Sun Devil Speak

The fastest way to feel like a Sun Devil is to sound like one. We’ve uncovered (and decoded) some of the most popular campus slang used by students, faculty and staff, to prep you for your arrival so you’re not left wondering what everyone is talking about.

Tools | Financial Chatter | Learning Modalities | Policy | Department | Involvement | People | Graduate Student Speak


ASURITE ID (vs Student ID). Your ASURITE ID is what you were issued when you first applied to ASU. It’s what you will use to log in to ASU Services like My ASU. Your student ID, is a 10-digit number that will appear on your Sun Card and is your primary student identifier in ASU computer systems and on your student records.

Canvas.Canvas is the online system, accessible through My ASU, that ASU instructors use to teach all or part of your classes. It’s where you may access course materials, like lectures, videos or reading assignments, check your grades, participate in online discussions or group activities, submit assignments, take online tests or quizzes, and view course announcements.

DUO. ASU uses DUO's two-factor authentication services for faculty and staff ASURITE logins as an additional measure for managing cybersecurity threats.

LiveSafe. The ASU LiveSafe mobile app allows you to report tips, receive ASU crime alerts, and access ASU Police and university safety services like:
SafeWalk: text with your friends or family during your trip as they view your progress on a map.
Motorist Assist: if you locked your keys in your car or your battery is dead.
Transportation Services: Locate ASU intercampus shuttles in real time, find campus bike valet locations, and access ASU Shuttle Twitter feeds.

My ASU. My ASU is your student portal where you will log in to access everything from your class schedule to your grades to your financial aid information and advisors contact information. When in doubt, check My ASU. 

SunDevilSync. This is your hub for all things student clubs and organizations. It’s where you can search for and join a student club or org, look through their events and make plans to attend, and record your campus involvement.

U-Pass. Students can purchase a U-Pass for rides on public transportation including, city buses and light rail. 

Zoom. Zoom is ASU’s centrally supported, easy-to-use video conferencing platform that you will use to connect to classes when you need to attend remotely. It works with any MacOS, Windows, & Linux platforms, and has free apps for Apple and Android devices.

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Financial Chatter

FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is THE app when it comes to getting federal financial aid. You’ll submit this each year that you want to be considered for financial aid. 

Federal Work Study. After you submit a FAFSA, you may be eligible for Federal Work Study (or FWS) based on how much financial aid you qualify for. FWS gives a student the option to apply for work (in specific on-campus jobs) and earn a paycheck that can be used toward educational expenses.   

Grant vs. Scholarship vs. Loan vs. Parent Loan vs. Private Loan. That’s a lot of different names for “ways you can get money to help pay for college.”  In a nutshell, grants and scholarships do not have to be paid back, while all loans have to be paid back–plus interest. Money from the government is awarded after you complete a FAFSA, while scholarships have their own individual applications. 

Merit vs. Need-based Aid. Merit aid is awarded based on accomplishments (grades, talent, athletics, etc.) while need-based aid is awarded based on how much your family qualifies to receive as a result of completing a FAFSA. The federal government determines eligibility for all need-based aid.

NAMU. ASU’s New American University. You may hear this one in regard to “NAMU” scholarships. These are ASU’s merit scholarships awarded to high-achieving first-year students.  

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Learning Modalities

ASU Sync. Synchronous, technology-enhanced and fully interactive remote learning using live lectures via Zoom. This approach can be used simultaneously with in-person instruction to accommodate students in different circumstances and enable social distancing in classrooms or as stand-alone technology. It offers the benefits of face-to-face instruction in an interactive group learning environment.

iCourse. iCourses have all components delivered online to students enrolled in campus-based programs.  Faculty have regular, on-campus office hours posted on the syllabus.

Sessions A, B, C, etc. ASU regularly offers classes in the fall, spring and summer terms divided into multi-week sessions outlined below. Each session has different dates for important university processes (such as enrolling classes, dropping a class, finals, etc.). It is important to refer to the Academic Calendar each session to understand these important deadlines. 

Fall/Spring Session A: first 7.5-week session
Fall/Spring Session B: second 7.5-week session
Fall/Spring Session C: full semester (15 weeks plus final exams)

Summer Session A: first 6-week session
Summer Session B: second 6-week session
Summer Session C: 8-week session

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Class Number. The number in your course name signifies the level at which you are studying (e.g. ENG 101):

  • Lower-division courses, numbered from 100 to 299, are designed primarily for freshmen and sophomores.
  • Upper-division courses, numbered from 300 to 499, are designed primarily for juniors and seniors.
  • Graduate-level courses, numbered from 500 to 799, are designed primarily for graduate students.

Class Prefix. The class prefix in a course name is the abbreviation for the department or program offering the course (e.g. ENG 101 means English 101) You can click “Subject” in the Class Search search tool to see all available.

Credits/Hours/Credit Hours/Units. Coursework includes all learning activities during the scheduled class time and outside the scheduled class time, such as reading, watching videos, and studying. Class learning in college is measured by credit hours, most classes being either 3 or 4 credit hours. Each credit hour equates to 45 total hours of learning activities over the entire session. So for one 3 credit hour course, a student would complete 135 hours of learning activities for the whole session/semester. This is helpful in planning how many hours per week a student will spend per class.  For example, in a 7.5 week session, a student can expect to spend 18 hours per week on learning activities for a 3 credit hour course compared to 9 hours of learning activities per week for a 16 week semester.  A minimum of 120 credit hours is required for graduation with a baccalaureate degree; at least 45 credit hours must be in upper-division courses. Students should check the program's major map for graduation requirements.

DARS Graduation Audit. The DARS Graduation Audit, frequently referred to as your “DARS” tracks your individual progress toward meeting degree requirements and serves as the official degree checkout. For more information, check out this DARS Explainer experience.  

DRC (Disability Resource Center). Arizona State University is responsible for providing reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities, to ensure courses and course materials are readily accessible. All accommodations provided by the DRC are free of charge, and information is kept strictly confidential.

eAdvisor. ASU’s suite of online and interactive tools designed to support your success and help you meet your academic and professional goals. It is important to familiarize yourself with all components of the eAdvisor suite, such as the Major Map, DARS Graduation Audit, and eAdvisor Tracking. 

eAdvisor Tracking, also known as critical tracking, tracks your progress toward a year four graduation. If off track, you may be required to meet with an advisor so you can get back on track or explore a new major that better suits you.

FERPA. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also called FERPA or the Buckley Amendment) affords students certain privacy rights regarding their education records. Students must grant Parent Guest Access through My ASU in order for their student account to be shared with others. 

General Studies Requirements 

All students enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program must complete successfully a minimum of 29 credit hours of approved General Studies courses. The General Studies requirement is composed of courses in five core areas and three awareness areas. Many General Studies courses are approved as satisfying more than one requirement.

Five Core Areas (General Studies)

  • L: Literacy and Critical Inquiry (three credit hours) 
  • MA and CS: Mathematical Studies (combined six credit hours)
  • HU: Humanities, Arts and Design and SB: Social-Behavioral Sciences (combined 12 credit hours)
  • SQ and SG: Natural Sciences (combined eight credit hours)

Three Awareness Areas (General Studies)

  • 1. Cultural Diversity in the United States (C)
  • 2. Global Awareness (G)
  • 3. Historical Awareness (H)

Grades. Ordinarily a grade of "A+," "A," "A-," "B+," " B," "B-," "C+," "C," "D," or "E" is given upon completion of a course, unless another grading option such as "audit" or "pass/fail" is indicated at the time of registration. Grading options cannot be changed after the close of the drop/add period. The instructor of a course has full discretion in selecting which grades to use and report from the available grading options on the grade roster.

Guest Access. My ASU Parent Guest Access is an online tool that allows students to share FERPA-protected information with parents and guests. Students have the choice to share some or all of their FERPA-protected information with parents and guests. For more information on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, visit ASU’s FERPA page.

HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, established in 1996, provides detailed instructions for handling and protecting a patient's personal health information. The four main purposes of HIPAA include- Privacy of health information, security of electronic records, administrative simplification, and insurance portability. 

Major Map. A planned course map for undergraduate graduation within 8 semesters. The Major Map indicates critical and necessary courses for your major and communicates major specific requirements like milestones and major maps. Find your major map on My ASU in the My Programs box or explore the major maps for all ASU degree programs on Degree Search.

MMR. All students born after January 1, 1957 are required to meet certain Measles Mumps and Rubella  immunization requirements before class registration. For details visit:

Nonresident/Resident. In Arizona, tuition at publicly supported universities is lower for residents than non-residents. Residency classification is determined for all students in accordance with guidelines provided by the Arizona Board of Regents' (ABOR) to determine your residency for tuition purposes, use ASU’s Residency Navigator tool

Office Hours. Office hours are specific times that your professors make themselves available to assist and meet with their students. Office hours will be detailed on your class syllabus. 

Priority Task vs. Hold. Both Priority Tasks and Holds can be viewed on My ASU in the Priority Tasks box. As you start enrollment at ASU, Priority Tasks are next steps in the enrollment process and any financial aid action items. There are two types of holds: financial aid disbursement holds and registration holds. Click on the title of Hold to find out how to have the hold removed.

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Dean of Students. The Dean of Students is there to ensure that students have the adequate resources and support to be successful in their learning environment; we encourage you to engage and connect personally with the university and your fellow Sun Devils; and we expect you to make responsible choices during and beyond your time at ASU. The Dean of Students is your one stop shop for support, engagement and resource information. When you don’t know where to go, reach out to the Dean of Students! There is an office on each location.

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Changemaker Central. Changemaker Central @ ASU exists to create a university wide culture that empowers students to apply their passion, knowledge and expertise to create innovative solutions to local, national and global challenges. With Changemaker spaces and programs on all four ASU campuses, our student team is prepared to help you navigate the many ways you can make a difference at ASU. 

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Advisor. You have a large support team at ASU. Your advisor is there to help you with questions about your major, getting involved at ASU and anything else that impacts your performance while studying at the university. You can find your advisor in My ASU in the Academic Support Team box.

Coach. First-Year Success Center provides free individualized and holistic peer coaching services to freshmen and sophomores on four ASU campuses. Students are matched 1 to 1 with an upperclassman or graduate student from the same college, who serves as a personal connector, cheerleader, and catalyst for success.

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Graduate Student Speak

ASU Sync defense. Graduate defense held both in person and Zoom. 

CITI training. Researchers working with human subjects must complete online CITI training

Comprehensive or general exam. PhD requirement fulfilled in oral and written formats 

Culminating experience. Final requirement to demonstrate mastery in a graduate degree program

Dissertation or thesis defense. Presentation of culminating experience that is open to public

Postdoctoral scholar, fellow or researcher.  A researcher who after obtaining a PhD works for a temporary period to continue developing skills and preparing for future career

RFP / RFA.  Request for proposal or application

Format Wizard. Tool for facilitating thesis or dissertation document format

IDP. Individual Development Plan

ILL. Interlibrary loan for books, articles via hard copy

Dissertation award.  A stipend to complete the PhD dissertation

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