Jun 25, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Definitions of Academic Terminology

Advanced Placement (AP) Program

Credit earned by satisfactory completion of the Advanced Placement Tests from the College Entrance Examination Board. Official AP score reports must be sent directly from the College Board to the UMW Registrar’s Office. Credit for specific examinations will be subject to UMW approval. Credits to be applied to specific course or program requirements must be approved by the appropriate department’s faculty. Credit earned through AP is graded “P” (Pass).

Advanced Studio 

Approved catalog courses routinely listed on term class schedules in which individual students complete learning objectives/outcomes directed and approved by the course instructor (example: ARTZ 490 series courses). Because these courses are listed on the current class schedule each term, students are not required to complete DS contracts; however, instructor consent is required.

Attendance or Attending

Registering for and actively participating in learning/instruction activities associated with a class or classes.  For online courses, attendance is considered participation in an “academically related activity” that can be documented  Examples include: participation in an online discussion; student initating contact with a faculty member to ask a course-related question via emai or chat room; quizzes, test, assignment submissions.

Block (Experience One)

A four-week learning module usually consisting of 18 days of instruction. UMW operates on a semester system, including four 4-week blocks. Individual blocks are not to be construed as separate “terms of enrollment” (see “Term” definition).

Canceling University Enrollment for a Term

To cancel one’s enrollment for a term is to drop all classes prior to the beginning of a term/semester. Individuals who wish to cancel their enrollment for a term must submit written notice to the UMW Registrar’s Office before the beginning date of the term/semester for which they are registered or log into DAWGS and drop their courses using their registration pin for the term. The University retains the right to cancel the class schedules of students who fail to complete the registration procedure or those who are dismissed from UMW for disciplinary reasons.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Credit may be earned for satisfactory completion of the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) College Level examinations. Official score reports must be sent from The College Board directly to the UMW Registrar’s Office. Credit for specific General Examinations and/or Subject Examinations will be subject to the approval of the University as listed on the UMW Course Equivalency List. Applicability of CLEP credits to specific course or program requirements at UMW must be approved by appropriate department faculty. Credits received through CLEP will be issued “P” (Pass) grades.

Common Course Numbering (MUS)

All undergraduate courses in the Montana University System (MUS) must go through a common course numbering process. This means that all courses deemed to be equivalent must possess the same course prefix, number,and title. Such courses will directly transfer on a one-to-one basis with equivalent courses at the receiving institution. The first set of commonly numbered courses was available for student enrollment for fall 2009. The OCHE Common Course Numbering Transfer Guide is available at: http://ccn.mus.edu/search.


A single instructional subject commonly described by department/subject/rubric, title, number, and credits in the UMW Catalog or Schedule of Classes.

Course Challenge Exams

The process of taking special Institutional Course Challenge exams to earn credit for a class based upon knowledge, skills, or competencies learned or mastered outside the normal classroom setting.

Course Exchange

The process of simultaneously dropping and adding courses covering the same time period or part of the term (e.g., “Block 3”) with an even exchange of courses/credits and within the deadline for such action.


A quantification of student academic learning. One credit represents what a typical student might be expected to learn in one week of full-time study (40-45 hours including class time and preparation). An alternative norm is one unit for three hours of student work per week (one hour of lecture plus two hours of study, or three hours of laboratory) for a 16-week semester. The university credit hour definition policy is available at https://www.umwestern.edu/section/200-11-credit-hour-definition/

Credit By Exam (Course Challenge)

The process of taking special examinations in courses for credit without enrolling in the courses. When a student has evidence of having covered the course content through life experience or formal post-secondary study such as vocational tech school, business college, proprietary school, or other non-college instruction, the student may request permission for credit by exam. Regular tuition and fees are charged for exams. Credit earned via course challenge or institutional challenge exam is graded “P” (Pass).

Credit Load

Total credits for which a student is officially registered at the start of a term.


A combination of courses arranged in sequence by years that constitutes a program of study leading to a degree.

Dean’s List

Announced at the end of each regular semester. All full-time undergraduate students earning a semester GPA of 3.33 or higher are listed on the Dean’s List for that semester. Courses numbered less than 100 and those for which a “P/F/NP” grade is issued do not count in the 12 credits required to be on the Dean’s List.


The formal distinction or recognition conferred upon successful completion of a unified, institutionally preordained program of study (curriculum).

Directed Study (DS) [Classes Not Listed in Term Class Schedule]

An approved catalog course not scheduled to be taught during a specific term. An approved DS contract must be filed on a timely basis (prior to the start of a term) in the Registrar’s Office before a student is allowed to enroll in a Directed Study course.

Double Major (BA/BS With Secondary Education)

A prescribed combination of courses constituting a primary program of concentration in a specific discipline in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, coupled with the Professional Education requirements of the BS degree in Secondary Education. The Secondary Education major is not a stand-alone major. It must be taken in combination with a major in a subject that leads to teaching licensure in the state of Montana. Transfer students must complete a minimum of 15 credits of approved resident study in each Major.

Drop a Course/Courses

To officially cease enrollment in a course. Students officially drop classes by accessing DAWGS (UMW online enrollment information system) and completing the drop procedure prior to the start of a term/semester, or by completing the appropriate paperwork at the Registrar’s Office. Once registered, students are officially enrolled in a class or classes until they drop a class, withdraw from the University (drop all classes), or cancel their enrollment (before the start of the term/semester). Students should review class schedule change procedures and the current Academic Calendar in this Catalog for deadlines to drop a class or withdraw from UMW. Dropping all classes for a term constitutes “Withdrawal from the University”

Students are not allowed to drop classes that have ended nor can they drop classes for which the deadline to drop has passed.

Education Goal (Student)

The degrees (Major, Minor, Option, Related Area) a student plans to complete while enrolled at UMW. New students are asked to communicate their education goals when they apply for admission to Montana Western or as soon as possible thereafter.


Eligibility for participation in athletics or other campus activities is determined by meeting specified qualifications. Students engaging in an intercollegiate activity of the University or holding an ASUMW office must abide by the regulations of the respective conference or national association as well as UMW rules and regulations. ASUMW officers must not be on scholastic or disciplinary probation at any time during their term of office. Eligibility of all participants in intercollegiate extracurricular activities requires that an eligible student enroll in and attend academic classes covering the entire 16 weeks of a semester. To be eligible to participate in varsity or junior varsity athletics, students must be registered as a full-time student.

Enrollment Status (Student)

A student semester designation that is determined based on weeks of actual attendance and credit load. There are two student enrollment status designations: full-time and part-time.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

A numerical value of the average quality of a student’s academic work at an institution. GPAs are usually expressed on a 4.00 scale (4.00=highest, 0.00=lowest). GPAs are calculated by dividing the total of all grade/honor points earned by the total credits attempted. Note: “P” graded courses, 0XX courses, repeated courses, and withdrawn or dropped courses are excluded from GPA calculation.

Graduation With Honors

Recognition of a student who, upon completing degree requirements, has maintained at least a 3.33 UMW GPA and has completed at least 30 semester credits of resident college-level coursework applicable to an undergraduate degree. Minimum institutional GPA required for “honors”, “high honors”, and “highest honors” are:

3.33-3.64 cum laude
3.65-3.84 magna cum laude
3.85-4.00 summa cum laude

Eligibility for UMW honors designation is determined after all final grades for all courses attempted up to the date the degree is conferred are posted to the graduate’s academic record.

  • Rush Jordan Cup: awarded annually to the male Senior ranked first in his graduating class.
  • Zella K. Flores Cup: awarded annually to the female Senior ranked first in her graduating class.


A temporary designation on a student’s record indicating the need for that student to rectify specific deficiencies in their file or account. A Hold may prohibit the student from gaining access to their account, registering for classes, viewing grades, obtaining transcripts, or other requests for service until the deficiency is fulfilled. Students are responsible for rectifying holds as soon as possible.

Honors Endorsement For Graduation

Students must have taken at least three Honors seminars, with at least two seminars at the 300- or 400-level. To be eligible to register for an Honors Seminar, students must first apply and be accepted into the Honors Program. A completed Application to Graduate with Honors Endorsement form must be returned to the Registrar’s Office together with graduation application materials.

Independent Study (IS) Course

Individual coursework that extends beyond the scope of the listed catalog courses. An approved Independent Study contract must be filed in the Registrar’s Office before a student is allowed to enroll in an Independent Study course. Paperwork filing deadlines apply.

Major (BA, BS)

A prescribed combination of required courses constituting a primary program of concentration in a specific discipline in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Transfer students must complete a minimum of 15 credits of approved resident study in the Major.


A prescribed combination of courses that provides the student with in-depth knowledge that complements a chosen Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. Transfer students shall complete a minimum of 10 credits of approved resident study in the Minor.

Nontraditional Courses/Credits

University credits or courses that are earned or offered outside the normal university classroom. Examples of nontraditional courses or credits are those earned through CLEP, Military Training, Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, Institutional Challenge Examinations, correspondence courses, and Directed or Independent Study courses

Official Transcripts

The term “official” in reference to academic credentials indicates the documents are forwarded directly to UMW by the school principal, college registrar, or originating agency. An official transcript must bear the official signature, stamp, or seal of the issuing agency.

Option Area (BA, BAS, BS)

A prescribed combination of courses that constitute a thematic program of study designed to provide the student with a broad but rigorous background in preparation for future employment or educational endeavors. Transfer students shall complete a minimum of 15 credits of approved resident study in the Option Area.

Pre-Requisites (PREREQ) And Co-Requisites (COREQ)

“Prereq” indicates specific requirements that must be met before enrollment in a course, such as course(s) satisfactorily completed, appropriate signatures obtained, etc. “Coreq” indicates courses that must be registered for and taken at the same time or within the same term/semester.

Program of Study

A student’s program of study includes the graduation requirements for a student’s primary degree type as well as additional majors, minors, options, concentrations, and endorsements that have been declared by the student and documented through Banner and DegreeWorks.  Degree type includes certificates, associate degrees, bachelor degree, courses required for teaching licensure, and prepatory courses (courses needed to meet admissions standards to the University or into a specific program). 

Registration or Registering

The process of enrolling or signing up for classes at UMW and paying all costs associated with such enrollment within the published deadlines for the term.

Related Area (BA)

A prescribed combination of courses that focuses on a specific subject area and provides the student with in-depth knowledge that complements a chosen Option in the Bachelor of Arts degree. Transfer students shall complete a minimum of 10 credits of approved resident study in the Related Area.

Repeat (Course)

To attempt a specific UMW class a second or third time.

Residency Classification for Fee Purpose (In-State, Out-Of-State)

All individuals are classified as in-state or out of-state for purposes of paying tuition and fees. Montana residency requirements are outlined in the MUS Regents Policy 940.1. Students not initially classified as Montana residents who wish to have their residency status reviewed should contact the Registrar. Determination of residency status is based upon information provided on the Board of Regents Residency Questionnaire and applicable documentation. Contact the UMW Registrar’s Office for the MUS Regents Residency Policy and the Residency Questionnaire.

Residency Academic Requirement for Degrees

To earn a degree from UMW, students must complete a minimum amount of coursework as enrolled students on the UMW campus. Students must satisfactorily complete the equivalent of one academic year or two semesters of full-time on-campus study (30 semester credits minimum) to earn a Bachelor’s degree at UMW. Students pursuing an Associate degree at UMW must successfully complete a minimum of 16 semester credits of on-campus coursework. However, students must satisfactorily complete all courses required for a degree and complete minimum residency requirements, whichever is greater. A minimum of 20 of the last 32 credits toward the Bachelor’s degree must be in residence. The last semester, 12 credits minimum of work to satisfy requirements for any degree must be in residence. A minimum of 12 credits earned and attendance for the full semester are necessary to establish a semester of residence.

Academic Residency Requirement*

Major—15 credits
Minor—10 credits
Option Area—15 credits
Related Area—10 credits

*Residency course credits must be academic department-approved.


A 16-week period of enrollment (Fall and Spring) at the start of which students register for all courses they plan to attempt. UMW operates on a semester system. There are four blocks during a semester.

Substitution (Course)

Replacement of a required course by another approved course. A specific course may generally be used to satisfy one specific graduation requirement. Course Substitution/Waiver Request forms are available at the Registrar’s Office. Generally, students should complete and file a Course Substitution/Waiver Request form whenever they complete a course that is an approved deviation from course degree requirements outlined in their effective Catalog.

Summer Session

Consist of a 10-week session and 14-weeks for specialized courses such as Internships, Thesis, etc. 


A semester (either Fall or Spring) or Summer Session; a 4-week block is NOT considered a term of enrollment.

Transcript of the Academic Record

A complete summary of a student’s academic performance at Montana Western. A student’s UMW transcript may include a summary of credits attempted at other colleges/universities. However, the UMW transcript should not be considered an official record of work completed at other institutions. The official UMW transcript bears the signature of the Registrar and the UMW seal. Official transcripts are sent directly to a third party or are to be received by a third party in a sealed UMW envelope. All other copies are unofficial, including transcripts marked “student copy”. The Academic Record is a permanent record that reflects the unabridged academic history of a UMW student, and an unofficial summary of all college-level coursework the student attempted at institutions attended prior to the student’s enrollment at UMW.

Waiver (Course)

A waiver is an exemption from a degree requirement. Waivers must specify the basis for the exemption and be approved by the department course instructor or committee and the Provost. Students waiving a course do not receive course credits. Course Substitution/Waiver Request forms are available at the Registrar’s Office.

Withdrawal from the University

To officially drop ALL classes for the term/semester and cease attendance. Review the “Course Schedule Change” section of this Catalog for procedures on how to withdraw, and refer to the Academic Calendar  for withdrawal deadlines. Students may not withdraw from block classes that have ended nor from classes for which the deadline to withdraw has passed.