2024-2025 Academic Catalog

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Glossary of Terms

Academic Calendar

The Academic Calendar represents important semester-specific dates and deadlines for students officially registered for courses.


Last day of the semester for students to drop full term classes with a financial adjustment. Student schedule adjustments after this date may lead to adjustments to financial aid/awards package, Department of Veteran Affairs education benefits, or other eligibility benefits that are dependent upon enrollment status. Class drops or withdrawals may impact immigration status for international students. A "W" grade appears on the transcript when courses are dropped after the published Census date. 

Credit or Semester Hour

The unit of measurement for college credit. For each credit hour earned, students spend a minimum of 750 minutes in class and a minimum of 100 minutes spent on school work outside of class. Most core classes are three credit hours. Most degrees require 120 credit hours to graduate, however, some require more. Credit hours may also b referred to as “hours”, "units", or “credits.” 

Class Level

The student's class level is based on the number of completed credit hours. Class level is determined by the following credit-hour breakdown:

  • ​First-Year/Freshman: 0-29 completed credit hours
  • Sophomore: 30-59 completed credit hours
  • Junior: 60-89 completed credit hours
  • Senior: 90-120 completed credit hours

College or School

An individual degree-granting unit within the University.

At CU Denver, there are seven undergraduate school and colleges:

  • Architecture and Planning
  • Arts and Media
  • Business
  • Education and Human Development
  • Engineering, Design and Computing
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Public Affairs

​All of which are part of the University of Colorado Denver. Regardless of what school or college a student has been admitted to, they are a CU Denver student. 

Course Drop

Dropping one or more courses, but not all, within a specific term prior to census. Dropped courses are not reflected on the student's transcript.

Course Withdrawal

Dropping one or more courses, but not all, within a specific term after census. When students withdraw from a course, the course earns a grade of “W,”  which will be reflected on the student's transcript, but does not affect a student's GPA.

Core Curriculum

The set of general education requirements all undergraduate CU Denver students must complete.

The core curriculum of the University of Colorado Denver is designed to provide each undergraduate student with a high quality general education based on a liberal arts foundation, while allowing students flexibility based on their individual backgrounds and specific career goals. The Core Curriculum develops multiple literacies, stimulates creative thinking, and utilizes technology. The goal of the University of Colorado Denver Core Curriculum is to engage students in developing sensitivity to diversity and developing their place in an urban environment, as well as in the rapidly changing global environment. 

The Core Curriculum includes courses in:

  • ​English
  • Math
  • Arts
  • Humanities
  • Behavioral Science
  • Social Science
  • Biological and Physical Sciences
  • Cultural Diversity
  • International Perspectives

General Electives

Courses students choose to take in addition to the core curriculum, school or college, and major requirements.


Please see the Grading System section of the catalog for more information.

Grade Point Average

The grade point average (GPA) is calculated by multiplying the credit hours for the course by the points for the letter grade, totaling all the credit points and dividing them by the number of credit hours included. Pass grades and no-credit courses are not included in a student's GPA.

Student's University of Colorado GPA will not include courses that have been taken at other institutions prior to enrollment at the University of Colorado. The GPA for undergraduate students includes all courses taken as an undergraduate. This includes all grades for courses taken more than once.


A hold is a service indicator that prevents various services which may include registering for classes, receiving an official transcript and/or diploma, and requesting an enrollment verification. A hold can be placed on a student’s record for a variety of reasons that may include financial, health, academic standing, required documentation, and advising. Students can view holds in the UCDAccess student portal. Students should contact the appropriate department to resolve the hold in a timely manner.

Incomplete Grade

Policies with respect to "I" grades are available in the individual college and school dean's offices. Use of the "I" is at the discretion of the course instructor and/or the academic dean's office. Please see the Grades definition for more information.

Lower Division Courses (1000 & 2000 level)

Introductory level survey courses designed for first year/freshmen and sophomores.


As a component of a degree, a major is the area of study chosen by a student to be their main focus of study. The number of credits required for a major varies by degree type and/or the school or college offering the major. 

Major Electives

Courses students choose to take within their major that may be required to fulfill the major requirements. Some departments within schools and colleges have approved lists of major electives from which students can choose.​​


An optional course of study that allows students to take several classes as an introduction to a specific subject or discipline area outside of their major. Minors require significantly fewer credits than majors and are not required at CU Denver.


A class component, in addition to lecture, which involves supplemental discussion of course content.



A course that needs to be taken prior to registration for the next course in the designated sequence.


A course(s) that must be completed concurrently, in the same semester, with another course. Some schools and colleges may allow students to complete co-requisites before enrolling in a concurrent course.


Restricted to a specific population (i.e. Restricted to MUSC majors, Restricted to junior standing, etc.).


A course students may have re-enrolled in after completing the same course with a D- or higher. If a student has already earned credit for a course and chooses to re-enroll in the same course, the student usually will not earn credit again. Some courses are repeatable for credit up to a limit set by the school or college ("special topics" courses where the topics differ, private music lessons, or musical performance courses).

Semester/Term Withdrawal

Dropping all courses within a specific semester or term. When students withdraw from all courses, each course earns a grade of “W," which will be reflected on the student's transcript, but does not affect their GPA. A term withdrawal note is also reflected separately on the transcript.​​


An official record of courses taken and grades earned.

Upper Division Courses (3000 & 4000 level)

Advanced academic courses designed for juniors and seniors. ​


A term commonly seen during registration periods. Students hoping to enroll in a full class can opt to be placed on a waitlist. This essentially saves a place in line in case spots open up from registered students dropping.

Waitlist Purge

The process of removing all students from the waitlist according to the date defined on the Academic Calendar.