Transfer Glossary


The Transfer Glossary seeks to align nomenclature usage across the country and broaden access to additional resources. Search for a term using freeform text or by predefined categories. For each one you will find a definition and, if available, additional resources. If available, the search also provides the related transcript data element associated with the glossary term.

Transfer Glossary Search

To access the Glossary, click on the Glossary URL.



During the research for the national ARUCC PCCAT Transcript and Transfer Credit Nomenclature Study, the Canadian postsecondary community identified core principles that should guide nomenclature development and usage for transfer policies and protocols. These also apply when institutions create inter-institutional partnerships.

  • Establish nomenclature that is consistent, clear, and simple to understand for the layperson and that is specific enough to define the term but flexible enough to be used by all institutions
  • Avoid jargon
  • Align with international standards
  • Recognize institutional autonomy and provincial authority

For the Guide, more than 1,000 terms currently in use in Canada were identified and assessed. There were numerous examples provided where different labels described the same situation or the same label described different situations. The potential exists for considerable confusion. The Transfer Glossary provides access to more than 300 concise terms and acronyms related to the areas of transcript standards, transfer credit, and inter-institutional partnerships. Each term is supported by an associated definition and, if available, links to additional resources. Jurisdictionally-unique terms are noted along with sources for those wishing more information. The Glossary highlights terms used in particular Canadian jurisdictions and links to provincial, national, and international organizations.

The rationale supporting alignment

The transfer credit nomenclature and related policy research conducted for the ARUCC PCCAT Transcript and Transfer Credit Nomenclature Standards Study (the “Study”) revealed differences in terminology. pdfThe Phase 1 Report and the pdfPhase 2 Consultation Document provide specific examples.

Students, allied organizations, and institutional faculty and staff are experiencing difficulty sorting through the many terms used to describe the same or similar elements. It is affecting reporting, student success initiatives, and research. As an example, a recently published study by Dr. Christine Helen Arnold provides demonstrable evidence of the challenges this situation creates and the impact it is having on transfer literacy. pdfRead Study.

To resolve this situation and advance student mobility, Canadian practitioners and policy developers are encouraging transcript standards and development of simplified transfer nomenclature. Sample areas requiring refinement include establishing standards and terms for pathway agreements (e.g., articulation, degree completion, block transfer, and joint programs); alternative learning delivery such as online learning and experiential learning; competency-based education (e.g., learning outcomes); and equivalent learning (e.g., Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition – PLAR, challenge exams, etc.).