Definition of Academic Terminology
The following terms are provided for clarification.
Undergraduate Student - one who has not attained a baccalaureate degree, but is taking courses for credit.
Tuition - the money charged students for academic courses.
Semester Hour - the basic unit of measurement in determining the time spent in class. For example, a course giving one semester hour of credit usually meets for one hour of instruction each week during the semester.
Credit - the unit of academic value placed on every university course. A student is given a credit for each semester hour of academic work satisfactorily completed.
Quality Points - units for measurement to determine the quality of work a student does. See the grading system under Academic Standing for quality point equivalency for letter grades.
Grade Point Average - The average quality point earned per semester hour. It is computed by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the number of hours attempted 4.0 is a perfect GPA.
Definition of Academic Numbering and Credit Hours
Course Numbering System
Course descriptions are arranged alphabetically by subject prefix description. Courses are identified by a course prefix up to four letters and a course number that indicates suggested level and/or type of course.
At Belmont, the first digit in the course number indicates the year level of the course, as follows:
Courses which begin with number 1 are primarily for freshmen; those beginning with 2, primarily for sophomores; 3, primarily for juniors and seniors; 4, primarily for seniors. 5 and 6000 level courses are graduate level.
Some courses are offered only in the fall and/or spring semesters. Some courses are only offered in alternating years or based on need. Please consult individual departments and/or catalog course listing for course schedule rotations.
Beginning in the Spring 2004 semester, Belmont University converted from a three digit academic numbering system to a four digit academic numbering system. For example ENG 110 became ENG 1100. In the majority of cases the new number was generated by added a zero (0) to the end of the existing digit.
Courses are numbered as follows:
1000-2990 Undergraduate, lower division
3000-4990 Undergraduate, upper division
5000-6990 Graduate, Doctoral and First Professional
A credit hour is an amount of work represented by intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates:
1. For a traditional, face-to-face lecture class, not less than one contact hour (50 minutes) of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work, including but not limited to reading, studying, conducting research, writing, performance practicing, rehearsals and other learning activities each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time, or
2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required outlined in item 1 above for other academic activities as established by the institution including distance education, lab and lecture/lab, tutorial, seminar, independent study, thesis, studio, internships/practica, student teaching, clinical, physical education, discussion/quiz/recitation and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. For face-to-face lecture classes, this shall equate to a minimum of 750 minutes of classroom contact, including final exams, per credit per semester.
Belmont University operates on the semester system. It offers courses and programs of throughout the year. These include fall and spring semesters, summer terms. In order that courses are identified clearly on official records, the academic calendar is divided into three terms: fall and spring semesters, and summer term of equal length. Specific dates are published in the academic calendar.
A course or program is identified with one of these terms depending on the start date of the course. Any course or program that begins on or after the first date of each term and up through and including the last date of that term is said to belong to that term. This includes any part-of-term, which is designated as part of a published semester or term. The end date is not considered in designating the term.
All credits are expressed as semester hours, regardless of length of term or dates of beginning and ending of a course or program.
- In Person: Class meets in person only at times noted on schedule - in person attendance is required (not available online).
- Hybrid: course (also occasionally called a “blended” course) supplements, adds to and /or replaces a portion of traditional classroom face-to-face instruction with web-based online learning (e.g., video lectures, online discussions, activities, assignments, self-directed projects, etc).
- Synch:Online: Class meets online only at times noted in schedule - online attendance is required at scheduled times.
- Asynch:Online: Class is available to students online only; may or may not have scheduled meetings
Prerequisites and Co-Requisites
A prerequisite It is course that must be satisfied before taking a specific course. It is a required course that provides knowledge and/or skill necessary before continuing to subsequent course(s) usually in the major, minor or BELL Core. If a student is enrolled in a prerequisite course at the time of registration for the next semester, the student may conditionally register for the course that requires the prerequisite. However, if the prerequisite course is not completed successfully, the student may be withdrawn from the course by request of the department. A co-requisite is a course that must be taken concurrently with another course. Both prerequisites and co-requisites are listed in the course descriptions in the catalog.
Academic advising is a process in which students engage with an academic advisor-usually an experienced faculty member from their major- to maximize their educational experience. One-on-one meetings are required at least once per semester, prior to course registration, but the intent is for these to be dynamic and ongoing relationships that empower students to reach their full academic potential. Topics to be discussed can include degree requirements, academic planning, career goals, educational enrichment opportunities, support services and course options. Most of all, academic advising is meant to help students explore their college careers in an organized, responsible and meaningful manner. In the progression toward the degree ultimately each student is personally responsible for completing all requirements established for his or her degree by the university and department. It is the student’s responsibility to inform herself/himself of these requirements. Any substitution, waiver, or exemption from any established requirement or academic standard may be accomplished only with appropriate approval, which often begins with the advisor.
The normal class load for a university student during the fall or spring semester is 16 hours of course work per week. The minimum load for full-time status is 12 hours of course work per week, and the maximum load is 19 hours of course work per week. To register for more than 19 hours, the student must gain permission from his or her academic advisor and submit the proper from to the Registrar’s Office. Any student who enrolls for more than 19 hours without proper authorization will be required to reduce the load to 19 hours or less. Students on probation may register for no more than 16 hours. Further, such students are required, when at all possible, to repeat courses in which they received a grade of D or F.
During each summer term, the minimum load for full-time status is 6 hours for undergraduates and the maximum is 16 hours. To register for more than 16 hours (including concurrent enrollment), the same procedure must be followed as for an overload in a regular semester.
A degree is an earned educational credential awarded by successfully completing a program of study prescribed by specific programs of study and courses meeting minimum required earned hours, competencies (i.e. completion of a major and required GPA in required areas) as published in the university catalog for the degree sought. A “bachelor’s degree” is the general name of the award given for completion of undergraduate studies. A bachelor’s degree at Belmont University must be a minimum of 128 earned credit hours, completion of a major, a minor (if required) the specific degree sought BELL Core and free elective hours. Undergraduate degrees granted by Belmont University include: Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch); Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies (B.S.A.S.); Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.), and Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.); and Bachelor of Science in Public Health (B.S.P.H.). The award of a degree is eligible to be awarded after an academic audit by the Office of the Registrar confirming all requirements for the degree has been met, followed by an affirmative vote of the faculty senate and the Belmont Board of Trustees, thus leading to eligible candidates having their respective degree conferring officially on the nearest following date of commencement. The awarded degree will show on the student’s official transcript. At Belmont, undergraduate students must also complete all required WELL Core units to be eligible for the degree.
A cohesive combination of courses including introductory through advanced coursework that designates a student’s primary area of undergraduate study within a specific discipline or academic field or an interdisciplinary area. Majors required a minimum of 30 credits as designed and published in the university catalog. The major must be completed in full and with the published courses and number of required hours in order to meet graduation requirements, which states in part: A completed major of at least 30 hours including a minimum of 12 hours of the major taken at Belmont; and with a grade point average in the major of 2.0 or higher. (see graduation requirements in the catalog).
Majors typically require completion of the specific set of courses taken as published in the university catalog. However, exceptions to specific courses may be made in the department of the major with a “course substitution.” Course substitutions typically are transfer courses with very similar or equivalent courses within the Belmont major or a special studies course designed to fit a student(s) academic or career aspirations. All course substitutions must be filed formally with the University Registrar’s Office. Students may double major (or even triple major) but in such cases must designate the primary / single degree that these majors will be taken under. (See section below on Double majors). Double majors are declared with a Program Change in the Office of the Registrar. New or revised Majors are approved through the university’s catalog and curriculum processes: at the home college level, University Catalog and Curriculum Committee, and vote of the Faculty Senate.
A minor represents a secondary field of study for a degree-seeking student. A minor is a structured plan of study requiring a minimum of 18 credit hours. A grade point average (GAP) of at least 2.0 is required in the minor in order to graduate. As noted in the graduation requirements in the catalog: A completed minor of at least 18 hours is required of every student, except those seeking the Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Fine Arts, University College students, students who have double majors, those seeking elementary licensure, or majors approved in the catalog without a minor required. Students may not minor in the same subject discipline as the major (i.e. have the same major and minor), unless university approved and so stated under that major in the university catalog. A minimum of 6 hours of the minor must be taken at Belmont. Minors are approved through the university’s catalog and curriculum processes as described in the “Major” section above.
A concentration (sometimes referred to as a “track” in some majors) is a structured plan of study of specific courses as part of the major. The concentration is often a more narrowly focused set of courses within the discipline of the major. The number of credit hours for a concentration varies, but is included as part of earning the major were listed.
A double degree is defined as earning more than one bachelor’s degree concurrently with a different bachelor’s degree. Students enrolled prior to June 1, 2018 who had already formally declared a double degree (no later than November 2017) and remained on the BELL Core (General Education) for each degree officially with their catalog of entry, may complete the double degree. Such students may also change to a double major. All double degrees must be completed by summer 2021. Students entering after June 1, 2018, or had not formally declared a double degree by November 2017 with the Registrar’s Office are not eligible to seek double degrees, except for one double degree offered at Belmont, which is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). Students receive one diploma, with the one degree earned.
A Double major is a student selecting two distinctive majors to pursue as part of their program of studies. This is not a double degree even if one of the majors is in a different college and/or is listed under a different degree than the first major. A student has the option to add a second major to the first or “primary” major. The first or primary major determines the associated single degree being sought and with it the BELL Core (general education) requirements. For example, a student declares music business as the primary major, the degree defaults to a Bachelor of Business Administration as the only degree option for a music business major. If the student adds a major, for example in a foreign language that is in a different college and under a different degree, however, this is still a double major. At Belmont there is only one double degree allowed (Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). For more information on restrictions and stipulations of the Double Major please see the Academic Policy page.
Program of Study
Program of Study is defined as a series of courses that leads to a degree. For undergraduate students, a Program of Study will consist of a minimum of a major with no less than 30 credit hours; a minor with no less than 18 hours (unless the degree or major does not require a minor as published in the catalog) the BELL Core (General Education) that is associated with the required degree with that major. If a major has a choice of more than one degree such as a B.A. or B.S. the student must choose at the point of matriculation or by submitting a Change of Program form with the Registrar’s Office. Finally, any course not required in the major, minor or BELL Core, are General Free Electives, which are open 1000 -4000 level courses taken to reach then minimum hours for the Program of Study (most programs are minimum of 128 credit hours with a few programs more than 128). The “General Degree Requirements” provides the minimum standards in residency overall and in the major and minor, plus minimum GPAs.
For the Course Program of Study for financial aid purposes a student must complete all the minimums of one declared curriculum map/matrix as given in the university catalog as described above. It is not required, but a student may elect to add one minor and/or one major (double major). It is strongly encouraged for maximum efficiency in moving toward a degree that if an additional major and/or minor is declared the student uses any available free electives from the declared catalog curriculum matrix, and apply those free electives courses for the added major or minor. Note: double majors are not required to have a minor.
Curriculum Map / Curriculum Matrix
The Curriculum Map / Matrix is defined as the program of study the student must follow and successfully complete in order to earn the sought degree. The curriculum map/matrix is located with every approved major at the university is in the university catalog, consistent with the curriculum approval as submitted to Catalog and Curriculum processes. Under every major page in the catalog the minimum program of study is listed in a curriculum matrix. This shows the student the degree (or degree choices); The degree’s associated BELL Core hours; all major requirements, which might include a concentration or track, (with those hours counting in the major); minor required hours (minimum of 18 hours); and the number of hours expressed as Free or General Electives still needed to complete the minimum credit hours for the degree sought.
Faculty proposing a full new program, new major or minor, or revisions to an existing major or minor, must submit a full curricular matrix with the Catalog and Curriculum proposal. This allows the college of origination to review the proposed action(s) in context of the full program of study, to ensure the continuity of the program to degree completion. This is subsequently reviewed by a body of faculty peers in the University Catalog and Curriculum process, and a vote of the Faculty Senate. For students reviewing the curriculum matrix in the major of choice, they can see the full scope and all courses of the entire program of study. This program of study reviewed and approved by the faculty, is published in the next university catalog edition, June 1 of each year. Each approved program or change of program is reflected in the “catalog of entry” in the degree audit software DegreeWorks available to every student through the university portal’s personal log in, and also to the student’s advisor. It is the obligation of the Office of the Registrar to provide information for matriculating / entering degree students to point out the catalog of entry and demonstrate its mirrored correlation to their Program of Study in mapped by category (BELL Core, Major, Minor and Free Electives) in DegreeWorks. This catalog and DegreeWorks is provided each year for new students in different formats including: through orientation presentations, training videos, or WELL Core sessions.
For purposes of differentiation, a curriculum matrix is a list of all minimum required courses: Major; minor (if required); BELL Core; Free / General Elective is a list of credit hours required in each program area and a minimum total credit hours for degree. A curriculum map is a semester by semester display of all required courses, often providing information about progressing toward degree by taking courses in a recommended order. A Curriculum map is often used for “lock-step” cohort programs or programs that move student in a similar progression toward degree.
Belmont University offers pre-professional courses of study to support preparation for graduate education first-professional / professional career pursuits in areas such as dentistry, engineering, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and theology.
Since professional schools vary considerably in their admission requirements, the student is advised to first select the professional school he wishes to attend, then select pre-professional courses accordingly; however, to follow the core curriculum is a safe procedure. The Belmont University faculty advises the student at the time of registration in the selection of courses which will meet the requirements of the professional school of the student’s choice.
Law schools in the United States admit students with baccalaureate degrees who demonstrate a high potential for law study. The American Bar Association (ABA) does not recommend any specific undergraduate majors to prepare for a legal education and law students represent almost every academic discipline. It is important for an undergraduate student to select a major that is interesting and challenging while taking advantage of course work that can develop critical thinking and research and writing skills. A student who takes a broad range of challenging courses from demanding instructors is best prepared for law study.
Additionally, nationally accredited law schools require students to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is the second primary component in the law school admission process. Most undergraduate students take the LSAT in the spring of their junior year or in the summer prior to their senior year. The law school admission cycle will begin in the fall of their senior year.
Belmont students enjoy firsthand access to law school information with the College of Law located on campus. For more information about preparing for law school, contact the Belmont University College of Law Admissions Office.
Graduate schools in medicine and health-related fields have a wide variety of curricular pre-requisites. Students who wish to take pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-veterinary, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, or pre-cytotechnology curricula should contact the Pre-Health Advisor for details concerning courses, admissions procedures, entrance examinations and volunteer experiences.
Refer to the current university graduate catalog for degree program requirements. For more information about preparing for physical therapy, contact the School of Physical Therapy.