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Academic Planning

The Empire State College study in which students plan an effective and coherent degree program. This is usually one of the first studies students undertake at the college also known as educational planning and degree program planning.

Advanced Level

Study beyond the introductory level that involves higher levels of abstraction, increasingly extensive knowledge, complex content and greater methodological sophistication. It is commonly thought of as junior- or senior-level study at traditional institutions. Designated by (+) on the degree program.

Advanced Standing

Academic credit for college-level learning gained prior to attendance at Empire State College.

AOS (Area of Study)

The abbreviation for "area of study", the broad academic areas in which the college can award degrees.

Assessment of Prior Learning

The process of evaluating the college-level learning a student has gained prior to enrollment at Empire State College.


Empire State College has 35 teaching locations across New York state which are organized into seven centers.

Center Assessment Office

An office located at each of the centers that works with students and mentors in the academic review of degree programs.


Those studies in the degree program that focus on the central elements of the student's specific educational goals. The central focus of the degree program, the parts of which, together, form a coherent whole.

Coordinating Center

The college's central administrative office in Saratoga Springs. The Coordinating Center processes all admissions, billing and transcripts for the college.


The final acceptance of advanced standing based on a technical review of degree programs completed by the Office of College Assessment Services.

Contract Evaluation (CE)

The mentor’s summary of an Empire State College study, written when the study is complete.

Credit (CR) Outcome

An award of credit. A CR is awarded only when immediate preparation of the contract evaluation is not possible. The mentor submits a CR outcome only after verifying that the work for a study or course has been satisfactorily completed and that a contract evaluation will follow shortly. The use of the CR outcome does not substitute for timely preparation of contract evaluations. The mentor must submit the contract evaluation within four weeks of submitting a CR outcome.

Credit by Evaluation (CBE)

Credit for learning that has been evaluated and validated by an organization or a standardized examination, such as CLEP, ACE or Empire State College.


See Degree Program

Degree Program

The comprehensive plan for a student's Empire State College degree. The degree program is prepared with faculty advice and utilizes a special transcript/degree program format. On the degree program, students list all the components that make up their degree, including previously obtained components of transcripted or evaluated learning as well as work to be completed at Empire State College.

Degree Program Planning

The Empire State College study in which students plan an effective and coherent degree program. This is usually one of the first studies students undertake at the college also known as academic planning and educational planning.

Degree Program Portfolio

The collection of materials and forms needed to obtain degree program approval and advanced standing. The portfolio contains the degree program, the rationale for the degree program, and supporting documents such as transcripts and other evaluations of a student's prior learning.

Degree Program Rationale

An essay that becomes part of the degree program portfolio. In the essay, students examine their degree program goals and the learning needed to reach them. This essay is also very important in the assessment of prior learning because it shows how that learning is related to the student's educational plans and career goals.

Educational Planning

The Empire State College study in which students plan an effective and coherent degree program. This is usually one of the first studies students undertake at the college; also known as academic planning and degree program planning.

General Education

A requirement of the State University of New York system that all degrees have an established number of credits spread out over seven (associate) or 10 (bachelor's) areas of knowledge and skills.

General Learning

Degree program components which provide breadth to the student's degree work beyond the concentration. These are not necessarily, but may be, liberal arts and sciences.


Beginning or foundational learning.

Learning Contract

The individual study plan developed with a mentor that states what students will learn for a specific number of credits to be awarded during enrollment period (generally 16 weeks). Contracts may include independent study, tutorials, courses or other learning activities.

Liberal Arts and Sciences ("Liberal Studies")

Studies that enhance the abilities of individuals to understand, to judge, to communicate and take action with each other about the nature, quality and conditions of their lives. This learning generally has a strong theoretical and conceptual content. Designated by (*) on the degree program.


An Empire State College faculty member. Mentors work closely and individually with students, serving as intellectual guides who help students define their educational tasks, identify resources and evaluate students' progress.

Office of Collegewide Academic Review (OCAR) (formerly College Assessment Services)

The office located in Saratoga Springs, NY which completes the technical review and concurrence of portfolios and advanced standing requests.

Redundant Learning

Learning that overlaps other learning. Credit for the same learning can be awarded only once.

Standardized Examinations

Tests created by a testing agency to measure a person's knowledge.


A teaching location that is connected to one of the college's centers.

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