Frequently Asked Questions - Glossary
Academic year: A 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.
Articulation Agreement: An official agreement in which one college agrees to accept specific courses or groups of courses from another college in place of its own courses.
Associate Degree (AA, AS, . . .): A degree granted by community colleges to students who complete a specified program of study, usually totaling 60 semester 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.
Baccalaureate (degree, program, etc.): A level of education marked by the completion of the equivalent of four or more years of full-time education (at least 124 semester units or 180 quarter units). Baccalaureate degrees are offered by the CSU, UC, and many private colleges and universities. Baccalaureate level also refers to courses that meet requirements for the baccalaureate degree, also called a four-year or bachelorís degree.
Bachelorís (degree, program, etc.): Another term for the baccalaureate degree, e.g., bachelor of arts or bachelor of science.
California State University: One of two systems of state-funded higher education in California that grant baccalaureate and higher degrees. The other is the University of California system.
Catalog Rights: A policy that allows, in certain circumstances, a college student to select the set of requirements he/she will follow to qualify for university graduation.
Certification: 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 CSU lower-division general education requirements. Certified courses refers to community college courses that the community college has certified and that the CSU has agreed to accept as fulfilling its lower-division general education or American institutions requirements.
Community Colleges: Institutions of higher education that award associate (two-year) degrees and vocational certificates, and that offer classes that can be transferred to a four-year college or university and applied toward a baccalaureate degree.
Continuous Attendance: The act of remaining enrolled at any accredited college or university at least one semester or two quarters in each calendar year; a requirement to retain catalog rights for a given year.
Electives: 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.
Freshman: Refers to the first year of study for an associate or bachelorís degree. Students who have completed 1-29 semester units (1-44 quarter units) are considered freshmen.
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.
General Education Ė Breadth Requirements: A specific program of courses that a student may use to fulfill CSU general education requirements for the baccalaureate degree. Most of these courses may be taken at a community college or other accredited college or university prior to transfer to a CSU campus.
Grade Point Average: The average of all grades received in baccalaureate-level courses. For transfer students, grade point average refers to the average grade received in transferable units. Also called GPA and cumulative grade point average.
Graduation Requirements: This refers to units, courses, examinations, or academic programs that students must complete to obtain a baccalaureate degree. Students must meet requirements for the major, general education, U.S. History, Constitution, American Ideals, and elective courses, as well as a minimum number of units.
IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum): A program of courses that can be taken at a California community college to satisfy all lower-division general education requirements at any CSU campus or most UC universities.
Impacted: Refers to those majors or campuses that receive more applications during the initial application filing period than there are spaces available. A major may be impacted on one campus, several campuses, or all campuses where it is offered.
Initial Application Filing Period: A period of time in which applications for admission are accepted by CSU campuses. Applications to impacted programs of study must be filed during this period.
Junior: Refers to the third year of study for a bachelorís degree. Students who have completed 60-89 semester units are considered juniors.
Lower-Division: Courses designed for the first two years or within the first 59 semester units of study toward a baccalaureate degree, often taken at community college and transferred to a university. Also refers to freshman and sophomore students.
Major: The subject area in which a student pursuing a college degree develops greatest depth of knowledge.
Masterís Degree: A degree beyond the bachelorís, also called a graduate degree. Master of Arts or Master of Science degrees are most common, but there are also professional masterís degrees, such as the Master of Fine Arts or the Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Program: A specified set of courses required to achieve a specific objective or degree, such as general education or major requirements.
Quarter: One type of term within an academic year, marking the beginning and end of classes. In the CSU, 6 campuses are on the quarter system. Each quarter is 10 weeks in length, and there are three quarters (fall, winter, spring) per academic year. Four CSU campuses also have a summer quarter.
Semester: One type of term within an academic year marking the beginning and end of classes. In the CSU, 16 of the campuses are on the traditional semester system. Each semester is usually about 16 weeks and there are two semesters (fall and spring) in an academic year. Additionally, CSU Stanislaus is on a modified semester system.
Senior: Refers to the final year of study for a baccalaureate degree. Students who have completed 90 or more semester units are considered seniors.
Sophomore: Refers to the second year of study for a bachelorís degree. Sophomore level is usually attained by completing 30-59 semester units.
Term: A specific period of the year during which classes are in session. Examples include fall term and spring term.
Transfer Units: Credit earned in courses that are transferable to the CSU or another college or university that a student plans to attend.
Undergraduate (undergrad): An enrolled student who has not completed a baccalaureate degree; a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior.
Unit: 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 three hours a week. One quarter-unit is equal to 2/3 of one semester unit.
Upper division: Courses designed for the third and fourth (junior and senior) years of study toward a bachelorís degree. These courses are not offered by community colleges, and they often require completion of prerequisite courses. Also refers to junior and senior students.
Vocational: Refers to courses and programs that pertain to an occupation or are job-oriented, providing specific skills for a trade. Many vocational units may not be transferable and applicable to CSU programs.
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