Glossary of Educational Terms


Recognition by an organization or agency that a college meets certain established standards of educational quality (may be national and/or regional). Units earned at non-accredited colleges may not be recognized as valid educational credit by universities, graduate schools or other institutions.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Designated high school courses that provide college credit for students scoring at a certain level on the AP examination. Course equivalency and units earned are determined by the college or university.

Application Fee Waiver

Freedom from payment of the admission application fee for those students with demonstrated financial hardships.

Articulation Agreement

A formal agreement between colleges and universities that identifies courses on a "sending" campus that are comparable to, or acceptable in lieu of, courses on a "receiving" campus.


A web-based student transfer information system which contains information about how courses taken at a California Community College can be applied when transferred to a University of California or a California State University campus.

Associate Degree

A degree usually awarded by a community college upon completion of 60 semester units of college work including general education, major requirements, and electives. This may be an Associate of Arts (AA) or an Associate of Science (AS) degree, depending on the student’s major. There are Associate degree options for transfer students who complete a general education pattern and preparation for major. See the Miramar Catalog for more details.

Bachelor’s or Baccalaureate Degree

A degree, awarded upon completion of a program of study of 120 college semester units or 180 college quarter units or more. These units may all be earned at a four-year institution, or may be a combination of transferable units earned at a community college and a four-year university. The degree may be a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a related degree, depending on the student’s major.


A campus publication that includes descriptions of college academic and nonacademic programs, courses, policies and procedures.


California Community College


An award for completing a particular course of study, usually in an occupational or technical field. Typically does not include general education and is not considered a college degree.

Certification (General Education)

The process that verifies the completion of general education for California State

University (either the CSU General Education Breadth requirements or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) or the University of California (the Intersegmental General Education Curriculum). Students must request certification in the Evaluations Office prior to transfer.

Class schedule

A campus publication which lists the times and locations of courses taught each semester. The schedule also contains registration information, testing dates and times, final exam schedule, and other information of interest to new and continuing students. The current schedule can be accessed at


An option or special emphasis within a degree program.

Concurrent Enrollment

Enrollment in two or more classes during the same semester at the same school.  (See also Cross Enrollment)

Credential Program

Prescribed professional education requirements that must be met in order to teach at the K-12 levels. These are usually fulfilled after completion of a bachelor’s degree, but may also be completed while pursuing the degree.

Credit/No Credit

A form of grading whereby a student receives a grade of "CR" or "NC" instead of a letter grade. At Miramar College, a grade of CR is assigned for work equivalent to a grade of "C" or above. CR/NC grading is not advised for courses within a student's major.

Cross Enrollment

Some colleges and universities allow students to enroll in a limited number of courses while still they are also attending a community college, and without formal admission to the university. This is a good way to get a head start on university level courses or to fulfill prerequisites not available at a local community college. Limitations apply, and not all institutions allow this practice.


California State University

CSU GE (California State University General Education Breadth Pattern)

A pattern of courses in a wide variety of disciplines intended to ensure that students have a well-rounded academic foundation. Certification of the CSU General Education Breadth pattern will permit a student to transfer from a community college to a campus in the CSU system without the need, after transfer, to take additional lower division G.E. courses to satisfy campus G.E. requirements. (See also Certification)

Doctorate Degree

Awarded after completing several years of advanced study, research, and practice in a particular field, usually 2-3 years of full-time study beyond what is required for the Master's Degree.

Double Major

A program in which a student completes two sets of requirements for two majors concurrently. Some universities also allow "combined majors", where one course may be used to fulfill requirements for two different majors.


Courses which are not required for the major or general education, but which are acceptable for credit toward a degree or other educational goal. An elective course may be in any department of a college.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

A form completed by all applicants for federal student aid. Most universities require completion of the FAFSA in order for students to be eligible for university level financial aid or scholarships. The FAFSA is available online at There is no charge to students for completing the FAFSA.

Filing Periods

The period of time during which specific requests or applications must be submitted. This commonly applies to enrollment for a specific quarter or semester, applications for scholarships, or applications to a specific college or university

Financial Aid Transcript

A copy of a student's official record of all financial aid awarded and received at an institution.

General Education Certification (see Certification)

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The indication of the overall level of academic achievement. It is an important measure used in making decisions about eligibility for graduation, transfer to four-year institutions, and probation disqualification. The grade point average is derived from the following unit system: A = 4 grade points; B = 3 grade points; C = 2 grade points; D = 1 grade point; and F = 0 grade points per unit. The GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the number of units attempted.

Graduation Petition

Upon completion of all requirements for an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree, students must file a form in the Evaluations Office in order to graduate. The petition should be submitted one semester before the student expects to graduate.

Graduate Level

College study after the awarding of the Bachelor's degree.

Guaranteed Transfer Admission Programs

Admission programs that assure students admission to a particular university upon completion of specified criteria.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)

Colleges and universities with a majority African-American student body, although students of all races attend them. They are all located out of California and may be either public or private. Most are located in the southern United States.

IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum)

A pattern of courses in a wide variety of disciplines intended to ensure that all students have a well-rounded academic foundation. Completion and certification of the IGETC will permit a student to transfer from a community college to a campus in either the California State University or University of California system without the need, after transfer, to take additional lower-division, general education courses to satisfy campus GE requirements. Some independent/private schools in California also accept IGETC for GE requirements.

Impacted Major/Campus

When the number of applications to a university campus or major is expected to be larger than the number of spaces available. Additional selection criteria such as higher GPA minimums or additional course requirements may then be considered in making an admission decision.

Independent University - see Private/Independent Colleges and Universities

Intent to Register (a.k.a. Statement of Intent to Register [SIR])

Once a university has issued letters of acceptance, the student is generally required to submit written confirmation that he/she is planning to attend that specific school by a specified deadline. Many also require a deposit payment.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

A comprehensive two-year curriculum usually taken in the final two years of high school that is similar to the final year of secondary school in Europe. Some colleges and universities award college credit to students who have completed an IB program and/or achieved certain scores on the upper-level IB tests. Course equivalency and units earned are determined by the college or university.

Liberal Arts

Broad-based programs/courses in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.

Lower Division

Refers to the first two years of the four years typically required to earn a bachelor's degree. Lower division courses are those taught at the university freshman or sophomore levels. They are typically introductory courses in a specific discipline covering a relatively wide area of study, and usually prepare students for subsequent courses in that field at the upper division level. Lower division students are those who have not yet completed 60 or more university transferable units.

Lower Division Transfer Pattern (LDTP)

A pattern of lower division coursework for transfer utilizing content which is common to all CSU campuses. At the time of this writing, the LDTP is still being developed.


A field of academic study that you emphasize in your college education.

Master's Degree

Awarded upon the completion of a prescribed program, usually 30 to 60 semester units of advanced study in a particular field beyond what is required for a Bachelor's Degree.


A secondary field of study outside of the major, often requiring substantially less coursework.


A written request for special exception to a rule, policy or standard.

Placement Test

A test designed to assess a student's level of competence in a particular academic area (typically English and mathematics) so the student can select the most appropriate courses.

Preparation for Major Courses

A set of courses required for a major that sets the foundation for upper division coursework. In general, students are encouraged, and sometimes required, to complete as many lower division major courses as possible prior to transfer.


A requirement a student must meet in order to demonstrate readiness for enrollment in a course or educational program. A prerequisite is enforced through the registration process at most colleges and universities, including Miramar.

Private/Independent Colleges and Universities

Institutions of higher education that are not supported by public taxes. In California there are more than 70 accredited independent colleges and universities, and thousands of others exist throughout the nation. Some are affiliated with a particular religion, profession, or other organization.

Professional Schools

Law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary, medicine, pharmacy and other schools which require or recommend specific undergraduate preparation.

Provisional Admission (aka: Conditional Admission)

Most four-year institutions initially admit students on a provisional basis. This simply means that admission may be revoked if the student does not submit final transcripts from their community college showing that they have fulfilled all transfer requirements.

Public College/University

An institution of higher education supported by taxes or other public funds. Public colleges and universities in California are comprised of the California Community College system, the California State University system, and the University of California system.

Quarter System

Approximately 10 weeks of instruction offered three times a year, during the fall, winter, and spring. Some institutions also offer a summer quarter. 1.5 quarter units of credit is equal to one semester unit of credit.


Repeating a course where a "D" "F" or "No Credit" (NC) was earned. A Withdraw ("W") is not considered a repetition.

Residence Requirements

States that a certain number of units must be taken on the campus from which the student expects to receive a degree.

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 at state financed colleges and universities.

Scholarship or Grant

A type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Grants are often based on financial need. Scholarships often have other criteria, such as academic ability.

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

A multiple-choice test administered by the College Board, designed to measure proficiency in mathematics and verbal ability. Usually taken for freshmen college admissions, transfer students may also find it meets writing and mathematics exam requirements for some universities.


San Diego Community College District. San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges are part of SDCCD.

Selection Criteria

When a university campus cannot admit all the eligible applicants, it applies additional standards. Selection criteria often exceed minimum eligibility requirements.

Semester System

Approximately 16 weeks of instruction offered two times a year, during the fall and spring. One semester unit of credit is equal to 1.5 quarter units of credit.

Statement of Intent to Register (see Intent to Register)


Outline prepared by the professor and usually handed out at the first class meeting. The syllabus outlines the professor's expectations, and includes a timeline, homework, and reading assignments for the course.


Transfer Admission Guarantee (see Guaranteed Transfer Admission Programs)


A list of all courses taken at a college or university showing the final grade received for each course. Official transcripts bear a seal of the college and signature of a designated college official and are sent directly from one institution to another.


The process of students moving from one institution of higher education to another with the intention of applying previously completed coursework to degree requirements at their new institution.

Transfer Course

A course completed at one college or university that is accepted for at least elective credit toward degree requirements at another college or university. Some transfer courses may also fulfill university general education, preparation for major, or other requirements as specified in an articulation agreement.


University of California

Undergraduate Level

College study prior to the awarding of the bachelor's degree.


The measure of college credit that is earned for a course. Usually awarded on the basis of one unit for each lecture hour per week or for every three laboratory hours per week.

Upper Division

Refers to the last two years of the four years typically required to earn a bachelor's degree. Upper division courses are those taught at the university junior or senior levels. They are typically narrower in focus than lower division courses and encompass most of the coursework for a major. Upper division students are those who have completed 60 or more university transferable units but have not yet completed the Bachelor's degree.


Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The regional accrediting agency for all schools in California.

San Diego Mesa College Transfer Center | Room I4-306 | 619-388-2473 |