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Transfer Terminology


Advanced Placement

Courses and exams that students can take while still in high school to receive college credit.  Acceptance of credit is determined by the college or university.


Application Fee Waiver

The fee waiver provides freedom from payment of the admission application fee, for those students with demonstrated financial hardship.


Application Update (AU)

Online updates to records and personal data after submitting a university application. Required by all UC campuses, with some variation in procedures.


Articulation Agreement

A written agreement that lists courses at one college that are equivalent (or acceptable in lieu of) courses at another college.



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 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.

The Associate Degree for Transfer - AA-T or AS-T - is a new type of degree which can provide numerous benefits to students planning to transfer to a Cal State University campus. For more info on these degrees, visit the SCC AA-T/AS-T web page.


Bachelor’s or Baccalaureate Degree 

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


California Articulation Number System (CAN)

A system that identifies many transferable, lower division, major preparation courses commonly taught on California college and university campuses.


California State University (CSU) General Education Breadth (aka: Plan B)

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 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 general education courses to satisfy campus G.E. requirements. (See Certification)

Certification (General Education)

Certification confirms completion of the entire pattern of general education for California State Colleges and Universities (either the CSU General Education Breadth requirements or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) or completion of the pattern for the University of California (the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum).  Students must request that the Admissions Office at their community college indicate completion on their transcripts.



 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.  There are usually fulfilled after completion of a bachelor’s degree, but may also be completed at some institutions while pursuing the degree.


Credit/No Credit 

A form of grading whereby a student receives a grade of CR or NC instead of an A, B, C, D, or F. A CR is assigned for class work the equivalent of a grade of C or above. A grade of CR may not be recognized by some universities or programs.


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.


Doctorate Degree

(Usually a Ph.D.​) Awarded upon the completion of a prescribed program beyond the master’s degree level.


Double Counting

In select cases, a course may be counted to fulfill a requirement for both general education and a major or minor.


Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

A program designed to provide information regarding admission, financial aid and supportive services to current and/or prospective students who may have economic, educational or environment disadvantages.  “Special Admission” considerations may also be provided.



Courses which are not required for the major or general education but which are acceptable for credit.


Enrollment Confirmation (aka: Intent to Register)

Most transfer students apply to more than one four-year college or university. Once letters of acceptance have been issued, these institutions generally require written confirmation that the student is planning to attend that specific school. Many also require a deposit payment.

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


General Education Certification – see Certification


General Education Requirements

 A group of courses, in varied areas of the arts and sciences, designated by a college as one of the requirements for a degree.  Also known as breadth requirements.


Grade Point Average – (GPA) The indication of the overall level of academic achievement.  It is an important measure used in making decisions about probation and disqualification, eligibility for graduation, and transfer to four-year institutions.  The grade point average is derived from the following unit system:

                        A – 4 grade points per unit

                        B – 3 grade points per unit

                        C – 2 grade points per unit

                        D – 1 grade point per unit

                        F – 0 grade points per unit

The GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points received by the number of units attempted. There are lots of easy GPA calculators on the web, such as this one from SFSU.


Graduation Petition

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


High-Unit Major

Bachelor’s degree programs require a minimum of 120 units of college course work, Select majors such as some engineering disciplines, some sciences, or Theater Arts may require upwards of 128 units at some schools. As such, students in some of these programs may qualify for exemptions from certain general education requirements.


Honors Program

A scholar program designed to offer honors sections of transferable general education courses.  These seminar type classes are characterized by close interaction with Honors Program faculty, small size, and special projects and activities.  The major benefits for members of the program include:

  • Honors transfer agreements with many four-year institutions that offer limited “priority admission” and some instances of guaranteed admission.
  • Recognition as a President’s Scholar (for those students who qualify).
  • Recommendation by the Faculty Officer of the Honors Program.
  • Library privileges at some of the transfer institutions.
  • Scholarship eligibility.


I.G.E.T.C. (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum. aka: Plan C)

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. (See also “Certification”)


Impacted Major/Campus

When the number of applications received is expected to be larger than the number of spaces available.  Additional criteria such as higher GPA minimums or additional major preparation courses may then be considered in making an admission decision, and students must apply during a specified time period.


Independent College/University

Also known as private universities, these are free from direct financial control by the state. In California there are more than 70 accredited independent colleges and universities, and thousands of others exist throughout the nation.


Intent to Registersee Enrollment Confirmation


Liberal Arts

Broad-based programs/courses in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Completion of the CSU general education breadth requirements qualifies SCC students for an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts.


Lower Division

Courses at the freshman or sophomore level of college, commonly designated with 100-200 course numbers.  Community colleges offer lower division courses.


Lower Division Major Preparation

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


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 finalized. For more information, contact your community college counselor or Transfer Center. 



Planned series of courses in one particular field designed to develop special skills or expertise.


Master’s Degree

Awarded upon the completion of a prescribed program beyond the bachelor’s degree level, typically 35-50 additional units. This may be a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS) degree, depending on the student’s major.



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

Plan A/B/C

Refers to the General Education plans available for the different goals a student may have. Plan A describes the GE courses needed for an Associate’s degree. Plan B covers the GE courses needed for transfer to a California State University (CSU) campus. Plan C details the GE courses required to transfer to a University of California (UC) campus. Plans A, B, and C cover general education requirements only, and do not include specific major requirements.



Education instruction beyond high school.



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



Requirement that must be met before enrolling in a particular course, major, or program.


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 will 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.


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.


Residence Requirements

States that a certain number of units must be taken on the campus from which the students 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.


Rolling Admissions

An admission decision given by the college as soon as possible after an application is completed.  No notification deadline is specified.


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.


Subject Credit

When completing a course after the max units allowable for transfer (70 units), a student can earn credit for completion of the specific subject, yet receive no additional units or credits.

Teaching Credential

A basic multiple- or single-subject teaching certification obtained upon completion of a bachelor’s degree and prescribed professional education requirements in four or more years of college.



A list of all courses attempted 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.



Changing from one college to another after meeting the requirements for admission to the second institution.


Transfer Agreement Program

A program between some four-year universities and a community college that offers transfer students priority consideration or guaranteed admission if certain academic criteria are met.


Transfer Student

A student who has attended another college for any period, which may be defined differently by different colleges.



A student enrolled in the years of college study prior to receiving a bachelor’s degree.



The measure of college credit given a course, usually on the basis of one unit for each lecture hour per week or for every two to three laboratory hours per week.


University of California (UC) Transferable Course Agreement (TCA)

Not all 100 level courses transfer to a UC campus.   Therefore, each year community colleges publish a list of courses transferable to all UC campuses. Students are advised to follow a current copy of the TCA.


Upper Division

The junior and senior years of college or university study, commonly designated with a 300-400 course number.