Glossary of Terms

This glossary is provided to assist students in understanding academic jargon used in this catalog and handbook.

accreditation: certification from an outside agency that an educational institution has met specific academic standards and requirements.

associate degree: a degree (at least 60 credits) granted by community colleges. (Some four-year colleges and universities also offer the associate degree).

bachelor degree: a degree (at least 120 credits) granted by colleges and universities.

career programs: programs that are focused on preparing students for careers upon successful completion of the program.

concentration: a program with a set of four or more specific career courses used to replace general electives that is recognized on the student's diploma.

cost of education: the total cost of your education, including tuition and fees, room and board, books, transportation, and other miscellaneous living expenses.

course: organized subject matter in which instruction is offered within a given period of time and for which credit is usually given.

credit: the unit of measure used to record a student's course load. (One credit usually represents one hour of class time a week in a given subject.)

curriculum: a systematic group of courses or sequence of subjects required for graduation or certification in a major field of study.

dean: a major officer of the college who is responsible, under the president, for the administration and supervision of instructional activities, fiscal affairs, or student services.

double major: a program of study in which a student completes the requirements of two distinct programs.

elective: a course chosen by a student, as opposed to one required by the college or department.

financial need: the difference between your total cost of attendance and what you and your family are expected to pay. This is the figure that determines the amount of financial aid for which you may qualify.

full-time student: an undergraduate taking at least 12 credits a semester. In order to graduate in two or four years, a student should average 15 credits a semester.

grant: a sum of money awarded as financial aid that does not have to be repaid.

learning disability: a diagnosed neurological condition that impacts or interferes with an individual’s ability to store, process or produce information.  Learning disabilities can affect a student’s ability to read, write, speak, hear, spell, compute math, or reason; and may also affect attention, memory, concentration, social skills or emotional maturity.

lecture: a method of teaching by which the instructor gives an oral presentation of facts or principles, with the student usually responsible for taking notes.

loan: a sum of money that you borrow and must repay. Student loans are often part of a financial aid package.

major: the program of study in which a student chooses to specialize. Students are required to follow the curriculum in their major in order to meet graduation requirements.

matriculated: a student who is accepted by and enrolled in a college or university, and who is working toward a degree or certificate.

non-matriculated: a student who is accepted by and taking classes at the college, but who is not working toward a degree.

option: gearing electives of a career program to provide additional course work in a particular subject matter.


grade point average: a measure of average scholastic success in all subjects taken during the semester or accumulated over several semesters.

prerequisite: a course that a student is required to complete satisfactorily before enrolling in succeeding or advanced courses.

registrar: a college official responsible for maintaining student records, scheduling classes and examinations, and registering students.

scholarship: a form of financial aid that may be awarded based on academic or athletic achievement, or financial need. Scholarships usually do not have to be repaid.

syllabus: a document that is given to students the first day of class. It is a contract between the student and the faculty member and includes information regarding course assignments, course requirements and an outline of the topics to be covered in a course (or in a text).

track: gearing electives in the interdisciplinary studies or liberal arts programs to lead to another two- or four-year program.

transfer program: an education program offered by the community colleges specifically for students who plan to transfer and continue their studies at a four-year college or university.

Federal Work-Study Program: a federal financial aid program that offers students the opportunity to combine employment with college study. The employment may be an actual part of an academic program, as in an internship, or simply a way to earn money to pay for educational expenses.