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Academic Fresh Start:
Under the provisions of the Texas Education Code, the Academic Fresh Start program allows a Texas resident to apply for admission (or re-admission) to a Texas public undergraduate institution and elect to have all academic coursework earned 10 or more years prior to the requested enrollment date ignored for admission purposes. Note: this is not the same as enrolling in college as a Freshman or attending college for the first time.

TMDSAS does not grant Academic Fresh Start. TMDSAS will only recognize the Academic Fresh Start designation on the transcript where you invoked the provision granted by your school. Eligible coursework will be removed accordingly. For more information about Academic Fresh Start, refer to College for All Texans.


Academic Status:
Refers to the applicant’s school classification. See chart below.

PF: Pre-Freshman

Any college coursework undertaken BEFORE high school graduation.

Examples include: AP, IB, Dual Credit or CLEP credits.

FR: Freshman

Status during first approximate 0-30 semester hours of college AFTER high school graduation. This is your status, even if you earned 30+ credit hours of Pre-Freshman coursework.

SO: Sophomore

Approximately 31 - 60 semester hours completed.

JR: Junior

Approximately 61 - 90 semester hours completed.

SR: Senior

Approximately 91 - completion of undergraduate degree.

PB: Post-baccalaureate

Courses taken after completion of the Bachelor’s degree, including those for a subsequent Bachelor’s degree, Does not include graduate-level coursework.

GR: Graduate

Courses taken while enrolled in a graduate degree program, or any courses taken at the graduate level; course numbers typically 500/5000 and greater.


A label applied to an educational institution by an official agency, association or ministry of education recognizing it for maintaining standards that qualify graduates for consideration for admission to higher or more specialized institutions.


An examination used by the university to assist in determining admissibility of undergraduate students.


Advanced Placement/CLEP:
Credit reported on transcript for successful completion of Advanced Placement or CLEP examinations. AP/CLEP credit is accepted only if the school granting the credit lists the specific course(s) and number of units granted per course on an official transcript. Lump sum credit is not accepted. If these do not appear on the transcript, an official letter from the registrar is required. List AP credit only once, even if more than one institution granted credit.

For more information on how and where to enter AP credit, review coursework.


Any course you attended without attempting to earn credit. These courses will not be included in your TMDSAS GPA.


BCPM (Science) GPA:
Courses taken in the Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Math (including Statistics) departments are included in the BCPM GPA. This includes courses coded as prerequisites as well as those coded “Other Science” (if they were determined to meet the criteria for BCPM inclusion by TMDSAS during application review). Courses that are introductory, elementary, and/or for non-science majors may count toward BCPM GPA. Science courses intended for non-science majors will not count towards pre-requisite coursework requirements for the TMDSAS schools.

(See policy for BCPM Inclusion for more information.)


Census Date:
October 1 of the application year

Credit by Institutional/Departmental Exam:
Credits reported on transcript for successful completion of an institutional or departmental examination.


DDS/PhD Essay:

  1. Explain your motivation to seek a dual degree (DDS/PhD). (5000 max)
  2. Describe your significant research experiences, research interests and career goals as appropriate for an applicant to dual degree program (DDS/PhD). (5000 max)


Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA):
If you have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, you should select “None” when selecting your visa type/residency status. You will then indicate in the [Optional Question] at the end of the section that you have DACA status.


Degree-Seeking Student:
A student actively seeking a bachelor’s, masters or doctoral degree.


Dependent Student:
For purposes of Texas residency determination, a person who: (a) is younger than 18 years of age and has not been emancipated by marriage or court order; or (b) is eligible to be claimed as a dependent of a parent for purposes of determining the parent’s income tax liability under the IRS Code of 1986.


Developmental (DV) are remedial courses or courses that prepare students for college-level coursework. Generally, courses with course numbers starting with a zero or numbers less than 100 are considered developmental courses. Developmental courses will not count towards the GPA (including the BCPM GPA) nor will they be calculated into the overall hours.


Distance Learning/Online Course:
Indicate if the course was completed via on-line, correspondence, or other form of remote learning.


DO/PhD Essay:
DO/PhD program applicants will have the following Essay Prompts. Each essay is limited to 5000 characters, including spaces.

  1. Explain your motivation to seek a MD/PhD or DO/PhD dual Discuss your research interests and career goals as an applicant to a dual degree program.
  2. Describe your significant research Include the name and title of your research mentor as well as your

contributions to the project. List any publications that have resulted from your work.


A person’s principal, permanent residence to which the person intends to return after any temporary absence.


Dual Credit:
College credit earned when a high school student is taking a college course for both high school and college credit. If you took college courses while in high school and received both high school and college credit, you should indicate this Course Type as “Dual Credit”. The credit must appear on an official transcript from the college. Courses may be taken at the high school or at the college but need to be listed on the application under the name of the college.


The section of the application in which you have an opportunity to express yourself in up to 5000 characters. The following are the Essay topics:

  • Personal Characteristics (Required) - See ‘Personal Characteristics’ in Glossary to review full prompt.
  • Personal Statement (Required) - See ‘Personal Statement’ in Glossary to review full prompt.
  • Optional Essay (Not Required, but encouraged) - See ‘Optional Essay’ in Glossary to review full prompt.
  • DDS/PhD Essay: (Required if you are applying to a DDS/PhD program) - See Glossary for full prompt.


Establishing Domicile in Texas:

Physically residing in Texas with the intent to maintain domicile in Texas for at least the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the application deadline, allowing for documented temporary absences.


First-Generation Graduate:
A student with neither parent having any education beyond an undergraduate degree (includes education outside the U.S.). A student with a parent who completed any graduate-level work, even if it did not result in a graduate degree, would not be considered first-generation.


First-Generation Undergraduate:
A student with neither parent having any education beyond high school (includes education outside the U.S.). A student with a parent who attended a college or university, even if the parent did not graduate with a four-year degree, would not be considered first-generation.


Foreign Transfer:
Foreign Transfer (course type FT) are courses taken at a foreign institution that were accepted as transfer credit at a U.S. institution. If these courses appear as FT credit on an official transcript from a U.S. institution, they should be entered in the [College Coursework] section of the application. These courses will count towards the 90 hour requirement but will not count towards meeting pre-requisites.


Full Time:
Enrollment for a minimum of twelve semester credit hours for undergraduate students, or nine semester credit hours for graduate students each semester in the long session (fall and spring).


Gainful Employment:
Employment intended to provide an income to a person, or allow a person to avoid the expense of paying another person to perform the tasks (as in childcare) that is sufficient to provide at least one-half of the individual’s tuition and living expenses, or that represents an average of at least twenty hours of employment per week. A person who is self-employed, employed as a homemaker, or who is living off his/her/their earnings may be considered gainfully

employed for tuition purposes, as may a person whose primary support is public assistance. Employment conditioned on student status, such as work study, the receipt of stipends, fellowships, or research or teaching assistantships does not constitute gainful employment.


Graduate Records Examination (GRE):
The General Test of the GRE is an examination used by the university to assist in determining admissibility of graduate applicants.


Graduate Study:
The educational sequence immediately following completion of the bachelor’s degree, typically leading to a master’s or doctoral degree.


A course taken as part of an undergraduate honors program, not a course for which you may have received academic honors.


Independent Student:
For purposes of Texas residency determination, a student 18 years of age or older or an emancipated minor who is not claimed by a parent or legal guardian as a dependent for federal income tax purposes during the tax year.


International Baccalaureate:
An intensive pre-college curriculum sponsored by the International Baccalaureate Organization.


International Student:
Individuals from countries other than the United States who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of this country.


Legal Guardian:
A person who is appointed guardian under the Texas Probate Code, Chapter 693, or a temporary or successor guardian.


MD/PhD Essay:

  1. Explain your motivation to seek a dual degree (MD/PhD). (5000 max)
  2. Describe your significant research experiences, research interests and career goals as appropriate for an applicant to dual degree program (MD/PhD). (5000 max)


Maintain Domicile:
To physically reside in Texas with the intent to always return to the state after a temporary absence. The maintenance of domicile is not interrupted by a temporary absence from the state.


Military or Government Installation:
A facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel and facilitates training and operations.


Optional Essay: (Not Required, but encouraged)
Briefly discuss any unique circumstances or life experiences that are relevant to your application which have not previously been presented. This is not an area to continue your essay or reiterate what you have previously stated: this area is provided for you to address any issues that have not previously been addressed. Optional Essay is limited to 2500 characters, including spaces.


A housing type that does not fall into any of the other prescribed definitions (rural, urban, suburban, military or government installation).


A natural or adoptive parent, managing or possessory conservator, or court appointed legal guardian of a person. The term does not include a stepparent.


Personal Characteristics: (Required Essay)
Learning from others is enhanced in educational settings that include individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Please describe your personal characteristics (background, talents, skills, etc.) or experiences that would add to the educational experience of others. The personal characteristics essay is limited to 2500 characters, including spaces.


Personal Statement: (Required Essay)
One of the prompts in the Essay section. Depending on which field you are interested in, your specific prompt will change. Each essay is limited to 5000 characters, including spaces.


  • Dental Applicant: The personal essay asks you to explain your motivation to seek a career in dentistry. You are asked to discuss your philosophy of the dental profession and indicate your goals relevant to the profession.


  • Medical Applicant: The personal essay asks you to explain your motivation to seek a career in medicine. You are asked to include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician.


  • Veterinary Applicant: The personal essay asks you to discuss your personal understanding of the roles of a veterinarian as it relates to your career goals. What do you have to offer the profession?


Prescribed Coursework Review (PCR):
A process by which TMDSAS reviews the coursework as coded by the applicant and compares with the approved Course Listing for each institution. TMDSAS may make changes to the course coding entered by the applicant during processing to ensure courses are coded in accordance with the approved Course Listing.

  • A PDF of the PCR is available for applicants to review upon application transmission. Note: the PCR lists only the courses coded as prerequisites. All other courses can be viewed in the [College Coursework] section of the application. (See Policy Appealing Course Coding Decisions Made in Processing for more information.)


Property Ownership:
Sole or joint marital ownership of residential real property in Texas by the person seeking to enroll or the dependent’s parent, having established and maintained domicile at that residence. Owning a timeshare, renting a residence, or owning a cemetery plot does not constitute property ownership.


Race or Ethnic Group Descriptions:
Ethnicity and Race questions are asked for federal and/or state reporting purposes. These questions are voluntary, and applicants will not be at a disadvantage in the admissions process if they are not completed.

Hispanic or Latino

A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

Black/African American

A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.


A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand and Vietnam.

American Indian or Alaskan Native

A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Applicants may be expected to provide official documentation/certification of active affiliation with a recognized tribe or reservation community.


A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.


You are considered a reapplicant if you have previously submitted an application that was transmitted to any TMDSAS medical, dental or veterinary schools. If your application was withdrawn while in the status “TMDSAS Processing,” then you are not considered a reapplicant.


Regular Class:
A regular class taken in the classroom – no special designation.


Research Activities:
Comprise the Employment and Activities section. List any significant research activities. Include any publications (submitted as well as published). Other examples may include participation in a research project through class, employment, or volunteer experience.


A person’s home or other dwelling place.


Of or relating to the country, country people or life, or agriculture.


An examination used to assist in determining admissibility of undergraduate students.


Secondary Applications:
A supplemental application required by one or more of the medical, dental or veterinary schools. These applications are not handled by TMDSAS and any questions related to the secondary applications should be directed to the individual school. See the After Submitting section for more information about secondaries.

Secondary School/High School:
Generally refers to the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th years of formal education, preceding entry into a college or university.


Semester Credit Hours:
A quantitative measure of coursework. Generally, a student earns three semester hours of credit upon successful completion of a course meeting three hours a week during one long-semester (fall or spring). [See also quarter hours.]


Study Abroad:
Courses undertaken at a foreign university as part of a Study Abroad program and received credit for those courses on a U.S. or Canadian school transcript. (Courses completed overseas that are not part of a Study Abroad program should be treated as foreign coursework and will not be included in the TMDSAS GPA computation.)


The residential area on the outskirts of a city or large town.


Temporary Absence:
Absence from the state of Texas with the intention to return, generally for a period of less than five years. For example, the temporary absence of a person or a dependent’s parent from the state for the purpose of service in the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Department of State as a result of an employment assignment or for educational purposes, shall not affect a person’s ability to continue to claim that Texas is his or her domicile.


TMDSAS calculates the following GPAs:

Overall GPA

Comprised of all coursework (undergraduate and graduate level).

Overall Biology-Chemistry-Physics-Math (BCPM*) GPA

Comprised of all biology, chemistry, physics and math-based coursework.

Overall Non-BCPM GPA

Comprised of all other coursework not included in BCPM GPA.

Undergraduate GPA

Comprised of all undergraduate coursework.

Undergraduate BCPM* GPA

Comprised of all undergraduate biology, chemistry, physics and math coursework.

Undergraduate Non-BCPM GPA

Comprised of all other undergraduate coursework not included in BCPM GPA.

Graduate GPA

Comprised of all graduate coursework.

Graduate BCPM* GPA

Comprised of all graduate biology, chemistry, physics and math coursework.

Graduate Non-BCPM GPA

Comprised of all other graduate coursework not included in BCPM GPA.


A mark sheet; a complete record of academic work, i.e., all subjects taken and grades or marks secured in each subject, including failures, if any. TMDSAS accepts all official transcripts, including the following types: Canadian transcripts, International transcripts, Military transcripts, Study Abroad transcripts, transcripts from Overseas U.S. Institutions, and Electronic transcripts. See below for a full description of each.

  • Canadian Transcripts:
    Follow steps listed in the Transcripts section of the guide to have your English-language Canadian transcripts sent to TMDSAS.
  • International Transcripts:
    Enter coursework taken at all international colleges/universities in the [College Coursework] section. Although TMDSAS permits you to list foreign coursework in your application, TMDSAS does not verify this coursework for authenticity and does not use grades from international transcripts in computing TMDSAS GPAs. You are required to submit one transcript from every international college/university you have attended. TMDSAS also encourages international applicants to submit a copy of any evaluation of international coursework that has been completed by an official credential evaluation service. TMDSAS will forward a photocopy of your international transcript and evaluation to your designated medical/dental/veterinary schools. If you have difficulty obtaining an official transcript from your foreign institution, TMDSAS will accept a copy from your personal records.
  • Military Credit & Transcripts:
    Individuals in the U.S. Armed Services frequently receive credit for special courses that they have taken while in service. These courses are considered post-secondary, but do not appear on a college transcript. In other situations, information about these courses may be posted to a Joint Services Transcript. TMDSAS does not consider these courses to be college courses and they should not be added to the application.

In certain situations, colleges/universities may award academic credit for these same military courses, or for experiences gained during military service. Such credit is usually considered “life experience credit” and is awarded as credit hours towards the completion of a degree. In situations such as this, the applicant should indicate the credit hours on the TMDSAS application, under the college/university granting the credit. Only the credit hours actually awarded by the college/university should be included in the TMDSAS application.

You have the option to upload your military transcript directly in the Military Service Section of the application.

  • Study Abroad Transcripts:
    If you participated in a Study Abroad program under the sponsorship of a U.S. or Canadian institution and the international coursework appears on the U.S./Canadian transcript as regular itemized credit, only list the U.S. or Canadian institution on your TMDSAS application. DO NOT list the foreign institution.

If the sponsoring school is different than your home institution, such as Arcadia University, University of Minnesota Danish Institutes of Study Abroad, or International Studies Abroad (IES), you must list the sponsoring school. How to enter Study Aboard coursework. 

Arrange for only the U.S. or Canadian transcript to be sent to TMDSAS. TMDSAS processes study-abroad coursework in the same manner as U.S. and Canadian coursework.

  • Transcripts from Overseas U.S. Institutions Overseas U.S. institutions are:
    1. Located outside U. S. borders
    2. Accredited by a regional institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U. S. Department of Education
    3. Use English as the primary language of instruction and documentation

If you attended an overseas U.S. institution, report it to TMDSAS in the same manner as your U.S. and (English-speaking) Canadian institutions and arrange for an official transcript to be forwarded to TMDSAS. List all coursework on your TMDSAS application. U.S. institutions with campuses overseas are also considered U.S. colleges for which transcripts are required and all coursework must be listed.

  • Electronic Transcripts:
    TMDSAS accepts electronic transcripts from Credential Solutions (formerly eScrip-Safe), National Student Clearinghouse, Parchment, and Greenlight Locker (Dallas CCCD). For more information about the institutions they serve and how to arrange delivery of your electronic transcript, see here:

Credentials Solutions:

National Student Clearinghouse:


Greenlight Locker:


Transferable Credit:
Undergraduate academic coursework completed at an accredited post-secondary institution that is recognized by the university as being commensurate with its educational expectations.


Undergraduate Study:
The educational sequence immediately following completion of secondary school and leading to a bachelor’s degree.

Of, relating to, characteristic of, or constituting a city.



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