As you navigate through NYU, you may come across some unfamiliar terms or acronyms. This glossary can help you demystify some of those terms, connect you to more information, and get you or your student on their way to success.

Jump to:


Incomplete Grade

A temporary transcript marker that means a student did not complete a course and has made an agreement with the faculty member to complete the course at a later date. Incomplete grades are granted at the discretion of the faculty member and are usually granted because there is a circumstance beyond the student’s control that has impacted their ability to complete coursework. Students who may have unexpected or difficult situations that impact their ability to complete work in a particular course should talk with their advisor and faculty about requesting an incomplete.  

Independent Study

An individualized project or series of lessons that students take one-on-one with a member of the faculty for academic credit. Typically a student and professor agree upon a topic for the student to research and submit a final summary of their research for an agreed upon amount of credits. Independent studies provide a way for students to pursue a topic of interest that does not necessarily fit into a traditional academic curriculum or that they wish to explore further. Students should speak with their academic advisor if they’re interested in pursuing an independent study.

Information Technology (NYU IT)

An office that helps students, faculty, and staff at NYU for all requests and problems relating to technology. NYU Information Technology (NYU IT) provides IT solutions and support to the NYU community, in partnership with school and local IT teams, to promote and enable teaching and learning, research, and administration. NYU IT’s purpose is to power the daily operation of the University while being a force for change and innovation.


An internship is a period of work experience offered by an organization for a limited period of time. This helps students gain valuable experience in an industry they’d like to join after college. Students can find internship opportunities through the Wasserman Center for Career Development, either online using Handshake or at an in-person career fair. Internships can be both paid and unpaid. International students should speak to the Office of Global Services if interested in pursuing an internship


January Term (J Term)

A three-week term in January, after the Fall but before the beginning of the spring semester. Students can choose to enroll in up to six credits’ worth of classes at one of several NYU schools and campuses during J-Term. It should be noted that because of the limited time period, courses are often accelerated during J-Term. If interested, there are opportunities for students to spend the J-Term at a NYU Study Away site.


Kimmel Center for University Life

A building located on the south end of Washington Square Park that houses student activity spaces and multiple offices that offer student programming, including the Center for Student Life, the LGBTQ+ Center, the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, Kimmel Media Services, NYU Dining, Peet’s Coffee, and more. Community members can also access event spaces, classrooms, and meeting rooms.


A feature in NYU Connect where administrators and faculty members can acknowledge students achievement and effort in the classroom and/or their involvement on campus. Students can see Kudos in their NYU Connect dashboard.



The medical center affiliated with NYU. Includes the NYU Medical School, several hospitals, and other patient treatment facilities. The Medical Center comprises the NYU School of Medicine and several hospitals: Tisch Hospital, the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the Hospital for Joint Diseases, NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, NYU Winthrop Hospital,[1] and most recently, Hassenfeld Children's Hospital.

Leadership Initiative

Founded in 2013, the NYU Leadership Initiative prepares students to embrace challenges as opportunities to become active changemakers in their careers and communities. This office helps students seek out opportunities for inclusive leadership, ranging from mentorship programs to workshops to assistance with applying to competitive global awards. This office serves all NYU students, in particular those who desire to serve others by engaging with communities both within and outside the university.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

A Leave of Absence is a formal distinction period of time when a student is not enrolled in classes but typically intends to reenroll. Because NYU understands that other things may come up for students, there are procedures that allow them time away when needed. Students typically take leaves to work on their mental health, assist family members with medical or other emergencies, pursue work opportunities that may conflict with their studies, or fulfill military obligations. In order to take a Leave of Absence, students must submit a Leave of Absence request on Albert and speak with their academic advisors.  

LGBTQ+ Center

The NYU LGBTQ+ Center creates a welcoming environment for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to develop their understanding of and engage with LGBTQ+ communities through programs, events, learning and development, support, consultation, and resource sharing.

Liberal Studies and Global Liberal Studies

A school at NYU home to two academic programs: the two-year Liberal Studies Core, where students take classes in a number of different academic fields before internally transferring into one of NYU’s other undergraduate schools; and the Global Liberal Studies program where students forego a traditional major for an interdisciplinary concentration in one of six areas ranging from Art, Text, and Media to Sustainability, Health, and the Environment.  



An NYU Tandon workspace lab created to foster collaborative design projects. This space is open to all NYU students, staff, and faculty. It highlights new iterative, interdisciplinary teamwork using cutting-edge tools of rapid prototyping and digitally driven production.


An academic major is the academic discipline to which an undergraduate student formally commits. A student who successfully completes all courses required for the major qualifies for an undergraduate degree. All undergraduate students must declare a major in order to graduate. Many students choose majors that directly or indirectly relate to their future career goals.

Master’s Degree

Signifies a specific level of education and expertise beyond the bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is considered “terminal” only if it is the highest degree awarded in a given field. Most master’s programs are 1-3 years in length, and students are often required to complete a capstone or thesis project in order to graduate.


Formal term to indicate that a student is currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program.


An examination, usually but not always in the middle of an academic term. This exam assesses a student’s progress in a course. These are generally more comprehensive than quizzes and less comprehensive than final exams. At NYU, most of the major tests taken during the semester are called midterms (regardless of at what point in the term they are given), and students may have multiple midterms per course.

Minor (Program of Study)

A separate course of study that an undergraduate student may declare to either complement their major or build time for another area of interest or pre-professional training into their academic schedule. They are not mandatory for graduation (unlike a major). While majors may require 10 or more courses to complete, minors usually require fewer courses (typically 4-6). Students may choose to have multiple minors while studying at NYU.

Moses Center

Provides services and programs for all NYU students who may have hearing and visual impairments, mobility impairments, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, chronic illnesses, and other conditions that may impact their ability to complete their coursework and access different spaces on campus. The Moses Center for Student Accessibility (CSA) works with NYU students to determine and implement appropriate and reasonable accommodations as well as connect to available programs and resources to support equal access to a world-class education.

Multi Factor Authentication/Duo Mobile

An extra layer of protection to ensure data security for its students, faculty, and staff. When logging in to NYU’s online systems, users will typically need to enter their NetID and password, along with a second form of verification from a cell phone or landline. Duo Mobile is an app that lets users log in by accepting a notification on their phones.



All NYU students, faculty, and staff have N Numbers (also called Campus ID number or University ID number). N Numbers are printed on the back of NYUCards. It is an 8-digit string of numbers and starts with “N.”


All NYU students, faculty, and staff have an NYU NetID, or network identification. It is a combination of an individual’s initials and a few random numbers. NetIDs, along with N Numbers, are printed on the back of NYUCards. This form of identification is necessary to log on to many of the internal systems.

New Student Orientation (NSO)

At orientation, new NYU students meet faculty and staff, tour the NYU campus and neighborhood, and learn about various offices and programs and how to navigate NYU's campuses and the city. Orientation is intended to provide students with a set of tools to help adjust to the new environment. In addition, each school at NYU hosts at least one event for new students. This gives first-years the opportunity to get to know one another and familiarize themselves with their school. Events vary based on the year and the school.  

Non-credit Course (NCC)

Noncredit classes are open-enrollment courses geared towards professional development or personal enrichment. Students do not earn credits that can be used toward a degree.

NYU Classes

An online learning management system that enables NYU faculty to use web-based collaborative and assessment technologies to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Faculty use NYU Classes to post grades for assignments and exams, upload course materials, and set up discussion boards. Students can access readings and assignments, collaborate with others in the class, and track their progress in a course gradebook (should their instructor use these features).

NYU Connect

An online platform where students, faculty, advisors, and staff can communicate and collaborate efforts to ensure a student’s success. Students can book appointments with their advisors and other administrators, access their individualized Success Network, view Flags and Kudos raised by faculty and staff and request assistance.

NYU Engage

An online community where NYU students can create and join clubs and organizations; find events; and stay engaged via message boards, news posts, and group messaging.

NYU Home

NYU’s main online portal. The site acts as a one-stop-shop landing page that links to various services and applications for academics, work, and campus life. NYUHome also provides the ability for you to search and browse the profiles of people in the NYU Community and to manage your own profile and its visibility to others.


Office Hours

A block of time set aside by instructors, teaching assistants, and certain other NYU staff members, for students to ask questions and receive extra guidance and/or support.  

Office of Global Services (OGS)

The Office of Global Services (OGS) handles immigration matters for all students, faculty, and staff seeking immigration and visa support when traveling to NYU locations in the US and around the world. For international students, OGS assists with visa and other immigration concerns and requirements. For domestic students interested in studying overseas, OGS will help guide them through the visa application process.

Opportunity Programs (OP)

Houses four programs that are integral to NYU’s commitment to a diverse student body. The four programs include the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), and pre-college programs: the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), and Building Excellence in Science and Technology (BEST).

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

A special kind of work permit for international undergraduate and graduate students with an F-1 visa who have completed or pursued their degrees for at least one academic year. OPT allows these students to work in a field directly related to their field of study. Students interested in applying for OPT should contact the Office of Global Services.

Orientation Leader (OL)

Orientation Leaders are student representatives who provide information and support to new incoming students during orientation and welcome programs. Orientation Leaders can be undergraduate or graduate students.


Part-Time Status

Status of students that are registered for fewer than 12 points per semester for undergraduates and 9 points per semester for graduate students. Enrolling part-time may impact a student’s financial aid or visa status.


A grade option that either automatically applies to a course or can be chosen by a student during registration and up to the ninth week of the term. Upon completion of the course, instead of receiving a letter grade for the class, students will have a P for pass or F for fail on their transcript. Each school has a different pass/fail policy so please consult with your academic advisor.

Pell Grant

A form of monetary aid awarded to students who demonstrate financial need according to income guidelines established by the federal government. Students do not need to submit additional applications for the Pell Grant outside of the FAFSA. In any given year, about 1 in 5 NYU students receive a Pell Grant. To learn more, students should contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Placement Test

An exam, generally taken near the start of a term, where students can demonstrate sufficient mastery of a given subject that grants them exemption from a particular course.  


Presenting others' work without adequate acknowledgement of its source, as though it were one’s own. This can include quoting another text without providing a citation, turning in the same paper for multiple courses, turning in work that someone else wrote, or including without citation an idea or argument that they did not come up with in an academic work. NYU takes plagiarism very seriously, and students who participate in it may automatically fail their class, be suspended, or dismissed from the University.

Polytechnic Tutoring Center (PTC)

A center that offers tutoring, review sessions, and other academic support for services at the Tandon School of Engineering. This includes support for such as computer science, engineering and physics and other courses offered by Tandon. The PTC also provides writing, reading, and English language support for Tandon students in their Writing Center.  


A course that students are required to take before advancing to a higher-level class in a given subject or discipline. Students may be able to place out of certain prerequisites (in languages, for example) by taking a placement exam or by having certain AP/IB/A-Level credits.


An academic standing designation that a student may be placed if they fall below a certain GPA set by their school and/or fail to make satisfactory academic progress towards degree completion. Academic probation may impact a student’s financial aid and ability to participate in extra and co-curricular opportunities. Students in this position should work with their academic advisors, meet with instructors, and utilize tutoring and other academic resources to return to good academic standing.


A title granted by universities to their faculty members. Most students refer to their instructors as Professor [Last Name], and instructors with that title usually split their time between scholarly research and teaching.  


Katherine E. Fleming is NYU’s current Provost. The Provost is the lead academic officer. Her office is responsible for setting the University’s academic strategy and priorities, which includes supervising the deans and directors of NYU’s various schools and institutes, enhancing collaboration within and between schools, and allocating financial resources to schools and institutes according to NYU’s academic priorities and objectives.  

Note: These are not official NYU definitions, but are rather designed to be a helpful clarifying guide for students and their families. This glossary is meant to be a living resource, and we welcome thoughts and feedback on definitions and terms presented. Please email us at with your suggestions.