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Common Academic Terms

Get definitions for terms you will encounter frequently as a UC San Diego student.

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Articulation is the process of determining UCSD course equivalents for transfer courses. We rely on the articulation process to evaluate ways in which courses taken at other institutions count toward your degree.

ASSIST website

ASSIST can help you identify the California community college courses that can be used to satisfy major requirements at UC San Diego.


The six undergraduate colleges are designed to provide the personalized attention of smaller liberal arts schools within the context of a large research university.

Colleges are distinguished by their general education themes, writing courses, and student life traditions rather than by choice of major.

Your college advisor, the expert on your general education and overall graduation requirements, is your first stop for academic questions.

Course prerequisite

Prerequisites are requirements that must be completed prior to enrolling in a given course. Not all courses have prerequisites, but many do. Some prerequisites may be met by taking placement tests. Most require successful completion of less advanced courses.

Course restriction

Courses may be limited to a specific program, major, or minor. A restriction may also be limited to class standing based on units earned (e.g., freshman or senior).

Degree audit

The Degree Audit lists degree requirements and measures progress toward completing them.

Your college academic advisor can assist you in interpreting the college and university areas of your degree audit. Your major advisor can assist you in interpreting the major-related portion of your degree audit. Both advisors can guide you in using your degree audit as a planning tool.

Department / program

Each academic department/ program is responsible for course planning, course content, and requirements for the major and minor degrees it offers. Qualified department/ program staff are available to answer questions and provide resources.

Discussion section

Many large lecture courses are linked with a number of smaller discussion sections. In most cases, you are required to attend one of the discussion sections in addition to the lectures. You may enroll online for a section in some courses; others require enrollment on the first day of class.


The Education Abroad Program (EAP) is a UC-sponsored study abroad program. EAP offers summer programs and academic-year programs that last from 5 weeks to 3 quarters. EAP courses are awarded UC credit and count toward your GPA calculation.


General Education requirements vary by college. Many transfer students will have fulfilled most or all of their GE requirements, depending upon the college. Students may review GE requirements on each individual college website.


Global Seminars: Five-week-long summer study-abroad experiences led by a UC San Diego professor.


Completion of the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) before transferring from a California community college may fulfill all or most lower-division general education requirements at Muir, Marshall, Sixth, and Warren colleges. You may need to take additional courses at Revelle and Roosevelt colleges.

Contact the transfer center at your community college and check the ASSIST website for details on IGETC course agreements.

Lower-division / upper-division

Lower-division courses are generally introductory and are numbered 1-99. They are designed for freshmen and sophomores.

Upper-division courses often have prerequisites and are numbered 100-199. They are designed for juniors and seniors.


The Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP) allows you to participate in programs sponsored by other universities and organizations to earn transfer credit at UC San Diego. Check out the OAP website for more information.


The Office of Academic Support & Instructional Services (OASIS) provides individual and group assistance to all registered UC San Diego undergraduates.


This form is used to request exceptions to academic procedures, policies, and requirements. The most common use of petitions is to request that transfer courses count toward specific major or general education requirements. You may be asked for course descriptions and syllabi whenever you make such requests.

PID (Personal Identification Number)

Your PID is your UC San Diego Student ID number, to be used for most login or identification purposes involving university business.


The Research Experience and Applied Learning (REAL) Portal is an online tool offering research, internship, international, service learning, entrepreneurial, leadership, and other co-curricular opportunities to help students build real-world skills by applying knowledge gained in the classroom.


A Teaching Assistant (TA), usually a graduate student, assumes varying responsibility for supporting a course professor; TAs may lead discussion sections, grade assignments or exams, and hold office hours.


TritonLink is the website for all current UC San Diego students. On the home page, you'll find campus news and announcements, plus quick links to tools, forms, email, and more.

My TritonLink is your personal student portal that connects you to your academic records, course enrollment, financial information, and much more.

Watch the tutorial videos for TritonLink and My TritonLink.

UC reciprocity

Transfer students from another University of California campus may be eligible to clear general education requirements through a reciprocity agreement between UC campuses.If you completed the lower-division general education requirements at another UC campus, you may be eligible for reciprocity at UC San Diego by submitting a letter of reciprocity from your original UC advising office.


The Virtual Advising Center is the online system that allows students and college advisors to discuss academic issues. This innovative system offers timely communication between students and advisors.

Wait list

You may opt to be placed on a wait list if you attempt to enroll in a class that is already full. As space becomes available, wait listed students are moved onto the class roster and notified via email.

Being on a wait list does not guarantee enrollment in a course. Check with the department offering the class and WebReg for updated information.


UCSD's web-based registration system, WebReg, can be accessed from the TritonLink website.

WebReg allows you to add, drop, and change courses online. Sign on using your student ID number (PID) and password.

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