) (Relates to Major

Enrollment Deposit: A fee required to be paid in order to enroll, to be paid in advance of enrollment.

Enrollment Status: (See Quantity of Work)

Entrance Deficiencies:See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/admission/undergraduate-admission/#freshmanadmissiontext

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Field of Study (FOS): The three-character prefix that precedes the course number when referencing a specific course. FOS is associated with administrative structures such as a department or a college and is housed within an academic unit. A FOS contains courses that map to an academic program. Currently, undergraduate students cannot pursue a degree major and minor in the same FOS: https://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/the-university/minor-and-certificate-programs/.

Four Plus One Program: (See Integrated Degree)

Free Electives: (See Electives)

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Graduate Program: A specific discipline and all of its associated graduate degrees. (EX: The graduate program in Philosophy offers MA and PhD degrees.) In many policy documents, “graduate program” is used to describe the collective group of graduate degree offerings. Can also be used to refer to administrative structure.Some graduate programs exist within departments while others fall, more generally, under a school/college umbrella.

Graduate Study Committee (GSC): Graduate Studies Committees are associated with specific areas of study, or disciplines. GSCs are not associated with administrative structures such as a department or a college. See HOP Policy 9-1240, section VII. B. “Graduate Studies Committees”: https://policies.utexas.edu/policies/graduate-school.

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Honors: See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/academic-policies-and-procedures/honors/.

Hours: A unit of measure representing an hour (50 minutes) of instruction over a 15-week period in a semester system. Hours are applied toward the total number of hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award. Additional information:

Hours from an Approved List: (See Approved List of Courses)

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In-residence Coursework: See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/the-university/graduation/general-requirements/.

Institution: An established organization (such as a university). A university is an institution of higher learning providing facilities for teaching and research and authorized to grant academic credentials.  Institutions offer programs comprising a totality of educational experience and have a core of full-time faculty, a student body, and an administration.

Integrated Degree: (Also known as Four plus One program) See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/the-university/degree-programs/#integratedprogramstext. Integrated programs must be approved at both levels (i.e., undergraduate and graduate) via the university catalog legislative process.

Interdisciplinary: Relating to more than one area of study or discipline.

Inter-institutional: (Relates to Concurrent Enrollment) Existing or occurring between different institutions.

Interprofessional Education (IPE): Interprofessional education refers to occasions when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes (World Health Organization, 2010). The purpose of Interprofessional Education is to prepare health professions students for Interprofessional Practice by teaching collaborative practice competencies within the context of Interprofessional Teams. See: https://nexusipe.org/informing/about-ipe and https://www.who.int/hrh/resources/framework_action/en/.

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Joint Degree: Agreement by two or more institutions to grant a joint academic award whereby students study at two or more institutions and the institutions grant a single academic award bearing the names, seals, and signatures of each of the participating institutions.

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Major: (Also known as: Area of Study, Degree Major, Discipline) Primary area of study that can lead to a degree through coursework; the subject area in which a student pursuing a college degree develops the greatest depth of knowledge, competence, and understanding. It is identified with a CIP code of the program in which the award is to be conferred.

Major Electives: (See Prescribed Electives) (Also known as Professional Electives)

Major Requirement: (See Requirement) (Relates to College requirement, Degree Requirement, Non-coursework Requirement) Required coursework and non-coursework requirements specific to the major.

Maymester: At UT Austin, the term “Maymester” refers to a specific study abroad program, and is not a semester, session, or term in the University academic calendar. Maymester classes are three or four-credit-hour courses taught over a four-week period (minimum of 25 days) by UT Austin faculty members in international locations scheduled as part of the spring semester. Maymester program scheduled classes must begin prior to the start of first summer session and conclude before the second summer session begins. Courses taken as part of a Maymester program apply toward the student’s spring semester record, such as GPA. See: https://world.utexas.edu/abroad/faculty/initiate-program

Minor: Transcript-recognized complementary area of study comprised of a designated group of classes in a discipline that is primarily outside the major area of study or is interdisciplinary and offers less depth and breadth than a major. Formal minor program published in the catalog that students can pursue. Leads to an institutional credential awarded and recognized via the transcript once requirements are met. Pursued and awarded simultaneously with its attached major upon degree conferral. See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/the-university/minor-and-certificate-programs/#minor.

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Non-coursework Requirement: (Related College Requirement, Degree Requirement, Major Requirement, Requirement) Requirement that is not coursework used as a prerequisite for progression within an educational or academic program. Examples of non-coursework requirements include: passing score on a milestone exam, quantifiable amount of fieldwork experience, global perspective (experience abroad), and community engagement. Non-coursework requirements are manually reviewed, verified, and enforced by faculty and staff in academic units.

  • Graduate School: Examples of non-coursework requirements also include: passing a qualifying exam and/or constituting a dissertation committee.

Non-refundable Pre-enrollment Tuition Fee: (See Enrollment Deposit)

  • Graduate School: Specific language used to refer to enrollment deposits for self-funded (option III) programs.

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Option: (See Concentration) (Also known as Emphasis, Track) Holds specific meaning regarding the funding structure for a program. “Option I” indicates a formula-funded program, “Option II” indicates a partially formula-funded program, and “Option III” indicates a non-formula-funded (self-funded) program.Option II and Option III programs are exclusive to the Graduate School.

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Prerequisite: A course or additional work that a student must satisfactorily complete before enrolling in another course or being admitted to a certain program.

Prescribed Electives: (Also known as Major Electives, Professional Electives) Courses taken within your degree’s area of study but are not specified in your degree requirements (e.g. “… and twelve additional hours of advertising” for the Bachelor of Science in Advertising degree)

  • Graduate School: Electives that must be chosen from a predefined list of course options that are specific to the student’s program.

Portfolio: A non-transcript-recognized compilation of academic work and other forms of educational evidence assembled for the purpose of:

  1. Evaluating coursework quality, learning progress, and academic achievement
  2. Determining whether students have met learning standards or other academic requirements for courses, grade-level promotion, and graduation
  3. Helping students reflect on their academic goals and progress as learners
  4. Creating a lasting archive of academic work products, accomplishments, and other documentation.

      Portfolios do not appear on the transcript and are not conferred as a separate institutional credential.

Professional Electives: (See Prescribed Electives) (Also known as Major Electives) Apply toward professional credentials conferred by the University.

Program: (Relates to Degree Program) Catch-all word used to generically describe a category defined by a common grouping such as academic or educational program, funding source, non-academic program, or characteristic that is institutionally approved and managed with oversight. Examples: Honors program, Gateway Scholars program, Option III program, Teacher Certification program, University Leadership Network program, 360 Connections program, Electrical Engineering program, etc.

Program of Study: (See Degree Program) (Also known as Educational Program, Program of Work) (Relates to Degree, Major, Program)

Program of Work: (See Degree Program) (Also known as Academic Program, Educational Program, Program of Study) (Relates to Degree, Major, Program)

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Quantity of Work: (Also known as Enrollment Status) The number of credit hours for which the student is enrolled in residence in a semester that determines if they have full-time or part-time enrollment status. See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/academic-policies-and-procedures/quantity-of-work-rule/.

  • Graduate School: The Quantity of Work rule is also used to determine and describe limitations on graduate student employment.

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Requirement: (Also known as Supporting Coursework) (Relates to College requirement, Degree Requirement, Major Requirement, Non-coursework Requirement) Specified number of hours from a defined group of courses in a primary discipline or field and supporting disciplines or fields as a part of the requirements for completion of an educational or academic program. Also found in the Interactive Degree Audit (IDA) system as course-seeking requirements. Some requirements are not related to coursework. Non-coursework requirements are manually reviewed, verified, and enforced by faculty and staff in academic units. See Non-coursework Requirement for more information.

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SACSCOC: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. See: https://sacscoc.org/.

Same-as: Courses with differing Fields of Study (FOS) that share the same attributes such as instructor, grading mode, prerequisites, restrictions, content description, credit hours, contact hours, title, skills and experience flags, core code, etc. Same-as courses are scheduled to meet together at the exact same place and time via the Course Schedule and count the same toward a degree requirement for students.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/student-services/financial-aid/. Students who fall behind in their coursework, fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average or fail to complete classes in a maximum time frame, may lose eligibility for aid.

School: (Relates to College, Department) Within a university, the term school refers to a larger unit within a university than department. Some schools contain departments. A school can be housed within a college or not.

School Major (Code): (Relates to Area of study, Degree Major, Major) Includes a 1-digit college code plus 5-digit major code managed by the Office of the Registrar that maps to a legislated, catalog-recognized degree major and 3-character Field of Study (FOS) code. Used to admit, enroll, register, advise, audit, certify, and internally track students, as well as to manage class seats. Published in the Course Schedule, but not the catalog. The school major code for undergraduate majors typically ends in ‘00’ in anticipation of designating a School Major Special Advising Area (Code) within the school major code. School Major codes are listed in the Advising section of the online Course Schedule: https://registrar.utexas.edu/schedules.

School Major Special Advising Area (Code): Commonly referred to as advising code.  Two-digit code replacing the last two ‘00’ digits at the end of a School Major (Code) that is used to group students by a single special advising area across all undergraduate school major codes within a college. For example: 240900 is the finance school major code, and 240919 is the finance school major code for the ‘prelaw’ special advising area. Special Advising Area codes are listed in the Advising section of the online Course Schedule:  https://registrar.utexas.edu/schedules.

  • Graduate School: Special advising areas are not applicable to graduate-level school major codes.

Section: (Relates to Class) A specific instance of a class assigned a five-digit unique number in the Course Schedule for which students can register.

Semester: (Relates to Academic Calendar, Session, Term) Periods of instruction into which an academic year is divided. A semester spans a specified number of weeks including registration, instruction, and final examinations. A long session includes fall and spring semesters. Please note that Maymester is a study abroad program, not an institutionally recognized semester at the University.

Sequence: (See Sequence of coursework)

Sequence of Coursework: (Also known as Sequence) Order of required coursework and non-coursework requirements based on catalog and degree requirements needed to complete an educational or academic program.

Session: (Also known as Term) (Relates to Academic Calendar, Semester) At the University of Texas at Austin, session refers to the institutionally defined periods of instruction. A long session includes fall and spring semesters. A short session includes first-term, second-term, nine-week, and whole sessions within the summer semester as noted in the catalog’s Academic Calendar: https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/introduction/academic-calendar/. Please note that Maymester is a study abroad program, not an institutionally recognized session at the University.

Simultaneous Major: (Also known as Double Major, Dual major) Informal arrangement, with approval of participating academic units, where a student can pursue more than one major simultaneously. Example: History (BA) and Art History (BA). See catalog: https://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/the-university/simultaneous-majors/.

Specialization: (See Additional coursework) (Also known as Certificate, Non-transcript-recognized)

Substantive Change: A significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution, usually pertaining to new or changes to existing degree programs. Defined by federal regulations, substantive changes may require notification to or approval of SACSCOC prior to implementation. These changes include, but are not limited to, the addition of courses or programs that represent a significant departure, either in content or method of delivery, from those that were offered when the institution was last evaluated by SACSCOC (2018); entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution; or entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25% or more of one or more of the accredited institution’s programs. Contact the Office of Strategic Academic Initiatives if you are uncertain whether a new program or program revision qualifies as a substantive change: https://provost.utexas.edu/sai.

Supporting Coursework: (See Requirement)

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Term: (See Session) (Relates to Academic Calendar, Semester)

THECB: The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) is the state’s agency that oversees all public post-secondary education in the state. See: http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/.

Topic: Course with specific field of study and course number with more than one sub-topic that can only be repeated when topics vary. There are two types of topics courses: unnumbered topics and numbered topics.  Unnumbered topics exist only in the Course Schedule and are not published in the catalog. Numbered topics are assigned topic numbers and titles in course inventory and appear in the catalog. All topics courses share the same field of study and course number.

Track: (See Concentration) (Also known as Emphasis, Option) (Relates to Major)

Transcriptable: (See Transcript-recognized)

Transcript-recognized: (Also known as Transcriptable) Appears on the University transcript.

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Unspecified Hours: Coursework not applied to any degree requirement, other than total hours required for a degree.

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Verification: (Relates to Certification) The process of establishing the truth, accuracy, and validity of institutional records for a student.

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Additional Resources

Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations: https://www.utsystem.edu/offices/board-regents/regents-rules-and-regulations

Faculty Council: https://facultycouncil.utexas.edu/

Graduate Assembly: https://gradschool.utexas.edu/faculty/graduate-assembly

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): https://nces.ed.gov/

Policy Library, University of Texas System: https://www.utsystem.edu/sites/policy-library

Policy Office, University of Texas at Austin: https://policies.utexas.edu/policies

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC): The University uses the following definitions to guide its compliance with this Principle, based on SACSCOC and on State of Texas rules.

Texas Administrative Code: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/tac/index.shtml

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB): http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/

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2019-2020 Glossary Workgroup members

  • John St. Lawrence (Chair), College of Liberal Arts
  • Chris Montes, College of Fine Arts
  • Daniel Zarazua, College of Business
  • Jeff Handy, School of Undergraduate Studies
  • Jeff Freels (contributor), Strategic Academic Initiatives
  • Lauren Brown, Moody College of Communication
  • Michelle Broadway, Office of Graduate Studies
  • Priscilla White, Office of the Registrar
  • Renee' Acosta, College of Pharmacy
  • Richard Hogeda, College of Education
  • Shan Evans, Office of the Registrar
  • Vanessa Garcia, Sanger Learning Center

Questions or suggestions?

Please let us know at offpubs@austin.utexas.edu.