University key terms and language

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Academic excellence: Normally a minimum A- average, equivalent to or greater than a 3.67 GPA.

Academic proficiency: Normally a B- average, equivalent to or greater than a 2.67 GPA.

Academic year: The academic year at UNBC runs from September 1 until August 31 the following year.

Add/drop period: The period each semester during which courses may be dropped without academic penalty.

Admit: Students are admitted to the University and assigned a permanent student number effective on the date of their admission. See enrol and registration.

Alumni: Students who have graduated from a school, college, or university.

Arts: Studies in two fundamental areas of human knowledge: humanities and social sciences: are called Arts.

Asynchronous learning: Courses that enable students access to the same course material at different times.

Award: An award may be a fellowship, scholarship, bursary, prize, or other monetary or non-monetary recognition assigned to a student.

Audit: An official category by which a student is allowed to register in a credit course and attend lectures but may not be required to write the final examination and does not receive a grade or credit.

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BA, BComm, BEd, BSc, MA, MSc, MEd, MSW, PhD: The most common abbreviations for degrees. In turn, they are: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Education, Master of Social Work, and Doctor of Philosophy.

Bachelor's degree: Also called an undergraduate degree, this credential generally requires four years of study, longer if the student studies at a part-time pace.

BC Student Assistance Program: The official agency in the province which is responsible for supplying loans and bursaries to students. Loans and bursaries are dependent upon need and require a student to maintain full-time status (nine credit hours or more).

Breadth requirement: In addition to a bachelor degree's major requirements and elective credit requirements, UNBC degrees also require that students gain some breadth of knowledge outside of their chosen discipline. Between their degree and elective requirements, students must take a course from each of the Arts and Humanities, Physical Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. Some Majors have incorporated academic breadth into their requirements, and no extra coursework is needed to complete Breadth.

Bursary: Financial aid given to students in order to further their studies. Bursaries are often needs-based.

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Calendar: The University’s official publication, issued annually, which describes admission requirements, grading and academic regulations, program requirements and course descriptions.

Certificate: This credential generally requires one year of study. Certificates can often "ladder" into further education, such as diplomas or degrees.

CGPA (cumulative grade point average): Expresses performance as a numerical average for all UNBC courses for all semesters completed. The CGPA is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned to date by the total number of credit hours undertaken to date. (Letter grades of P or W are not assigned a numerical value and are not used in calculating the grade point average.)

Chair or Head: At most universities heads an academic department. UNBC, however, in accordance with its plan to maximize a multi-disciplinary approach, instead has Program Chairs. Chairs are the academic and administrative leaders of particular programs. The Chair of History, for example, leads and reviews the courses being offered in History, and represents the History faculty.

Concentration: A designated program of study within a discipline or within a multi-disciplinary field of knowledge.

Co-operative Education: Often referred to as "Co-op," Cooperative Education involves students engaging in semester-long work terms during programs. These work terms can add time spent on completing a degree, but completing enough Co-op work terms earns Co-op distinction on the graduating student's degree.

Co-requisite: A course which is required to be taken concurrently with another course.

Credential: A degree, diploma, or certificate awarded on successful completion of a program.

Credit hour: Usually corresponds with the amount of "contact hours" in class, per week. Most UNBC courses are three credit hours each. Tuition is also charged on a per-credit-hour basis.

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Dean: Heads a College, and working in co-operation with the Provost and academic staff, develops the programs and courses within that Faculty. Chairs report to a Dean.

Diploma: A credential that generally requires two years of study. Diplomas can often "ladder" into further education, such as a degree.

Discipline: Refers to courses in a specific area; for example, English in arts, Biology in the sciences, or Marketing in Business Administration.

Doctoral degree: The most common type being a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), this credential is the highest level of academic degree, generally attempted after the completion of a graduate degree.

Double major: A student pursuing a double major is attempting to complete two majors' degree requirements while at school. Sometimes, this requires taking more courses than needed to complete one major, extending the duration of study, however there are numerous double majors that can be completed within a typical, four-year timeline.

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Elective: A course that is not listed as "required" for a major or minor, but is taken to meet the credit hour requirement for a particular credential.

English language requirements: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Enrol: A student is enrolled in a degree program. The enrolment date determines the degree regulations that a student follows to be eligible to graduate. See admit and registration.

Enrolment limits: When the number of qualified applicants exceeds, in the judgment of the University, the number of students who can be accommodated, the University reserves the right to select the quota from among the qualified applicants. Some academic programs within the University also have enrolment limits.

Exchange program: The University has a number of reciprocal agreements with other universities that allow students from UNBC to study there, or permit students from these universities to study at UNBC.

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Faculty: The teaching staff of the university.

Fees: Charges levied by the University in consideration of academic and related services or products.

Financial assistance: Monetary supplement to help offset normal expenses a student may encounter. Financial assistance varies with need.

Full-time studies: At UNBC, full-time studies consist of taking at least nine credit hours per semester.

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Grade: Final grade for the course expressed as a percentage value.

Grade points: A way of numerically expressing a student’s academic performance. Numerical values are assigned to each possible grade.

GPA (grade point average): A method of expressing the student’s performance as a numerical value. Each letter grade is assigned a numerical equivalent, which is then multiplied by the credit hour value assigned to the course to produce the grade point.

Graduation requirements: Specific requirements students must meet in order to be awarded a degree or university certificate, such as the total credits required, the minimum credits that must be completed at the upper division level, and the minimum credits that must be completed at UNBC.

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International student: A student who does not hold Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status as defined by Employment and Immigration Canada. International students are required to pay higher fees and may face enrolment restrictions in certain programs.

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Joint major: A path of study or program that combines courses from two disciplines of study in such a way that less courses are taken for each major separately while still completing enough courses to earn a combined major from each discipline.

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Laboratory: Smaller, more individual course component.

Lecture: Classroom-based instruction. May be the largest type of class.

Letter of permission: A document permitting a student to take one or more courses at another post-secondary institution to be used for credit toward a UNBC degree.

Level: Each course is assigned a level, indicated by the first digit of its course number: lower division (100 and 200) or upper division (300 or 400).

Lower division course: Usually introductory or survey courses, offered at UNBC at the 100 and 200 level. Most programs require 60 credit hours of lower division course as part of the graduation requirements.

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Major: A subject or field of study chosen by students to represent their principal interest (see Minors).

Master's degree: Also called a graduate degree, this credential is generally taken after a student completes an undergraduate degree.

Minimum standing: For the purpose of awards eligibility, minimum standing (passing grades) shall be considered equivalent to satisfactory academic standing.

Minor: A secondary academic interest or discipline chosen by students during their undergraduate studies. Minors have their own set of required courses, and result in less electives taken by a student.

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Part-time studies: At UNBC, part time studies consists of taking no more than 8 credit hours per semester.

Plagiarism: The willful act of presenting another person’s work as one’s own without the proper academic acknowledgement and recognition.

Practicum course: A course with a substantial amount of supervised, discipline-related time in actual work settings.

Precluded course: This is a currently or formerly offered UNBC course whose curriculum overlaps the course being described to the extent that students would be duplicating coursework if they completed both courses. Thus students cannot receive credit for both the course being described and the courses listed in this section. Precluded courses are usually the result of a course revision, course renumbering, or cross-listing of courses.

Prerequisite course: A course that must be completed before taking another course. Prerequisite courses can be high school courses or university-level courses.

Professor: In university, teachers are usually known as professors.

Program: The basic academic unit and is comprised of a coherent set of courses in a particular area of study.

Program requirements: Programs of study require a student to take specific courses or to take courses from specified areas of study or disciplines, or to take courses at a specific level of study. These are program requirements and form part of the regulations for each program.

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Registration: The process of selecting and undertaking specific courses at UNBC.

Required course: A course that must be completed to complete a major or minor's degree requirements.

Resident of Northern B.C.: A resident of northern British Columbia is so categorized by virtue of birth or continuous dwelling within the defined region for the four years immediately prior to admission at UNBC. The area comprising northern British Columbia is defined in the University of Northern British Columbia Act.

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Satisfactory academic standing: Normally a minimum C average, equivalent or greater than a 2.00 CGPA.

Scholarship: Financial aid given to a student, often based on high academic achievement.

Science: Studies that normally encompass courses based on a knowledge of facts, phenomena, laws, and proximate cause are designated Science (e.g. biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, mathematics and physics).

Semester: Divisions of an academic year. Courses are taken over a semester. At UNBC, a semester is four months long.

Student number: A ten-digit number is assigned to all students to help identify them. Students should have their student numbers available whenever they contact the University.

Syllabus: A detailed guide or outline for a course provided by a professor. A syllabus generally includes information such as required texts and readings, a schedule of assignments and tests, and university rules and regulations.

Synchronous learning: Courses that students participate in and learn at the same time.

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Timetable: The list of available courses distributed to all students eligible to register in a semester. Available online.

Transfer credit: Credit granted for the successful completion of coursework at another accredited institution is transfer credit.

Transfer credit summary: A specialized document issued by the Office of the Registrar which indicates courses that have been approved for transfer credit. The transfer credit summary is normally sent to students when the evaluation of their previous education is completed, when a student is notified of a final grade, and upon the student’s request.

Transcript: An official document prepared by the Office of the Registrar recording a student’s academic performance and bearing the University seal is called a transcript. Transcripts must be requested in writing and will not be released to anyone without the student’s permission.

Tuition: A fee or payment for instruction at UNBC.

Tutorial: A course meant to supplement certain lectures. These are generally smaller than lectures, and provide students even more opportunity to ask questions and discuss course concepts/readings.

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Unspecified credit: Transfer credit granted for courses without a direct UNBC equivalent but which clearly fall within a discipline and which may, therefore, be used to fulfill subject requirements for a degree in that discipline.

Undergraduate student: A student enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program.

University transfer programs: Typically allow people with two years at a college to transfer directly into a university for two further years of study in the subject to gain a degree.

Upper division course: A course number in the 300s or 400s; assumes a background of university learning and often specifies one or more lower division courses as a prerequisite.

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Visiting student: Any person taking courses for transfer of credit to another post-secondary institution is a visiting student.

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Withdrawal: Voluntary exit from a course, program or the University by a student and at the student’s request. For approved withdrawal, award of “W” on student’s transcript.

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