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My Honors College

College and Honors Terms

College is full of new words, phrases and abbreviations that can make navigating this new chapter confusing and complicated. Below you'll find a helpful guide to help you with the new language you might hear while at USC and the Honors College.

Honors Terms | Advising Terms | College Terms | USC Terms | Financial Terms

Honors Terminology


The Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae (“Bachelor of Arts and Sciences,” or “BARSC”) is a unique and highly selective degree offered only by the South Carolina Honors College.


Also referred to as the accelerated undergrad to M.D. program, it enables you to receive your undergraduate degree from the South Carolina Honors College, followed by your medical degree from the USC School of Medicine. 

Beyond the Classroom (BTC)

The Honors College requires students to have at least three credit hours of Honors educational experience outside of the traditional classroom setting. There are four ways to fulfill the BTC requirement: internships, undergraduate research, study away and service-learning.

Core Classes

The liberal arts classes all students are required to take in the Honors College. This includes English, history, humanities, social/behavioral science, natural science and analysis.

Honors Residence Hall (HRH)

Dorm for Honors students (mostly first-year students) located at the intersection of Main and Blossom that also hosts classes in the rooms on the first floor as well as The Buzz coffee shop and Honeycomb Café. 

Honors Thesis

A college thesis is complex work students have to create within their last year before graduating a school. In general, students are required to select a topic they studied and make a research around the chosen subject. For the Honors thesis, which can have either a research or creative focus, students design, execute and present an intellectually rigorous project in their chosen field of study.

Honors Advisor

Honors advisors manage a student’s progression through their Honors College curriculum. Students should contact their Honors advisor if they have questions about their SCHC block on Degree Works or anything related to Honors courses. Students should also contact their Honors advisor when they are interested in getting involved in Beyond the Classroom opportunities, such as internships, research, study away or service learning courses to ensure they go through the proper processes to receive Honors credit for these experiences. 

Major Advisor

Major advisors handle all Carolina Core, college, and major requirements – so any time a student has a question about a course that falls into one of those categories, they should always reach out to their major advisor. This includes Honors versions of major courses that are not showing up correctly on Degree Works! Students should also contact major advisors if they are interested in taking an SCHC-coded course and want it to count for a Carolina Core, college, or major requirement and it is not currently listed as such – most departments have petition processes students can pursue.  

General Advising Terminology

Academic Advisor

A staff member who assists students (advisees) with course selection, developing an academic plan and providing advice and resources.

Academic Bulletin

The Academic Bulletin provides a list of undergraduate academic programs and their requirements, course descriptions and university policies and regulations.

Academic Probation

A status indicating a student's academic performance or behavior is unsatisfactory. Students that do not adjust their performance or behavior may be dismissed.

Add/Drop Deadline

During the class registration period and up until a designated point of the semester, students can add or drop classes on Self-Service Carolina. Once that period ends, students can still withdraw from a course on Self-Service Carolina but will receive a "W" grade, which is not counted when calculating the GPA. If a student withdraws from a course after a designated point in the semester, usually around the mid-point, they will receive a “WF” grade, which counts the same as an “F” when calculating the GPA.

Course Load

This is the number of credit hours for which a student is enrolled in a semester.

Course Registration Number (CRN)

The CRN is the unique identifying number for each section of a course and is found on Self-Service Carolina. Students input these numbers when they are registering for classes.


A planning site to help students and advisors monitor student's progress toward degree completion.

EAB or Navigate

A website that serves as a resource for advisors containing student information, notes, success markers, progression; it is also where students can schedule advising appointments.


A free elective is a course that a student chooses to take that does not fulfill requirements for their major, minor or Carolina Core. Electives will count toward the total number of credit hours that must be earned by each student.

Exploratory Advising

Exploratory advisors can help answer a variety of questions about switching majors, exploring different major options, seeing how your prior coursework fits into your new major or figuring out how to change your major.

Hardship Withdrawal

If a student is experiencing a significant personal hardship that has prevented academic success during a past semester or the Withdrawal Fail (WF) period of a current academic term, the student may be eligible to withdraw from courses for the semester of concern.


A restriction on the academic record limits a student’s ability to register for classes, receive their diploma or other actions until the hold is removed. These can be checked in Self Service Carolina.

Major Map

A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequence to ensure a clear path to graduation. Major maps include universal terminology, a standard program of study and a common eight-semester template.

Priority Registration

A date assigned to certain groups of students that need to register for their classes sooner than the general student population. Priority registration is common with student athletes, students with accommodations, Honors students, marching band students, etc.


The Registrar's office is responsible for all university records. This is the place for students to go if they need to update records, make major changes or drop classes.


The time period when students enroll (register) for classes for an upcoming academic term.

The university website students use to register for classes, pay fees, check grades, change personal information, see who their adviser is, apply for financial aid, etc.

General Collegiate Terminology


Various forms of digital and online learning in which students learn from instruction—such as prerecorded video lessons or game-based learning tasks that students complete on their own—that is not being delivered in person or in real time.


A syllabus is a document that instructors create for their course and distribute to the students who are taking that course. Within the syllabus, students can find the grading policy, attendance policy, course schedule, assignment descriptions, exam dates, instructor's office hours, and instructor's contact

Teaching Assistant (TA)

Typically a graduate student who assists a professor with instructional responsibilities. A TA often assists the professor with creating and delivering learning materials in a course. TAs may help develop assignments, quizzes and exams to meet a course's objectives.


Withdrawal may refer to a student’s need to withdraw from a course, multiple courses, or the university. Course Withdrawal occurs when a student wishes to be removed from a course in which they are enrolled. After the add/drop deadline passes, students may still formally withdraw from a class but will receive a grade of "W" on their transcript for this course. If a student withdraws from a class after a designated date in the semester, usually around fall break, they will receive a grade of “WF” on their transcript, which counts the same as an “F.”

Prerequisite (pre-req)

A course that is required prior to taking another course.

Corequisite (co-req)

A course that is required in conjunction with another course so that both courses must be taken at the same time.

Office Hours

Professors designate certain hours during the week that they are on campus, in their office, and available to meet with students. Students may drop into a professor's office during these times to ask questions or get additional assistance without making an appointment. A professor's office hours can usually be found listed on their syllabus.


Students may choose to take free elective courses outside of their major field of study on a pass/fail basis, which means the course is not graded on a typical letter grading scale; rather, the student will either pass or fail the class depending on their performance. Students may take no more than 8 such
courses during their undergraduate career.


Recitation is a smaller class, usually taught by a teaching assistant, which is taken in conjunction with a larger course such as chemistry or calculus that is taught by a professor in lecture style. It provides more time with an instructor to work on concepts from the course.

USC Terminology & Traditions


Handshake is the career center's online career management platform. Employers post open positions through Handshake and both students and alumni use it to search positions, post resumes, sign up for on-campus interviews, find out about job fairs and events, and network with employers.

Garnet Gate

This is the complete student organization directory. The university has more than 550 organizations that focus on academics, sports, dance, games, careers and more. All you need is your USC username and password.


The Solomon Blatt Physical Education Center (Blatt PEC) is available to USC students, faculty, staff and university retirees with a valid CarolinaCard and membership.

The Strom

The Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center (STWFC) is a comprehensive fitness facility available to USC students, faculty, staff and university retirees with a valid CarolinaCard.

Cockaboose Railroad

There are 22 train cabooses in the Gamecock Railroad, and they are considered some of the most luxurious tailgating you can have at a South Carolina football game.


"Sandstorm" is a song by Finnish DJ Darude played throughout key moments during South Carolina football games and continues to produce energy throughout the stadium.

Spurs Up

When you hear this, it means hold your hand high in a 'spur'. It's a way of being unified as Gamecocks and shows that we are ready to win!

Tiger Burn

The rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina dates back over a century! The idea for burning Clemson’s mascot was sparked after the 1902 rivalry football game. Today, it takes 50 engineering students more than 40 hours to construct a 30-foot tall tiger. Tiger Burn is a night for the entire Gamecock community to showcase its unrivaled pride.


Cocky is the beloved mascot of the University of South Carolina since 1980.

Clapping Circle

This circular brick formation on the outdoor patio of Russell House is so much more than meets the eye… and ear. Stand in the center of the circle, clap your hands and you (and only you!) will hear a distinctive chirping sound.

The Horseshoe

The university’s original campus, the Historic Horseshoe is now a picturesque place where you can relax, study and hang with friends. Twelve historic buildings skirt the edges of the space, forming a U-shape that gives the area its name.

Financial Terminology


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form completed by current and prospective college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.


Fellowships are funded, short-term opportunities, that can last from a few weeks to a few years and do not need to be repaid. They can be focused on professional, academic and/or personal development. Fellowships are sponsored by a specific association, organization, institution or government agency which sets the eligibility requirements.


A grant is an amount of money that a government agency or other institution gives to an individual for a particular purpose such as education or research. It does not have to be repaid.


An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.


An agreement by which a student at a college or university borrows money from a bank to pay for their education and then pays the money back after they finish studying and start working.


Scholarships are financial aid awards designed to help students pay for an undergraduate degree. Sometimes a scholarship is a one-time check. Other school scholarships are renewable and provide money for students each semester or school year. These awards differ from student loans in that they don’t have to be repaid.

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