Transfer Vocabulary

Articulation Agreements – Guides to course equivalency between PCC courses and those at many CSU, UC, and California independent colleges and universities.

Basic Skills Courses, Precollegiate – Courses numbered in the 400s, 300s, 200s or 100s designed as preparation for college-level work. 

IGETC or CSU Breadth Certification – The process in which four-year institutions recognize the general education courses taught at California Community Colleges as meeting particular general education (GE) requirements.

C-ID – The Course Identification Numbering System. C-ID is a supranumber that identifies a lower-division, transferable course commonly articulated between the California Community Colleges and universities (including California State Universities, Universities of California, as well as with many of California’s independent colleges and universities). The C-ID number means that any other course elsewhere, bearing the same C-ID number, will be accepted by the institution.

Corequisite – A course in which a student is required to enroll at the same time that they are enrolled in another course. In the corequisite course, the student acquires certain skills, concepts and/or information which are essential to success in the concurrent course.

Elective – A course which is not specifically required for a major, but which may be taken by choice for unit credit.

General Education (GE) Requirements – A specific group of courses taken outside of a student’s major to meet the need for broad knowledge of the world and to satisfy either PCC degree requirements or requirements for transfer to UC, CSU, or an independent institution.

Grade-Point Average (GPA) – The GPA is on a 4-point scale and is computed by dividing the total grade points earned by the number of units attempted. For example, if the number of grade points earned is 28 and the number of units attempted is 14, then the GPA would be 2.0.

High-Unit Majors – High-unit majors are those areas of study that place more emphasis on preparatory courses within the major rather than the completion of general education courses. Usually these are majors in the physical and life sciences and engineering. Examples of these majors include: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, mathematics, music, and many others.

Students who choose a high-unit major should place their primary focus on completion of courses in mathematics and the appropriate science courses. General education courses based on the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) should be completed as they can be fitted into one’s schedule. It is not necessary to complete all GE courses prior to transfer, but upon transfer it will be required that a student complete the general education requirements of the particular school where they have been accepted.  

Impacted Major or Program – An impacted major or program at a four-year college or university is one where more applications are received from students than the campus can enroll. As a result, sometimes those high-demand majors or programs may have additional admission or selection criteria. See an Academic Counselor for additional information.

Independent Institutions – Private colleges and universities such as USC or Art Center, as opposed to public institutions such as CSUs or UCs.

Prerequisite – A condition of enrollment, such as satisfactory completion of another course (defined as a grade of A, B, C, or “P” [Pass]) that must be met before a student can register for a course or educational program. By meeting the prerequisite, the student demonstrates readiness for that course or program.

Recommended Preparation – A recommended preparation statement in a course description advises a student to complete the identified course(s) prior to enrollment in another course or educational program, although it is not required.

TAG – Transfer Admission Guarantee agreement. These are an alternative to completing the normal transfer pattern. Various four-year institutions provide plans whereby a student agrees to complete a specific set of courses and a minimum grade point average with the provision that they will be accepted to a particular school upon successful completion of the plan. Information about TAGs are available in the Transfer Center and the Counseling Center.

Transferable Course – A course accepted for credit toward a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution.

  • CSU Transferable courses are baccalaureate level and will transfer for credit to all CSU campuses. Courses are designated in the catalog and schedule of classes as Transfer Credit: CSU. The units may also count toward the AS, AA, and AD-T degrees at PCC. Currently, all PCC courses numbered 001-099 are CSU transferable. 
  • UC Transferable courses are baccalaureate level and will transfer for credit to all UC and CSU campuses. Courses are designated in the catalog and schedule of classes as Transfer Credit: CSU;UC. The units may also count toward the AS, AA, and AD-T degrees at PCC. Currently, many PCC courses numbered 001-099 are UC transferable. The definitive list can be found on

Transcript – The official historical record of a student’s high school or college work.

UC Credit Limitation – UC limits credit for some transferable courses. Students contemplating transfer to a UC campus should consult with an Academic Counselor, and/or view PCC’s list of UC transferable courses at

UC Transfer Pathways – If preparing to apply to as many UC campuses as possible for a single major, the UC Transfer Pathways will help identify appropriate coursework for the 20 most popular UC majors. These “paths” summarize the requirements and major preparation coursework at the UC for similar majors, and highlight the common requirements shared by a majority of UC campuses. The UC Transfer Pathways provide information about Transfer Admission Eligibility, general education, general requirements for a UC degree, and becoming a competitive applicant.

Undergraduate, Lower-Division – Up to 59 semester units towards completing general education requirements and introductory courses for an academic major. Lower-division courses are usually taken during the first and second years of study at a university.

Undergraduate, Upper-Division – 60 or more semester units with concentration in an academic major. Upper-division courses are usually taken during the third and fourth years of study at a university.

Unit – The amount of college credit given for a course based upon the number of hours the course meets weekly. PCC follows a semester system, where one (1) unit represents one hour per week of actual class time in a lecture or discussion section. Some other institutions may follow a quarter system where the calculation varies. Outside of California, a unit is commonly referred to as a credit hour.