Glossary

a

Admission Requirements
An institution's specific academic and supplementary requirements for entry to the institution or to a specific program within it. Admissions requirements include secondary or postsecondary grades or grade point average, standardized test scores, portfolios, and/or other criteria depending on the institution and program.
Related terms and links: Grade, Grade Point Average (GPA), Portfolio
Admission
Admission refers to the process of being accepted as a student at an institution.
Related terms and links: Admission Requirements
Adult Learner
See 'Mature Student.'
Related terms and links: Mature Student
Apprenticeship
Apprenticeship refers to the process for learning a skilled trade in various sectors. Apprenticeship programs include classroom learning and on-the-job experience under supervison. Apprentices are employees and earn a salary while they are training.
Related terms and links: Credential

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b

Bridging Program/Course
Bridging refers to a course (or set of courses) taken to fill gaps in learning from one program in order to enter another program (for example, from a diploma to a degree program in the same area of study). Some bridging courses and programs are designed to prepare internationally educated professionals to write certification examinations to practice in Canada.
Related terms and links: Admission Requirements

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c

Campus
A campus indicates the buildings and grounds and property of a college, university, or Indigenous Institute.
Related terms and links: Institution
Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC)
The CICIC provides information on how to obtain an assessment to work or study in Canada. For more information, please visit https://www.cicic.ca/.
Certificate
A certificate is a document that confirms one has fulfilled the requirements of and may practice a specific field.
Related terms and links: Credential
College
According to Settlement.org: "Colleges generally offer programs of study that can be applied towards a career. Colleges offer full-time and part-time diploma and certificate programs. They offer courses for pre-trades and apprenticeship training, language training, and skills upgrading. Although program lengths vary, a certificate program is generally one year or fewer and a diploma program can be two or three years. Many colleges also offer bachelor degrees in applied areas of study."
Related terms and links: Institution, University, Ministry of Colleges and Universities
Competitive Program
A competitive program is a postsecondary program that receives more applications than it can accept. Applicants are selected based on criteria such as grades/grade point average, portfolios, and other supplemental information or procedures, depending on the institution.
Related terms and links: Postsecondary Program, Grade, Grade Point Average (GPA), Portfolio
Course Description (or Outline)
A short description of the content in the course. A detailed description of a course is commonly referred to as a Course Syllabus.
Course Syllabus (or Syllabi)
According to Unesco.org, a syllabus is "a document which outlines the aims, selection and sequence of contents to be covered, mode of delivery, materials to be used, learning tasks and activities, expected learning objectives or outcomes, and assessment/evaluation schemes of a specific course, unit of study or teaching subject." Syllabi is the plural form of syllabus.
Related terms and links: Curriculum / Curricula
Course Transfer
Individual course(s) that students receive credit for when they transfer.
Related terms and links: Credit Transfer
Course
A course is a single unit of study, identified by a title, description, and credit value, as well as a unique course number and/or code.
Credential
A credential is an official document recognizing completion of a program or course of study. In postsecondary education, credentials are issued by the individual college, university, or Indigenous Institute. In Ontario, credentials include certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, graduate certificates, degrees in applied areas of study, and bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.
Related terms and links: Major, Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Program of Study
Credit Transfer
Credit transfer refers to the process of acceptance (or recognition) of credit by an institution for courses or programs completed at another institution.
Related terms and links: Institution, Transfer Credit
Credit
Credit is a unit of value assigned to a course for the purpose of counting its value towards a credential, such as a certificate, diploma, or degree. The number of credits received by students for a course varies widely by institution.
Related terms and links: Credential, Transfer Credit, Course
Curriculum / Curricula
A curriculum is a defined academic program plan for a course, program, major, specialization, or other academic designation. The term curriculum may be used to describe learning outcomes, course descriptions and content, learning activities, teaching and learning methods, assessment, and evaluation methods. Curricula is the plural form of curriculum.
Related terms and links: Course, Major, Course Syllabus / Syllabi

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d

Degree
A degree is a credential granted by an institution in recognition of a student's successful completion of a program of study in a specific discipline, such as arts, science, engineering, or business. A degree usually requires a higher level of academic standing than a General degree.
Related terms and links: Credential, Discipline
Diploma
Generally speaking, a diploma is a document bearing a record of graduation from (or of a degree conferred by) an educational institution.
Related terms and links: Credential
Discipline
A discipline is a grouping of related fields of study in the college or university sector. For example, the following terms are all common disciplines: engineering, arts, architecture, business, technology, health, and science.
Related terms and links: Program of Study

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e

Elective Credit/Course
An elective course is taken in addition to compulsory or core courses to enhance a student's breadth of knowledge, improve skills, and encourage continuous learning. Electives are sometimes referred to as general education or breadth courses. They are typically included as requirements for graduation.
Eligibility
Eligibility refers to the conditions students are required to meet in order to gain admission to a course or program.
Related terms and links: Admission, Admission Requirements
Equivalent Course
An equivalent course can be transferred from one postsecondary institution to another and considered equal in content or academic value.
Related terms and links: Credit Transfer, Transfer Credit

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g

General Education Development (GED)
A GED is a credential certifying that a person has achieved academic skills equivalent to a secondary school (or high school) graduate.
Related terms and links: Credential, High School, Secondary School
Grade Point Average (GPA)
A GPA is a measure of a student's academic achievement at the end of a semester, year, term, or program. It is calculated using the numeric value of grades earned divided by the number of credits attempted. It may also include other factors, such as weighting of specific courses or credits.
Related terms and links: Semester/Term, Grade, Credit
Grade
A grade is a measure of a student's academic performance. It may be expressed as a number (a percentage), a letter (e.g., B, C), or on a ranking scale from unsatisfactory to excellent. Grade measurement expressions vary widely among institutions.
Related terms and links: Grade Point Average (GPA)

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h

High School Diploma (Ontario Secondary School Diploma)
See Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
Related terms and links: High School, Secondary School, Credential, Admission Requirements
High School
High schools, also known as secondary schools, are educational institutions common to all provinces of Canada. In Ontario, high schools include Grades 9 to 12. Successful graduates of high schools receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
Related terms and links: Secondary School, High School Diploma (OSSD)

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i

Institution
By institution, we are referring to colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes.
International Student
An international student is a learner from another country, outside of Canada.

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j

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k

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l

Learning Outcome
A learning outcome is a description of a specific knowledge, skill, or ability theoretically achieved by students through the successful completion of an academic course or program. Learning outcomes may also describe knowledge and skills acquired through personal and work-based experience.
Related terms and links: Course
Letter of Permission
This is a document issued to a student by a postsecondary institution where the student is enrolled; its purpose is to verify that one or more specific courses, taken at another institution, will be recognized for credit equivalency upon successful completion.
Related terms and links: Course, Institution, Transfer Credit, Equivalent Course
Level
Level refers to a specific point in an academic program, usually expressed in semesters, terms, or years. It may also describe a measure of complexity or difficulty.
Related terms and links: Postsecondary Program, Semester/Term

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m

Major
A major is a focused and specialized area of study, usually specified in credential. For example, if one's major is psychology, it would be expressed in a credential as B.A. Psychology.
Related terms and links: Credential, Program of Study
Mature Student
Mature students are those who are enrolled in postsecondary later in life than usual for their region. Sometimes institutions may grant 'mature student status' to individuals over the age of 19 and who do not have a GED.
Ministry of Colleges and Universities of Ontario
The Ministry of Colleges and Universities does the following: i. develops policy directions for universities and colleges of applied arts and technology; ii. plans and administers policies related to basic and applied research in this sector; iii. authorizes universities to grant degrees; distributes provincial funds to colleges and universities; iv. provides financial assistance to postsecondary school students; and v. registers private career colleges.
Related terms and links: Institution

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o

Official Transcript
An Official Transcript is a document produced by a college or university that includes key information about a student's academic record at that institution, including: courses attempted, withdrawn, repeated, grades and GPA, and transfer credit awarded. They typically bear the registrar's signature and an institutional seal.
Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT)
Established in 2011, the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) was created to enhance academic pathways and reduce barriers for students looking to transfer among Ontario's public colleges and universities, and Indigenous Institutes. ONCAT is the organization that maintains this website.
Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
The OSSD is an official Ontario-based credential awarded upon completion of 18 required and 12 optional secondary school credits, a minimum number of hours of community involvement activities, and completion of the Secondary School Literacy Graduation Requirement.
Related terms and links: High School Diploma (OSSD), High School, Secondary School

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p

Performance Assessment
A performance assessment is an evaluation of a student's knowledge, skill, and ability related to a course or program of study. In order to be assessed, students may provide a written demonstration or performance of a task or activity. Performance Assessments may be based on the work of an individual student or a team. They are usually measured within a defined and controlled setting, such as a laboratory or a classroom, or in work environments, such as field or clinical placements or internships.
Related terms and links: Admission, Admission Requirements
Portfolio
A portfolio documents a student's formal and informal learning history and achievements, work experience, autobiographical background, career aspirations, and personal goals. It is most commonly used for prior learning assessment and recognition. Portfolios are sometimes required for admission into a postsecondary institution, particularly for the performing and visual arts.
Related terms and links: Admission, Admission Requirements
Postsecondary Institution
This phrase refers to a college, university, institute, or school, either private or publicly funded, requiring secondary school completion or the equivalent for admission.
Related terms and links: Institution, College, University, High School, Secondary School
Postsecondary Program
A postsecondary program is an educational program offered by a public or private college, university, or institute requiring secondary school graduation or the equivalent for admission.
Related terms and links: Institution, Postsecondary Institution, College, University
Prefix
The 'prefix' of a course code usually refers to three-to-five letters at the beginning of the code. The prefix usually indicates the course's general subject, discipline, or department. For example, PSYC may refer to a Psychology course, whereas ENG may refer to an English Literature course.
Related terms and links: Suffix
Prerequisite
Prerequisites are courses or credits that must be completed before a more advanced course can be taken.
Related terms and links: Course, Credit
Program
A program in a postsecondary context is any official combination of courses and/or requirements that lead to the completion of a specific degree, diploma, certificate, and other accreditations.
Related terms and links: Program of Study, Discipline
Program of Study
A program of study is an approved set of credit courses leading to a credential such as a certificate, diploma, or degree.
Related terms and links: Diploma, Degree, Discipline, Major
Program Transfer
Program transfer is for students who have completed a credential at a college or university and would like to get credit for that credential at another institution.
Related terms and links: Credential, Institution, College, University
Program Pathways
Program pathways are defined routes from one program or institution to another program or institution; they specify eligibility requirements and how transfer credits will be accepted and applied at the receiving institution. Program pathways apply often to multiple sending institutions and one or more receiving institutions. They do not require formal signed agreements between institutions.
Related terms and links: Transfer Pathway

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r

Receiving Institution
The receiving institution is the postsecondary institution to which a student transfers during a program or level of study; it is not the first institution where the student enrolled.
Related terms and links: Institution, Program of Study

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s

School
Schools are institutions of learning; schools sometimes refer to an academic division within an institution (e.g., The School of Business).
Related terms and links: Institution, Postsecondary Institution, High School, Secondary School, College, University
Semester/Term
Semesters (or terms) are period of time (usually between 12 to 18 weeks) during which classes are in session at a college, university, or Indigenous Institute. At the end of a semester or term, students are evaluated and awarded credits for successful completion of each course.
Related terms and links: Credit, Course
Suffix
Course suffixes come at the end of a course code, are usually represented by a letter and/or number, and typically indicate how many credits that course is worth.
Related terms and links: Prefix

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t

Transcript
A transcript is a document issued by a college, university, or Indigenous Institute or other authorized body that legally reports a student's cumulative academic record, courses, and credits taken, grades or achievement levels obtained, and credentials earned.
Related terms and links: Institution, Course, Credit, Admission Requirements
Transfer Credit
Transfer credit is granted by one program or institution for courses taken at another program or institution. Transfer credit may apply to core courses deemed equivalent in content; they may be used to fulfill optional elective course requirements as well.
Related terms and links: Credit Transfer
Transfer Pathway
A transfer pathway is a defined route from one program or institution to another program or institution that specifies eligibility requirements. It also specifies how transfer credits will be accepted and applied at the receiving institution. Transfer pathways usually apply to multiple sending institutions and one or more receiving institutions. They do not require formal signed agreements between institutions.
Related terms and links: Program Pathway, Transfer Credit, Admission
Transfer Student
A transfer student moves from one institution to another and receives credit at the receiving institution for work completed at the sending institution.
Related terms and links: Institution, Transfer Credit, Admission, Credit
Transfer
Transfer refers to the movement of a student from one postsecondary institution to another with credit granted by the receiving institution for courses taken at the sending institution. Transfer provides academic mobility for students while maintaining the quality of educational programs and credentials.
Related terms and links: Institution, Credit, Transfer Credit, Receiving Institution, Credential

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u

University
A university is a postsecondary institution focusing on teaching, theory, and research leading to bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Universities offer academic and professional programs in a wide range of disciplines. Other programming at universities include specialized professional certificates and diplomas, continuing education, distance education, and collaborative/joint programs with colleges.
Related terms and links: Institution, College, Ministry of Colleges and Universities

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v

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w

World Education Services (WES)
World Education Services (WES) is a 501(c)3 non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the U.S. and Canada. WES evaluates international educational qualifications, supports the integration of immigrants into the workforce, and provides philanthropic funding to immigrant-serving organizations. Since 1974, WES has provided credential evaluations to nearly three million individuals from more than 200 countries.

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z

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