Aboriginal Students
Learners from Aboriginal communities (First Nations, Metis and Inuit). Many institutions provide specialized programs and support services for Aboriginal students.

Academic Calendar
Print or electronic information describing the programs offered for a specific college or university, covering course descriptions, services, rules, regulations, and policies. Typically available annually for the September to August academic year.

Academic Discipline
Grouping of related fields of study in the college or university sector e.g., engineering, arts, architecture, business, technology, health, science and many others.

Academic Program
A program of study involving theoretical knowledge and research, and usually leading to a diploma, certificate, or bachelor's degree.

Academic Standing
Statement of a student's overall academic performance in an institution; generally used to determine eligibility for honours, promotion and graduation. Can be expressed as a Grade Point Average (GPA).

Academic Term/Semester
The period of time (usually between 12 to 18 weeks) during which classes are in session at a college or university. At the end of a term, students are evaluated, and awarded credits for successful completion of courses.

Academic Year
A period of time from the beginning of one fall term in September to the beginning of the next fall term, divided into terms or semesters.

Accelerated Program
Modified delivery of a regular college post-secondary program, allowing students to complete the program in a shorter time period by granting credit for previously achieved credits or credentials; also referred to as a compressed, intensive or fast-track program.

Certification by an external agency or professional regulatory body that an educational program meets its standards. In Canada, some educational programs are accredited; institutions are not accredited.

Being allowed into an institution, faculty or program once the entrance requirements are met. Some admission is limited by spaces available, and by selection criteria.

Admission Requirements
An institution's specific academic and supplementary requirements for entry to the institution or to a specific program within it. May include secondary or post-secondary grades or grade point average, standardized test scores, portfolios, or other criteria depending on the institution and program.

Admission Preference
Under certain conditions, graduates of specific programs have priority to be admitted to other programs, for example, students in collaborative programs (programs offered jointly by two or more partner institutions).

Advance Credit
The award of credit in recognition of skills, competencies, and knowledge of individuals learned by informal, non-formal experiential or formal means.

Advanced Standing
A student who gets advanced standing is admitted to a second or higher term or year of a program because of transfer credits granted for courses completed at another institution.

The formal way of notifying a post-secondary institution that you want to be a student there.

Application Fee
Charge made for the processing of applications to colleges and universities.

Applied Degree
Degree from a program of study that blends theory and practice, with content selected to ensure mastery of a field of practice.

A process for learning a skilled trade in the construction, industrial/manufacturing, motive power and service sector. Apprenticeship programs include classroom learning and on-the-job experience under the direction of more experienced worker. Apprentices are employees and earn a salary while they are training.

Audit Student
Learner who attends classes out of interest. An auditing student is not required to complete assignments, tests or examinations normally required by the course. Students who are auditing a course receive no formal evaluation, grade or credit for the course and therefore are not eligible to apply for transfer or equivalent credit for the course.


Bachelor's Degree or Undergraduate Degree
Credential granted by a university in recognition of a student's successful completion of a program of study in a broad discipline area such as arts, science, engineering, or business.

Courses or programs of study that fill gaps for students who have previous training in a field, but for various reasons may not meet formal recognition requirements for the field.

An amount of money awarded to students. Bursaries are usually based on financial need and don’t need to be paid back. They are provided by post-secondary institutions, government programs, and private donors.


Career/Technical Program
An applied program of study involving theoretical and practical knowledge, usually leading directly to a certificate or diploma in a specific career path.

A credential granted for the successful completion of one year or less of full-time study in a specific program.

CGPA or Cumulative Grade Point Average
A cumulative GPA (CGPA) is the average of all grades for courses taken to date at one institution.

The head of a program or department. 'Coordinator' is sometimes used synonymously with 'Chair'.

Challenge Test
Assessment used by some colleges and universities to evaluate a student's prior learning or skills related to a course or program.

Collaborative Program
The result of a formal arrangement between two post-secondary institutions to jointly deliver a program of study.

College, or Community College
A type of educational institution. In Nova Scotia, our community college system is the Nova Scotia Community College, commonly referred to as NSCC. The college delivers a range of programs and has 13 campuses and several Learning Centres located across Nova Scotia.

College of Applied Arts and Technology
Post-secondary institution focusing on career programs in a wide range of professional and technical fields leading to certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, graduate certificates, and sometimes, degrees in applied areas of study. College programs may prepare students for immediate employment, further college study, or transfer to a university or another college.

Competitive Average
See Minimum Average

Competitive Program
Post-secondary program receiving more applications than the program can accommodate. Applicants are selected based on grades, portfolios, or other supplemental information, depending on the institution. Alternatively called an oversubscribed or limited enrolment program.

Compressed Program
Also referred to as an accelerated, intensive or fast-track program, students can complete the program in a shorter time period through recognition of previously achieved credits or credentials or by using spring and summer session courses to accelerate the timeline.

Compulsory Credit/Course
Credit or course that a student is required to take in order to complete a specific program. Sometimes called a core course.

A program of study with a required number of courses in a specific discipline. Similar to a Major, but with fewer requirements.

Co-op /Cooperative Education Program
College or university program including both academic credit and formal workplace experience. In-school learning usually alternates with paid program-related employment in the public or private sector.

A course which must be taken at the same time as another course.

Single unit of study, identified by a title, description and credit value, as well as a unique course number and/or code.

Course Level
The level of the specific unit of study in terms of academic advancement, i.e., non-university level, undergraduate degree junior level, undergraduate degree senior level or graduate degree level. Can also refer to the unit of study in terms of academic advancement within college certificate or diploma programs.

The numerical value assigned to a course by a post-secondary institution, normally based upon the number of contact/classroom hours per week.

Credit Transfer
Acceptance or recognition of credit by an institution for courses or programs completed at another institution.

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.


Head of a Faculty. For example, the Dean of Science is the Head of the Faculty of Science.

Recognition of successful completion of a program of study (usually about 40 courses, 120 credits, or 60 units), often with a specific Major, Minor or Concentration.

Degree Completion Program
A program offered by a college or university that awards transfer credit to graduates of a college diploma or advanced diploma program in order to enter a degree program at a specified level. May require completion of bridging courses. Specifies additional credits necessary to qualify for a degree. Subject to conditions such as academic standing or minimum grades.

Degree Granting Institution
The institutions which grant bachelor's degrees.

Faculty and administrators associated with a particular discipline or program.

Recognition of successful completion of a program of study, usually two years in length. Post-degree diplomas are often one year in length.

Distance Education
Refers to a method of course delivery where students do not attend regular in-class meetings in person. It enables students to complete their learning outside the traditional classroom, using online, print, video, teleconferencing, and Computer Managed Learning (CML) resources. Examples: blended learning, correspondence courses, distributed education, e-learning, and learning facilitated by information and communications technology.   

Nova Scotia's universities and college are committed to offering a welcoming and inclusive environment where diversity is respected, embraced and valued in all aspects of the institution.

Doctoral Degree (Doctorate)
Highest level of academic degree. Normally require a minimum of three years of study and research, including the completion of a dissertation, after a master's degree. A doctoral degree may be granted as a PhD, or in particular fields of study such as music (DMus) or education (EdD).

Dual Credit
Credit that may be applied to a credential at more than one institution, sometimes between secondary school and college programs or between college and university programs.


Elective Credit/Course
Course taken in addition to required courses to enhance breadth of knowledge and skills and encourage continuous learning.

Equitable admissions
Ensuring admissions processes are equitable and free from inadvertent discrimination.

Equivalent Credit
Transfer of course credit from one post-secondary institution to another where courses are considered equal in content or academic value.

The waiving of a prerequisite or required course for students who have proven they have comparable learning. The student may be required to replace the exempted course with an alternate.


The teachers at a post-secondary institution. Also a grouping of departments and programs in a similar area (e.g., Faculty of Arts).

Fast-Track Program
Modified delivery model of a regular college post-secondary program which enables students to complete the program in a shorter time period through recognition of previously achieved credits or credentials; also referred to as an accelerated, compressed or intensive program. May also describe a diploma program delivered in a continuous 12 month format without extended vacation breaks and sometimes with increased classroom hours per week.


General Education Diploma (GED)
Credential certifying that a person has achieved academic skills equivalent to a high school graduate.

Grading System
The system used for evaluating a learner's success in attaining the learning outcomes of a post-secondary course.

Measure of a student's academic performance. May be expressed as number (percentage) or letter or on a ranking scale from unsatisfactory to excellent.

Graduate Student
A student who is enrolled in a program beyond the bachelor’s level, and is working towards a master’s or doctoral degree. An undergraduate degree is usually a prerequisite for graduate study.

GPA or Grade Point Average
The average overall grade for all courses taken for credit in a particular semester, year or institution. See CGPA.

A grant is similar to a bursary or scholarship in that it’s a financial amount awarded to a student, but the three have different criteria and functions. Grants are usually awarded based on financial need or for students who meet specific criteria, such as students with a disability or students with dependents. Some grants are also project-based and are awarded based on an area of study or the need for people in a certain field. Unlike a loan, grants do not need to be repaid.


Honours Bachelor's Degree
An Honours bachelor's degree is typically completed in four years of full-time study and focuses on a particular area of study. Usually requires a higher level of academic standing than a General degree and/or completion of a major/supervised research paper or thesis.


Nova Scotia's universities and college are committed to offering a welcoming and inclusive environment where diversity is respected, embraced and valued in all aspects of the institution.

Independent Study Course
Customized learning experience under the supervision of a faculty member.

International Baccalaureate
Internationally-accepted high school program for entry into higher education, recognized by colleges and universities worldwide, offered in English, Spanish and French.

International Student
A person enrolled in a college or university who is a permanent resident or citizen outside of the country in which the institution is located. For the purposes of this website, this is a student from outside of Canada. In order to attend school in Canada international students require a study visa issued by the Government of Canada.

Some college and university programs include a student internship where the student gets workplace experience in their field. This workplace experience may be full or part-time, paid or unpaid.


Learning Outcomes
The knowledge, skills, and abilities that a student has attained and is able to demonstrate as a result of successfully completing a particular set of educational experiences.

Letter of Permission (LOP)
A document that gives you permission to take a course at an institution other than the one in which you are currently enrolled, with the intention of transferring the credit back to your program at the home institution.


A program of study in a degree where about 25-50% of the courses are in a single discipline.

Master's Degree
Degree following a Bachelor's degree which provides intensive study of a particular field, for example, English Literature, History, Physics. Master's degrees normally require one or two years of study after an honours bachelor's degree.

Mature Student
Most universities and colleges have a specific definition for mature students/applicants that includes age, education and life experience. In many cases mature students are defined as college or university applicants without the required academic qualifications, and meeting the minimum age required by the institution. It may describe an applicant who has been away from school for a specific period of time. Mature applicants may be required to complete admission tests or preparatory courses, and other conditions for admission. Each school sets its own policies and procedures - most have a variety of options and pathways for mature applicants. They may also be referred to as a non-traditional student, mature learner, adult learner, adult student, or not-direct-from-high-school student.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
A formal agreement between two or more institutions to accept courses (or clusters of courses) for credit. Generally MOU's also incorporate other factors such as recognition of co-op placements, reduced course load (beyond what is accepted for advanced credit) for completion, etc. that is not normally found in a Transfer Agreement.

Minimum Average
Minimum average is the minimum grade required for admission to the institution. Meeting the minimum average does not guarantee admission. Many programs have a competitive average. The competitive average varies from program to program and year to year depending on the number of students competing for admission to a program.

A secondary concentration of courses in a subject area requiring fewer courses than a major. The purpose of a minor is to attain a significant body of knowledge within a discipline that is outside of the student's major.


Non-credit Course
A course taken for learning value. A grade may be assigned, but the course is not usually applicable to a credential.

Non-traditional student
This is a term referring to a category of students at post-secondary educational institutions that are not direct-from-high-school, attend part-time while working full-time inside or outside their home, are financially independent, has dependent children or parents, or do not have a traditional high-school diploma. See Mature Applicant.

Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Nova Scotia government department that administers the system of publicly-funded elementary and secondary education in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Department of Advanced Education
Nova Scotia government department that administers the system of publicly-funded post-secondary education in Nova Scotia, including Apprenticeship.

Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma
Official Nova Scotia credential awarded on completion of 18 required and 12 optional secondary school credits and the secondary school literacy requirement.

Nova Scotia High School Transcript
Official record of a student's academic achievement at the secondary school level in Nova Scotia, required for admission to a post-secondary program. Provided by the school from where the student graduated.

Nova Scotia Student Assistance
Government loan, grant, scholarship and bursary program. Assistance is based on circumstances and/or academic achievement. Available to full-time and part-time post-secondary students.


Official Transcripts
Official documents summarizing a student’s academic progression at an educational institution.


Performance Assessment
Evaluation of a student's knowledge, skill and ability related to a course or program of study.

Placement - Clinical/Field
Work experience related to an academic program; supervised and assessed by the institution. Scheduled as a block of time within the program at a company, agency, institution, hospital or organization. Typically included in health, arts, media, and business programs, and usually unpaid or paid by honorarium.

A portfolio documents a student's formal and informal learning history and achievements, work experience, autobiographical background, career aspirations and personal goals. Sometimes required for admission into a post-secondary institution, particularly for the performing and visual arts.

Post-secondary Institution (PSI)
College, university, institute, or school, either private or publicly funded, requiring secondary school completion, or equivalent, for admission.

Post-secondary Program
Educational program offered by a public or private college or university requiring secondary school graduation or equivalent for admission.

Workplace experience offered as part of an academic program under the direct supervision of an educator or workplace mentor. The practicum helps students develop job-related skills. Practicums are a required component of programs such as teacher education.

As in "precludes credit for Anthropology 301." A preclusion indicates you will not receive credit if you take the precluded course later.

A course you must take before you can take a more advanced course in the discipline.

Professional Degree
This degree meets the accreditation standards of a particular professional association or college. Professional degrees may require some undergraduate study prior to admission to the program and generally include an internship or other work experience.

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition(PLAR)
Prior learning assessment and recognition defines processes that allow individuals to identify, document, have assessed and gain recognition for their prior learning. The learning may be formal, informal, non-formal, or experiential. The context of the learning is not key to the process as the focus is on the learning. Tools such as challenge exams, demonstrations, structured interviews, simulations and portfolios can be used alone or in combination, for experiential learning and competency assessment in such instances.

Program Plan
Your informal checklist of the requirements for a program, and how many of those requirements you have satisfied with your various courses (including transferred courses).

Program of Study
Approved set of credit courses leading to a credential such as a certificate, diploma, or degree.


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
See Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

The process of enrolling in individual courses after completion of all required admission procedures.

A course you must take in order to complete a credential.

Requirements for Graduation
Courses and conditions that must be successfully completed before a credential is awarded, with terms and standards specific to the institution.

Residency Requirement
Specified number of credits that must be completed at an institution in order to be awarded a credential for a program of study.


A monetary award given to a student based on a specific set of requirements or criteria, such as leadership experience, community service or academic achievement. Scholarships are awarded by institutions, government programs, private donors, and many community and business organizations. Some scholarships are only available for students starting post-secondary, while others are only available to current post-secondary students. 

Selection Criteria
Categories of qualifications, capabilities, or experience (academic or other) that provide the basis for screening and admission to a program of study.

Defined period of time, usually 12 to 18 weeks, during which classes are in session at a post-secondary institution, ending with evaluation and awarding of credits.

Student with a Disability
Learners with diagnosed, permanent physical, medical, mobility, sensory, learning or other disorders who may access special services and facilities to promote success.

Subject Matter Expert (SME)
An individual who understands a business process or area of inquiry well enough to answer questions from people in other groups.


An official transcript is the original record verifying your enrolment and achievement, and certified (e.g., by signature and/or seal) by the institution. It is normally sent directly, by mail or electronically, on your request.

The mobility of students among post-secondary institutions on the basis of their having transfer credit. 

Transfer Credit
Credit completed at one post-secondary institution and accepted for credit at a different post-secondary institution.


Undergraduate Student
A student enrolled in a program leading to a certificate, diploma or bachelor’s degree. High school completion or at most two years of post-secondary education is required for admission.


A viewbook is an informational and promotional booklet published by a college or university, usually online but some are available in a printed copy. It includes information about the school, including statistics about the student body, the different facilities and degrees offered, and pictures of the campus experience.  It may also include information about the community where the school is located. It is used to provide information to prospective students and their parents.  



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