Glossary of University Terms

academic calendar: Annual university publication listing key dates in the academic year, admission requirements, program requirements, rules and regulations, and course descriptions. The calendar can be obtained from the university registrar’s office.

bachelor’s degree: First undergraduate degree awarded by a university after three or four years of full-time study. Bachelor’s degree are identified as BA (bachelor of arts), BSc (bachelor of science) and BCom (bachelor of commerce). See also general, honours, major, minor, specialist.

bursary: A non-repayable cash award to help students pay for their university education. Bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need and academic achievement.

certificate: A qualification awarded upon successful completion of a university or college program which is usually one year in duration.

COPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English): a test which may be used to demonstrate English proficiency.

corequisite: A requirement to be undertaken concurrently with another course.

credit: Depending on the institution, students obtain a half or one credit for each successfully completed course.

curriculum: Contents of a course or program.

degree: A qualification awarded to a student by a post-secondary institution. A bachelor’s degree signifies the successful completion of the initial three or four years of successful studies. A graduate (master’s or doctorate) degree is awarded after further years of study.

diploma: 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.

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.

English facility requirement: proof of competency in English if the applicant’s first language and/or language of high school education was not English.

fee deferral: An arrangement made between the student and the university to pay fees after normal deadlines.

FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act): provides a right of access to records held by public bodies and regulates how public bodies manage personal information.

graduate/postgraduate: Graduate, sometimes called postgraduate, programs lead to advanced degrees, diplomas and certificates for which a first degree is a prerequisite. Students in graduate programs are called graduate students.

grant: Funding provided to a student by an institution, organization or government that does not need to be repaid.

major: Type of degree program; a major indicates specialization with a number of courses drawn from one particular subject area.

MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): a test which once was used to demonstrate English proficiency; as of June 2018, U of T will no longer accept MELAB.

minor: Type of degree program; a minor indicates a lesser degree of specialization, with only a few courses drawn from one particular area.

master’s 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.

orientation: A program offered at the beginning of the academic year to new students to familiarize them with the campus.

OSAP: Acronym for Ontario Student Assistance Program, a financial aid program offered by the Government of Ontario. OSAP is available to Ontario residents who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or Protected Persons, to assist with educational and living expenses in the form of loans, grants and scholarships.

prerequisites: Courses necessary to successfully complete before taking specific higher level courses.

scholarship: A non-repayable financial award to students to help finance their studies. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of outstanding academic achievement.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): A test which may be used to demonstrate English proficiency.

tutorial: A small class in which a teaching assistant or instructor gives intensive instruction or academic help in addition to a regular lecture.

undergraduate: Undergraduate programs of study include those leading to a bachelor’s or first professional degree as well as to diplomas and certificates below degree level.