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, Analytics Certificate, 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 degrees which are generally offered on 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 undergraduate 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 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 credit hour requirements in the major field than a BA degree does.


The 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.

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. 

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.

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: Geographic Information Systems Certificate (offered to degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking students); Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Certificate (offered only to Miami degree-seeking students)

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


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 from a wide range of majors should be able to pursue the co-major, and the subject area should not duplicate that of existing majors. 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. 

Combined Degree Program

Designated programs arranged between undergraduate and graduate/professional programs. 

Upon earning a minimum of 64 credit hours and a 3.00 cumulative GPA, students may apply to a combined program by completing the Graduate School application and submitting the required materials.

Students should confer with the Graduate School and its website for the terms and benefits of the combined program.

  • Examples: B.S./M.S.; B.S./M.Ed.; B.S./ M.Acc.

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 transcribing 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.

  • Examples: Global Cultural Relations Concentration in the International Studies Major; Cross-Cultural Leadership Concentration in the Bachelor of Integrative Studies major; Environmental Technology Concentration in the Master of Environmental Science program.

Concurrent Program

Two programs at the same level (undergraduate or graduate) in which the same student is enrolled in two programs.  Both degrees are awarded either in same term or different terms, depending on when the student completes the requirements for the degree.

  • Example: M.D./J.D. program is a common example at the graduate level.  Miami’s B.A. Journalism Program requires that students complete the requirements of that program as well as another program from a different department.


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 CHM 144, "College Chemistry Laboratory" is CHM 141 "College Chemistry".


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, and 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. Course sections at the undergraduate level should have a minimum enrollment of 12 students, and course sections at the graduate level should have a minimum enrollment of 7 students.

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 coursework on credit/no-credit basis and usually cannot take courses in the major this way. First-year students may register for courses on a credit/no-credit basis providing they are concurrently enrolled for 12 hours for grades. If at any time during the semester, a student drops below 12 hours for grades (four hours for the summer term), the credit/no-credit status will be removed. Courses offered only on a credit/no-credit basis are not factored in. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may register for one or more courses per semester on a credit/no-credit basis. Students may not enroll on a credit/no-credit basis in any course in which they have previously earned credit.  A student may not enroll for a grade in any course for which they have received “credit” on a credit/no-credit basis. Some courses are only offered as credit/no credit.

  • Example: EDL 110, The University and the Student is a credit/no credit course.

The student may receive different grade symbols for courses taken credit/no credit including CR1, CR2, or NCR (no credit earned).

Credit Hour

The unit used to measure coursework. 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

A 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. Cross-listed courses should have two and no more than three subject codes. Cross-listing should only occur when the course is taught by faculty whose home is in two (or three) different departments.

  • 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.

  • Example: All of the course and other requirements leading to a particular degree.


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

An 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 Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering). In some cases programs (such as the Western Program) function like departments.

  • Examples: Department of Political Science; Art Management and Arts Entrepreneurship 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. 

Dual Program

Two separate programs residing in separate departments (departments are typically housed in separate divisions) that focus on an interdisciplinary field but provide a distinct angle or perspective on that field.  While the two programs may share some common courses, each program offers a unique mission and set of curricular requirements. Students typically select one of these to pursue.

  • Example: B.S. and B.A. in Public Health.  The B.S. is offered in College of Education, Health and Society, while the B.A. is offered in the College of Arts and Science.

Honors College or Program

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

  • Examples: University honors, department honors.

Joint Degree/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.

It can also be a single program at Miami that focuses on an interdisciplinary field of study, involves an integrated curriculum, and leads to a single joint degree.  It draws heavily from multiple disciplines represented in at least two departments and is also coordinated and offered jointly by two or more academic divisions.  All aspects of the program are jointly administered by the departments and divisions involved.  All of the involved divisions are listed on the diploma.

  • Example: Master's program in eSport Management is jointly led by the Department of Emerging, Technology, Business + Design (in College of Creative Arts) and Department of Sport Leadership & Management (in College of Education, Health & Society)


Lecture and laboratory; used to indicate how many credit hours are earned in lecture and/or in laboratory.

  • Example: 3 Lec. 1 Lab.


The cohesive combination of courses including introductory, intermediate, and advanced coursework 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 and typically do not require a thesis.

Miami Plan

The Miami Plan is the University’s general education program for undergraduate students. It includes three components: Perspectives, Signature Inquiry, and Knowledge-in-Action.   All courses in the MP advance Four Pillars of learning as well as specific outcomes that relate to the component.  For more information, consult the Office of Liberal Education website.


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. At Miami, they involve a small number of credit-bearing courses focused on a subject area. They differ from traditional degrees and certificates in that they are 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 micro-credentials can be offered online, in the classroom, or via a hybrid of both. Most are offered on the Regional campuses, and they are also not always transcripted.


The 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. Twelve credits must be unique to the minor and may not count toward the fulfillment of majors or additional minors. Minors are designated on University transcripts.

  • Example: Major - History; Minor - English

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.

Professional Education

A credential that is typically non-credit bearing and is designed for employees learning new skills and knowledge that they can apply to further success in their field.  Students in professional education programs are typically persons who are not already matriculated at Miami, are in the workforce, and need education to gain currency or new skills related to their profession.  Professional education programs may be offered online, in person, or hybrid mode.

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

A 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.