Glossary of Common Terms

College comes with its own language and be confusing! Below is a list of words, phrases, acronyms and other items that will be helpful for you to know as you prepare to come to Richmond. 

If you come across a term that you don't know and is not listed here, feel free to email us and we'll add it to the glossary!

Expand All
  • Academic Advisor

    Your academic advisor is a faculty or staff member who counsels you on academic options throughout your college career. All students are assigned an academic advisor; upon matriculation, you can find the name of your advisor in GradTracker. Your first advisor is considered your "pre-major" or "undeclared" advisor. After you declare a primary major, you are assigned a facaulty advisor from your chosen department or program. While you may have different advisors throughout your time at UR, you will always have someone to answer your questions and help with course selection, academic guidance, and registration!

  • Area Coordinator (AC)

    Area Coordinators are professional staff members who work with Residence Life to oversee multiple residential spaces. Area Coordinators work to create a sense of community, safety, and support on campus. They’re also here to help you and will assist with solving problems if you and your RA are unable to resolve an issue.

  • BannerWeb

    BannerWeb is an online tool where students can perform a number of actions including looking up and registering for classes, checking for holds on their student account, adding money to their SpiderCard, and accessing academic tools like GradTracker. Have questions about navigating BannerWeb? Check out the Registrar’s Office guide

  • Bursar

    The Bursar’s Office is responsible for the invoicing of student tuition. This is where you’ll go to pay your tuition and the office you’ll turn to if you have questions about your account. 

  • Concentration

    A concentration is a specific focus or subject within a major. Concentrations always pair with a related major subject (e.g. Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience), whereas minors can match with any major.

    Learn more about majors, minors, and concentrations

  • COM2

    COM2 is the second language requirement at UR. Students may fulfill this requirement in a few ways: you are fluent in another language and provide supporting documentation, you submit a qualifying score on a standardized foreign language test (e.g. Advanced Placement exam), or you begin a new language or continue your existing language study while at UR.

  • Course Catalog

    The course catalog is the collection of all courses offered at the University of Richmond, available online! Each course comes with a description of what is taught, but not all courses listed in the catalog are available each semester. It is important to note that we do not offer every class, every semester, so it is not an effective way to plan your class schedule. The courses we offer each semester are listed in BannerWeb.

  • CRN

    A CRN is a course registration number. Some classes may have multiple sections (different time slots and professors, but each section has its own unique CRN. When registering for classes, all you have to do is enter the CRN for the specific section you’d like to take without having to worry about inputting additional information!

  • First-Year Seminar (FYS)

    A First-Year Seminar (or FYS) is a course designed specifically for first-year students. Your FYS will enhance your skills in written and verbal communication, critical analysis, and research. New first-year students are required to take one FYS course in the fall semester. There are a variety of seminar topics offered each semester ranging from jazz and technology — so take the ones that grab your attention!

  • Foundational Curriculum

    UR’s Foundational Curriculum allows students the flexibility to explore different fields of study and acquire skill sets they otherwise would not. You learn how seemingly distinct topics relate to each other and to the world itself, and this overall broadens and diversifies your knowledge and perspective.

  • Foundational Curriculum course

    Foundational Curriculum courses are foundational classes that are required for graduation.

  • GradTracker

    GradTracker is an online portal where you can track your progress towards graduation, review course history, and even simulate different combinations of majors and minors! The Registrar offers helpful videos to demonstrate how to navigate GradTracker.

  • Hold

    A hold on your student account (Bannerweb) is a notice placed on your account that blocks your access to class registration and graduation. They can result from things like unpaid parking tickets or uncompleted mandatory courses.

  • Interdisciplinary

    Combining different fields of study or subjects

  • Living-Learning Community

    A living-learning community is an opportunity for students interested in a specific topic matter to live in the same residence hall and attend a related class together! These programs are application-based but are open to all interested students. The Richmond Endeavor program is for first-year students, while sophomores can participate in the Sophomore Scholars in Residence program.

  • Major

    A major is the primary focus of your chosen course of study, and all students are required to have at least one. UR offers over 40 different majors.

    Learn more about majors, minors, and concentrations

  • Minor

    A minor is an academic field of study secondary to your major. Minors are optional for students but can be added to your course of study if you have varying interests you’d like to pursue. Think of a minor as a “mini-major” — fewer units are required to complete a minor.

    Learn more about majors, minors, and concentrations

  • Navigator
  • NetID

    Your NetID, or network account, is the username you use to log in to UR databases. For help with activating your network accounts (or any other technical problems), contact the IT Help Desk through SpiderTechNet.

  • Orientation

    Orientation is your welcome to campus and life as a Spider! All activities are designed to help you make a smooth transition to college. First-year orientation, called New Spider Orientation, occurs right before the start of the fall semester.

  • Orientation Advisor (OA)

    Your orientation advisors are current students trained to help acclimate you to life as a Spider! They supervise a group of about 25 students and guide you through New Spider orientation and other activities during your first days.

  • Peer Academic Advisor (PA)

    A PA is a peer advisor on all things related to academics and college adjustment! Your PA is a current student at UR who guides you through the summer leading up to first-year arrival. Not only do they help to answer all of your questions, but they also remind you of upcoming deadlines and important events like registration! PAs work within the Academic Advising Resource Center.

  • Pre-O

    Pre-O, refers to the Multicultural Pre-Orientation program. Pre-O is one of the three transition programs that students can participate in the few days before New Spider Orientation. (See Transition Programs for more details)

  • Prerequisite course

    A prerequisite course is one that you must complete prior to enrolling in a second course (usually a higher-level course). Think of it as a class where you learn the necessary foundations for the second class you plan to take.

  • Registrar

    The Registrar’s Office is your go-to resource for enrollment information, academic records, class schedules, and more! They also run the behind-the-scenes process of class registration.

  • Resident Assistant (RA)

    A resident assistant is an undergraduate student employed by Residence Life who lives in the residence halls and oversees the students living in their assigned wing. Your RA is there to help you out with any problems you’re having, and they also host fun events for the hall like cookouts and game nights!

  • Richmond Endeavor

    The Richmond Endeavor is a living-learning experience designed for first-year students! Students live together as a cohort in Lora Robins Court and enroll in two related classes in the fall and spring semesters. The community themes change each year, allowing you to choose the one that most interests you.

  • Selected Topics (within course catalog)

    Within the course catalog, some courses may be titled “Selected Topics.” The specific focus of the class will depend on the faculty member teaching that semester and the subject on which they choose to focus.

  • Single-Sign-On (SSO)

    SSO is an authentication method that allows its users to sign in to related software applications and websites with a single login. This way, you don’t have to memorize multiple passwords when accessing different UR webpages. Your SSO is your NETID (see above) and your 16 character password you created when you activated your account.

  • SpiderCard

    Your SpiderCard is your lifeline on campus! This card serves as your identification, access to your residence hall and room, holds your dining dollars and dining hall swipes, and can be used at the SpiderShop.

  • Summer Advisor
    Your summer advisor is a faculty or staff member who helps you prepare for the self-registration period in August and counsels you on academic options. All students are assigned to work with a summer advisor in July; your summer advisor may/may not remain as your pre-major academic advisor, but they can answer your questions and help with course selection, academic guidance, and registration!
  • Transition Program

    Transition programs are designed for students who want to arrive early to campus and get a jump start on their UR experience. These programs take place right before New Spider orientation. There are three to choose from: the Appalachian Trail Adventure (two days spent hiking in the Shenandoah National Park trails), Multicultural Pre-Orientation, and Roadmap to Success.

  • Tuition

    Tuition is the amount paid for classes at the University of Richmond. This price excludes housing and food, the cost of books and other supplies, and personal expenses. Questions about tuition costs can be directed to the Controller’s Office.

  • Unit(s)

    A unit is the measurement of credit hours used at UR. One unit equals 3.5 credit hours. Most courses at UR are worth 1 unit, though a few others are valued at 0.25, 0.5, 1.5, and 2. In order to graduate, you will need to complete a minimum of 35 units.

  • Waitlist

    During registration, you can add yourself to the waitlist of a class if it is full. Once a seat opens up, the Registrar’s Office will send the first student on the list an email with instructions on how to register for the class.

    Learn more about waitlists