Glossary of Academic Terms


Academic Advising

Process to review and assess student progress and future plans regarding programs and courses of study at HCC or intentions to transfer. Usually based on current transcript, high school grades, assessment scores, interview and previous college study. Advising takes place all year, not just before graduation.

Academic Calendar

A calendar of events, due dates and deadlines pertaining to instruction, registration, examinations and holidays for each academic year. Available on the HCC website.

Academic Renewal

Process of having up to 16 college level credits of D or F grades designated as non-applicable on one’s permanent record. The grades must have been received in courses five or more years prior to the request. Additionally, students must complete a minimum of 12 college level credits with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA since the last semester for which the renewal is requested.

Academic Restriction

An academic status which limits a student to no more than seven credits in a regular semester or in a summer session, whenever a minimum grade average has not been achieved. Advisor approval is required before registering for any course.

Academic Skills Assessments

Assessments in reading, English, and math, which determine initial placement in entry level classes.

Academic Suspension

Suspension (for one semester – fall or spring) of students on academic restriction who fail to achieve a minimum grade point average. Approval is required before re-enrolling.

Academic Warning

Academic status for students who have completed from 0.5 to 6.5 credits at less than a 1.4 GPA. Advisor approval is required before registering for any course.

Add (a course)

Addition of a course to student schedule. A currently enrolled student may add a course at any time before the second meeting of a spring and fall 15-week course, before the first meeting of a special session course (Term 1, Term 2, winter or summer sessions), and up to the first day of the fall and spring semesters or summer session for online courses.


Member of the College staff trained to assist students with academic decisions. Academic advisors or faculty advisors provide academic advice.

Articulation Agreement

An official agreement between a high school, a community college, and/or a four-year institution which stipulates the transferability of specific courses and/or degrees.

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A computerized information program developed by the University System of Maryland through which students can check on the transferability of an HCC course at a Maryland Public Institution of Higher Education, see recommended transfer programs for a major, and compare how their transcripts will be evaluated by other colleges.

Associate Degree

A degree consisting of at least 60 credits which includes General Education requirements, major courses and electives. HCC awards the following degrees: Associate of Arts, Associate of Sciences, Associate of Applied Sciences, and Associate of Arts in Teaching.


To register for and attend a course without receiving credit. Regular class attendance is expected, and normal tuition and fees apply. A symbol of K will appear on the student’s transcript instead of a grade.

Baccalaureate/Bachelor’s Degree

An academic degree conferred by a college or university upon a person who has successfully completed all required courses, usually a program of study consisting of at least 120 credits.

Canceled Course

A course which will not be offered during the semester/term after being listed in the Schedule of Classes.


Comprehensive Advising and Program Planning, a web-based degree audit system that allows students to determine their progress towards graduation, including course requirements. This online system is available through OwlNet.


A series of courses in a career area designed to teach specific skills.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs offer training in skills that are specific to an occupation; they are available in several occupational fields. Certificates can be completed in six months to two years and include from 12 to 42 credits of course work.

Closed Course

A course that has the maximum number of students enrolled.


The May graduation ceremony at which degrees or certificates are conferred for the academic year.

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Compressed Courses

Compressed courses are offered during a shorter period of time than a traditional 15-week fall and spring semester. These courses are designed for students who want to take courses for periods of time between approximately 3 to 13 weeks. These courses offer the same content and clock hours as full 15-week semester courses, but the term of instruction is compressed and is offered within a traditional semester and during the winter and summer sessions.


The discipline or subject area in which the student chooses to focus his/her academic work in the General Studies degree.


A course which must be completed before or at the same time as another course.

Course Fees

The amount charged to cover special course costs, including laboratory, special equipment and related materials.

Course Reference Number (CRN)

Numeric designation for a section of a particular course.


A unit of measure used by colleges to count and record coursework completed by a student. Each credit is a unit of time, approximately 750 minutes.

Credit Hour Definition (USDE)

An amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement. For a 15 week semester: Each credit hour represents one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction per week and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work per week.

Curriculum (also called Program of Study)

A series of courses in a particular field of study fulfilling requirements for a certificate or degree.

Curriculum Check-Off Sheet

An advising aid which enables a student to keep track of courses completed and those still needed to be completed in a program of study.

Dean’s List

A list published at the end of the fall and spring semesters of students whose fall or spring semester grade point averages (not including courses with 0 as the first digit) are 3.5 to 3.75.

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Degree Requirements

The courses a student must complete to receive a degree.

Diversity Course

An approved 3-credit course which fulfills the College’s Diversity Graduation requirement for the Associate Degree.

Drop (a course)

Officially dropping from a class before the deadline published in the Schedule of Classes. A dropped course will not appear on the student’s transcripts.

Faculty Advisor

Faculty members who help students with specific class information, job market trends and career options within the major.


A student who has successfully completed 27.5 or fewer credits applicable to a degree.

Full-Time Student

A student enrolled in 12 or more credits during a semester.

Gainful Employment

Federal regulations require institutions to report gainful employment facts to students enrolled in educational certificate programs.

General Education Elective

A course selected from the approved General Education core ([GB] [GE] [GH] [GI] [GL] [GM] and [GS]).

General Elective

Any course at the 100 level or above.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The measure of a student’s academic achievement that is calculated each semester and cumulatively. GPA is determined by multiplying the number of credit hours in each course successfully completed by the number of points corresponding to the final grade for the course. The total is then divided by the number of credit GPA hours completed. A GPA calculator is available on the HCC website.

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Honors Course

Designated course that provides enriched learning, greater depth of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of material. Students must apply to the Honors Program to be eligible to register for these courses.

Hybrid Course

Course that combines face-to-face classroom instruction with computer-based, independent, or collaborative learning activites.

Laboratory Science

A science course with a laboratory experience which fulfills degree requirements.

Late Fee

A charge to students who register once the semester, term or session has begun and for other late submissions transactions determined by the College.

Linked Courses (Learning Community)

Two different courses which must be taken during the same semester. These courses allow students to get to know their peers and participate in collaborative learning projects.


Individuals who are not registered for any classes by the first day of the semester, term, or session. These students may register up to the start time of any class.

Online Course

Course taught through the Internet. Online students should be independent learners, motivated and self-disciplined, and have necessary technical computer skills.


The College’s web portal allows students to access their email account; receive college announcements and news; and conduct college business, such as registering for classes, requesting transcripts, and making payments. 

Part-Time Student

A student registered for less than 12 credits in any given semester.

Physical Education/Physical Education Fitness

There is a two-credit physical education requirement for all students for graduation from all degree programs. At least one credit of the two-credit physical education requirement must be a physical education fitness course.

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Representing the work of another as one’s own.


A course which must be completed before enrolling in a more advanced course.

President’s List

A list published at the end of the fall and spring semesters of students whose grade point averages are 3.76 or higher.

Program Goals

The specific knowledge, skills, or abilities that students are expected to achieve through the academic program.


The process by which students officially enroll in their courses. This includes the assessment and collection of tuition and fees.

Reverse Transfer

The process where academic credits for course work completed at a 4-year institution are transferred back to Harford Community College to satisfy associate degree requirements.

Schedule Change

Change to a student’s class schedule caused by the student or the College. This change may be a course add or drop, or a change in class meeting time. Schedule adjustments must be processed in the Office of Registration and Records.


A period of 15 weeks of instruction offered during fall or spring.


A student who has successfully completed a minimum of 28 credit hours applicable to a degree.


Division of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

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Technical Standards

Technical standards are non-academic competencies such as interpersonal skills, emotional and physical abilities, and personal and professional requirements that a student must demonstrate for admission to or progression in certificate or degree programs.


A shortened period of instruction, which is shorter than a full semester; usually 5, 7, 8, or 10 weeks.

TF Grade

Used to code an F grade when transferred credit is used to satisfy the course requirement. The F grade no longer affects the student’s GPA.


Short term, skill specific applications usually associated with job or career assignments.


A copy of a student’s academic history. An official transcript must be in a sealed envelope and must bear the institution’s seal, date and an appropriate signature. A transcript not meeting these requirements is considered unofficial and is not used as part of a student’s permanent record.

Transitional Studies Courses

Courses required for students who demonstrate on the Academic Skills Assessment the need to improve in a basic skill. The basic skills include reading, writing, computer skills, and mathematics. These courses do not bear college credit, but count toward full-time student status and financial aid eligibility. Transitional studies courses allow students the opportunity to attain the basic skills and attitudes needed to perform successfully in college-level courses.


The amount of money charged for each credit for which a student registers. Tuition is established by the College’s Board of Trustees.

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Wait List

The process by which a student is placed on a wait list for a course section that is full. Should an opening occur, Registration and Records notifies the student through HCC email to register for the course.


To officially withdraw from a course or courses after the drop deadline but before the withdrawal deadline published in the schedule of classes. A symbol of W will appear on the student’s transcript in place of a grade.