Professor at Miami Dade
academics

Glossary of Terms

Let’s face it, every college has its own way of talking, a kind of specialized jargon that has developed over time. While we do our best not to use Miami Dadeisms, knowing some of the shorthand, acronyms and terminology may help you better understand your instructors and advisors, especially during your first year. Here is our best attempt to explain the meaning behind many of the words you will encounter during your first year at Miami Dade College.

  1. Studying at MDCA.A. (Associate in Arts) Degree
  2. Academic Year
  3. A.S. (Associate in Science) Degree
  4. Articulation Agreement
  5. Award Letter
  6. CLAS (College Level Academic Skills)
  7. CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
  8. College Prep Courses
  9. Co-Requisite
  10. Credit
  11. Degree Audit
  12. Drop
  13. Elective
  14. Full Time
  15. GPA (Grade Point Average)
  16. Grades
  17. Grade of “W”
  18. Grade of “I”
  19. Loans
  20. Major
  21. 100% Refund Date
  22. 150% Financial Aid Rule
  23. Part Time
  24. Prerequisite
  25. Program
  26. Registration
  27. Scholarship
  28. SOAP (Standards of Academic Progress)
  29. Term or Semester
  30. Transcript
  31. Validated Schedule
  32. Vocational Certificate Program
  33. Work Study
  • A.A. (Associate in Arts) Degree: A transfer degree program designed for students who are interested in continuing their education at a four-year college or university and earning a baccalaureate degree.
  • Academic Year: Beginning of the fall term to the end of the summer term.
  • A.S. (Associate in Science) Degree: A degree program designed for students who are seeking employment immediately after graduation. Some A.S. degrees, however, can be used to transfer to four-year institutions. Check with Academic Advisement for details. 
  • Articulation Agreement: An agreement specifying how courses transfer among academic institutions. In Florida, an articulation agreement with all state universities guarantees admission to any student with an A.A. degree.
  • Award Letter: Document issued by a college’s financial aid office listing all of the financial assistance offered to a student.
  • CLAS (College Level Academic Skills): A state-mandated requirement that measures attainment of language and mathematics skills expected of students completing their sophomore year in college. A student must meet CLAS requirements to earn the Associate in Arts or a baccalaureate degree from any Florida public institution.
  • CLEP (College Level Examination Program): Credit earned (for a particular class) through a proficiency test. Basically, these tests measure your knowledge in a particular subject area, like English or psychology, and can allow you to bypass specific undergraduate coursework.
  • College Prep Courses: Courses designed to improve skills in reading, math, and writing. They are required based on test scores and do not count toward graduation.
  • Co-Requisite: A course that must be taken simultaneously with another course.
  • Credit: A unit of work in a subject matter, generally equivalent to one hour of class a week throughout a 16-week term. Thus, a 3-credit class meets for three hours a week.
  • Degree Audit: A computerized document listing required courses for graduation based on the student’s declared major. The degree audit summarizes courses the student has taken to fulfill those requirements and provides course-sequencing information.
  • Drop: Withdrawing from a course after the first week of classes. Students must officially withdraw from the course by completing established procedures. See an academic advisor for more information. Withdrawal deadlines are published in the official college calendar. It is the responsibility of the student to adhere to these deadlines.
  • Elective: A college-level course not taken to fulfill a general education or program requirement.
  • Full Time: Students enrolled for 12 or more credit hours during fall, spring, or 12-week summer semesters; or for 6 or more credit hours for a six-week summer session.
  • GPA (Grade Point Average): The ratio of grade points earned to credits attempted.
  • Grades: A measurement of achievement in a class. Typical grades are “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” in college-level courses; College Prep courses receive “S” (Satisfactory), “P” (Making Progress) or “U” (Unsatisfactory).
  • Grade of “W”: Grade (representing “withdrawn”) assigned when a student officially withdraws from a course after the first week of the semester. This does not affect the GPA, but may affect academic standing and eligibility for financial aid. See your academic advisor for details.
  • Grade of “I”: Grade (representing “incomplete”) assigned when an instructor, based on valid and extenuating circumstances, allows the student to complete course requirements after the end of the current semester. If the student does not complete the requirements for the course by the end of the next major semester, the “I” grade will become an “F.” An “I”-grade contract is required.
  • Loans: Money awarded by a bank or lending institution to pay for education costs that must be paid back.
  • Major: Designation given to the complete group of courses necessary to fulfill the requirements for graduation in a specific field of study, such as business administration or engineering.
  • 100% Refund Date: The last day to drop and receive a refund; change courses without financial penalty; register, add a course, or change sections of a course without permission of instructor.
  • 150% Financial Aid Rule: If eligible, you may receive federal financial aid for up to 150 percent of the number of credits needed to graduate from your program of study. Most programs are 60 credits, so you could receive help for up to 90 credits. Financial aid also pays up to an additional 30 credits of College Prep or ESL/EAP courses. If you attempt more than 150 percent of the credits needed to complete any one program, you may not continue to receive financial aid.
  • Part Time: Students enrolled in less than 12 credit hours for fall and spring, less than 6 credit hours for a six-week summer session, or less than 12 credits in a 12-week summer session.
  • Prerequisite: An academic requirement that must be met before another course can be taken.
  • Program: A curriculum or group of courses leading to a degree or certificate in a specific field of study.
  • Registration: Process of enrolling for classes, which involves selection of courses by day and hour, and the payment of fees.
  • Scholarship: Money awarded to pay for your tuition.
  • SOAP (Standards of Academic Progress): A process that identifies and provides assistance to students who experience academic difficulty.
  • Term or Semester: A subdivision of the academic year; i.e., fall, spring, and summer terms. Fall and spring are approximately 16 weeks each. Summer terms are six weeks each. The combined summer term is 12 weeks.
  • Transcript: A student’s academic record.
  • Validated Schedule: A paid schedule.
  • Vocational Certificate Program: A certification program designed for students in need of marketable employment skills or individuals looking to enhance their current skills.
  • Work Study: On-campus, part-time employment for eligible students.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, or genetic information. Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for information.