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Glossary of Terms for Applicants

Learn the meaning of terms commonly used in the UC San Diego admissions process. Be sure to see the Financial Aid Office's list of terms, too.

- A -

Academic load
  • Amount of coursework per quarter or semester. The average academic load is from 12 to 16 quarter units.
Academic year
  • 3 quarters (September to June): fall, winter, and spring quarters.
Achievement tests
  • Set of 1-hour examinations (multiple-choice questions) given in specific subjects (English composition, Spanish, history, etc.).
American College Test (ACT)
  • Aptitude test in English, mathematics, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.
Admission requirements
  • Minimum standards that a student must meet to be eligible to apply to a college or university.
Associate degree (A.A., A.S.)
  • 2-year degree earned at a community college.

- B -

Bachelor's degree (B.A., A.B., B.S.)
  • 4-year degree earned at a college or university.

- C -

California State Scholarship
  • State-funded scholarship based on grade-point average, SAT score, and financial need.
College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB)
  • Private company that administers college entrance examinations.
Course catalog (general catalog)
  • Issued by a college or university that describes courses, majors, admission requirements, regulations, etc.
Community college
  • 2-year college that offers the A.A. (or A.S.) degree and possible transfer to a 4-year college or university.
Counselor
  • Professional person who assists students with their academic, vocational, or personal concerns.
Cumulative record
  • Record of grades earned in all high school subjects taken in grades 9 through 12.
Curriculum
  • Specific courses leading to a degree or certificate; also refers to general course offerings of a college or university.

- E -

Elective
  • A course that does not fulfill the requirements of your major.

- F -

Final
  • Examination administered at the end of the session in which students are tested on information taught in a course during a quarter.
Freshman
  • Those who have not enrolled at an accredited college or university after graduating from high school; first-year college student.

- G -

General education requirements (also called "breadth requirements")
  • Specific courses required for the bachelor's degree.
Grade-point average (GPA)
  • An average of all letter grades in high-school subjects, except physical education and ROTC.
Grade point
  • A numerical value assigned to each college grade to compute your grade-point average (GPA): A = 4 grade points, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1.

- H -

Humanities courses
  • Courses concerned with human thought, languages, and relations, as distinguished from the sciences.

- L -

Lower-division courses
  • Academic courses studied during the first 2 years of a 4-year college program.

- M -

Major
  • The main subject that you choose to study for your degree.
Minor
  • A secondary subject that you may decide to study.

- P -

Prerequisites
  • Courses required before others can be taken.
Provost
  • Each college at UC San Diego has its own provost, who is the chief administrative officer of the college.
Provost's honor list
  • A list of honor students who have at least a 3.5 grade-point average.

- Q -

Quarter
  • A term of about 11 weeks; most students attend 3 quarters per year: fall, winter, and spring quarters. UC San Diego operates on the quarter system.

- R -

Registration
  • The process of enrolling in the university.
Residence hall or dormitory
  • A building where students live during the academic year. Generally the living quarters are arranged around a suite plan with students sharing a common living-study area.

- S -

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
  • An aptitude test in the verbal and mathematics areas as well as specific SAT II subject tests.
Schedule of classes
  • A publication that lists classes offered each quarter or semester and their times and locations.
Semester
  • A term of about 16 weeks; most students attend 2 semesters per year: fall and spring semesters.
Social sciences
  • Courses dealing with people and how they live (sociology, political science, anthropology, etc.).

- T -

Transcript
  • The cumulative academic record of a student required by a college or university for admission purposes.
Transfer student
  • One who has graduated from high school and enrolled in a regular session at a regionally accredited college.

- U -

Undergraduate
  • A college or university student who has not yet received a bachelor's degree.
Upper-division courses
  • Academic courses studied during the last 2 years of a 4-year college program.

- W -

Work-study program
  • A program that helps students to find work for pay (maximum 20 hours per week) on campus while attending college; most students who establish evidence of need may join the work-study program.