Articulation in California

In California there are four postsecondary educational segments comprised of:

  • 10 campuses of the University of California (UC)
  • 23 campuses of the California State University (CSU)
  • 114 California Community Colleges (CCC) whose multiple missions include  lower division preparation for transfer to four-year colleges and universities
  • Approximately 90 degree-granting independent colleges and universities accredited by a United States regional accrediting agency such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

The size, complexity, and diversity of postsecondary education in California require the development of articulation policies and procedures to enable students to transfer between and among these segments.

When the word "articulation" is used in education, it often has different meanings and connotations, depending on the setting. Articulation refers specifically to course articulation: the process of developing a formal, written agreement that identifies courses (or sequences of courses) at a "sending" campus that are comparable to, or accepted in lieu of, specific course requirements at a "receiving" campus. Successful completion of an articulated course assures the student and the faculty that the student has taken the appropriate course, received the necessary instruction and preparation, and that similar outcomes can be assured. In short, the articulation process enables the student to progress to the next level of instruction at the "receiving" institution.

The process of course articulation between and among campuses is the foundation of the vital "transfer" function in California. It creates an academic pathway that eases student transitions between the segments of higher education in California.

The actual process of developing and reviewing curriculum and coursework to determine course comparability between institutions rests with the faculty at the respective institutions. Faculty in each discipline are responsible for the actual review of course content, the identification of comparable courses, and the authorization of acceptance of specific courses for transferring students. Once this review, identification, and formal written acceptance has occurred, a course (or sequence of courses) is said to have been "articulated."

  • AP: Advanced Placement
  • CCC: California Community College
  • C-ID: Course Identification Numbering System
  • CLEP: College-Level Examination Program
  • CIAC: California Intersegmental Articulation Council
  • COR: Course Outline of Record (used at CCC's)
  • CSU: The California State University
  • CSU GE-B: General Education-Breadth pattern for CSU transfers
  • EO: Executive Order
  • IGETC: Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum
  • STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
  • Title 5: The part of the California Code of Regulations governing Education
SB1440 Related
  • AA-T: Associate of Arts for Transfer
  • AS-T: Associate of Science for Transfer
  • ADT: Associate Degree for Transfer (shorthand for AA-T / AS-T)
  • SB 1440: Senate Bill 1440 (STAR Act)
  • SB 440: Extension of SB 1440 delineating additional TMC with "area of emphasis"
  • STAR Act: Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (SB1440)
  • TMC: Transfer Model Curriculum
If there are additional acronyms or terms associated with Articulation or other aspects of Higher Education, please contact your Articulation Officer. 

Updated: November 19, 2021