Advising Terms Glossary

To help you navigate academics and advising


Academic Advisor

There are two types of academic advisors at Seattle University (SU):

  • Professional Advisors are staff members who primarily serve as academic advisors. Professional advisors may be located in an advising center or academic department.
  • Faculty Advisors are faculty members who teach classes and serve as academic advisors, usually for students in their same academic field.

Academic Calendar

The official Seattle University Academic Calendar provides dates and deadlines related to the academic year.

TIP: Sync important dates from the official calendar to your personal calendar.

Academic Catalog

The Catalog contains the specific requirements necessary for all of the majors, minors and degree programs at SU. You are held to these requirements and policies during your time at SU.

TIP: Curious about the majors or minors SU offers? Visit the Catalog to learn more about what would be required if you changed your major, or added a second major or minor.

Academic Department or Program

Seattle University is made up of eight colleges and schools, four of them serve primarily undergraduate students (Albers School of Business and Economics, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing, College of Science and Engineering).

Each of these colleges and schools are then organized into academic departments or programs. These departments and program are devoted to a particular academic discipline. For example, Seattle University has an English Department, a Math Department and an International Studies Program.

Academic majors are housed within these departments and programs. For example, an Accounting major would be housed in the Accounting Department within the Albers School of Business and Economics.

Advising Notes

Need to remember what you and your academic advisor spoke about the last time you met? Many advisors summarize key points of your advising conversations. Your advisor may also include notes about career goals you share with them. Most advisors will share advising notes with you via email.

College Class Requirement

Each college or school at SU may have specific course requirements, in addition to major and Core requirements. Your Program Evaluation will specify if you are required to complete any college-specific classes.

Core Class

The University Core Curriculum is the academic “center of gravity” of an SU undergraduate education. The Core helps students understand the world deeply, develop strong intellectual skills, and prepare to be thoughtful and empowered leaders for a better world. The Core contains 12 classes in addition to a capstone course in your major. Read more on the University Core website.

Note: Honors, Humanities, and other programs have different Core requirements. Be sure to check your program evaluation for details.


Every SU course is assigned a certain number of credits. Credits represent the number of hours per week the class meets. Most undergraduate classes are five (5) credits. All students must complete a minimum of 180 credit hours of approved coursework to earn a degree. Some programs require more than 180 credits.

Dropping vs. Withdrawing from a Class

During the quarterly Add/Drop period, as indicated on the Academic Calendar, you can change your class schedule by adding or dropping courses on mySeattleU.

After the Add/Drop period, your only option is to withdraw from the course. Most students may withdraw online before the quarterly withdrawal deadline. International students, athletes, and students with a hold on their account must use the Withdrawal Request Form to withdraw from a course. Your transcript will indicate a grade of a "W". This grade does not affect your grade point average, but it may affect your status as a full-time student (might impact financial aid, housing, international visa and/or athletic statuses). If you are planning to withdraw from a course, talk to your academic advisor.

General Elective Courses

These courses do not fulfill Core, college, major or minor requirements, but they do count towards the total number of credits required for graduation. Most degrees at SU require 180 credits to graduate, but the courses you take to meet your degree requirements may not necessarily total 180. The credit difference between your total degree requirements and 180 credits are called general electives. General electives consist of courses numbered 1000-4999 and may be selected from any department, so long as you have met any prerequisites for the class.

TIP: General electives are a great way to gain job skills, be exposed to new ideas or take a class for fun.


Holds are placed onto a student record when a student needs to attend to something at the university. Holds may be placed by offices such as Student Financial Services, the Dean of Students, or the International Student Center for specific tasks that must be completed. Some holds may prevent a student from registering for classes until resolved. If you have questions about holds, talk to your advisor. 

TIP: The mySeattleU Student Planning system will alert you if you have any holds when you log in.

Major Class

Any class requirement specified for a student's major.

TIP: Locate your progress towards completing major requirements on your Program Evaluation (found on the Educational Planning tab of mySeattleU Student Planning). If you want more detail about a major requirement, visit the Catalog.


This term is used a lot at SU in very different contexts:

  • The Core Curriculum consists of modules which represent a set of courses under a particular theme
  • In Canvas, faculty use modules to organize the class content


A course or requirement that must be completed or met before another course or requirement can be started.

Program Evaluation

This document tracks your progress to graduation by showing you how every class you take applies to your specific degree requirements. You can also use the "View a Different Program" feature to view how your courses would apply if you changed your major. Find your program evaluation on the Educational Planning Menu of mySeattleU Student Planning.

Registration Time

This is not the time you go and meet with your advisor! That advising meeting needs to happen in advance of your registration time. The registration time is the time and date after which point you are eligible to register for classes online on mySeattleU Student Planning. Every quarter, about 2 weeks prior to the scheduled advising period, your time will be shown on mySeattleU under the “Plan and Schedule” page.


A document that contains a student’s complete academic record at a particular school or university.

  • An official transcript is issued by the institution and will either come in a sealed envelope or via secure electronic record
  • An unofficial transcript is a copy of the official
  • You can order an official copy of your SU transcript and/or access your unofficial transcript on mySeattleU Student Planning.