dictionary and thesaurus

The Glossary of Confusing Words is back, with this great suggestion from Nader:

credit in the courses may be confused with credit in banking

Credit is one of those English words with lots of different uses.  It can refer to money ("credit card," to buy something "on credit") or reputation ("you have to give her credit," "he is a credit to his family"). But it also has a specific meaning when it comes to academics.

Credits are units used to measure the contribution that an academic course makes towards attaining your degree.  Universities require you to take a certain number of credits to graduate, and a certain number of credits each semester to maintain your status as a full-time student.

Each course offered by a university is assigned a value in credits, usually based on how much time you're expected to spend on it (hence credits are also often called "credit-hours"). Not every university differentiates between courses - some may simply assign the same credit value to every course and require you to take a certain number of courses per semester.

To receive credit for a course, you'll need to achieve at least the minimum passing grade. Most universities also allow you to audit courses, which means taking them for your own knowledge rather than for credit.

Have you come across a word related to education in the U.S. that you want to see defined in our Glossary of Confusing Words? Let us know in the comments or by using the form below.