Student Success Central

A-Z Glossary of Academic Terms



Academic Standing: Your academic standing is determined by your GPAs. Review the Academic Standing webpage for more specific information. You can find your GPA and academic standing in the Current Academic Summary section of your Degree Progress Report. 

Add/Drop Period: A period that occurs after the General Registration Period that allows you to adjust your class schedule before classes begin and during the first few weeks of class. During Add/Drop, you can also drop courses from your schedule without receiving a W on your transcript. Find specific Add/Drop dates for a term on the Student Success Central Academic Calendar.

Add a Course: When you add a course to your class schedule, it means that you are registering for that course. If you decide to not take the courses you enroll in, you’re responsible for dropping yourself from those courses to avoid owing any fees to the university.

Advising Period: A period before the Priority and General Registration Periods where you should attend an advising session with your advisor to plan which courses you will be enrolling for in the next term. If you aren’t sure who your advisor is, visit the Student Success Central Advising Directory. Find specific Advising Period dates for a term on the Student Success Central Academic Calendar.

Available / Open Seats: The number of students that can still enroll for that course. If a class has a capacity of 28 and the enrollment total, or the number of students currently enrolled in the course, is 24, then there are 4 available seats. Those 4 seats mean that 4 students can still enroll for the course. If there are 0 available seats, then the class is no longer an open course.

  available seats


Bachelor of Architecture: A four-year degree that focuses on architecture. 

Bachelor of Arts: A four-year degree that focuses on the humanities and social science fields.

Bachelor of Fine Arts: A four-year degree that focuses on the visual arts. 

Bachelor of Science: A four-year degree that focuses on the scientific and technical fields. 

Blue Book:  An exam booklet with a blue cover and about 20 lined pages. They come in a small and a large size, so ask your professor which size you need for your test. You can purchase blue books in the Bronco Bookstore.

BroncoDirect Student Center: Your student portal where you can find your To Do List, holds, enrollment appointment and more. It is also where you search and register for classes. You can access your Student Center at by logging in with your BroncoName and BroncoPassword.

Bronco ID Number: Your Bronco ID number is the 9-digit number you're assigned when you apply to the university. You can find this number in your admissions communication, Degree Progress Report and Unofficial Transcripts. Make sure to include this number in your email or have it handy whenever you are communicating with an official CPP department.


CA Dream Act Application: This is the financial aid application for students who are Dream Act eligible. For more information, visit the Financial Aid & Scholarships website.

Class Capacity: A limit on the number of students that can enroll for the course. This limit is often determined by the number of desks or chairs in the room the class will be held in.

Class capacity example in Bronco Direct

Class Number (CRN) or Course ID: A 5-digit number that is specific to a particular course section. You can use this number when registering for classes by inputting the number into the box in the Class Search labeled “Class Nbr.” You will also need this number if you are requesting a permission number from a professor or department. You can find the class number for a course you're currently enrolled in in your This Week's Schedule box in your BroncoDirect Student Center. The 5-digit number is in the parentheses below the course number and section.

Screenshot of red box around Course ID number on COM 1100 example

Class Search: The tool in your BroncoDirect Student Center that you use to search for classes. The Class Search is accessed by clicking the Search link in the upper left-hand side of your Student Center.

Class Standing: Determined by the number of units you’ve completed. You’re a freshman if you’ve completed between 0 – 29 semester units (0 – 44 quarter units), a sophomore if you’ve completed 30 – 59 semester units (45 – 89 quarter units), a junior if you’ve completed 60 – 89 semester units (90 – 134 quarter units) or a senior if you’ve completed 90+ semester units (135+ quarter units).

Closed Course: A course that has reached both the class capacity limit and the wait list capacity limit. You will either need to enroll in another section or obtain a Permission Number from the class instructor. Closed courses are indicated in the Class Search by a blue square.

Closed course example on Bronco Direct

College: Cal Poly Pomona organizes its degree programs by colleges. There are eight colleges at Cal Poly Pomona: Huntley College of Agriculture, College of Business Administration, College of Education & Integrative Studies, College of Engineering, College of Environmental Design, Collins College of Hospitality Management, College of Letters, Arts, & Social Science, and College of Science.

Commencement: The ceremonies in May celebrating students who have completed all of their graduation requirements.

Corequisite: If you are required to register for two classes in the same term, the classes are considered corequisites. Corequisites can be found in the Class Detail page for a course in the BroncoDirect Class Search or in the University Catalog.  Some examples of corequiste courses include CHM 1210 and CHM 1210L or ARC 1022 and ARC 1022A.

Course Attribute: A search criteria option in the Class Search under Additional Search Criteria. This allows you to limit your search to only include classes from a certain GE area, fully online courses, course level and more.

Course attribute drop down in the Class Search

Course Career: Refers to the level of coursework. Courses can have a course career of extended education, graduate, postbaccalaureate or undergraduate.

Course career drop down in the Class Search

Course Number: The 4-digit value that represents a particular course from a department. For example, the course number for COM 1100 would be 1100.

Course Offering: Refers to if the course is being offered that term, and if so, the number of sections available. Your academic department may have a document with course offerings for an upcoming term.

Course Section: An individual class offering for a course. Most classes have more than one section offered each term to allow more students to enroll in the course. Course sections may have different times, classrooms, or professors. The section number for a class can be found in the Section area of the Class Search results. If you're requesting a permission number from a professor or department, it is important to know the course section and class number before you contact them.

Course section example on Bronco Direct

Credit/No Credit (CR/NC): Some courses offer Credit/No Credit grading, as indicated by in the University Catalog by the Grading Basis. These classes are graded as either “CR” for credit or “NC” for no credit instead of receiving a letter grade and therefore only count as units completed and are not included in your GPA. 

CIS 1010 is an example of a Credit/No Credit class

Curriculum: The coursework you are required to complete in order to earn your degree.

Curriculum Sheet: Your curriculum is the coursework you are required to complete to earn your degree. The curriculum sheet is an official document that lists your coursework. You can find your curriculum sheet on the curriculum sheet directory, but make sure that you select the year you started school at Cal Poly Pomona or the year in which you switched majors to your current major.

Curriculum Year: It is important for you to know your curriculum year. You will be held to this curriculum and will have to complete all degree requirements for that particular year. Your curriculum year defaults to the academic year that you entered Cal Poly Pomona. For example, if you came to Cal Poly Pomona in fall 2018, your curriculum year is 2018-19. You automatically change your curriculum year if you change majors, but you are also allowed to change your curriculum year under specific circumstances. Your curriculum year is always listed at the top of your DPR.

Curriculum year displayed in your DPR


Degree Progress Report (DPR): A tool in your Student Center that indicates which requirements for your degree that you’ve satisfied and which requirements you have left to complete. Your DPR can also tell you your overall, core and CPP GPAs, the number of units you’ve taken and still need, your academic standing and more. For information on how to view your DPR, check out this video.

Department: The academic departments within a college are responsible for the students in their majors, and offer courses. For example, the chemistry and biochemistry majors are within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The department offers CHM courses. For a list of academic departments, visit here.

Drop a Course: When you drop a course, it means that you are removing the course from your class schedule because you no longer want to take it.


Enrollment Shopping Cart: The Enrollment Shopping Cart is located in your Student Center under the Enroll link in the upper left-hand part of the page. When you search for classes in the Class Search, you can add classes to your shopping cart by clicking the “select” and “next” buttons. You can add classes to your shopping cart at any time, but having courses in your Enrollment Shopping Cart does not mean that you are enrolled in the course or have a spot saved for you. You must click the “proceed to step 2 of 3” button to register for those classes when it’s your enrollment appointment.

Error Message: A message that you receive when you are registering if you are unsuccessful in registering for a course. You could receive an enrollment error message for a number of reasons. Refer to Step 3: Registering for Courses in the Registration Guide for information on how to troubleshoot your enrollment errors.


FAFSA:  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the application you fill out to apply for financial aid every year. For more information go to the Financial Aid & Scholarships website.

First-generation:  A student is first-generation if neither parent/guardian has completed a U.S. bachelor's degree. These students are still considered first-generation even if a sibling or other family member has already completed a four-year college degree. For more information, visit the I Am First website.

Full-Time Student: A student enrolled in 12 units during a semester. Being a full-time student is required for several grants to disburse fully. Waitlisted units do not count towards your total enrolled units. For more information about how your enrolled units will affect your financial aid, visit the Financial Aid & Scholarships website.  

Freshman:  A student who has completed 0 – 29 semester units.


General Education (GE): The General Education Program is designed to help you succeed and learn essential skills and knowledge in a variety of disciplines. Review the General Education Guide for more information.

General Registration Period: The period in which all students can register for classes in an upcoming term. You can find upcoming registration periods on the Student Success Central Academic Calendar. Check your Student Center for your registration window.

GPA: The grade point average calculated with your final grades in courses over time. Different types of GPA are calculated using different categories of courses. You can find all your GPAs in your Degree Progress Report in your BroncoDirect Student Center.

Overall/Cumulative GPA: Calculated using all completed coursework, including grades transferred to Cal Poly Pomona. This is the GPA you would use if asked for your GPA on a job application.

CPP GPA: Calculated using only coursework completed at Cal Poly Pomona.

Major GPA: Calculated using only the courses listed under “Major Required Core” in your curriculum sheet.

Graded: If a class is graded it means that you will receive a letter grade at the end of the course that will count towards your GPA. Most classes are graded.

Graduation: Refers to the term in which you have officially and successfully completed all of your graduation requirements. You must apply for the term in which you plan to graduate through your Student Center in BroncoDirect.  Once grades are posted, your record will be evaluated and if all requirements are met, your degree will be awarded.


Hold: Holds, or sometimes referred to as service indicators, appear in the upper right-hand side of your Student Center and may impact your ability to register. Some holds are informational and do not impact your ability to register. Refer to Step 1: Planning Your Courses in the Registration Guide for information on how to check for registration holds in BroncoDirect.

Example of a hold on Bronco Direct


Impacted Major: A major that has more applicants than it has space to accommodate. This means that Change of Major requests are only processed to be effective in the fall semester, and are subject to available space.

Instant Access Program: A program offered by the Bronco Bookstore that automatically provides students access to digital course material for participating courses at a highly discounted price. Students must opt-out of the Instant Access Program by Add/Drop if they do not want these digital materials. More info can be found on the Bronco Bookstore website.


Junior:  A student who has completed 60 – 89 semester units.


Leave of Absence: If students need to take more than one semester off, they will need to apply for a leave of absence. Contact the Bronco Advising Center for more information.


Major: Your major is a specific academic area that you choose to study. There are nearly 100 majors at Cal Poly Pomona.  

Minor: A secondary academic area that you choose to study. There are over 80 minors at Cal Poly Pomona. 

Mode of Instruction: Classes can be offered in a variety of instructional modes. You can search by mode of instruction in the Class Search or find it in the Class Details page for a class in your search results. Review the Instruction Modes guide for more information.


Office Hours: Hours that professors set aside to help students understand the course material and assignments. We recommend attending office hours to also build a relationship with your faculty members. You can find your professors’ office hours and office location by checking your course syllabi or visiting their  academic department.

Open Course: A class that still has available seats. You can register for an open course if you meet all of the requirements and have room in your enrollment limit for a term. Open courses are indicated in the Class Search by a green circle.

Open course example on Bronco Direct

Option/Subplan: A concentration within a major. Options and subplans within a single major will share the same required major core courses but have different required subplan/option core courses and electives.

Orientation:  A program designed to give you a comprehensive experience where you will learn about academic requirements, academic success strategies, campus involvement, volunteer opportunities, and register for your first-semester classes. For more information, visit the New Student Programs website.


Part-Time Student: A student enrolled in less than 12 units during a semester.

Permission Number: Permission numbers, also commonly called add codes, are one-use codes that allow you to enroll in a course that is full, requires consent or requires requisites (pre- or corequisites). For more information about permission numbers, refer to Step 3: Registering for Courses in the Registration Guide.

Petition: A form you fill out in order to request an exception to academic policy. You can find the list of academic petitions on the Registrar’s Office website.

Prerequisite: A course that you are required to pass before enrolling in another course. For instance, MAT 1140 is a prerequisite for MAT 1150, so you need to pass MAT 1140 before you can take MAT 1150.

Priority Registration Period: If you have priority registration privileges, you can register earlier than most of the student population. Priority Registration happens before General Registration. You may have priority registration if you are a part of the 2 or 4-Year California Promise Program, a veteran or member of the military, or part of another campus program that grants priority registration privileges. 


Registration Window: A specific day and time that you are able to register for classes in an upcoming term. It is also sometimes called your enrollment appointment, registration appointment, enrollment date or enrollment time. You can find your registration window in your Student Center in the Enrollment Dates box on the right-hand side. It is assigned based on the number of units you have successfully completed, including units completed at Cal Poly Pomona, transfer credits, and AP and IB credits. Your window will typically show up on your account a few days before registration begins.

Enrollment appointment box on Bronco Direct

Requisite: A requirement for a class. Requisites are either prerequisites or corequisites.


Scantron:  A multiple-choice test answer sheet. They come in multiple sizes, so ask your professor which size you need for your test. Shorter scantrons are sometimes called quiz strips. You can purchase scantrons in the Bronco Bookstore.

Senior:  A student who has completed 90+ semester units.

Sophomore:  A student who has completed 30 – 59 semester units.

Stopping Out: Students may "stop-out" or not register for courses for one semester without having to notify the Registrar's Office.

Subject: In the Class Search, you can choose a subject as one of your search criteria. The subject refers to the academic department offering the course, such as math or biology. You can find the subject for a course by looking at the letters that precede the course number, like BIO in BIO 1110.

Subject drop down in the Class Search

Syllabus:  A document that outlines the course policies and expectations. It should include your professor's contact information as well as their office hours. Grading policies, assignment due dates, the course schedule, required materials and other items may also be included.

Synthesis Course: Upper division General Education courses that you must complete at CPP. These include GE Areas B5, C3, and D4.


TBD: When searching for classes on the Class Search, you may find that some classes have “TBD” for the Date & Times and/or the room. Double check the mode of instruction for the course as that may indicate that the class is a hybrid or online course. Otherwise, this means that the class time or room has not been determined yet. 

Term: The time in which classes are in session. For instance, the Fall 2023 semester is a term.

To Do List: The To Do List in your Student Center lets you know that you need to do something. To Do List items might include updating your contact information, taking a placement test or submitting documents. To Do List items are not holds, but you should get them taken care of as soon as possible.

Transcript:  Your transcript is an official record of the courses you’ve taken at an institution. It includes dates of enrollment, the courses you’ve taken, the grades you received for those courses, the units you earned, and your overall GPA. It may also include some general information about your transfer and test credit. You can view an unofficial version of your Cal Poly Pomona transcript in your BroncoDirect Student Center, and order an official version from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Transfer Credit Report (TCR): A tool in your Student Center that shows you the courses you've transferred from community colleges or other institutions and how they translate to CPP classes. Your TCR also shows your AP, CLEP, or IB test scores.


Unit: Sometimes called credit hours, these refer to the number of hours of student work per week including in-class time and homework time. Typically, in semesters, a one unit lecture course is considered to be one hour of lecture class time and two hours of homework per week. Most degrees at Cal Poly Pomona require completing 120 units. We recommend that you plan for 30 semester units across an academic year to stay on track to graduate in four (for freshmen) or two (for transfer students) years. Visit the Take 30 website to learn more about the benefits. The number of units you’ve completed can be found in your Degree Progress Report and determines your class standing.

Unit Enrollment Limit: The number of units you are allowed to register for each term, including waitlist units. You can find the unit enrollment limit on the homepage of the Registration Guide.

Unrestricted Electives: If you have unrestricted electives as part of your degree requirements, you can take any courses you qualify for to satisfy the requirement. Many students use unrestricted electives to earn a minor. 


Waitlist: A list of students who are waiting to get into a course that is full. For more information about the waitlist, go to Step 3: Registering for Courses in the Registration Guide.

Waitlisted Course: A class that no longer has available seats but has space on the waitlist. You can get on the waitlist for a waitlisted course if you meet all the requirements and have waitlist units available. Waitlisted courses are indicated in the Class Search by a yellow triangle. You can find the waitlist unit limit on the homepage of the Registration Guide.

Waitlist Position: When you put yourself on a course waitlist, you get in a virtual line to be enrolled in the course. As students drop the class and leave open seats, the line moves up and so does your waitlist position. When space is available, you will automatically be enrolled in the course and notified by email unless you are already registered in a different section of the same course. For more information about being on the waitlist, visit Step 3: Registering for Courses in the Registration guide.

Waitlist Units: Waitlist units are a part of your total unit enrollment limit. These units allow you to waitlist for classes that have no available seats. You can find the waitlist unit limit on the homepage of the Registration Guide.

Withdrawal: A withdrawal is when you drop a class after the Add/Drop Period ends. Instead of the course disappearing from your transcript, it will be indicated by a W. Look at Step 4: Starting the Term in the Registration Guide for more information about withdrawals.