Academic year: the time during which classes are taught. In most Canadian universities, the university year starts in September and ends in May. It is normally divided into three terms or two semesters and concludes with a long vacation. Some universities operate on the semester or trimester system and admit students in January and/or May as well as September. Many institutions also offer a limited number of courses and special programs during the summer session. See also intersession.
Calendar: annual university publication listing key dates in the academic year, admission requirements, program requirements, rules and regulations, and course descriptions. The undergraduate calendar can be obtained from the university registrar; the graduate studies office distributes the graduate calendar.
Certificate: a qualification awarded upon successful completion of a university program which is usually one year in duration.
College: a college may be a university-level institution with the power to grant degrees. In some cases a college is a part of a university; either a residence or an academic entity in its own right, with the power to grant degrees, or a combination of the two. To differentiate between such institutions and community colleges, colleges which are part of the university system are sometimes called university colleges. See also university and community college.
Credit: the certification that a student has passed a particular course. Students can obtain one or more credits for each course taken and have to obtain a given number and type of credits to qualify for the award of a degree.
Credit course: a course which is considered toward the completion of a particular program. A student can obtain one or more credits for each course taken.
Degree: a qualification awarded to a student by a university. A first degree (usually a bachelor's degree) signifies the successful completion of three or four years of successful studies. A graduate (master's or doctorate) degree is awarded after further years of study.
D iploma: a qualification awarded on the basis of one or two years' successful study. Usually it is at less than degree level, but some diplomas are at the graduate level.
Distance education: involves the physical separation of teacher and student. Students and teachers communicate with each other by such means as correspondence courses, audiotapes, computer links, cable television broadcasts or satellite hook-ups.
Doctorate: a degree ranking above the master's degree and normally awarded after two or three years' study, although most students need more time to finish; the average for many is four to five years. The most common doctorate is the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) which can be awarded for research in any subject (not just philosophy). Doctoral degrees usually involve researching, writing, presenting and defending a thesis, in addition to course work.
Faculty: this word is used to indicate the teaching staff of a university as well as an academic subdivision of a university which is normally a larger unit than a department. For example, a faculty of science might include the departments of physics, chemistry and biology.
Fellowship: a non-repayable financial award to assist a graduate student with the costs of study.
General, honours: these terms are used primarily with reference to first (bachelor's) degree programs in arts and science. The general degree (also called a pass degree) is without a concentration in a particular field. The honours program is often a year longer, requires a higher standing for admission and for the maintenance of honours status, and the student specializes in a particular field. See also bachelor's degree.
Lecture: teaching method in which the teacher or professor presents information orally to the students who take notes and ask questions.
Major/minor: type of degree program; a major indicates specialization with a number of courses drawn from one particular subject area; a minor indicates a lesser degree of specialization, with only a few courses drawn from one particular area.
Masters degree: a degree sought after the student has received a bachelor's degree which may be achieved by taking courses and examinations and in some cases by conducting research and presenting a thesis.
Ombudsman/person: a university official empowered to investigate grievances.
Orientation: a program offered at the beginning of the academic year to new students to familiarize them with the campus.
Prerequisites: courses necessary to successfully complete before taking specific higher level courses.
Registrar: a university official concerned with keeping academic records, approving course selections, and sometimes, counselling. The registrar's office is responsible for student admissions, records and the university timetable.