JHU Terminology

Take a few moments to become familiar with common abbreviations and terms that will help you navigate the campus. If you need help remembering, just bookmark this page for a quick reference! Are you an incoming first-year student? Visit the Orientation and First-Year Experience website for more helpful information on starting your journey at Johns Hopkins.

Common Abbreviations

AMR I & IIAlumni Memorial Residence; residence hall for first-year students on the Freshman Quad.
Hopkins CaféThe Hopkins Café is for first-year students, located next to the AMR II.
GPAGrade point average based on a 4.0 scale. Cumulative shows the overall GPA and semester reflects GPA for semester enrolled.
HEROHopkins Emergency Response Organization is our volunteer first-response emergency medical services on the Homewood Campus.
Johns Hopkins identification card, which provides access to the residence halls, library, academic buildings, and other campus facilities. It’s also as good as cash! You can store money on your J-Card and use it to buy food and other items on- and off-campus.
JHEDJohns Hopkins student identification number.
JHMI (“Jimmy”)Johns Hopkins' free bus system that takes students to other JHU campuses in Baltimore. Only Hopkins students, faculty and staff can use this bus by showing their student ID. The JHMI stops by Barnes and Nobles (33rd and St. Paul Streets) every 15 minutes.
SARUSexual Assault Response Unit is a student-run advocacy group that supports all survivors of sexual violence.
SISStudent Information System is the online system to register for classes, look at transcripts, etc.

Felicia Petterway headshotThe best advice I can give a FLI student is to find a network of students that were similar in their backgrounds, to remind you that you’re never alone in your struggles, and that no matter how far away from home you are, you’ll always have a home on campus. – Felicia Petterway ’20

Common Terms


Academic Advisor

The professional staff and/or faculty that helps you select courses, plan majors, explain academic policies and/or address other academic issues. In the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, first-year students work with professional staff before being assigned a faculty advisor in your second year (when you declare your major). At the Whiting School of Engineering, first-year students are assigned a faculty advisor. Professional staff academic advisors at both Krieger and Whiting work with students placed on academic probation.

Add/Drop at Start of Semester

The first two weeks of the semester when you can add or drop courses to fine-tune your schedule. It gives you a chance to explore and change courses if needed.

Academic Probation

When the first-term grade-point average is calculated a student can be placed on academic probation if the GPA is below 2.0 (below a C average) or if the student passes fewer than 12 credits. NOTE: This policy affects ALL students. A student on academic probation may be dismissed from the University and/or lose his/her financial aid if the term GPA remains below 2.0 (or fewer than 12 credits are passed) in two consecutive semesters.


Blackboard is a tool that allows faculty to add resources for students to access online. Powerpoint, captivate, video, audio, animation, and other applications are created outside of Blackboard and added into Blackboard courses to enhance teaching and learning efforts.

Course Pre-Requisite

An academic requirement that must be satisfied before or during enrollment in a desired class; such as taking a beginner’s Spanish class before signing up for intermediate Spanish.


A way to measure how much each class is worth. Courses can be 1-4 credits each. Depending upon your major, most courses are worth three to four credits each. For most programs, students must successfully complete 120 credit hours to be eligible for graduation.

Dean’s List

All students who have earned a semester GPA of 3.5 or higher in a program of 14 or more credits (12 credits must be graded) will be placed on the Dean’s List. An appropriate notation is made on the transcript.

Faculty & Faculty Advisor

The person who teaches your classes. They are experts in their discipline (academic area). As an advisor, they are able to provide more in-depth advice about the profession or major you have chosen. Faculty are also referred to as professors.


Tests to determine your understanding of material that are given at the end of each course. Finals usually occur at the end of each semester (December and May). Depending upon your schedule, you may have more than one final on the same day.

Full-Time Enrollment

Being enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester. Credit hours is the system used to determine the number of hours completed each semester. For example, enrolling in four, 3-credit hour courses would equal 12 credit hours of the semester.


A three-week period in January when classes are offered.


Exams given near the middle of an academic grading term (often a semester). With the exception of finals, Hopkins students often refer to all exam as midterms.

Office Hours

The hours that a professor sets aside for meetings to assist with any student needs. They will typically announce these during the first class and/or list them on the syllabus. You can also make appointments to see your professor.


At Hopkins, the 13-week academic term in which classes are taken in the fall and spring.


An outline of the course topics, assignments and schedule of exams for the semester. They are usually provided (by faculty) at the beginning of each course and/or can be found online.

Teaching Assistant

These are students that help the professors set lesson plans and grade papers and who help students with any problems they might have regarding the course.


An electronic record of your academic performance.



Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The application that needs to be completed to request assistance paying for college. Financial aid awards are often based upon your family’s income. Learn more at the FAFSA website.


Financial awards to help students pay for college. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid. The Pell grant is an example of a federal grant.


A financial award to support a student’s education. Scholarships do not have to be repaid and are often based upon student’s academic achievements or financial need.

Student Loan

A type of loan designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and the associated fees, such as tuition, books and supplies, and living expenses. Visit the JHU Financial Aid website to learn more.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The federal government and Johns Hopkins requires students who receive financial aid to maintain a cumulative and semester 2.0 GPA, earn at least 12 credits per semester and maintain a cumulative completion rate of earned credits equal to or exceeding 67% of the credits attempted. Hopkins Grant is awarded for a maximum of eight semesters to students who demonstrate financial need and maintain SAP. Contact your financial advisor to learn more about this important policy

Work Study

A federally-funded program that provides subsidized part-time employment for students with financial need. Learn more about work opportunities at Johns Hopkins.

Sam Farrar headshotGo into every situation assuming everyone is similar to you, not different from you, because income is just a small part of the social menu. In the end, as students, we all have a lot more in common than not.
– Sam Farrar ’21

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