You are now in the main content area

Glossary

These definitions will help you to understand some of the terminology used at Ryerson.

Term Definition
Academic Advisement Report An unofficial degree audit which shows progression toward satisfying program graduation requirements. Available to most undergraduate students on RAMSS my.ryerson.ca.
Academic Standing A formal calculation based on the final course grades at the end of each academic term that determines overall academic performance at Ryerson; used to decide a student's eligibility for continuance, academic distinction, promotion, graduation. There are five Academic Standings: Clear, Probationary, Required to Withdraw, Permanent Program Withdrawal, and Disciplinary Suspension. See Academic Standing Variation below.
Academic Standing Variation Additional program academic standards used to determine the Academic Standing for specific programs that is beyond the normal standards.
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
Advanced Standing At the time of admission to a program, recognition of previously completed similar post-secondary courses or programs which allows granting admission into an advanced level of the program. Also see Degree Completion and Direct Entry.
Aegrotat Grade Credit granted by a Dean, in consultation with the instructor, only under exceptional circumstances when there has been acceptable performance in a course and some course work remains to be completed. From Latin, meaning "he/she is ill". Noted as "AEG" on the transcript.
Antirequisite Courses that contain similar content and therefore cannot both be used towards fulfilling degree requirements. See related terms: Co-requisite, Course, Prerequisite
Articulation Agreement Official agreement, between two or more post-secondary institutions, which enables students to benefit from the established and defined partnership.
Audit (a class) An opportunity to seek permission to attend the lectures and learn the subject matter of a course, without the benefit of receiving academic credit. From Latin, audire "hear" or "listen".
Bachelor’s Degree An academic credential awarded upon successful completion of an undergraduate degree program.
Basis of Admission Preparatory academic history used to determine eligibility for admission to a Ryerson University program.
Billing Units The measure used to calculate undergraduate tuition fees.
Challenge Credit Academic course credit awarded for learning and experience attained outside of the traditional post-secondary institution environment, normally achieved through a successful challenge examination.
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.
Co-requisite A course that must be successfully completed before, or concurrently with, another course.
See related terms: Anti-requisite, Course, Prerequisite
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 PDF filePolicy 155: Approval of Collaborative Academic Program Agreements.
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
Convocation The official ceremony where students, approved to graduate by Ryerson Senate, have their academic award conferred and are presented with their graduation award document (parchment). See Graduation
Core Courses Courses that comprise an essential knowledge base for a career or further study. In many programs these are labelled as Required or Professional courses.
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
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 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 Intention The first step in the enrolment process where continuing students pre-select the courses they expect to take in the upcoming academic year.
Course Numbers Most current Ryerson courses are identified by a unique 3 character alpha- 3 numeric digit code. Most courses are one-term in length. Some courses are two-terms in length. In this case the numeric is only two digits with but has an the "A/B" qualifier attached which signifies a two-term course.
Course Outline Also called course syllabus; a detailed summary of course content and requirements which is distributed by the instructor at the beginning of the term in accordance with the Senate Policy 145: Course Management Policy.
Course Substitution/Course Directive The assessment and approval of a curriculum exception where one course is used as a replacement for another course or is used to fulfill the requirements of an elective group.
Credit Course A graded course that constitutes partial fulfilment of certificate, diploma or degree requirements.
See related term: Non-credit Course
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 PDF fileSenate Policy 46: Undergraduate Grading, Promotion, and Academic Standing Policy (“the GPA policy”).
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 PDF fileSenate 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
Deferred Grade An interim grade assigned during the investigation of academic misconduct (as described under PDF fileSenate Policy 60: Academic Integrity Policy). Upon resolution of the matter, the deferred grade will be replaced by a final course grade.
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).
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 PDF fileSenate Policy 110: Institutional Quality Assurance Process.
Degree program See Undergraduate Degree Program. See also PDF filePolicy 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
Earned (value) Earned (value) of a course shows on the student transcript. Earned value refers to the Grade Point Average (GPA) points of the course (see Cumulative grade point average CGPA/Grade point average GPA). Earned value does not indicate course credit value or course weight value.
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 also Senate Bylaw 1.
Failure for Non-Attendance (FNA) A grade awarded by an instructor when the student has been absent from most course meetings and has submitted no work for grading.
GPA Weight See PDF filePolicy 46: Undergraduate Grading, Promotion, and Academic Standing Policy (“the GPA policy”).
Graduation The successful completion of a Senate approved course of studies, which culminates in the recognition and the awarding of the graduation credential. The ceremony where degrees and certificates are conferred is called Convocation.
See related terms: Convocation
Graduation Requirement Variation In addition to the standard graduation requirements that are applicable to all undergraduate programs, some programs stipulate a variation of the normal requirements such as a specific final grade in core courses.
Graduation with Distinction When a student graduates from an undergraduate degree or diploma program with an overall cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher, they will graduate “With Distinction” and will have this academic acknowledgement recorded on their transcript and graduation award.
Honours A Senate-approved undergraduate degree designation.
Internship Opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and skills in a practical context; a workplace experience.
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 PDF fileSenate Policy 110: Institutional Quality Assurance Process; PDF fileSenate Policy 112: Development of New Graduate and Undergraduate Programs; PDF fileSenate Policy 155: Approval of Collaborative Academic Program Agreements.
Letter of Permission A Letter of Permission (LOP) grants Ryerson students permission to enrol in a course at another accredited post-secondary institution and confirms credit will be applied toward their Ryerson program. Credits will not be granted for courses taken at another institution if an approved Letter of Permission has not been issued prior to course enrolment. Students must meet eligibility and satisfy all other requirements.
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
Offer of Admission The official letter of acceptance into a Ryerson program, confirming details such as the program, start term, entry level (first term or advanced standing), Basis of Admission, and other conditions.
Ombudsperson An independent and confidential dispute resolution specialist who acts impartially in reviewing and when appropriate, investigating complaints about unfair treatment.
Ontario College A Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities approved, publicly-funded Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology or Ontario College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.
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.
Pass-Fail Course A course graded only as pass or fail. The final grade of Pass/Fail is not used in the calculation of Cumulative Grade Point Average.
Post-baccalaureate program Requires completion of a bachelor's degree program for admission consideration. Post-baccalaureate programs normally lead to a second bachelor's degree, a certificate or a professional credential.
Practicum Workplace experience offered as part of an academic program under the direct supervision of a faculty member or workplace mentor.
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. For example, program accreditation is granted in fields such as business, nursing, interior design, architecture and engineering.
Professional Studies Studies that induce functional competence by presenting the knowledge and developing the skills characteristic of current practice in the career field.
Professionally-Related Studies Studies that develop an understanding of the theoretical disciplines upon which the career field is based, or which synthesize the diverse elements of professional study.
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
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 PDF fileSenate Policy 46: Undergraduate Grading, Promotion, and Academic Standing Policy (“the GPA policy”).
Time Span A calculation of the normal number of years in which a student is expected to complete a program of studies.
Transcript Documentation of a student’s permanent academic record, which usually includes all courses taken, all grades received, all honours received and all awards and credentials conferred to a student.
Transfer Credit Course credit awarded based on courses completed at other accredited institutions. Previous course work is assessed, and when credit is granted, may be used toward satisfying Ryerson University program requirements.
Undergraduate Degree Program 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 (PDF fileSenate Policy 110, PDF fileSenate Policy 112, PDF fileSenate Policy 126, PDF fileSenate Policy 127) for a baccalaureate/bachelor’s degree: honours.
See also Collaborative Program, Degree Completion Program, Joint Program, Program