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University Publications

Semester Terminology

A Message From the President: The Importance of Consistency

The advent of semesters plus the new Student Information System will require some modifications to the terminology currently in use in university publications and websites. It is critical that we have consistency in the new terminology we use.

The following terminology was developed by representatives from the Academic Affairs calendar conversion team, the Registrar's office, Admissions, University Publications, and the President's Office; it provides direction, clarifies ambiguities, and answers specific questions regarding what new terminology should be used, when, and how.

University Publications' website also includes the following resources to further assist you when questions arise when using Academic Terminology, Corporations and Products, Proofreader's Marks and Editing Guidelines, Punctuation, Spelling and Usage, and Time and Numbers.

These guidelines apply to every office, department, college, and division that produces public information--websites, publications, etc.--bearing RIT's name.

--Bill Destler, RIT President

Grammar and Style Guide


credit hours/ch/CH Use in place of quarter credit hours/qch/QH. Do not use semester credit hours/sch/SCH.

cooperative education Use on first reference. Co-op is acceptable on second and subsequent references.

degree-seeking/non-degree-seeking Update as appropriate. Use when referring to student who is admitted and registered/not admitted and not registered.

experiential learning Use when referring to cooperative education, internships, study abroad, and research when these terms are used as a whole to describe experiential education. Continue to use cooperative education (co-op is acceptable on second and subsequent references) when referring to a student in the co-op program, a student's co-op experience, co-op requirements, or a specific cooperative education program or placement. Continue to use internship when referring specifically to internship programs, or when referencing a program's internship requirements.

fall/fall semester Lowercase. Use in place of fall quarter.

fifteen weeks/15-week Use in place of ten weeks/10-week when referring to fall or spring semester.

general education Use when referring to general education requirements.

immersion Use in place of concentration when referring to immersions offered by the colleges or when referring to College of Liberal Arts concentrations.

institute The preferred descriptive when referring to RIT is university, not institute.

intern No change when referring to a student in an internship program or to a student's internship experience.

intersession Use when referencing the short break or mini-term that occurs between the fall and spring semesters. Do not use intercession--this word refers to the act of interceding (intervening or mediating) between two parties. In Christian religions, it refers to a prayer to God on behalf of others. Intersession and intercession are NOT interchangeable.

matriculate/matriculated/matriculant Use only when referring to a student who is admitted and registered.

major The preferred descriptive when referring to an academic program of study. Use in place of program when referring to a student's major.

major code(s) Use in place of program code(s).

nine colleges, CMS, and GIS Use when referencing RIT's degree-granting entities. Context-dependent; consider also nine colleges and other degree-granting units. Do not use eleven colleges.

semester Lowercase. Use in place of quarter when referring to fall or spring semesters. Use each semester instead of quarterly, where appropriate. Abbreviate to sem when necessary or as a replacement for qtr.

session Update as appropriate; used for periods of time within a semester or term.

sixteen weeks/16-week Use in place of the former eleven weeks/11-week quarter. No change when referring to summer term and exam week.

spring or spring semester Use in place of spring quarter.

summer or summer term Use in place of summer quarter.

university The preferred descriptive when referring to RIT is university, not institute. Capitalize only when part of a formal name. Cornell University is located in Ithaca, N.Y. The university will begin offering classes online.

work periods/co-op work periods Use in place of co-op block.