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Glossary of Terms

This glossary contains terms found in Commission publications, on this website, and in the education community. Several subsets of this glossary are available; click on the description in the menu to view them.

Definitions of Student Levels

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Attrition

Students that leave or dropout prior to completion of their education program.

Concurrent High School

Includes students who are taking college classes while still enrolled in their K-12 school.

First Professional

Refers to students who are enrolled in programs leading toward a first-professional degree in the fields of chiropractic, dentistry, law, medicine, optometry, osteopathy, pharmacy, podiatry, theology, and veterinary medicine.

Freshman

Refers to a first-year undergraduate student. At the California State University, freshman refer to students who have completed fewer than 30 semester or 45 quarter hours. At the University of California, freshmen refer to students who have completed between 0 and 44.9 quarter units (0 to 29.9 semester units).

Further Professional

Includes all students who are enrolled in a "professional degree" program, and are not categorized as "first professional".

Graduate

A graduate is a student who has completed the requirements for a bachelorís degree and who is enrolled in a masterís or higher degree program in a postsecondary institution.

Graduate I

Includes all students who hold a bachelor's degree or the equivalent (or first professional degree) and (a) are enrolled in a doctoral degree program, but have not earned a master's degree and have fewer than the equivalent number of credits normally required for a master's degree, or (b) are enrolled in a special, unclassified, visitor, or non-degree seeking status, or (c) are enrolled in an educational specialist certificate, degree, or coordinate intermediate level degree program, whether or not they possess an earned master's degree.

Graduate II

Includes all students who are enrolled in a doctoral degree program (except "first professional" and "further professional") except those who are classified as Graduate I.

Intern

A student who is taking supervised professional training designed to allow students to apply previously acquired skills and knowledge to practical situations. Internships can be done as part of a course, during vacation or after graduation.

Junior

At the California State University, student level junior refers to students who have completed 60 to fewer than 90 semester or 90 to fewer than 135 quarter credit hours. At the University of California, junior refers to students who have completed at least 90 but not more than 134.9 quarter units (60-89.9 semester units).

Limited Student

At the University of California, Limited refers to upper division students with bachelor's degrees who are not candidates for an advanced degree or those without bachelor's degrees who have completed a substantial amount of college work and who, by reason of special attainments, may be prepared to under certain courses in the university toward a definite and limited objective. At the California State University, it refers to a student taking 6.0 or fewer units; a designation established for the purpose of assigning students to a particular fee category.

Lower Division

Courses designed for the first two years or within the first 59 semester units of study toward a baccalaureate degree, often taken at community college and transferred to a university. Also refers to freshman and sophomore students.

Masters

Includes students who are enrolled in a master's degree program.

Post-Baccalaureate

At the California State University, refers to a student holds a baccalaureate or its equivalent and is not enrolled in a graduate degree program. A student pursuing a second baccalaureate is categorized as a postbaccalaureate student. At the University of California, it refers to student who holds a baccalaureate degree whose sole objective is a teacher education credential.

Resident

A person who resides in the state in which a college is located. Such persons are eligible for in-state or resident charges at publicly supported colleges and universities in that state. In California, each of the public postsecondary education systems have their own residency requirements for admission.

Senior

Refers to students who have completed 90 or more semester or 135 or more quarter credit hours.

Sophomore

At the California State University, student level sophomore refers to students who have completed 30 to fewer than 60 semester or 45 to fewer than 90 quarter credit hours. At the University of California, sophomore refers to students who have completed at least 45 but not more than 89.9 quarter units (30-59.9 semester units).

Special Student

At the University of California, special student refers to lower division students of mature years who have not had the opportunity to complete a satisfactory high school program, who have not completed a substantial amount of college work, and who, by reason of special attainments, may be prepared to undertake courses in the university toward a definite and limited objective.

Student Level

An indication of a student's level of progress toward a degree, diploma, or certificate, as defined by the institution. (Data Element Dictionary) Student levels that appear in the Commission's data include:
  • Concurrent High School
  • Lower Division
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Special Student
  • Upper Division
  • Junior
  • Senior
  • Limited Student
  • Degree-Seeking Undergraduate
  • Unclassified Undergraduate
  • Undergraduate
  • Post-Baccalaureate
  • Teaching Credential Student
  • Masters
  • Graduate I
  • Graduate II
  • Graduate Ia (Degree-Seeking)
  • Graduate
  • First Professional
  • Further Professional
  • Intern
  • Resident
  • Unknown Student Level
  • AA/AS Recipient Returning to College
  • BA/BS Recipient Returning to College

Teaching Credential Student

Refers to students who are currently enrolled in the Teacher Credential program, planning to receive a single or multiple teaching credential at the end of the program.

Unclassified Undergraduates

Refers to students who are currently enrolled at California Community Colleges and the student academic level is unclassified.

Undergraduate

A student enrolled in the first two years of a 4 or 5 year baccalaureate degree program, in an associate's degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate who is a degree-seeking student and has not earned a first bachelorís degree at a college or university.

Upper Division

Courses designed for the third and fourth (junior and senior) years of study toward a bachelor's degree. These courses are not offered by community colleges, and they often require completion of pre-requisite courses ("major preparation" courses). This term also refers to junior and senior students in baccalaureate degree granting institutions.

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