Curriculum Terminology

Professor speaks to his class in language lab, CAS
Professor Scott Hartley, wearing protective glasses, talks with students in the lab, CAS

Academic or Degree Program

Any combination of courses and/or requirements leading to a degree or certificate, or to a major, co-major, minor or concentration. Example: Film Studies minor, China Business Program, Mathematics major, Gerontology doctoral degree

Academic Honors (Distinction or Latin Honors)

Recognition of outstanding achievement by a degree recipient, according to standards established by the Board of Trustees and as noted on the diploma and transcript. Example: Summa cum laude

Associate’s Degree

Two-year degree, generally offered on the regional campuses. An associate’s degree requires completion of 62 semester credit hours and should not exceed 65 semester credit hours unless it can be shown that the additional coursework is required to meet professional accreditation or licensing requirements.

Bachelor’s Degree

A four-year degree. Basic requirements include: (1) at least 124 semester hours—at least 31 must be from Miami; (2) at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA; (3) fulfillment of the Global Miami Plan; (4) fulfillment of divisional and major requirements.

A bachelor of arts degree generally allows flexibility to explore multiple disciplines outside the major. The bachelor of science degree typically is used for either a STEM major or for professional or vocational majors such as nursing or business and usually includes more requirements in the major field than a BA degree does.


Academic program in which the student completes a prescribed course of study, typically 12-20 credits. Like a minor, it is offered to students outside of the major. It may also be offered to non-degree seeking students. This may be at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level. For matriculated students, this type of certificate is designated on University transcripts when the certificate is awarded. For non-matriculated students the certificate is designated on University transcripts upon completion. Examples: Certificate in Gerontology (offered to degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking students); China Business Certificate (offered only to degree-seeking students in the Farmer School of Business)

Certificate of Completion (non-credit)

A certificate offered by the University or by the University in partnership with another organization. These students are not currently recorded in the official student information systems and all records are kept by the offering unit. These programs do not involve credit courses. Example: "Get Lean" Certification Program

Certificate Program

Graduate: A graduate certificate program is typically 12-17 graduate credit hours. Some certificates require the students to be seeking another degree program at Miami, while others allow for students to be a Continuing Graduate Study student. Students who are Continuing Graduate Study students are not eligible for financial aid.

Undergraduate: A formal award certifying the satisfactory completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level and typically carrying 12-18 credits. Certificates should be designed as: (1) supplementary to other degree programs by providing students with new competencies for professional development or lifelong learning; or (2) building blocks toward future degree completion.


The co-major is designed to provide a complementary perspective to a student’s primary major and carries at least 30 credits. A student taking a co-major must also complete a primary major in one of the academic divisions at Miami. Students receive the degree designation of their primary major with the co-major listed on the transcript. Some co-majors may have areas of concentration. Completion of the co-major may satisfy the Global Miami Plan Thematic Sequence requirement.

Concentration (within a major)

Coordinated grouping of courses, typically one-third of a major, representing a sub-specialization or emphasis within a major field available for students majoring in that discipline. Concentrations may be offered at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional level. Majors with a concentration are designated on University transcripts when the degree is awarded. Note: Concentration is the only approved term for transcripting a sub-specialization or sequence within a major. Terms such as “option,” “sequence,” “track,” or “specialization” should no longer be used (even for academic advising or marketing purposes) to denote specializations within a major. Example: Global Cultural Relations Concentration in the International Studies Major; Cross-Cultural Leadership Concentration in the Bachelor of Integrative Studies major; Environmental Technology in the Master of Environmental Science program


Courses that must be taken during the same semester because their subject matter is similar or complementary. Co-requisites are given at the end of course descriptions. Example: The co-requisite of MIS 235, “Information Technology & the Intelligent Enterprise is BUS 101, Foundations of Business Decision Making.


A course is a unique combination of title, course number, credit hours, and other course attributes that may include terms offered, cross listed courses, contact hours, pre- or co-requisites, credit type, level. Example: ENG 111, "Composition and Rhetoric"

Course Sections

Courses with large enrollments are divided into sections. Sections are identified by letters. A five-digit CRN (Course Reference Number) also identifies a course section.

Credit/No-Credit Course

No grade is received for this course. Students receive credit for a D- or better. A credit/no-credit course is not figured in the student’s GPA. Students can only take ten percent of their course work on credit/no-credit basis, and usually cannot take courses in the major this way. First-year students must register for at least 12 hours for a grade before taking a credit/no-credit course. After 20 percent of the class meetings, students cannot change from credit/no-credit to a letter grade or from a letter grade to credit/no-credit. Some courses are only offered as credit/no-credit. Example: EDL 110, The University and the Student, is a credit/no credit course.

Credit Hour

Unit used to measure course work. The number of credit hours is usually based on the number of hours per week the class meets; for example, a three-hour course typically meets three times a week for 50 minutes each time. One credit hour is usually assigned for two or three hours in laboratory and studio courses. Example: HST 111, Survey of American History, is a three-credit hour course.

Cross-Listed Course

Course where material taught crosses multiple disciplines or in which faculty members from two or more departments are eligible to teach. The course may or may not be offered by two or more departments during the same term. Example: "Images of America" is a cross-listed course with American Studies and Art (AMS/ART 183).


“A coherent program of study that is responsive to the needs and circumstances of the pedagogical context and is carefully designed to develop students’ knowledge, abilities and skills through multiple integrated and progressively challenging course learning experiences” (Hubball and Gold, 2007, p. 7)[1] Example: All of the course and other requirements leading to a particular degree.

1 Hubball, H. and Gold, N. (2007, Winter). “The Scholarship of Curriculum Practice and Undergraduate Program Reform: Integrating Theory and Practice.” IN Wolf, P. and Hughes, J. C. Eds. Curriculum Development in Higher Education: Faculty-Driven Processes and Practices. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 112, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 5-15.


An award by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Miami Board of Trustees as official recognition of the completion of a prescribed course of study following matriculation. Example: Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Arts

Department, Academic

Administrative unit within a college or school that deals with particular disciplines or fields of knowledge (e.g., the Department of English; the Department of Mathematics). Some departments administer more than one major (e.g., the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering). In some cases programs (such as the Interactive Media Studies Program) function like departments. Examples: Department of Political Science; Western Program

Divisional Requirements

A set of courses or specific requirements as defined by the individual school or college that are a required component of a student’s academic program. Example: CAS required courses, such as: CAS-A (Foreign language); CAS-B (Humanities); CAS-B-Lit (Literature requirement of CAS-B); CAS-C (Social Science); CAS-D (Natural Science); CAS-D-Lab (Laboratory requirement of CAS-D; and, CAS-E (Formal reasoning).

Doctoral Degree

The highest award a student can earn for graduate study. Doctoral degrees generally require the successful completion of at least 90 semester hours of work beyond the bachelor’s degree or at least 60 semester credit hours beyond the master’s degree. Deviations from these credit hour guidelines require proper justification and state approval.

Double Major

A student who meets the major requirements of two departments may declare, and have recorded on the transcript, a double major. The students must obtain prior approval from both departments (as well as the appropriate school(s) and college, if the majors are housed in separate divisions). One major must be declared the primary major. Students who graduate with a double major or degree across two academic divisions are required to complete all University requirements and the requirements of both majors and academic divisions. Example: Journalism; Political Science

Dual Degree

Designated programs arranged between undergraduate and graduate/professional programs. Students can be admitted on a provisional basis to the combined program anytime during their academic career at Miami, from the time they apply for undergraduate admission.

Upon earning a minimum of 64 hours and having a GPA of 3.25 or greater, students may apply to a combined program by completing the Graduate School application and submitting materials as required by the program to which they are applying. Departments or programs with a combined degree may allow students to double-count up to 12 hours of graduate course work toward their undergraduate degree. A minimum of 150 hours is required for the combined program, of which 30 must be graduate course work.

Students in a combined program will remain undergraduates until they apply for graduation or submit a request to the Graduate School to have their classification changed from undergraduate to graduate. Students must have completed a minimum of 128 hours to be classified as a graduate student.

Students may receive their bachelor’s degree prior to completing their master’s degree. Upon receiving the bachelor’s degree, students will automatically be classified as graduate students. Students receiving the bachelor’s degree prior to completing the master’s degree can count up to 12 hours of graduate course work toward their bachelor’s degree. Those hours can also count toward the completion of their master’s degree. Examples: B.S./M.S. (3+2); B.S./M.Ed. (4+1); B.S./ M.Acc. (4+2)

Joint Degree

A program established, coordinated, and awarded jointly between two higher education institutions. Example: Master’s degree in population and social gerontology (MPSG) between Miami University and Mahidol University


Lecture and laboratory; used to indicate how many credit hours are earned in lecture and/or in laboratory. Example: 3 Lec. 1 Lab.


Cohesive combination of courses including introductory, intermediate, and advanced coursework that designates a student’s primary area of undergraduate study.  Majors can be established or restructured to include required or optional concentrations. A major is typically 36-76 credit hours. Majors are designated on University transcripts at the time the degree is awarded. Example: Music Performance major

Master’s Degree

An award that requires the successful completion of at least 30 semester credit hours of work beyond the bachelor’s degree. Master’s degrees such as the Master of Arts and the Master of Science are typically considered research graduate degrees, and involve preparation to carry out research and to discover new knowledge—whether the field is pure or applied. Master’s degrees may also recognize preparation for professional practice.


Also known as alternative credential or TechCred, these credentials verify, validate, and attest that specific skills and/or competencies have been achieved by the learner. They differ from traditional degrees and certificates in that they are generally offered in shorter or more flexible timespans and tend to be more narrowly focused on specific professional or lifelong learning knowledge, skills or competencies. Alternative or microcredentials can be offered online, in the classroom, or via a hybrid of both.  They are also not always transcripted.


Designated sequence of courses in a discipline or area of undergraduate study. Like the major, it is expected to have coherence and increasing sophistication. A minor is 18 (minimum) and typically up to 24 credit hours (or approximately half of the major) and is independent of the student’s major. Minors are designated on University transcripts. Completion of the minor typically satisfies the Global Miami Plan Thematic Sequence requirement, as long as nine hours of the minor are outside of the department of the student’s major (or outside of the division for majors in the Farmer School of Business) and six of those 9 hours are at the 200 level or higher. Minors are designated on University transcripts. Example: Major - History; Minor - English


Global Miami Plan for Liberal Education Foundation Course fulfills a part of the liberal education requirement. Example:

  • I: English composition
  • IIA: Fine Arts
  • IIB: Humanities
  • IIC: Social Science
  • III: Global Perspectives
  • IVA: Biological science
  • IVB: Physical science
  • V: Mathematics, formal reasoning, technology
  • LAB: Fulfills laboratory course requirement for the Miami Plan; LAB must be preceded by IVA or IVB to fulfill the MP natural science laboratory requirement.


Miami Plan Thematic Sequence course example: Thematic Sequence Courses in PHL 2 Ethics in Health Care,” include: PHL 131 plus two from the following: PHL 360A, “Confronting Death,” PHL 375, “Moral Issues in Health Care,” and PHL 475, “Justice in Health Care.” Not open to majors in Department of Philosophy.

Miami Plan Capstone Experience course examples: GTY 440G: Field Experience in Gerontology or HST 400: Senior Capstone in History

Offered Infrequently

Courses may be offered every two or three years.


Course(s) that must be taken to provide background for the course requiring the prerequisite. Sometimes permission of the instructor or another requirement (such as graduate standing) may be a prerequisite to a course. Example: the prerequisites for FIN 301, Introduction to Business Finance, are ECO 201 and 202 and ACC 221 and 222.

Program Honors

Recognition of outstanding achievement by a degree recipient, according to established standards and as noted only on the transcript. Examples: University honors, department honors

School or College

Academic organizational division of the university offering curricular programs leading to associate, baccalaureate, and advanced degrees. Example: College of Arts & Science, Farmer School of Business

Sprint Course

Course that meets for less than the full 14-week term or semester, usually in durations of four, six, eight, or twelve weeks. Example: ART 149, Beginning Digital Photography, is a sprint course.