Academic Calendar refers to the official academic publication of an institution that defines its programs, regulations, procedures, grading systems, policies, progression requirements, and so forth, or the method an institution uses for structuring teaching and learning periods.
Academic Year – For the purposes of ACAT the academic year is September 1 to August 31 (post-secondary institutions may differ).
Accessibility – An institution's degree of openness to students seeking admission.
Admission or Entrance Requirements is a set of criteria stipulating education, training or experience needed for eligibility to enter an educational program or occupation. These vary by institution, credential type, and program, and may include grades, exam scores, portfolios or auditions, supplementary applications, videos, prior learning and experience, and so forth. The Institution is responsible for providing, managing and administering their admission requirements from their own systems. ACAT will also use the admission requirements provided within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System
Advance Credit – The award of credit in recognition of skills, competencies, and knowledge of individuals learned by informal, non-formal experiential or formal means.
Agreement is a mutual agreement initiated by and negotiated between two or more institutions for a specific course or program in the TCES or an institution’s own system. The institution(s) who receives the students (“To institution(s)”) agrees to recognize and honor credit for students from the sending institution (“From institution(s)”) towards the identified course and/or program. A summary of all agreements/decisions is available in the Catalog (central repository for all data).
Agreement Record is a collection of an established agreement data fields, comprised of mandatory and elective information, in each row of the CSV agreement file that can be published, accessed and handled by the Learner Pathways Catalog.
Alberta-Based Private For-Profit Institution – A post-secondary institution which operates as a business receiving fees from each student they enroll.
Alberta-Based Private Not-For-Profit Institution - An institution that is controlled or managed by a body most of whose members are not selected by a public authority and that it not established for the purpose of distributing profits to individual directors, employees, owners or shareholders. These institutions operate exclusively for social, educational, professional, religious, health, charitable, or any other not-for-profit purpose.
Alberta-Based Publicly Funded Institution – An institution receiving support from the Alberta Government.
ACAT refers to the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer, reporting to the Minister of Advanced Education and responsible for leadership, advice, and oversight regarding learner pathways and mobility in Alberta’s post-secondary system with a focus on admissions and transfer.
Alberta Transfer System (ATS) – Those institutions which are members of the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer and whose transfer agreements are included in the Alberta Transfer Guide.
Applied Degree refers to a baccalaureate degree that uses both courses/studies and work-related experiences to blend theory and practice. Institutions design the degree to ensure that students master their field of practice and knowledge. It usually includes a strong vocational component. Colleges, polytechnics, and institutes offer Applied Degrees to enhance student career preparation.
Articulation Is the process of negotiating or interrelating courses, programs, and/or credentials from one institution that are recognized by another institution to allow students to receive credit towards a specific course and/or program.
Articulated Agreement(s) - Postsecondary institutions use Articulation to determine which courses are equivalent at a minimum of two institutions. Articulation normally involves a course-to-course analysis or comparison, but it can also involve whole programs and occur across multiple sectors within or across provinces or territories.
Baccalaureate or Undergraduate Degree – Degree from a program that is designed to acquaint the student with the basic conceptual approaches and methodologies of the principal discipline/disciplines that constitute the program of study, to provide some specialized knowledge, and to nurture the capacity for independent work in the discipline/disciplines and field of practice.
Bachelor’s Degree – See Baccalaureate or Undergraduate Degree.
Block Transfer Agreement refers to an Agreement between two or more postsecondary institutions that represents a formalized approach to awarding advanced standing. Generally, it is used to award credit for courses that, as a group, are recognized as having an academic wholeness or integrity and that collectively satisfy part of the requirements for another credential. The allocation is based on the overall equivalence or overlap of the courses to a defined set of course or program learning outcomes. Block credit enables students to enter a subsequent program at an advanced level (typically, second or third year).
Bridging or Bridge Program refers to a course or program constructed to provide remedial and/or transition support for students to facilitate eligibility to enter a program or profession. There are many different forms of bridging programs (e.g., credit bearing, non-credit, a combination of credit bearing and non-credit) and each typically offers a unique focus (e.g., linguistic competence, remedial support, prerequisite preparation, and so forth).
Categories refers to the grouping or classification of instructional programs by field of specialty that is defined, managed and administered by the institution within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System. This field will be pre-populated with a set list of predefined values established by the institutions and will be displayed as system-defined fields.
Career Laddering refers to specified academic pathways students can follow to extend their learning hierarchically in a particular subject area. An example would be where students would transfer their completed postsecondary credential into another program credential at a higher level (e.g., from a certificate to a diploma, or from a diploma to a degree). Options can be formally arranged and promoted and may also involve remedial preparation on the part of the student to facilitate transfer.
Certificate - Certificates come in many forms and are distributed in informal and formal settings. Different types of organizations and institutions issue this credential to signify completion of a body of work or academic studies. Certificates are also embedded within qualifications frameworks with specified learning outcomes and usually are completed in one year or less.
Code - An institution-provided course code identifier for each of its courses (e.g., “CHEM” in CHEM 101). The institutions are responsible for providing this course code to correspond with their own systems. ACAT will also use this course code identifier within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System.
Collaborative Programs – Internationally, there are many forms of Collaborative Programs. Examples include joint programs, dual degrees, cotutelle, double, integrated, consecutive, concurrent, and so forth. Four main types of international collaborative programs include: (i) Joint Degree Program - awards one joint qualification and is completed in the same time period as it would have taken to complete an individual program; (ii) Multiple Degree Program - awards more than two individual qualifications at equivalent levels and takes longer to complete than an individual program; (iii) Double Degree Program awards two individual qualifications at equivalent levels and takes longer to complete than an individual program (e.g., Dual Degrees, Double Degrees); and a, (iv) Combined Degree Program - awards two individual qualifications at consecutive levels (e.g., Bachelor/Master, Master/Doctoral) and takes longer than one degree but is shorter than if the two degrees were taken separately.
Comment - Institution-provided course comments for their courses that will be publicly accessible (e.g., a footnote, a disclaimer). The institutions are responsible for providing comment information to correspond with their own systems. ACAT will also use this information provided within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System.
Contact Person (CP) - Designate at each institution responsible for overseeing efficient and effective flow of transfer agreements
Contact Person Assistant (CPA) - Designate at each institution responsible for assisting a Contact Person.
Contact Persons' Website (CPW) - A web-based workflow management system though which institutions submit and respond to transfer agreement proposals.
Co-requisite is a course or credit that must be taken at the same time as another course.
Course or Program Outline refers to an institution’s description of the main content, organization, and expected outcomes of a course, normally including the number of credits awarded, hours of class time, how it's evaluated, assignments, and texts (may also be called a syllabus or master syllabus, as determined by the institution and relevant to the course being offered). A similar, higher level description is provided for a program outline, providing a summary of the program area and course requirements.
Course Load refers to the number of courses a student undertakes in any given term, semester, or session. The calculation varies by institution as it depends on how many credits are assigned per course and how many courses in a term or semester denotes part-time or full-time study.
Course Record refers to a collection of an established course data fields, comprised of mandatory and elective information, in each row of the CSV course file that can be published, accessed and handled by the Learner Pathways Catalog.
Course Equivalent – A course equivalent is a course for which credit is given by the receiving institution.
Credential refer to an official documentation recognizing completion of a course of study/program area that is issued by the individual institution, to be awarded after a student has successfully completed all of the curricular requirements, normally including the accumulation of a minimum number of credits. Credentials (Post-secondary System Defined) can include Diploma, Preparatory / Upgrading, University Transfer, Applied, Degree Undergraduate Degree, and Certificate.
Credit – The numerical value assigned to a course by a post-secondary institution, normally based upon the number of contact/classroom hours per week.
Credit Type - Course credit type is used to manage the type of credit associated with the course. Credit Type can range from credits to work experience (but are not limited to). credit is usually either graded (awarded a grade point) or credit/non-credit (as in work experience placements).
Credit Value is the value assigned to a course that refers to the credit value for the purpose of counting its value towards a credential such as a certificate, diploma or degree. Number signifying the value of credit (0.00-9999.99) that may be related to the number of hours of instruction. The majority of academic courses are worth three credits, with some variance depending on the program and institution. Many degrees require 120 credits.
CSV File - Comma-separated values (CSV) files store tabular data (numbers and text) in plain text. The file contains a collection of one or more records arranged for processing by the Learner Pathways Catalog. Each line or row within the file is a data record that consists of mandatory and elective data fields, separated by commas. The use of the comma as a field separator is the source of the name for this file format.
Data Collection and Validation System (DCAV) (formerly referred to as DCAR) - The Data Collection and Validation System (DCAV) provides a single secure and centralized mass upload process to the Learner Pathways Catalog in a CSV file format for post-secondary institutions in an efficient and effective manner. The mass upload process is specific to providing large volumes of data in a standardized format regarding courses, programs, and agreements.
Date First Offered (“YYYY-MM-DD”) indicates the start date for the program. Institution provided date first offered for their program. The institution is responsible for providing the date first offered from their systems. ACAT will use the date first offered within the catalog system.
Decision(s) Refers to a unilateral decision made by an institution for a specific course and/or program in the Catalog, where this institution agrees to recognize and honor credit for incoming students at their institution for a specific course and/or program completed at another identified institution(s). A summary of all agreements/decisions is available in the Catalog (central repository for all data).
Deleted Refers to inactivated course and program offerings and agreements in the TCES and Catalog. This information will no longer be visible to students/the public. Delete Record - In the CSV File Format, “Yes”/”No” asks the institution if this is a request to delete a course/program/agreement (e.g., if the course, program, or agreement being submitted is currently in the Catalog and should now be deleted (Answer to DeleteRecord = “Yes”), or if the item being submitted is a request to add a new item to the Catalog (e.g., Answer to DeleteRecord = “No”).
Description - Institution-provided course and program descriptions for their offerings (e.g., institution academic calendar descriptions). The Institution is responsible for providing these descriptions to correspond with their own systems and academic calendars. ACAT will also use this description within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System.
Degree – A degree signifies the completion of an academic program of study from an accredited post-secondary educational institution.
Dual Credit - Dual credit may involve dual environment in which the student is concurrently enrolled in a high school and post-secondary institution, or consecutive enrolment in which the student completes high school and subsequently is provided credit for learning when they are admitted to the specified post-secondary institution.
Effective End Date - (“YYYY-MM-DD”) indicating the end date for the course, program, or agreement. The last date the offering or agreement was applicable or Active.
Elective Fields refers to specific fields and/or columns within the CSV files (courses, programs, and agreements) that anticipates data be populated. This means that this elective field does not require data but proposes that any data provided would benefit the Learner Pathways System and assist in data collection, analysis and entry. These fields can be left blank during the submission upload process if no relevant information exists and the record will be published in the Learner Pathways Catalog.
End-Dated - Any course or program offering or agreement that is still considered valid for the date ranges specified between its start date and end date in the TCES and Catalog. In legacy systems like TAARS, this was previously referred to as terminated or grandfathered.
Formal Learning - Credit courses and programs offered at post-secondary institutions.
Future - An option for institutions to add data regarding courses, programs, or agreements that will be active at a future date, if/as applicable.
Grading System – The system used for evaluating a learners' success in attaining the learning outcomes of a post-secondary course.
Honours degrees allow students to pursue in depth knowledge of a specified discipline. Honours degrees may have higher admission standards than general degrees, and are traditionally the degree route students who want to continue with graduate studies in the discipline pursue.
Informal Learning - Knowledge and skills acquired through life and work experience.
Institution Course ID - Institution-provided unique course ID identifiers used at the institution for their courses (e.g., “25433”, “C1234”). Institutions are responsible for providing these unique course IDs to correspond with their own systems. ACAT will also use this unique course ID within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System.
Institution Program ID - Institution-provided unique program ID identifiers used at the institution for their programs (e.g., “25433”, “P1234”). Institutions are responsible for providing these unique program IDs to correspond with their own systems. ACAT will also use this unique program ID within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System.
Instruction Type - Instruction type is used to manage or identify the type of instruction basis for the course. Types can range from hours to system defined types such as Lab; Lecture, Seminar; Tutorial; and others as well as the number of hours (e.g., “20H Lab, 1000H work experience hours”).
Instructor Qualification - - Description of the institution-provided Instructor Qualifications required for the course being offered. The Institution is responsible for providing the description to correspond with their own systems. ACAT will also use this information within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System. It is the total of an instructor's recognized education, skills, and knowledge directly relevant to instructing in a specific field of study.
Learner Pathways - refers to the different routes that a learner can take during lifelong learning in the education system, with a focus on access to routes that support movement into, within, from, and back into post-secondary education.
Learner Pathways Catalog (Catalog) refers to an ACAT technology system that is acting as the central repository for integrated, uploaded data from many systems (e.g., one of these systems will be the new ; one of these systems may be your own institution’s system that can feed data into the Catalog). This data can be used for student inquiries, learner pathways reporting, Business Intelligence and data analysis.
Learner Pathways System (System) - All of the identified technology systems and tools that together comprise ACAT-related supports for learner pathways and mobility in Alberta’s post-secondary system, including the Alberta Transfer System. These systems and tools include the following: Learner Pathways Catalog (Catalog), Transfer Credit Evaluation System (TCES), use of the Data Collection and Validation System (DCAV), use of the Secure Identity & Access Management System (SIAMS), management and use of Settings/Administration tool, and the Transfer Alberta website (including the search tool and mobile app).
Learning Outcomes - Learning outcomes are statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completion of a process of learning. Learning outcomes may be included in course and/or program outlines.
Letter of Permission – A letter from a student’s home institution guaranteeing that a course the student successfully completes at another institution will be counted by the home institution toward the student’s program of study. A Letter of Permission should be sought before commencing studies at another institution.
LPMI - ACAT Learner Pathways Modernization Initiative, aims to improve learner pathways administration processes, tools, technology, and access to information to remove barriers to and support student mobility in post-secondary education in Alberta and with other jurisdictions/partners.
Major refers to the main focus or specialized area of study (e.g., psychology or mathematics), usually specified in a credential (e.g., B.A Psychology), and is provided in the Learner Pathways Catalog and System by the institutions. ACAT will use this information to display in the Catalog.
Minor refers to a secondary or subsidiary area of study. While not all programs allow students to select a minor, some programs of study allow for double minors.
Mandatory Fields refers to specific fields and/or columns within the CSV files (courses, programs, and agreements) that requires data be populated. This means that this mandatory field requires data in order to be published in the TCES and Learner Pathways Catalog. These fields cannot be left blank during the submission upload process or an error will be generated and that record will be unable to be published in the Learner Pathways Catalog. If the field truly has no information to be reported, the field should be marked with “None”.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - A formal agreement of intent between two or more institutions to accept courses (or clusters of courses) for credit. Generally MOU's also incorporate other factors such as recognition of co-op placements, reduced course load (beyond what is accepted for advanced credit) for completion, etc. that is not normally found in a Transfer Agreement.
Number - Institution-provided unique course numbers (e.g., number “101” in CHEM 101) for their courses. Institutions are responsible for providing these unique course number identifiers to correspond with their own systems. ACAT will also use this unique number identifier within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System.
Offerings - Offerings refers to a specific course and/or program available at an institution, based on a course and program master and offered at a particular date and time at a post-secondary institution.
Official Transcripts – Official documents summarizing a student’s academic progression at an educational institution.
Outline URLs - Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that consists of the web address where the individual institution stores the course or program outline for public access. Own Institutional Systems refers to the individual systems that are used by each institution within their own environment that contains their “Source System of Record,” which acts as their authoritative data source for the given data elements or pieces of information relating to courses, programs, agreements and negotiation of transfer agreements. Institutions may be utilizing multiple source systems to provide information as needed.
Pan-Canadian Protocol on Transferability of University Credits (PDF) – A statement describing transferability between universities across Canada.
Pre-requisite - A Course or credit that must be completed before a more advanced course can be taken (e.g., “pre-requisites” of this course offering).
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is defined as a process for institution/organization assessment, identification, documentation, and recognition of a person’s knowledge and skills, acquired through non-formal and informal learning and experience, in relation to a certain goal. PLAR is a learner pathway that can be used towards the requirements of education and training programs via an institution or organization where offered and applicable.
Program Record refers to a collection of an established program data fields, comprised of mandatory and elective information, in each row of the CSV program file that can be published, accessed and handled by the Learner Pathways Catalog.
Program refers to a specific program offering, based on a program master and offered at a particular date and time at a post-secondary institution.
Receiving Institution – The post-secondary institution to which a student transfers.
Reciprocal Bilateral Transfer Agreement – A transfer agreement that has been negotiated between two institutions whereby Institution A agrees to accept the course (or cluster of courses) successfully completed at Institution B in lieu of its own, and reciprocally, Institution B agrees to accept the course.
Record refers to a collection of a completed data fields, comprised of mandatory and elective fields (for example: a row relevant to a specific entity within the CSV file for courses, programs and agreements). This record will be published, accessed and handled by the Learner Pathways Catalog.
Residency Requirement – Specified number of credits that must be completed at an institution in order to be awarded a credential for a program of study.
Review Date (“YYYY-MM-DD”) indicating the date or triggering a reminder for the institution to review the course, program, or agreement for accuracy. This data can be provided by the institution at their discretion. If this field contains no information, the Learner Pathways Catalog will automatically populate a review data 5 years from the provided start date.
Selection Criteria - Categories of qualifications, capabilities, or experience (academic or other) that provide the basis for screening and admission to a program of study.
System-Defined Fields - Reference fields can only be populated with a set list of predefined values (system tables). To ensure consistency in the data, information will be populate into reference lists. For example, when uploading an Agreement or Decision, users have to identify the “From institution”(s). The correct “From” institution(s)’s name will then come from the Reference list of Institutions.
Secure Identity & Access Management System (SIAMS) Provides a single secure, centralized authentication and authorization service to access online systems for Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education (AE), associated ministries, and associated organizations. A trusted and familiar security and authentication service already being used by post-secondary institutions to share information with AE, and for which Learner Pathways System user PINs will be assigned.
Specialization degree is a less intensively focused on the discipline of study than an Honours degree, but more so than an general degree.
Student Mobility refers to a learner’s ability to access different learner pathways (routes) during his/her program of study(s) in post-secondary education, including movement into, within, from, or back into post-secondary education. Mobility allows students to earn credits toward a credential at more than one institution, ladder from one credential to another credential, build on foundational learning and high school upgrading to enter post-secondary studies, and/or access to many other learner pathways.
Sending Institution - The post-secondary institution a student transfers from.
Shelf Life - A time limit imposed by an institution for granting transfer credit for certain courses that acknowledges the changing relevance of the information initially imparted.
Significant Number - A number of transferring students requesting transfer credit that is large enough that accommodation on a case-by-case basis is no longer efficient, viable or recommended, and that clearly indicates there is a need for course-by-course or program-by-program inter-institutional agreements.
Six Sector Model – The Six Sector Model refers to the institutional arrangement of Campus Alberta's 26 publicly funded institutions: 1. Comprehensive Academic and Research Institution (CARI) 2. Baccalaureate and Applied Studies Institution (BASI); 3. Polytechnical Institution (PI); 4. Comprehensive Community Institution (CCI); 5. Independent Academic Institution (IAI):; 6. Specialized Arts and Culture Institution. Although all 26 Campus Alberta institutions are members of the Alberta Transfer System (ATS), the ATS is comprised of 39 institutions in Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon and British Columbia.
Specified Credit – A course that is close enough in learning outcomes to a receiving institution's course to be given transfer credit for an exact course code. Subject Matter Expert (SME) - An individual who understands a business process or area of inquiry well enough to answer questions from people in other groups who are trying to assist.
Title - Institution-provided unique course titles for their courses (e.g., “Introductory University Chemistry I”). Institutions are responsible for providing these unique course title identifiers to correspond with their own systems and transcripts. ACAT will also use this unique course identifier within the Learner Pathways Catalog and System.
Transfer - The mobility of students among post-secondary institutions on the basis of their having transfer credit. (See also Transfer Credit.)
Transfer Agreement – An agreement between two institutions (a sender and a receiver) that specifies how the sending institution's course or program will be accepted for credit at the receiving institution. See also transfer
Transfer Alberta Mobile App - Available for free via Google Play and Apple stores, is led by ACAT, and shares the same data source and functionality as the Transfer Alberta Search Tool. Provides accessible student/user access to transfer agreements and decisions and high school transitions and upgrading data pulled from the TCES and Learner Pathways Catalog.
Transfer Alberta Search Tool - Available from the Transfer Alberta website, is led by ACAT, and shares the same data source and functionality as the Transfer Alberta Mobile App. Provides accessible student/user access to transfer agreements and decisions, as well as high school transitions and upgrading data pulled from the TCES and Learner Pathways Catalog.
Transfer Alberta Website - A student-focused website led by ACAT and designed to provide learner pathways and mobility planning tools, supports, and information to support students’ pathways into, within, from, and back into post-secondary education.
Transfer Courses – Courses designed to transfer from one institution to another institution.
Transfer Credit – Credit completed at one post-secondary institution and accepted for credit at a different post-secondary institution. Transfer credit may be unspecified (e.g., awarded a general Arts or Science credit), generic (awarded credit within a discipline e.g., BIOL 2XX), or specific (mapped onto a course).
Transfer Credit Evaluation System (TCES) - ACAT system used by Alberta Transfer System member post-secondary institutions, built upon a shared technology platform with other provinces. Provides the ability to negotiate transfer agreements and capture the stages taken during the articulation/negotiation process to achieve an agreement/final decision.
Transfer decision – a unilateral decision made by a post-secondary institution to award credit for another PSI’s courses and/or programs. This decision is internal to the receiving institution and has not gone through the transfer articulation process. These unilateral decisions are searchable in the Transfer Alberta system. See also transfer agreement.
Transferability - Refers to a student’s ability to successfully receive transfer credit for an applicable course(s) and/or program(s) when he/she moves between post-secondary institutions and/or between program areas.
Transferable Courses - Courses designed to complete an institution's own credential, which may transfer to another institution through a transfer agreement.
Transfer Partner - An institution with which another institution has established a transfer agreement.
Transfer Student – A student who has earned credit at one or more post-secondary institutions and is transferring that credit to another post-secondary institution to continue a program of study.
Undergraduate Student – A student enrolled in a program leading to a certificate, diploma or bachelor’s degree.
Unidirectional Bilateral Transfer Agreement - A transfer agreement negotiated between a sending institution and a receiving institution, which is primarily intended to be one-way. In practice, advance credit for courses involved in an agreement usually will be awarded at either institution, particularly when the agreement involves courses that are part of auniversity transfer program. However, in some cases credit will not be awarded in the opposite direction; for example, Institution A may agree to accept Institution B's cluster of transferable courses in lieu of its own courses and have the agreement entered in theTransfer Guide. However, it might not be appropriate for Institution B conversely to award transfer credits for the cluster of courses if a student with the one course from Institution A presented it for advanced credit assessment.
University Transfer Program – A program specifically developed whereby up to the first two years of a degree-level program are completed often at a college before transferring to an institution with an accredited degree program.
Unspecified Credit (or course) - Credit or course that will transfer towards satisfying requirements for a credential, but is not close enough to a receiving institution specific required credit courses to be given transfer credit for an exact course code.
Upgrading – Adult students, students of at least 19 years of age and having been out of high school for at least one year, taking the high school courses necessary to gain admission to post-secondary studies.
User-Defined Fields - Fields that are custom fields that the user can populate information with by the user using “free text” within a system formatted.
Work in Progress (WIP) - Function within the Contact Persons' Website (CPW) displaying transfer agreements in progress.