English: Words Worth Knowing – Education

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This glossary explains some of the terms you will come across while looking for a program, or even a course. Usually, every organization has their own set of terms, or names.

  • Antirequisite:
    Usually a course already passed or that the student is taking in another format.
  • Bursary/Grant:
    A non-repayable cash award to help students pay for their education.
  • Calendar:
    Official publication which lists and describes all the degree programs and courses offered by a University or college and important dates, among other information.
  • Career Centre:
    A student resource centre. It helps current students and recent graduates seeking employment opportunities on and off campus, through services like career counselling, career resource library, employment services, résumé and interview clinics, and career workshops and seminars.
  • Certificate program:
    A set of courses that provide post-secondary level studies, designed to provide you with the opportunity to obtain skills and knowledge in a specialized field. Generally, after completion, students received a certificate.
  • College:
    The word “college” has several different meanings. Commonly, they refer to “community college” (like Seneca College, Humber College). At universities, “college” also means a community of students, professors and staff. Undergraduate students select a college at enrolment.
  • Course description:
    Outline of the main content, organization and expected outcome of a course. It normally includes a description of the course content, the number of credits awarded, hours of class, tutorials, laboratory time and required textbooks.
  • Course hours:
    Includes lecture hours, seminar hours, laboratory hours, laboratory work, internship, and independent study, among other.
  • Credits:
    Can be compared to ‘”points”. Each course you take is assessed on the basis of a certain number of credits. It could also means a certification that a student has passed a particular course.
  • Curriculum:
    The content of a course.
  • Degree:
    An academic title given by a college or university to a student who has completed a course of study. They could be Bachelor, Master or Doctor degrees. A Bachelor’s degree refers to 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.
  • Diploma:
    A qualification awarded on the basis of one or two years of study. Some diplomas are at the graduate level, although most of them are not.
  • Distance education:
    A method of pursuing your education by taking courses through correspondence or the Internet.
  • Elective:
    Optional course that can be taken for personal interest and it can also satisfies degree requirements.
  • English proficiency:
    Student’s ability to speak, write and understand English.
  • Enrol:
    Term used for signing up for the courses you will take in a particular year or term.
  • Faculty or faculty:
    When the word Faculty is spelled with a capital “F” (for example “Faculty of Health”) it refers to an academic unit of the University. When spelled with a small “f” it means “professor.”
  • Grade Point Average (GPA):
    The average of all the grades received while registered in a certificate program.
  • Graduate student:
    Someone who has completed a Bachelor’s degree and is working toward either a Master’s or Doctoral degree.
  • Language proficiency test:
    A test that measures your ability to speak, write and understand a particular language. Some examples of language proficiency tests are TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Lecture:
    Type of class in which the professor gives a formal talk about a particular topic.
  • Loan:
    Financial assistance that has to be paid back.
  • Postsecondary education:
    Refers to education completed after high school.
  • Postgraduate:
    A student who continues studies after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. It also refers to the programs (as in postgraduate programs) including Master and Doctorate programs.
  • Practicum course:
    A practicum allows you to practice what you have learned in the classroom, under supervision. It is similar to a co-op placement or an internship.
  • Prerequisite/Corequisite:
    You must pass Course X before taking Course Y. Sometimes prerequisites are waived depending on academic/professional experience.
  • 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 bursaries.
  • Requisites:
    Necessary requirements to take a course (e.g., department consent, corequisites, and prerequisites). A requisite may be ignored if the student has specific academic/professional experience.
  • Research assistant:
    Paid graduate students who contribute to faculty research projects.
  • Scholarship:
    A non-repayable financial award to students to help finance their studies. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of outstanding academic achievement.
  • TA:
    Teaching assistant. Paid graduate students who help professors with grading, supervising, even lecturing.
  • Transcript:
    Officially authorized document from an educational institution stating courses completed, duration, grades received, etc.
  • Undergraduate:
    Refers to a student who has not yet completed a Bachelor’s degree or the course of study of a student completing a Bachelor’s degree.

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