College Terms

Important College Terms

Academic yearA period of time from the start of the fall semester or quarter, usually in September, but occasionally in August or October, and continuing through the completion of the spring semester or quarter, usually in May or June.

 A college or program that has been certified as fulfilling certain standards by a national and/or regional professional association.

Achievement Test: 
A series of subject matter tests administered by the College Board which are used by some colleges for admission and/or course placement purposes.

Advanced Placement (AP):
Most colleges will use either of these tests administered by the College Board which are used by some colleges for admission and/or course placement purpose.

Application Filing Periods:
 The periods during which applications may be submitted. 

Articulation Agreement:
 Agreements between community and four-year colleges that indicate the acceptability of courses in transfer toward meeting specific degree requirements.

Associate Degree (AA/AS): 
 A degree granted by the community college to students who complete a specified program of study, usually totaling 60 units. Associate degrees are awarded in arts and science and are sometimes called two-year degrees, in contrast to the four-year or bachelor’s degree awarded by a university.

Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) Degree: 
  A level of education marked by the completion of the equivalent of four or more years of full-time education (at least 120 semester units or 180 quarter units). Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of science degrees are offered by the California State Universities , the University  of California  system, and many private colleges and universities.

CAN ( California  Articulation Number): 
 A common number system used to identify courses that are often required as lower division preparation for majors. The courses are taught at many colleges with each specific campus using their own unique number for the course. The CAN system allows counselors and students to determine equivalent courses offered at different colleges. 

:A certain number of credits/courses in a major program of study that is more specialized than the general degree program.  An option or special emphasis within a degree program.  Concentrations are noted on the diploma. 

Course Equivalency
: A course at a community college that equates to a course offered at a four-year college or university. For example, Biology 100 (Fundamentals of Biology), offered at a community college, may be equivalent to Biology 1001 (Introduction to Biology), offered at a four-year college or university.

: An award granted upon completion of a prescribed series of courses preparing students for employment in selected occupational/vocational fields which require training beyond high school. A certificate may be earned while preparing for an associate degree. Some four-year colleges also offer certificate programs.

  An official notice, either on the transcript or on a certification form, provided by a community college verifying that a transfer student has completed courses satisfying all or a portion of the lower division general education requirements. Certification of CSU GE or IGETC is an important step in the transfer process.

Credential (Teaching):
A basic multiple or single subjects teaching credential can be obtained upon the completion of a bachelor’s degree as prescribed professional education requirements in four or more years of college. 

The California State University:
 Includes the following campuses, Bakersfield , Channel Islands, Chico , Dominguez Hills, Fresno , Fullerton , Hayward , Humboldt State , Long Beach , Los Angeles , Maritime, Monterey Bay , Northridge, Pomona , Sacramento , San Bernardino , San Diego State , San Francisco State , San Jose State , San Luis Obispo , San Marcos , Sonoma State , and Stanislaus.

 Courses that are not used to meet specific major, general education, or graduation requirements, but can be used to complete the total units required for a degree.

  Instruction offered at various off-campus community sites during the regular school year. 

Fine Arts
: Generally courses in dance, music, theater, and visual arts. Full-Time Student: Usually a student who is taking 12 or more credits per semester.

General Education:
 A program of courses in the arts and sciences that provides students with a broad educational experience. Courses typically are introductory in nature and provide students with fundamental skills and knowledge in mathematics, English, arts, humanities, and physical, biological, and social sciences. Transfer students often take these classes while attending a community college. Completion of a general education program is required for the baccalaureate degree.

Grade Point Average (G.P.A.):
  The average of all grades received. For transfer students, grade point average refers to the average grade received in transferable units. Also called G.P.A. and cumulative grade point average.

  Courses offered beyond the bachelor’s degree level.  Also, students who have received a bachelor’s degree and who are enrolled in post-baccalaureate instruction.

Honors Programs:
 Provide special courses for high academic achievers often within the framework of general education.  Program may feature workshops, seminars and small group discussion sessions.

  Generally courses in the classics, foreign languages, linguistics, literature, philosophy, public speaking, and religion.

IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum):
   A general education program which community college students can use to satisfy lower-division general education requirements at any CSU or UC campus.

Impacted Programs:
  Some majors at some colleges may be declared impacted because they receive more applications than program space available.  Impacted program applicants must normally apply during a specified time period and participate in a competitive selection process. 

Liberal Arts:
  Program/courses in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.

Lower Division:
  Courses offered for freshman/sophomore level credit. Also refers to students whose class level is freshman or sophomore.

  The process of initially enrolling in college.

 A program of study that leads to a degree; the subject area in which a student pursuing a college degree develops the greatest depth of knowledge.

Master’s Degree:
   A degree beyond the bachelor’s, also called a graduate degree. Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees are most common, but there are also professional master’s degrees, such as the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) or the MBA (Master of Business Administration).

 A secondary field of studies outside of the major field. Some degree programs require a minor. 

   Undergraduate coursework which is either recommended or required for enrollment in professional schools. 

Professional Schools:
  Law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and other health science schools which require or recommend specific undergraduate preparation for admission. 

  A course or courses that must be successfully completed before a student can enroll in the next-level course or more advanced courses.

Priority Filing Dates:
  One month period of time when applications are first accepted for a specific term at the CSU or UC, i.e. November 1-30 for the following fall term.

  One type of term within an academic year, marking the beginning and end of classes. Each quarter is 10 weeks in length, and there are three quarters (fall, winter, spring) per academic year.

Resident/Non-resident Status:
 Student status based on place of legal residence.  Non-residents (out-of-state) often have to pay higher fees and meet higher admission requirements than do residents. 

:   Usually courses in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics.

 One type of term within an academic year marking the beginning and end of classes. Each semester is 15 weeks in length, and there are two semesters (fall and spring) in an academic year.

Social Sciences:
Usually courses in anthropology, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Teaching Credential:
  A basic multiple or single subjects teaching credential obtained upon completion of a bachelor’s degree and prescribed professional education requirements in four or more years of college.

: The cumulative official record containing the courses, semester hours, and grades earned by a student at a college or university.

Transfer Program
  A community college program which provides the first two years of transferable semester (60-70) preparation for the baccalaureate degree.

Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG):
A formal, written agreement that outlines the courses that must be completed before transfer, states the GPA required, and lists specific requirements for crowded majors. The Transfer Admission Guarantee will guarantee admission to the university as long as the provisions of the agreement are completed. Students with 30 transferable units completed may be eligible for a TAG.

Transfer Student
:A student who, after attending a college or university, seeks admission to another college or university. Generally, courses taken at previous colleges will be applied to the degree requirements at the new institution. 

Transferable Courses: Courses offered by one college (e.g., a community college) that will transfer to another college (e.g., a four-year college or university). These courses can usually be applied toward the bachelor degree requirements at the four-year college or university.

An enrolled student who has not completed a baccalaureate degree; a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior.

 A measure of credit earned for course completion. A unit is based on the number of hours of instruction per week required in the classroom and/or lab or in independent study. A course earning three semester units will usually meet for three lecture hours a week. One quarter unit is equal to 2/3 of one semester unit.

University of California :
 Includes the following campuses, Berkeley , Davis , Irvine , Los Angeles , Merced , Riverside , San Diego , San Francisco , Santa Barbara  and Santa Cruz . 

Upper Division:  
Courses offered for junior/senior class level credit. These courses are not offered by community colleges, and they often require completion of prerequisite courses. Also refers to junior and senior students.