Did You Know?

Academic Glossary

Add/Drop Courses (Day College Only)

At the beginning of every semester, there is a period of time when you can make adjustments to your classes. In this way you can attempt to arrange a schedule that fits your academic and personal needs. The Registrar's Office allows you to drop courses (remove them completely from record) and add different ones to your schedule. In this way, you are capable of building a satisfactory schedule of classes that fulfills requirements, and targets your needs. 

Cumulative Grade Point Average

This number is acquired by the courses taken at Salem State University (excluding transfer courses, and grades of "P") and constitutes the numerical equivalent of letter grades. These equivalents are known as quality points, and are used to calculate the total grade point average of all courses taken and completed at Salem State. You need a 2.0 cumulative grade point average overall and in the major in order to graduate. For more information on grades, please visit the Registrar's Office site. 

Education Majors

In order to be eligible to apply for the licensure track to become licensed to teach in Massachusetts public schools.  You must have an overall GPA of 2.75 after 60 credit hours. In order to be admitted to the curriculum/methods courses, you must have a major GPA of 3.0 after the completion of 75 credit hours. See the College Catalog for details.

Bachelor of Arts vs. Bachelor of Science

 The main difference between a BA (Bachelor of Arts) and a BS (Bachelor of Science) degree is the foreign language requirement. It is required for students seeking a BA, with some exceptions: Art, History/Applied History, Pre-Legal Business Option and Public History Option and Theatre. The requirement is fulfilled by completing the advanced intermediate course, 202.  Beginners achieve this goal by registering for 101 and completing the other three in the sequence: 102, 201 and 202, with all courses in the same language. Students should not start at the 101 level if they have had enough prior experience in the language; students should start at the 102 level if they have completed two years of high school language with a B average or higher, or at the 201 level if they have completed three years of high school language with a B average or higher. Please review the College Catalog for more information about placement guidelines. If BA students are able to fulfill the requirement with the last two courses of the sequence (201 and 202), the additional six (6) credits must be made up in free electives in order to reach the maximum number of credits required in the major.  


 This document contains the policies, procedures, rules and regulations by which the college community is governed. Course descriptions and flow sheets that detail every major course of study are also included. The link to this page can be found here.


An acronym for the College Level Examination Program. Simply stated, this gives you the opportunity to take an examination and get college credit for general knowledge, and knowledge for specific subjects. There are specific rules for CLEP tests and gaining credit. Details can be obtained from the Advising Office. 


The Division of Continuing Education, offers Undergraduate Evening courses, Non-Traditional programs (i.e., certificate programs), and summer courses. DCE also houses the Center for Adult Learning. All DCE offices are located on the first floor of the Sullivan Building on North Campus.

Declaring or changing a Major

If you would like to change your major, please come to Academic Advising to obtain a change of major form to complete and bring to the department chairperson of the desired major. Undergraduate major changes are continually processed.  You will receive notification that you have or have not been accepted into the major. For more info, refer to the College Catalog.

Declaring or changing a Minor

If you would like to declare or change a minor, please come to Academic Advising to complete a declaration of minor form. A minor can be changed or declared any time of the year.


Electives vary depending on a student’s major program requirements.  There are four (4) types of electives: distribution, major, minor, and free.  A detailed description of these types can be found in the College Catalog

Flow sheet

A flow sheet is a tool for you to use as your plan of study. Students check off courses as completed to track their progress toward degree completion. Students must follow the flow sheet for the year in which the major is declared. Effective dates are found at the bottom right of the flow sheet. Flow sheets are located in the College Catalog under each major, or can be obtained from the Registrar's Office or from the Advising Office.

Incomplete Grade

This grade is given to you, often at the end of the semester, and usually in consultation with the students and the faculty instructor, for work not completed in a course by the end of any given semester. Please view the College Catalog for more information. 

Leave of Absence

  • A leave of absence is a period during which you, having been formally admitted to SSU, maintain matriculated status, but are entitled to none of the services of SSU provided by the payment of tuition or fees. An application for a leave of absence may be filed at any time during the academic year for the following semester. A leave of absence may begin during a semester, provided the completed application for leave is filed with the Registrar before the withdrawal deadline; in this case the entire semester is counted toward the leave. 
  • No refund of tuition or fees will be given except as provided by other existing regulations. 
  • The total leave allowed during your career at SSU is two semesters, which need not be taken consecutively. 
  • If you desire a leave of absence, complete a Leave of Absence form available in the  Advising Office
  • A date of return will be agreed upon in advance and stated on the form. If you fail to return on the agreed date, you will be considered to have withdrawn from SSU, in which case a formal application for readmission must be filed. 
  • A leave of absence will be granted to any student complying with SSU regulations. However, such leave of absence will be revoked by SSU if you incur an academic dismissal subsequent to the granting of the leave.

Master Schedule

Only evening class schedules are published in a paperback brochure.  All day course schedules can be found online here.


An online system that allows students to register for classes (day and evening) every semester and access various academic and personal functions. Students are able to view grades, course schedules, financial aid information, and even Clipper Card balances.  Navigator also allows students to maintain and update their mailing address, email accounts and telephone numbers.  Salem State College students are required to have Navigator accounts. 

Repeated Course

When you repeat a course, the higher grade is factored into your GPA, the lower grade, although still on your permanent record, will be ignored in the GPA calculation.  


An outline of what will be covered in class for the semester.  It may contain deadlines for papers, tests, quizzes, and presentations, and expectations for participation in the class, as well as the attendance policy for the course. See the catalog for more details.

Undeclared Students

Students who have not yet chosen a major. Family members often express concerns that a student has not yet chosen a major. Students who delay choosing a major, however, are more likely to select an area of interest to which they are highly committed. We encourage parents and friends to support students in their choices of major. Students who select an area of study in which they have no interest or aptitude are less likely to succeed.

Withdrawal from the University

You may officially withdraw from SSU by completing the Official Withdrawal Form available from the Advising Office. Withdrawal from SSU implies withdrawal from all current courses, and the regulations concerning grades set forth in Withdrawal from Courses are applicable. Unauthorized withdrawal will result in a grade of F* in all courses.

Withdrawal from a course

After the first week of regularly scheduled classes, you have approximately ten (10) weeks in which to withdraw from a course without penalty. A "W" is indicated on your transcript, indicating that a withdrawal has taken place. It is not factored into your GPA, and no credit is awarded. Refer to the Academic Calendar for exact withdrawal deadlines.