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Policy 2: Undergraduate Curriculum Structure

Policy Approval Date:                                       November 5, 2019

Next Policy Review Date:                                Fall 2022 (or earlier if required)

Implementation Date:                                      November 6, 2019

Responsible Committee or Office:                Provost and Vice President Academic

 

1.    Purpose of Policy

This policy describes the curriculum structure of all Ryerson undergraduate degree programs.

2.    Application and Scope

This policy applies to existing and – together with Policy #112: Development of New Graduate and Undergraduate Programs – to proposed Ryerson undergraduate degree programs.  For certificate programs, refer to Senate Policy #76: Development and Review of Certificate Programs.

3.    Definitions

See Appendix I: Glossary.

Definitions contained in this glossary may be amended upon the recommendation of the Academic Governance and Policy Committee (AGPC) as part of the consent agenda of Senate.  Such amendments do not require or imply a review of the rest of the policy.

4.    Goals and Principles 

The overarching goals of Ryerson’s undergraduate degree programs and their curriculum structure are built into its legislated objects, its mission and aims, and its Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UDLEs). The curriculum policy of the University will reflect those overarching goals, while taking account of how this framework has been evolving in keeping with broader trends in post-secondary education and Canadian society.

4.1    Ryerson's Objectives

The University’s objectives are set out in the PDF fileRyerson University Act (1977), Article 3, as follows:

The objects of the University are:

1.    the advancement of learning, and the intellectual, social, moral, cultural, spiritual, and physical development of the University's students and employees, and the betterment of society;

2.    the advancement of applied knowledge and research in response to existing and emerging societal needs and in support of the cultural, economic, social, and technological development of Ontario; and

3.    the provision of programs of study that provide a balance between theory and application and that prepare students for careers in professional and quasi-professional fields.

4.2    Ryerson's Mission

Ryerson is known for its mission to provide career-relevant education and must ensure sufficient rigour and depth to serve this mission. The “Mission and Aims” of the University are formally set out in Senate Policy #103: Mission and Aims of Ryerson University, which has also been approved by the Board of Governors. The “mission” is defined thus:

The special mission of Ryerson University is the advancement of applied knowledge and research to address societal need, and the provision of programs of study that provide a balance between theory and application and that prepare students for careers in professional and quasi-professional fields. As a leading centre for applied education, Ryerson is recognized for the excellence of its teaching, the relevance of its curriculum, the success of its students in achieving their academic and career objectives, the quality of its scholarship, research and creative activity and its commitment to accessibility, lifelong learning, and involvement in the broader community.

For the detailed “aims,” refer to Senate Policy #103: Mission and Aims of Ryerson University.

4.3    Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UDLEs)

The Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UDLEs), established by the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents (OCAV) and endorsed by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), are part of Ryerson’s Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP, Senate Policy #110) and establish a framework for defining the attributes of a Ryerson graduate both generally and on an individual program basis.  (See also Appendix 2)

4.4    Principles

Based on the overarching goals described above, the following are the basic principles that underlie Ryerson’s curriculum policy.

4.4.1   Alignment with UDLEs

The curriculum should ensure that students meet the educational objectives laid out in the Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations, included here as Appendix 2.

4.4.2   Breadth and Depth of Knowledge

Ryerson’s goal is to produce graduates who are well-rounded, both intellectually and in other ways, with a breadth as well as a depth of knowledge, and who have learned to think critically and communicate clearly, both orally and in writing.  Graduates will gain transferable skills and the ability to work effectively with others to solve complex problems and contribute to the betterment of the community.[1]

4.4.3   Program Quality and Currency

The University is committed to ensuring that all programs achieve and maintain the highest possible standards of academic quality. The strengthening and nurturing of existing programs includes, but is not restricted to, reviews and revisions conducted under the auspices of Senate Policy #126 or #127[2] that respond to external developments in professions, scholarly fields, and society at large, as well as taking account of interdisciplinary links with other subjects and relevant international perspectives.

4.4.4   Provision of Multiple Curricular Opportunities

While it is recognized that there are sometimes constraints on curriculum (such as external accreditation requirements), students should be provided with, and encouraged and supported to take advantage of, multiple curricular opportunities in order to meet their own educational goals.

4.4.5   Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Ryerson will continue to make post-secondary education more inclusive. The curriculum in programs should take account of the diversity of Canadian society, not only to ensure the inclusion of all students in the educational process but as a means to enrich the curriculum.

4.4.6   Indigenous Peoples

In the development and implementation of curriculum at Ryerson, consideration will be given to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015) to increase student knowledge and capacity on the histories and experiences; cultures and languages; residential school legacies and current realities of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

4.4.7   Dealing with Emerging Trends

Ryerson students should be encouraged to play an active role in their learning – including, but not restricted to experiential learning – to give them the skills required to deal with emerging trends as they build careers, enter various professions or launch their own ventures.[3]

5.    Program Structure

An undergraduate degree program normally consists of 40 one-term degree level courses, or the equivalent.[4]

Upon completion of an undergraduate degree program, the student’s primary area(s) of study (their “major” or, where applicable, their double major) is noted on the academic transcript and on the graduation award document.

To achieve its goals, the curriculum structure of all Ryerson undergraduate degree programs is based on three broad categories of study, which are defined by their objectives and supported by their regulations.

5.1    Core Studies

5.1.1    Objectives

Core studies provide students with both depth and breadth of knowledge of either a single area of study, or of two disciplinary or interdisciplinary areas of study, establishing an essential knowledge base for a career or further study in the area(s).  Core studies comprise the primary area(s) of study which includes the student’s “major” (or, where applicable, “double major”).

5.1.2   Regulations

5.1.2.1      Core studies are defined by the Program Department/School and are approved by Senate.

5.1.2.2     Core studies include required courses considered foundational and integral to the program area(s).

5.1.2.3     Core studies include courses provided by any Teaching Department with expertise in the subject matter being delivered, which the Program Department has identified as integral to the program area(s).

5.1.2.4     There may be choices offered within the core studies of a program.  The courses that comprise such choices are referred to as core electives.

5.2    Open Electives

5.2.1    Objectives

 The open electives category provides students with the opportunity, based on their career path or their personal interests, to choose degree-level courses outside their core or to gain greater depth and breadth within their core.  Open electives also allow students to earn a Minor.

5.2.2   Regulations

5.2.2.1      Open electives include all degree-level courses except those identified as liberal studies courses[5]  and those courses specifically excluded by Program or Teaching Departments/Schools as follows:

5.2.2.1.1     Program Department(s)/School(s) may prevent[6] their students from using courses that are too closely related to the content of core courses in their program;

5.2.2.1.2     Program Department(s)/School(s) may prevent6 their students from using introductory level core elective courses; and/or

5.2.2.1.3     Teaching Department(s)/School(s) may prevent6 enrolment in a specific course by permitting enrolment only of those students for whom it is a core required course (which may include students in their own program).

5.2.2.2     Students must meet all pre-requisite requirements.

5.2.2.3     Program Departments/Schools and Teaching Departments/Schools must negotiate, and agree upon, any restrictions that are applied.  If the Program and Teaching Departments/ Schools cannot agree, the matter will be referred to the Vice Provost Academic, who will decide operational matters and may refer academic matters to the Academic Standards Committee of Senate.

5.2.2.4     Restrictions on any other basis than those listed in 5.2.2.1 above require the approval of Senate on the recommendation of its Academic Standards Committee.

5.2.2.5     All restrictions should be based on sound and verifiable grounds including resource availability (including available teaching faculty), class size limitations (e.g. for studio and lab-based courses), and the presence of non-academic criteria (e.g. the submission of portfolios) within the program’s admission requirements.

5.2.2.6     In order to maximize student choice of open electives among a wide range of subject areas, Teaching Departments/Schools in all Faculties have a responsibility to offer their courses as open electives to non-program students, within the limits posed by academic and fiscal responsibility and other constraints.  Teaching Departments /Schools also have a responsibility to ensure an appropriate number of seats in their open electives courses.

5.3    Liberal Studies

5.3.1    Objectives

Liberal studies are intended, as a category, to develop students’ capacity to understand and critically appraise the social, cultural, natural, and physical context in which they will work as a professional and live as an educated citizen.  Liberal studies are also intended to develop skills in critical thinking, analysis, and written communication.  Liberal studies courses, to the maximum degree feasible, provide a means by which students from a variety of programs may meet to share perspectives on the subject area being studied.

5.3.2    Regulations

5.3.2.1       Liberal studies are degree-level courses in disciplines outside students’ core area(s) of study.

5.3.2.2      Students in all Ryerson programs, except those in the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science,[7] are required to complete at least six (6) liberal studies courses to fulfil the requirements of the liberal studies category.

5.3.2.3      Courses used to satisfy the requirements of the liberal studies category cannot simultaneously satisfy the requirements of any other category.

5.3.2.4      Liberal studies courses are offered at two levels, lower and upper.

5.3.2.4.1     Lower level liberal studies courses are intended for first- and second-year students.  Normally, they will be introductory or survey courses.

5.3.2.4.2     Upper level liberal studies courses are more focused and intellectually demanding, with the standards of evaluation reflecting those that should prevail at the advanced undergraduate degree level.

5.3.2.5     The number of liberal studies courses required at each level varies by program, but normally conforms to one of two patterns: three lower level and three upper level courses, or two lower level and four upper level courses. The choice of pattern, and the placement of the liberal studies course requirements within the program structure, are the responsibility of the Program Department/School.  Students in any given program must complete the minimum number of upper level liberal studies courses prescribed by their program.

5.3.2.6     Liberal studies courses must include a substantial writing component designed to foster critical thinking that[8]:

5.3.2.6.1     requires the student to carry out an analysis of the assignment’s subject, and make and justify an evaluative, comparative or explicatory judgment;

5.3.2.6.2     comprises one or more individually-written assignment(s) that is/are completed out of class;

5.3.2.6.3     totals at least 1200 words at the lower level and at least 1500 words at the upper level; and[9]

5.3.2.6.4     has a combined weight of at least 25% of the student’s grade in the course.

5.3.2.7     The quality of student work expected in the liberal studies writing component must reflect the level of the course.

5.3.2.8     The instructor is expected to provide commentary on the clarity of organization, logic, syntax, and grammar of student writing, and explicitly indicate that such attributes will form part of the basis upon which the assignment will be evaluated.

5.3.2.9     In addition to the mandatory writing component, liberal studies courses may include a variety of other methods of assessment (e.g., in-class, essay-type and multiple-choice testing, final examinations, field work, class presentation and debates, and assessments of student contributions to class discussion).

5.3.2.10    Upper level liberal studies courses may be substituted for lower level liberal studies requirements, but lower level liberal studies courses may not be substituted for upper level requirements.

5.3.2.11     Normally, there will be no restriction on the number of liberal studies courses a student may select from any one discipline.

5.3.2.12    Specific liberal studies courses, due to their close relation to a program’s core studies, cannot be taken for liberal studies credit by students in that program.   

5.3.2.13    Restrictions will normally be determined by the Liberal Studies Curriculum Committee (LSCC), but may be recommended by either Program or Teaching Departments/Schools.  Between meetings of the LSCC, the Chair of the Committee may impose exclusions made necessary by curriculum modifications.

5.3.2.14    Program Departments/Schools may not prescribe, either directly or by prerequisite structure, specific liberal studies courses for credit in the liberal studies category.

5.3.2.15    The liberal studies curriculum, within the limits imposed by academic and fiscal responsibility, will maximize choice among a wide range of subject areas.

5.3.3    Guidelines for the Development of Liberal Studies Courses

The Liberal Studies Curriculum Committee (LSCC) will develop and maintain guidelines for the development of new liberal studies course proposals, and procedures for the      submission and consideration of such proposals, and will publish the guidelines and procedures on an appropriate Ryerson website.

6.    Program Balance

There must be an appropriate program balance among the three categories of studies. For program design and evaluation, the following program balance ranges are standard and the calculation is based on the total number of one-term degree level courses, or the equivalent, in the program.

Core Studies                 60%-75%

Open Electives             10%-25%

Liberal Studies             15%-20%

The Academic Standards Committee of Senate may, in exceptional circumstances and without prejudice, recommend to Senate the approval of deviations from the above.[10]

7.    Curricular Elements

The following outlines the definitions and policies for curricular elements that may be part of a student’s program of study and where their achievement is noted on the student’s Official Transcript.  The curricular elements listed below must be approved by Senate, as per the requirements outlined in the Procedures section of Senate Policy 127: Curriculum Modifications: Graduate and Undergraduate Programs.

7.1    Concentration

7.1.1    Description

A Concentration is a Senate-approved curricular element that provides students the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge representing a sub-specialization or emphasis within the core of a degree program or major. Courses for a Concentration are selected from the core elective courses offered to students within their degree program or major. Concentrations are optional.

7.1.2   Regulations:

7.1.2.1      A Concentration curriculum consists of at least six, specified/prescribed one-term degree-level core elective courses offered to students within their degree program or major.

7.1.2.2     Core required courses of the degree program or major may not be included in the course count/defined structure of a Concentration.

7.1.2.3     The completion of a Concentration cannot be made mandatory.

7.1.2.4     Earning one Concentration will not increase the number of courses required to graduate.

7.1.2.5    Where it is possible, a student may complete more than one Concentration; however, no individual course can be applied to satisfy the requirements of more than one  Concentration.

7.1.2.6     Course substitutions are not permitted.

7.1.2.7     Completion of a Concentration is subject to availability of courses.

7.1.2.8     Completion of the degree, with the addition of more than one Concentration, may require the completion of extra courses. Additional fees may also be incurred.

7.1.2.9     Students must complete all courses in a Concentration prior to graduation from their program of studies.

7.1.2.10   Restrictions [e.g., grade variations on individual courses; a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) requirement for completion of the Concentration] are not permitted.

7.1.2.11    Any course used to satisfy a requirement of a Concentration cannot also be used to satisfy a requirement of a Minor.

7.1.2.12   Students must declare a Concentration(s) at a time specified by their program.

7.1.2.13   Completion of a Concentration is noted on the academic transcript, but not on the award document.

7.2    Co-operative Education

7.2.1    Description

Co-operative education is a Senate-approved program that allows students to gain work experience in business, industry, government, social services, and professions, before they graduate. Work terms normally occur between the students’ second and fourth academic years.

7.2.2   Regulations

7.2.2.1      One co-op work term consists of a 16 week (4 month), full-time (35 - 40 hours per week), paid work experience related to a student's area of study, and a co-operative program shall consist of 3-5 such work terms.

7.2.2.2     Normally, students must successfully complete the minimum number of work    terms prescribed by their program to fulfil their co-op requirements.

7.2.2.3     As part of the work term requirements, students must complete a work term report and be given an evaluation of their performance by the employer.

7.2.2.4     Normally, admission to a co-op program is competitive.  Students are selected for co-op based on their CGPAs and other non-academic criteria, such as interviews and/or a written statement.

7.2.2.5     Students must have a Clear Academic Standing and meet the stated minimum CGPA at the end of second/third year. To remain in a co-op program, students must maintain a Clear Academic Standing and a minimum CGPA as required by their department/school, or receive Departmental/School approval.

7.3    Double Major

7.3.1    Description

A Double Major is a Senate-approved program with a curricular focus in two areas, offering both breadth and depth within the areas of study.

7.3.2   Regulations

7.3.2.1      A Double Major curriculum comprises core studies in two disciplinary or interdisciplinary areas of study.

7.3.2.2     The core studies in each discipline or interdisciplinary area in a double major are defined discretely by the appropriate Program Departments/Schools.

7.3.3.3     Students may be admitted directly into a double major program in Year 1 or may apply to transfer to a double major program for Year 2.

7.3.3.4     To be accepted into a double major program, students must meet the academic requirements specified by both Program Departments/Schools. The requirements may include the completion of specified courses with a minimum final grade and/or a minimum CGPA.

7.3.3.5     Additional regulations for a double-major program may be Faculty specific.

7.4    Minor

7.4.1    Description

A Minor is a Senate-approved curricular element that provides an opportunity for students from multiple programs to explore a secondary area of undergraduate study, either for personal interest beyond their degree program, or as an area of specific expertise related to their degree program that will serve their career choice(s).

7.4.2   Regulations

7.4.2.1     Courses in a Minor have a coherence based on discipline, theme and/or methodology, as determined by the program offering the Minor.

7.4.2.2    A Minor curriculum consists of six one-term, degree-level courses which may be core, open elective, and/or liberal studies.

7.4.2.3     Course substitutions are not permitted.

7.4.2.4     All students are eligible to pursue any Minor except those that are specifically excluded by their program department or by the Academic Standards Committee (ASC) of Senate.  Exclusions may be applied when the subject area of the Minor is too closely related to the core studies of a program.

7.4.2.5     Where it is possible, a student may take more than one Minor. However, an individual course may only be used to satisfy the requirements of one Minor.

7.4.2.6     It is acknowledged that scheduling issues such as course availability may prevent individual students from being able to access all the courses in a specific minor in the same time frame as they are completing the requirements for their degree.

7.4.2.7     Any course used to satisfy a requirement of a Minor cannot also be used to satisfy a requirement of a Concentration.

7.4.2.8     The completion of a Minor may require the completion of courses additional to those in a student’s program.  Additional fees may also be incurred.

7.4.2.9     Students must complete all courses in a Minor prior to graduation from their program of studies.

7.4.2.10    No Minor may be claimed twice.

7.4.2.11    Completion of a Minor is noted on the academic transcript, but not on the award document.

7.5    Optional Specialization [11]

7.5.1    Description

An Optional Specialization is a Senate-approved program that provides an opportunity for students to enrich and augment their studies by focusing on a specific area of interest in addition to their degree program requirements.

7.5.2   Regulations

7.5.2.1     An Optional Specialization curriculum comprises a defined set of distinct degree level courses.

7.5.2.2    At least some of the courses in an Optional Specialization must be completed in addition to degree program requirements.

7.5.2.3    No course substitutions will be permitted in the completion of an Optional Specialization nor can courses unique to the Optional Specialization be used to fulfil the requirements of a degree program.

7.5.2.4    Students must be officially registered in an Optional Specialization.

7.5.2.5    Students may be required to achieve a minimum CGPA for all courses in the Optional Specialization to earn this special designation

7.5.2.6    Students must have a Clear Academic Standing in their program of studies to register and continue in an Optional Specialization.  Additional academic criteria may be required.

7.5.2.7    Non-academic criteria may be required to register in an Optional Specialization.

7.5.2.8    Students must complete all courses in an Optional Specialization prior to graduation from their program of studies.

7.5.2.9    Completion of an Optional Specialization is noted on the academic transcript, but not on the award document.

7.6    Other

Any curricular element not covered by this policy will conform to the framework established by the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance.

8.    Authority and Responsibility 

8.1    Senate

The highest academic authority of the University, Senate has the authority over all curriculum matters as outlined in the PDF fileRyerson University Act, the PDF file Senate Bylaw and Ryerson policies, including Senate’s Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) policies.

8.2    Provost and Vice President Academic

Has overall responsibility for this policy and any operating procedures that may be adopted from time to time.

8.3    Vice Provost Academic (VPA)

Has administrative responsibility (together with the Registrar) for actions taken under the authority of this policy.  Without restricting the generality of the foregoing, the VPA will lead the development of any operating procedures that may be required, will resolve disputes between Program Departments/Schools and Teaching Department/Schools as per Section 5.2.2.3 of this policy; and will chair the Academic Standards Committee (ASC) and the Liberal Studies Curriculum Committee (LSCC).

8.4    Registrar

The operational units of the Office of the Registrar have primary responsibility for the day-to-day interpreting and application of the policy.  The Registrar will consult with the VPA and the Academic Standards Committee (ASC) as required to ensure that the intent of the policy is met in its implementation.

8.5    Academic Standards Committee of Senate (ASC)

Has the authority to interpret this policy and make recommendations to Senate about program curricula, including justifiable exceptions, based on the general principles as outlined above.

8.6    Liberal Studies Curriculum Committee (LSCC)

Provides recommendations to the ASC on proposals for new liberal studies courses and other matters concerning the liberal studies curriculum.

The LSCC reports directly to the ASC, is chaired by the Vice Provost Academic (or designate), and consists of the following members:

8.6.1     Two representatives from each Faculty (Arts, Communication and Design, Community Services,  Engineering and Architectural Science, Science, Ted Rogers School of Management) appointed by their respective Dean.

8.6.2     Two student representatives appointed by the Vice Provost Academic following a transparent process that is publicly announced.

8.6.3     One Chang School representative appointed by the Dean of the Chang School.  Between meetings of the Liberal Studies Curriculum Committee, the Chair of the Committee may impose exclusions made necessary by curriculum modifications.

8.7    Department/Program/Faculty Councils

The responsibilities of Department/Program/Faculty Councils are as specified by Senate Policy #45:Governance Councils and by their individual bylaws.

8.8    Dean of Arts

The Dean of Arts has primary responsibility for the administration of Liberal Studies course offerings.

9.    Rescinds

The following Senate Policies are rescinded with the adoption of this policy, but are grand-parented for use by programs until they have completely transitioned to the revised model:

Policy #7:         Procedures for the Preparation, Submission and Approval of Academic Proposals (1975)

Policy #14:       Liberal Studies: Development of a Tripartite Curriculum (1977)

Policy #33:       Program Balance (1977)

Policy #35:       Degree Programs Policy (1982)

Policy #44:       Liberal Studies in the Ryerson Curriculum (1986)

Policy #64:       Change to the Composition of the Liberal Studies Committee (1989)

Policy #74:       New Structure for Administration of Liberal Studies at Ryerson (1991)

Policy #107:     Revision of Liberal Studies Policy (1994)

Policy #109:     Implementation of Liberal Studies Policy (1995)

Policy #124:     Professionally-Related Studies in Tripartite Curriculum (1996)

Policy #148:     Minors Policy (2015)

Policy #149:     Concentrations Policy (2016)

10.    Policy 2 - Appendix 1: Glossary

The following nomenclature related to curriculum appears in various University documents and other Senate policies.  Other documents and policies may elaborate on these definitions but may not contradict them.  If/when IQAP policies change, the change must be reflected in both places.

Definitions contained in this glossary may be amended upon the recommendation of the Academic Governance and Policy Committee (AGPC) as part of the consent agenda of Senate.  Such amendments do not require or imply a review of the rest of the policy.

Academic Year

For the purpose of this policy, the academic year is normally comprised of a Fall term and a Winter term.

Accreditation

see Professional Accreditation

Antirequisite

Courses that contain similar content and therefore cannot both be used toward fulfilling degree requirements.

See related terms: Co-requisite, Course, Prerequisite

Bachelor’s Degree

An academic credential awarded upon successful completion of an undergraduate degree program.

Billing Units

The measure used to calculate undergraduate tuition fees.

Certificate Level

Course

A graded course that may be used to fulfil only Certificate requirements (i.e., is not part of an Undergraduate Degree Program).

See related term: Degree Level Course.

Collaborative Program

An academic program offered by Ryerson in collaboration with another accredited post-secondary institution.

See related terms: Degree Completion Program, Joint Program, Program, Undergraduate Degree Program.  See also Institutional Quality Assurance Process - IQAP Policies

Concentration

A Senate-approved set of degree level courses within the core of a degree program or major, which is completed on an optional basis.

See related terms: Double-Major, Major, Minor, Optional Specialization

Co-operative Education Program

A program that alternates periods of academic study with periods of paid work experience in business, industry, government, social services and the professions.

Core Elective Course

A degree level course that provides choice in the core studies of a program.

Core Required Course

A degree level course that must be completed by all students in a program.

Core Studies

Core studies provide both depth and breadth of knowledge of either a single, or of two disciplinary or interdisciplinary areas of study. They establish an essential knowledge base for a career or further study in the area. Core studies include core required courses and may include core elective courses.

See related terms: Core Required Course, Core Elective Course, Elective Course, Liberal Studies, Open Elective, Major

Co-requisite

A course that must be successfully completed before, or concurrently with, another course.

See related terms: Antirequisite, Course, Prerequisite

Course

The smallest formally recognized academic unit of study approved for inclusion in one or more programs, which has a unique course code, title and description recorded in the annual Ryerson calendar.

See specific variants: Degree Level Course, Certificate-Level Course, Non-credit Course

See also related terms: Course Contact Hours, Course Count, Course Hours, Credit Course ,

Course Code

A unique alpha-numeric identifier.  The letters identify the academic area in which the course is resident, while the digits indicate whether the course is a one- or two-term course.  The digits do not necessarily indicate course level.

Course Contact Hours

The hours associated with a given course which may include lecture, seminar, studio, tutorial, and laboratory hours and such activities as internship, online learning, and independent study.

A one-term degree level course is normally a minimum of 36 course contact hours (3 hours per week for 12 weeks).

Course Count

A numeric value assigned to each individual course, based on its course hours, and reflecting its value relative to the 40 courses normally making up a program.  For example, a one-term degree level course will normally have a course count of one.

Exceptions to the standard course counts are noted in the Ryerson undergraduate calendar.

See related terms:  Course, Course Contact Hours, Course Hours

Course Hours

An undergraduate degree program will normally comprise a minimum of 120 course hours. This number is based on the number of courses in the degree program (normally 40) multiplied by the number of weekly course contact hours associated with each course (normally 3) or, expressed another way, it multiplies the weekly course contact hours at full course load (5 courses X 3 hours) by the number of semesters (8).

See related terms: Course, Course Contact Hours, Course Count

Course Weight

Course academic value is a combination of the GPA weight assigned to a course, the course count assigned to the course and the number of academic terms (course length) assigned to the course. Normally, for example, the GPA weight assigned to a course of 1.0 and the course count of 1.0 will also align with the terms (course length) of 1 academic term.

Note: there are exceptions to this relationship.

See also Policy #46: Undergraduate Grading, Promotion, and Academic Standing Policy (“the GPA policy”).

Credit Course

A graded course that constitutes partial fulfilment of certificate, diploma or degree requirements.

See related term: Non-credit Course

Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA)

A cumulative average calculated as an indicator of overall academic performance. Calculated as the sum of the cumulative products of GPA weights and earned grade points, divided by the sum of the cumulative GPA weights, and rounded up to the next higher second decimal place.

See related terms: GPA Weight, Term Grade Point Average (GPA)

See also Policy #46: Undergraduate Grading, Promotion, and Academic Standing Policy (“the GPA policy”).

Curriculum

The prescribed plan of study, approved by Ryerson Senate.

See related term: Undergraduate Degree Program

Degree Completion

Program

An undergraduate program in which students are admitted to a specially designed, discrete program, based on the completion of a public (often Ontario) college diploma program. Other admission criteria may be required.

(Replaces “post diploma degree completion” program).

See related terms: Bachelor’s Degree, Collaborative Program, Program, Direct Entry Program, Joint Program, Undergraduate Degree Program

Degree Level Course

A graded course that constitutes partial fulfilment of the requirements of an undergraduate degree. Such course may also constitute partial fulfilment of the requirements of a certificate and/or diploma.

A one-term degree level course is normally a minimum of 36 course contact hours (3 hours per week for 12 weeks).

See related term: Certificate Level Course

Degree Level Expectations

The knowledge and skill outcome competencies that reflect progressive levels of intellectual and creative development.   Degree level expectations are established by the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-President (OCAV’s) and are expressed in Ryerson’s Institutional Quality Assurance Process policies.

Degree Program

See “Undergraduate Degree Program”

See also Policy #112: Development of New Graduate and Undergraduate Programs 

Direct Entry Program

A post-secondary degree pathway based on the completion of a public (often Ontario) college diploma program.  Other admissions criteria may be required.  Entry is into Year 3 of a four year program.  In some cases reach-back courses may be assigned.

See related terms: Reach-back Course

Double Major

A Senate-approved program with a curricular focus in two areas offering both breadth and depth within the areas of study.

See related terms: Concentration, Major, Minor, Optional Specialization

Elective course

A degree level course that is not specifically required within a program of study, providing the student with some choice within the category.  Elective courses may be core, open, or liberal studies.

See related terms: Core Course, Course, Liberal Studies, Open Elective

Faculty / faculty

When capitalized, an academic unit consisting of teaching departments/schools and established by Senate and the Board of Governors.  The head of a Faculty is the Dean.

Non-capitalized, the term ‘faculty,’ for the purpose of this policy, refers to the academic teaching staff of the University.

See alsoPDF file Senate Bylaw.

A Weight

See Policy #46: Undergraduate Grading, Promotion, and Academic Standing Policy (“the GPA policy”).

Honours

A Senate-approved undergraduate degree designation.

Joint Program

A program of study offered by two or more universities or by a university and a college or institute, in which successful completion of the requirements is confirmed by a single degree document.

See also Policy #110: Institutional Quality Assurance Process; Policy #112: Development of New Graduate and Undergraduate Programs

Liberal Studies

Degree-level courses that are in disciplines outside students’ core area(s) of study that develop students’ capacity to understand and critically appraise the social, cultural, natural, and physical context in which they will work as a professional and live as an educated citizen.

See related terms: Core Course, Core Studies, Course, Elective Course, Open Elective

Major

The primary focus of study within a degree program, offering both breadth and depth within a discipline, area of study, or interdisciplinary subject area.

See related terms: Concentration, Core Studies, Minor, Optional Specialization

Minor

A Senate-approved set of degree-level courses with coherence based on discipline, theme and/or methodology.  A Minor is distinct from the student’s major and is completed on an optional basis in partial fulfilment of the requirements of a degree.

See related terms: Concentration, Core Studies, Major, Optional Specialization

Non-credit Course

A course which cannot be used to fulfil any certificate, diploma or degree program requirements.

See related term: Credit Course

Open Elective

Degree level courses students may choose related either to their career paths or their personal interests. Open electives allow students to experience subject matter outside their core area(s) of study(ies), to earn a Minor, and/or to gain greater depth or breadth within their core studies.

Students may satisfy open elective program requirements with any degree-level course for which they meet enrolment eligibility – with some exceptions.

See related terms: Core Course, Core Studies, Course, Elective Course, Liberal Studies

Optional Specialization

An optional Senate-approved set of distinct degree-level courses that students must successfully complete, where at least some courses in the optional specialization are completed in addition to the student’s degree program requirements.

See related terms: Concentration, Double Major, Major, Minor

Optional Specialization in
Zone Learning

An optional specialization, external to the student’s degree program, that requires the successful completion of a single non-credit course (CEDZ-100) over a specified number of terms.

Post-baccalaureate

Program

Requires the completion of a bachelor’s degree program for admission.  Post-baccalaureate programs normally lead to a second bachelor’s degree, a certificate, or a professional credential.

Prerequisite

A requirement, usually a course, that must be successfully completed prior to be eligible to enrol in another course.

See related terms: Antirequisite, Co-requisite

Professional Accreditation

Review at the provincial, Canadian or international levels by professional bodies of some university programs.

Program

See “Undergraduate Degree Program”

Program balance

The percentage of a program drawn from each of the three categories of degree level courses—core, open elective, and liberal studies--in a program.

See related terms: Core Course, Core Studies, Liberal Studies, Open Elective

Program Department

The academic unit (department/school) responsible for the development, delivery and administration of one or more programs.

See related terms: Faculty, Teaching Department

Reach-back Course

A course(s) from Year 1 or Year 2 of a four year program that may be assigned to a student in a direct entry program.

See related terms: Direct Entry Program

Semester

See Term

Senate

Subject to the approval of the Board of Governors with respect to the expenditure of funds, Senate has the power to regulate the educational policy of the University including, but not restricted to, making recommendations to the Board with respect to the establishment, change or termination of programs and courses of study, schools, divisions and departments; and determining the curricula of all programs and courses of study, the standards of admission to the University and continued registration therein, and the qualifications for degrees, diplomas and certificates of the University.

See also PDF fileRyerson University Act, Article 10.

Specialization

See Optional Specialization

Teaching Department

The academic unit (department/school) responsible for the development, delivery and administration of a course.

See related terms: Program Department, Faculty

Term

A teaching term is 12 weeks, except for Bachelor of Engineering programs, which have a 13-week term. Students are evaluated and awarded credits for successful completion of enrolled courses at the end of each term.

Term Grade Point Average (GPA)

A term average calculated as an indicator of overall academic performance. Calculated as the sum of the term products of GPA weights and earned grade points, divided by the sum of the term GPA weights, and rounded up to the next higher second decimal place.

See also Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA), GPA Weight.

See also Policy #46: Undergraduate Grading, Promotion, and Academic Standing Policy (“the GPA policy”).

Undergraduate Degree

Program

The complete set and sequence of courses, combination of courses, or other units of study, research and practice prescribed by the University for the fulfilment of a baccalaureate degree.  Degrees are granted for meeting the established requirements at the specified standard of performance consistent with the University’s Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UDLEs).

See also Institutional Quality Assurance Policies (#110, #112, #126, #127) for a baccalaureate/bachelor’s degree: honours.

See also Collaborative Program, Degree Completion Program, Joint Program, Program

 

11.    Policy 2 - Appendix 2: Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UDLEs)

 

The Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UDLEs), established by the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents (OCAV) and endorsed by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), are part of Ryerson’s Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP, Senate Policy #110) and establish a framework for defining the attributes of a Ryerson graduate both generally and on an individual program basis.

EXPECTATIONS

BACCALAUREATE/BACHELOR’S DEGREE: HONOURS

This degree is awarded to students who have demonstrated the following:

 

1. Depth and Breadth of Knowledge

a.   A developed knowledge and critical understanding of the key concepts, methodologies, current advances, theoretical approaches and assumptions in a discipline overall, as well as in a specialized area of a discipline;

b.   A developed understanding of many of the major fields in a discipline, including, where appropriate, from an interdisciplinary perspective, and how the fields may intersect with fields in related disciplines;

c.     A developed ability to:

        i.    Gather, review, evaluate and interpret information; and

        ii.   Compare the merits of alternate hypotheses or creative options, relevant to one or more of the major fields in a discipline;

d.     A developed, detailed knowledge of and experience in research in an area of the discipline;

e.     Developed critical thinking and analytical skills inside and outside the discipline;

f.      The ability to apply learning from one or more areas outside the discipline.

2. Knowledge of Methodologies

An understanding of methods of enquiry or creative activity, or both, in their primary area of study that enables the student to:

a.     Evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems using well established ideas and techniques;

b.     Devise and sustain arguments or solve problems using these methods; and describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research or equivalent advanced scholarship.

3. Application of Knowledge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a.     The ability to review, present and critically evaluate qualitative and quantitative information to:

 i.   Develop lines of argument;

 ii.   Make sound judgments in accordance with the major theories, concepts and methods of the subject(s) of study;

iii.    Apply underlying concepts, principles, and techniques of analysis, both within and outside the discipline;

iv.    Where appropriate use this knowledge in the creative process; and

b.     The ability to use a range of established techniques to:

 i.      Initiate and undertake critical evaluation of arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and information;

 ii.     Propose solutions;

 iii.    Frame appropriate questions for the purpose of solving a problem;

 iv.    Solve a problem or create a new work; and

c.     The ability to make critical use of scholarly reviews and primary sources

4. Communication

Skills

The ability to communicate information, arguments, and analyses accurately and reliably, orally and in writing to a range of audiences.

5. Awareness of Limits of Knowledge

An understanding of the limits to their own knowledge and ability, and an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits to knowledge and how this might influence analyses and interpretations.

6. Autonomy and Professional Capacity

a.     Qualities and transferable skills necessary for further study, employment, community involvement and other activities requiring:

  i.   The exercise of initiative, personal responsibility and accountability in both personal and group contexts;

 ii.   Working effectively with others;

 iii.   Decision-making in complex contexts;

b.     The ability to manage their own learning in changing circumstances, both within and outside the discipline and to select an appropriate program of further study; and

c.     Behaviour consistent with academic integrity and social responsibility.