Glossary of Brown University Terms and Acronyms


.5 or Point-Five
"Point-Five" is the colloquial designation for an undergraduate student who completes degree requirements in December rather than May. For example, a student who was scheduled to graduate in May 2012, took a one-semester leave, and finished in December 2012 would be considered '12.5 or Twelve-point-five.
ABC/NC A grade option of ABC/No Credit. The other grade option is S/NC, or Satisfactory/No Credit. Students may choose their grade option for most courses. A few courses are mandatory S/NC. 
ADOCH A Day on College Hill. A two-day program offered in campus in the spring for students who have been admitted to Brown and are trying to decide if Brown is the right place for them.
Banner Brown's secure student information system, which includes student course registration, grades, and contact information. 
BCSC The Brown Center for Students of Color
BearBucks Debit account linked to a student's Brown ID Card. Used for on-campus payment for laundry, copying, printing, Brown Pharmacy, Campus Market, Bookstore and Computer Store, etc. See the Bear Bucks entry under Financial Matters this page.
BDH Brown Daily Herald, the student newspaper
Bears' Lair Satellite fitness center located in the Graduate Center E residence hall.
Bursar The Bursar's Office manages the billing and collection of student accounts.
CareerLAB Careers and Life After Brown = CareerLAB, Brown's center for career development and services.
CAS Committee on Academic Standing
The most general responsibility of the Committee on Academic Standing is to monitor the academic progress of undergraduates, to ensure that candidates for the baccalaureate degree have met all degree requirements, and to inform students whose progress toward the degree is deficient. The Committee also hears petitions from students regarding readmission from academic suspension, admission to several concurrent degree programs at Brown, and exceptions to academic regulations.
CCC College Curriculum Council

What other schools call a "major." Explore all Brown concentrations on Focal Point at

Students must declare a concentration online using Advising Sidekick (ASK) no later than the middle of their fourth semester. Students must have an approved concentration on file in order to pre-register for the 5th semester.

Course load The standard course load is 4 courses per semester, fall and spring. Almost all courses equal one credit. There are a few courses that are half-credit (0.5); examples include Orchestra and Applied Music. Full-time students may enroll in 3 to 5 course credits, but may not enroll for more than five Brown credits in a semester.
CRC Curricular Resource Center
CPR Course Performance Report

Completing two concentrations as an undergraduate student -- for example Economics and Visual Art, or Development Studies and Political Science. Two is not better than one! The Brown Curriculum affords students both freedom and obligation to pursue their passions; sometimes those passions fall in two academic areas and lead to a double-concentration. Students must fulfill the requirements of both concentration programs. Many concentrations limit the number of courses that can be counted toward multiple concentrations (e.g., you may be able to "double count" only two); students should inquire about such policies with both concentrations. The names of students' concentrations do not appear on diplomas.

Flex Points Part of a student's Meal Plan. See Dining Services.
GISP Group Independent Study Project. A group of students, with a faculty advisor, may develop credit-bearing courses that are not a regular part of the Brown curriculum. Students create a cirriculum, syllabus and reading list for the semester-long course; a formal application and proposal is submitted for consideration by the College Curriculum Council (CCC). The Curricular Resource Center assists students in proposing GISPs.
GPA Grade Point Average. Brown does not compute GPAs for students. See GPA Statement on the Registrar's page and additional information on the website of the Dean of the College.
ISP Independent Study Project. Many academic departments offer independent research or reading courses. Students may also initiate, design, and execute independent study projects with the help of faculty advisors. Brown students studying abroad have the option of crafting a Global Independent Study Project (GLISP) with a Brown faculty member.
Lottery Housing Lottery or Housing Selection. See the Housing entry under Life on Campus, this page.
Office hours Blocks of time during the day that faculty or deans make available specifically for students to stop by for advice, assistance, or conversation. Professors typically post office hours each semester on their websites, office doors and course syllabi  so that students know when they are available.
OIP Office of International Programs. This office manages study abroad opportunities for students.
OMAC Olney-Margolies Athletic Center. Location of recreational track and basketball/volleyball courts, and many varsity team locker rooms.
PLME Spoken as plee'-me or P-L-M-E, Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) combines undergraduate education (baccalaureate) and professional studies in medicine (MD) in a single eight-year program.
Ratty The Sharpe Refectory, the main dining hall. Located on Wriston Quad. 
Reading Period Traditionally, Reading Period is a series of days before Final Exams begin used for additional study. Reading Period is optional and at the discretion of each course instructor. Some courses continue with instruction through Reading Period; others cease instruction of new material to focus on preparation for an exam or production of a  final paper.
Registrar A Registrar is an official keeper of records. The Registrar's Office at Brown maintains students' academic records, records course registrations, assigns classrooms, issues reports of grades and transcripts, and verifies student enrollment.
S/NC A grade option of Satisfactory/No Credit, equivalent to Pass/Fail. Students may choose to take almost any course S/NC. Some courses are mandatory S/NC (meaning that S/NC is the only grade option available for that course).
Shopping Period The first two weeks of Fall and Spring Semester, built into the academic calendar, during which students are expected to confirm pre-registration and/or explore new courses to finalize their course registration. Work is assigned and students are expected to keep up or to catch up if they join a course during Shopping Period. Course registration changes during this time are without charge; courses added after Shopping Period incur a fee for each change.
Swearer Center The Swearer Center for Public Service
TWTP The Third World Transition Program is a several-day program prior to general Orientation in the fall. Begun in 1979, TWTP has evolved to meet the changing needs of students while maintaining the values of self-reflection and open dialogue about difficult and complex issues. Available to all entering students, the uniqueness of TWTP lies in the commitment to talk about issues of race, gender, class, imperialism, heterosexism and homophobia with the incoming class of first-year students.
VW Also "Vee-Dub." The Verney-Woolley dining hall, located on the Pembroke Campus.
Verney Woolley Dining hall on the Pembroke Campus, located on the ground floor of the Morriss-Champlin/Emery-Woolley residential complex.