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Academic Terms and Definitions


  • Academic and Career Pathways (ACPs). Collections of majors with related courses that fit within a career area. ACPs help students narrow down their area of focus and begin developing an educational plan that leads to degree or certificate completion or transfer. (See Degree and Certificate Programs.)
  • Academic Map. A term-by-term suggested sequence of courses for obtaining a certificate or degree or for preparing to transfer in a major/program. Academic maps are available under the Academic and Career Pathways on the college website. (See Degree and Certificate Programs.)
  • Academic Renewal. A process through which students can petition to exclude low grades from their MiraCosta College grade point average. The grades must be from classes completed at least two years prior; a maximum of 30 units may be excluded. Petition forms are available at the Admissions and Records Office. (See Academic Renewal under Academic Standards & Policies.)
  • Advisory. Recommended preparation that a student is advised, but not required, to meet before or in conjunction with enrollment in a course or educational program. Students have the right to take a course without meeting the advisory and are encouraged to do so if they feel that their education, work experience, or other circumstances have prepared them.
  • Application for Admission. This form must be completed before a new student is allowed to register for classes. Returning students who have missed one semester (excluding summer intersession) must submit a new application. The application form is available from the Admissions & Records Office and website.
  • Area of Study. An academic discipline or subject.
  • Articulation Agreements. A list of courses offered at MiraCosta College that are acceptable at transfer universities as equivalent in content (or as acceptable substitutes) to those courses offered by the universities.
  • Assessment. Testing to meet course prerequisites and/or to determine proper placement in courses.
  • ASSIST. The official transfer and articulation system for California’s public colleges and universities. The website contains all articulation agreements between California community colleges and University of California and California State University campuses. (See
  • Associate Degree (AA, AS, AA-T, AS-T). A degree awarded upon completion of lower-division coursework totaling not fewer than 60 semester units in the major, general education, and electives. (See Associate Degrees.) 
  • Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT). A degree designed to provide a clear pathway to a California State University (CSU) major and baccalaureate degree. It requires completion of lower-division coursework totaling not fewer than 60 semester units in the major, general education, and electives. California community college students who are awarded an ADT are guaranteed priority admission with junior status to a participating CSU campus and given priority admission to their local CSU campus. (See Associate Degrees.) 


  • Bachelor's or Baccalaureate Degree (BA, BS). A degree received upon completion of coursework totaling a minimum of 120 semester units. These units include lower- and upper-division major and general education courses as well as electives.


  • Catalog. A publication that describes the college's academic programs, courses, student services, requirements, policies, and procedures. 
  • Catalog Rights. Rights that protect students from being held responsible for changes made to their academic programs in the years that follow their initial enrollment. These rights are established when a student first takes classes at MiraCosta College and are maintained through continuous enrollment at the college (see Continuous Enrollment). The catalog used to determine graduation eligibility is the catalog operating at the time the student began continuous enrollment at MiraCosta unless the student's petition requests a different catalog.
  • C-ID. A common number assigned to comparable courses within the California community college system. When a C-ID number is listed in the catalog or schedule at the end of a MiraCosta course description, students can be assured that it will be accepted in lieu of a course bearing the same C-ID designation at another community college. The C-ID designator means the course is comparable in content and scope to a similar course offered by participating California community colleges. (See C-ID Courses.)
  • Certificate. Awarded upon completion of coursework leading to proficiency or achievement, usually in a vocation or occupation.
  • Class Schedule. A listing of classes to be offered during a specific semester (fall, spring, summer). The schedule also contains an online registration schedule, testing dates and times, and general information of interest to new and continuing students.
  • Committee on Exceptions. A process through which students can petition to deviate from the college's policies and procedures. Petition forms are available in the Admissions and Records Offices.
  • Community Services Classes. Classes or workshops that are fee-based, noncredit enrichment courses. Neither credit nor grades are given, and no records are kept. (See Community Education & Workforce Development.)
  • Continuing Education (Tuition-Free Noncredit). Tuition-free courses offered as part of the Adult High School and other authorized categories of noncredit instruction. (See Noncredit Courses.)
  • Continuous Enrollment. To be considered continuously enrolled, a student must have received a letter grade (including "W") for each semester from the semester of initial enrollment to the semester when all degree and/or certificate requirements are completed. A one-semester leave does not negate a student's continuing status.
  • Corequisite. A course that a student is required to take during the same semester or term with another course. Corequisites are enforced through the registration process.


  • Distance Education (DE). Education that uses one or more technologies (such as the Internet) to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and instructor either synchronously (at specific days/times) or asynchronously (not at specific days/times).


  • Educational Plan. A suggested pathway of courses for students based on their major, transfer goals, or other objectives.
  • Electives. Courses students choose, allowing them to study topics of personal interest. Electives, when added to a program's major and general education requirements, make up the total number of units needed to complete a degree program.
  • EOPS (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services). Provides outreach and special assistance to students from culturally, educationally, or financially disadvantaged backgrounds. (See EOPS.)


  • Final Examinations. Tests given on fixed days at set times at the end of each course, according to the schedule published in the class schedule.
  • Financial Aid Program. Designed to provide grant, work, and/or loan assistance to students who are enrolled at least half-time and who meet income guidelines. (See Financial Aid.)
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Application required for federal financial aid eligibility determination. The form is available in the Financial Aid Office or electronically at The FAFSA can be used at community colleges and four-year institutions. A new application is required each academic year.
  • Full-Time Student. One who takes classes equaling 12 or more units per semester.


  • General Education (GE). Courses designed to help students achieve a working knowledge of core subjects that are organized by discipline areas, such as English composition, mathematics, and social and behavioral sciences. (See General Education for links to MiraCosta's three general education plans.)
  • Grade Points. Points per unit given for academic grades.
    • A = 4 points
    • B = 3 points
    • C = 2 points
    • D = 1 point
    • F = 0 points
  • GPA. Grade point average; determined by dividing total grade points by total graded units attempted.


  • Half-Time and Three-Quarter Time Student. One who takes classes equaling 6–8.5 units per semester is considered half-time; 9–11.5 units is three-quarter time.
  • Honors Program. An academic program offering the possibility of graduating with honors and priority or guaranteed admission to certain competitive four-year colleges and universities. (See Honors Program.)
  • Hybrid Course. A course that is taught partially on a MiraCosta campus and partially online.
  • HyFlex Course. A course that is taught simultaneously onground and virtually through Zoom. 


  • IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum). A general education program that California community college transfer students can use to fulfill all lower-division G.E. requirements at any CSU or UC campus (except Revelle and Roosevelt colleges at UCSD). (See Plan C.)


  • Late-Start Classes. Classes that begin later in the semester and compress the time required so students finish at the end of the regular semester.


  • Major. A specialized area of study that leads to a degree or certificate.
  • Major Electives. Courses students choose from a group of courses that are directly related to their major. Major electives, when added to a degree or certificate program's core requirements, help make up the total number of units needed to complete the degree or certificate program.
  • Matriculation. An application, assessment, orientation, and advisement process for new students. (See Matriculation.)
  • Medal of Academic Merit. The college's highest academic honor awarded annually to recognize selected students' academic achievements. Faculty members nominate the recipients. (See Academic Awards.)


  • Non-Degree Applicable Courses. Includes college-preparatory courses in basic skills and counseling (numbered 0 to 49) as well as specialized or advanced courses (numbered 900 and above).
  • Non-Resident Fee. The law requiring that out-of-state students pay extra tuition.


  • Online Class. A class that is offered entirely via the Internet. Many online classes are offered each semester, and they are identified in an online schedule within each semester's class schedule.


  • Part-Time Student. One who takes classes equaling fewer than 12 units per semester.
  • Prerequisite. A requirement students must satisfy prior to enrolling in a particular course or educational program. Prerequisites are enforced through the registration process.
  • President's List. An honor designed to recognize students who achieve at high levels during a given semester. (See Academic Awards.)
  • President's Permanent Honor Roll. An honor designed to recognize students who qualify for placement on the President's List at least three semesters. (See Academic Awards.)
  • Probation. A warning status that scholastic standards are not being met. (See Academic Progress, Probation & Probation Appeal Process under Academic Standards & Policies.)


  • Registration. Signing up for specific classes and paying fees.


  • SAS (Student Accessibility Services). Assists students who seek academic accommodations due to a documented disability. (See SAS.)
  • Semester. A 16-week period of coursework offered fall and spring.
  • Sophomore. A student who has completed at least 30 but fewer than 60 degree-applicable units of college credit.
  • Student Learning Outcome. Student learning outcomes identify the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that students will be able to demonstrate as a result of their engagement in a particular course, program, or collegiate experience.
  • SURF. MiraCosta’s online registration and student center. 
  • Syllabus. An instructor-prepared and distributed statement of a course's objectives, expected student learning outcomes, attendance requirements, grading practices, required reading, due dates for assignments, and schedule of  examinations.


  • TAG (Transfer Admission Guarantee). TAG programs guarantee qualified MiraCosta students admission to most University of California campuses. (See UC Transfer.)
  • Transcript (of Record). An official copy of the record of classes attempted/completed by a student.
  • Tutor. A person recommended by faculty as knowledgeable in specified subjects who is available free of charge through The Learning Centers to work with an enrolled student in need of help with coursework.


  • Units Attempted. Credit units (see Unit of Credit) in which the student was enrolled.
  • Unit of Credit. A credit hour of college work involving approximately one-to-three hours per week of lecture, activity, or laboratory with a credentialed instructor for a semester. Students are expected to spend two hours outside of class in preparation for each hour of lecture. Less outside preparation time is expected for laboratory courses. One unit of credit is thus understood to represent at least three hours of the student's time each week for a semester.
  • Unit Limitations. A normal study load per semester is 15 units. Students may not register for more than 18 units in a regular semester or 9 units in summer intersession without approval from a MiraCosta counselor.


  • Wait List. A list of students waiting to register for a closed class.
  • Work Experience. A program that combines classroom studies with on-the-job experience. (See Work Experience Education.)

Campus Locations

MiraCosta Community Learning Center

1831 Mission Avenue
Oceanside, CA 92058
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MiraCosta Oceanside Campus Building

1 Barnard Drive
Oceanside, CA 92056
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MiraCosta San Elijo Campus

3333 Manchester Avenue
Cardiff, CA 92007
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MiraCosta Technology Career Institute Building

2075 Las Palmas Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92011
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