Academic Catalog

Glossary of College Terminology

Academic Load
The total number of credit hours taken in a term. Twelve credit hours is considered a full-time load.

Academic Advisor
A designated staff member who has received training to provide students with academic information that will direct them to the appropriate classes to achieve their educational goals and enhance their academic success.

Acceptance into a college after the student has filed a completed Student Information Form with the Admissions, Records and Registration Office and has been admitted according to admissions criteria. Students who have been admitted are eligible to register for courses.

The Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC) is a general education certificate that fulfills lower-division general education requirements for students planning to transfer to any Arizona public community college or university. Generally, the MCCCD AGEC transfers as a block without loss of credit. The AGEC-A and AGEC-B require a minimum of 35 credit hours, and the AGEC-S requires a minimum of 36 credit hours.

A graduate of a college or university. (Plural: alumni/alumnae)

Associate Degree
Degree awarded by community colleges after a student completes a specified number of course requirements and credit hours, generally a minimum of 60 semester credits. May be an Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Business (ABus), or Associate in Science (AS) designed primarily for transfer to complete a baccalaureate degree; an Associate in Applied Science (AAS), designed primarily to enhance workplace skills and knowledge; or an Associate in General Studies (AGS), designed to fulfill students’ goals of higher education.

An option for class registration in which the student pays to attend class but does not want to receive credit. Students sometimes choose to audit courses in which they do not wish to complete required assignments.

Bachelor’s Degree
A degree awarded by a four-year college or university. Generally requires completion of 120 semester credits. Also referred to as a baccalaureate degree (e.g., BA or BS).

Class Number
A unique, five-digit code used to identify each class section of each course offered. Class Numbers are listed in the Class Schedule.

Class Period
Time spent in class and/or lab each week. One period is equivalent to 50 minutes per week.

Class Schedule
An online college publication that lists all courses offered during a semester, including dates and times of class meetings, names of instructors, buildings and rooms, credit hours, and other important registration information.

Co-curricular Activities
Also known as extracurricular. Activities, clubs, or organizations students may participate in above and beyond their academic courses.

Also known as graduation. A ceremony during which colleges award certificates of completion and degrees to graduating students.

Continued Probation
A student on academic probation is placed on continued probation if they do not raise their cumulative grade point average (GPA) to the required minimum standard. Enrollment is limited to six (6) credit hours for a period of one semester.

Continuous Enrollment
The process of registering for and completing courses during consecutive semesters, excluding summer sessions. Determines catalog year for graduation.

Specified conditions, requirements, or courses that must be completed during the same semester as another course.

A person professionally trained in counseling who helps students with educational, career, or personal concerns as well as goal setting and decision making.

A specific subject studied within a limited period of time, such as a semester, and taught by a faculty member. Also called course offering or class.

Course Fee
A charge for services, supplies, and/or materials for a course, in addition to tuition and fees.

Course Number
A three-digit code that identifies a specific course and indicates its level and sequence (e.g., 101 in ENG101 First-Year Composition).

Course Prefix
A three-letter code that identifies the subject area of a course (e.g., ENG in ENG101 First-Year Composition indicating a course in English).

Course Title
The name of a specific course that indicates subject and content (e.g., First-Year Composition, title for English 101).

Credit Hour
The numerical unit of college credits earned for the satisfactory completion of a specific course. Also referred to as semester hours or units (e.g., 3 credit hours). It is expected that students will spend 2 to 3 hours, minimally, outside of the classroom/laboratory performing course related work such as readings, research, homework assignments, practica, studio work, and other academic work for every hour of instruction spent in the classroom/laboratory.

A planned sequence of courses for an academic or occupational goal. Also referred to as a program of study.

A group of faculty who teach classes in related subjects, such as accounting, management, and marketing in the Business and Computing Studies Division.

Drop/Add Period
A specified period of time at the beginning of a term when schedule changes (i.e., adding or dropping one or more classes) are allowed without a refund penalty. Courses dropped during the Drop/Add Period do not appear on students’ transcripts.

Non-required courses that students may select to complete their program of study.

Instructors, teachers. Counselors and librarians are also faculty.

Final Exams
Tests or exercises given at the end of a term that are often comprehensive; that is, they may include all material covered during the semester. The schedule of final exam dates and times for each term can be found by searching for final exam schedule at

Financial Aid
Financial assistance in the form of grants, scholarships, work study, and loans to assist students in paying for college. Sources are varied with funds coming from federal and state governments, colleges, private donors, and local agencies and organizations.

Student Financial Services
Also known as the Cashier’s Office where students may pay tuition and fees, course fees, and other fees owed the college.

Grade Point
The numerical value of a grade multiplied by the credit hours for a course (A=4 points; B=3 points; C=2 points; D=1 point). If, for example, a student earns an A in English 101 (3 credit hours), then the student earns 12 points: A=4 points x 3 (credit hours) = 12 points.

Grade Point Average
Generally called GPA, grade point average is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credit hours attempted. For example, 45 grade points divided by 15 credit hours earned = 3.0 GPA.

Learning Communities
Learning communities are two or more classes connected through content, ideas, and activities. Using a variety of learning methods, learning communities can be comprised of linked activities between courses, linked and clustered courses, and completely integrated single- or team-taught courses.

Lower Division
Normally freshman- and sophomore-level (100 and 200) courses offered by a college. Community colleges offer ONLY lower division courses. Four-year institutions also offer upper division courses, which are junior-level and senior-level (300 and 400) courses.

An area of concentrated study often for a specific degree or occupation, such as journalism, nursing, or aircraft maintenance.

New Student Orientation
A session during which new students are introduced to academic programs, facilities, and student support services provided by a college.

Official Absence
Absence from class approved by the Vice President of Student Affairs for students who are participants in an official college activity. Approved absence documentation must be presented by students to their instructors before the official absence. Students make arrangements to complete the work they will miss.

An option for class registration in which students choose to receive a grade of Pass or Fail in lieu of a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F). Students can earn credits towards graduation by passing these courses but the grades will not count in their GPAs. It is best to check with an advisor to make sure that Pass/Fail grades will transfer to another college or university.

Specified conditions, requirements, or classes that must be completed before enrolling in a class. For example, ENG102 First-Year Composition has a prerequisite of ENG101 First-Year Composition.

A warning that a student is not in good academic standing. May be accompanied by restricted credit hour enrollment.

Holidays and the periods of time between academic semesters when classes are not in session.

Actual enrollment of a student into specific courses after the student has been admitted to the college.

Required Course
A course that a student must complete to meet certain goals or to complete a certain curriculum.

Scholastic Suspension
Students on suspension from any accredited institution of higher education may appeal to the Admissions and Standards Committee or campus designee for permission to register. The student will be limited to twelve (12) credit hour unless approved by Admissions and Standards Committee.

Traditionally half an academic year, about 16 weeks in length. Fall semester begins in August and spring semester begins in January.

Service-Learning combines community service with academic instruction focusing on critical-thinking and problem-solving, values clarification, social and personal development, and civic responsibility. CGCC students have been performing meaningful service at community agencies to learn experientially during one-day events, class projects, and individual placements for over 10 years.

One or more pages of course requirements that instructors give to students on the first day of class. The syllabus may include detailed information about a course, such as an instructor’s grading system, attendance policies, and testing and assignment dates.

An official record of a student’s college coursework that is maintained by the college registrar. Courses taken, grades, GPA, and graduation information are included on a transcript.

Transfer Credit
Course credit that is accepted from or by another college or university.

Tuition and Fees
The cost per semester credit unit that students must pay for their college courses. Tuition and fees are determined by the Maricopa County Community College Governing Board.

Additional learning assistance provided by tutors to students in individual or group sessions. Tutoring is centralized in the Learning Center.

Officially dropping any or all courses during a semester.