UofT Terminology

Below are common words used at the University of Toronto. If there are words/phrases used at UofT that you want to know the meaning of, email vic.registrar@utoronto.ca


Academic deadline - The last date to drop a course from your academic record without affecting your grade point average (GPA).

Academic year - The time during which classes are taught. At UofT, the academic year usually starts in September and ends in April.

ACORN - Acronym for Accessible Online Campus Resource Network, an online tool for students. Within established deadlines, students use ACORN to add, cancel (drop) and waitlist courses, change sections, list current courses, obtain final grades, and confirm intention to graduate. Students can view their entire academic record, request or declare Programs (Minors, Majors, Specialists), order transcripts, print tax forms, review progress toward graduation, update their contact information and view their financial account balances and detailed charge and payment information.

Bachelor’s Degree - Honours Bachelor of Arts, Honours Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Commerce – the degree you receive from the Faculty of Arts & Science after completing your university studies as an undergraduate student.

Blackboard - Blackboard is UofT's institutionally supported learning management system (LMS) and Student Portal. Blackboard is integrated with ACORN (UofT’s student information system) and is a full-featured LMS with an advanced content system, a variety of student communication tools, and easy-to-use course administration features.

Breadth Requirement - A requirement to ensure that all students graduating with an Honours degree from the Faculty of Arts and Science have chosen courses across a broad range of subject areas as part of their undergraduate education. More information can be found in the Calendar.

Bursary - A cash award to help students pay for their university education. Bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need. They do not have to be repaid.

Calendar - A Faculty of Arts and Science list and description of degrees, programs, course descriptions and Faculty rules and regulations.

Career Centre - This on-campus student resource centre assists current students and recent graduates seeking employment opportunities on and off campus. The Centre offers services such as career counselling, a career resource library, employment services, resume and interview clinics, career workshops and seminars.

College - A community affiliation for undergraduate students; all students in the Faculty of Arts and Science are members of one of seven colleges; all colleges have a mix of students from different academic disciplines.

Con Hall - This is our largest lecture hall and where graduation ceremonies take place.

Convocation - Refers to the formal and official graduation ceremony for students who successfully complete their degree.

Co-requisites - A course that must be taken at the same time as another course (e.g. MAT135Y – 1st year Calculus – is a co-requisite for PHY131H – 1st year Physics).

Course - All courses are considered to be for degree credit, unless designated as “extra” courses. The word “course” is used in two senses. In reference to a single course refers equally to a full course (Y e.g. BIO150Y = 1.0 credit) or a half course (H e.g. ENG100H = 0.5 credit). In references to a given number of courses, “courses” refers to full courses, or the equivalent number in full and half courses.

CR/NCR - Degree students in the Faculty of Arts and Science may select up to 2.0 full course equivalents of their degree credits offered by the Faculty of Arts and Science on the St. George campus to be assessed on a CR/NCR (credit/ non-credit) basis. Courses with a final status of CR do not affect the GPA. They will count towards Distribution/ Breadth requirements and degree credits, but cannot be used toward Program requirements.

Credit - The unit of study required in a degree – 20.0 for an Honours B.A., Honours B.Sc. or B. Com; 1 credit is equivalent to 1.0 FCE (Full Course Equivalent).

Deferred examination - A student may request permission (by formal petition) to reschedule an exam to a later date due to extenuating circumstances (circumstances beyond one’s control, such as serious illness on the day of an exam). Deferred exams take place during two different periods.

Department - Responsible for teaching courses and programs in a specific field – e.g. Department of English, Department of Mathematics.

Enrolled - Term used to show a course(s) have been added to a student’s timetable. Registration is not complete until fees have been paid.

Exclusion - A course you may not take for degree credit if you have already taken or are taking any course listed as its exclusion (e.g. AST101H [Astronomy] has an exclusion of 1st year or higher CHM [Chemistry] or PHY [Physics] courses).

FCE - Full course equivalent – e.g. ECO 100Y = 1.0 FCE; CHM139H + CHM139H = 1.0 FCE.

Fee deferral - An arrangement made between the student and the university to pay fees after normal deadlines, usually when you receive your OSAP.

FLC - Is an acronym for First-Year Learning Communities. FLC (pronounced “flick”) is a small group of first-year students who take a designated group of courses in common and who meet regularly outside of class time.

Frosh - Slang term referring to newly-admitted, first-year students. This term is often heard at student orientation and is short for 'freshman'.

GO Transit Student ID - For commuter students who live outside of the City of Toronto GTA, GO Transit is essential to get into the city. Full time Ontario university students are eligible for GO Transit student fares, but must present GO Student Identification which can be obtained at the TCard office in Robarts Library.

Grade Point Average (GPA) - A system used by the Faculty of Arts and Science to determine your academic standing at the end of each session (e.g. “good standing”, “academic probation”, “suspended” – see pages 632 in the Calendar).

Cumulative GPA (CGPA ): An average grade for all the courses you have taken.
Sessional GPA (SGPA): An average grade for all the courses taken in any one session – Fall, Winter or Summer.
Annual GPA (AGPA): An average grade for all courses taken in the Fall and Winter session together. GPA is calculated by first converting your mark to a grade point value and then taking the average.

Half course - See Course

Hart House - Hart House has over 30 clubs and committees, is home to the Hart House Theatre, athletic centre, monthly Sunday concerts, weekly Friday night Jazz in the Arbor Room, the Justina M. Barnicke Art Gallery, Sammy’s Student Exchange and the Gallery Grill.

Health Services & Insurance - Offers a wide range of services for University of Toronto students. The health team includes Family Physicians, Registered Nurses, a Community Health Coordinator, a Health Promotion Coordinator, a Dietician, a Lab Technician, Support Staff, and Peer Health Educators. If you already have health insurance, it is possible to opt-out of the service at the beginning of academic year. See www.utsu.ca for more information.

Humanities - The study of literature, philosophy, art, etc., as distinguished from natural sciences.

Koffler Centre - Houses such important institutions as the U of T Bookstore and the International Student Exchanges Office and the Health & Wellness Centre.

LWD - A mechanism to assist students, in conjunction with their college registrar, to remedy situations, particularly in their very early years at university, where personal or other circumstances mean they are irretrievably behind a course.

Lecture - Teaching method in which the teacher or professor presents information orally to the students who take notes and ask questions.

Major - A Program less intensive than the Specialist, requiring from 6.0 to 8.0 credits, including at least 2.0 at 300+ level.

Metropass - Is a monthly pass used to travel on Toronto buses, streetcars and subways. It is issued by the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). Current students may obtain a discounted pass at UofT. For more information about where to obtain a discounted pass, visit www.utsu.ca.

Minor - A Program less intensive than a major requiring 4.0 credits, including 1.0 300+ level.

Office of the Dean of Students - Responsible for aspects of welfare and discipline and serving as an advocate for students.

Orientation - A week-long event offered at the beginning of the academic year to new students to familiarize them with the campus.

OSAP - Acronym for Ontario Student Assistance Program, a financial aid program offered by the Government of Ontario. OSAP is available to Ontario residents who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or Protected Persons, to assist with educational and living expenses in the form of loans, grants and bursaries.

Petition - A formal request to the Committee on Standing to be given an exception to a Faculty rule or deadline.

Practical - The laboratory component for many science courses. For example, students who register for a chemical science class must select a lecture, practical and tutorial. See also lecture, tutorial.

Prerequisite - A course that must be successfully completed before enrolling in a specific course.

Prof - Slang term for "professor".

Program - A grouping of courses in a specific area. There are three types of Program: Minor, Major, and Specialist. Students declare their Program(s) after having completed 4.0 FCEs (typically after their first year of study). All Programs are described in the Calendar. Students must follow the Program requirements that were in place the year that they enrolled.

Recommended preparation - Background material or a course previously taken that would be advantageous to have, but which is not required.

Registrar - A university official concerned with keeping academic records and approving course selections. The Registrar’s Office is responsible for student admissions, the university timetable and academic counselling.

Rez/res - Slang for "residence", referring to the residential communities on-campus.

Scholarship - A non-repayable financial award to students to help finance their studies. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of outstanding academic achievement.

Sciences - The study of any of the branches of natural or physical science.

Semester - Half the academic year, normally 12 to 13 weeks.

Social Sciences - A field of study dealing with an aspect of society or forms of social activity.

Specialist - An intensive Program requiring anywhere from 9.0 to 17.5 credits including a minimum of 1.0 credit at the 400– level.

Student number - Also referred to as personal identification number, a student number is a set of uniquely-generated numbers assigned to every registered student at U of T for identification purposes. See also TCard, UTORid.

Study Abroad - An opportunity through U of T where students can take courses at a different university and use them towards their Degree.

TA - Acronym for "teaching assistant".

TCard - The student TCard is a wallet-sized card bearing the student's photograph and a student number used for identification purposes within the university. The card must be surrendered if a student withdraws from the university.

Timetable - A schedule listing all courses, and applicable practicals, tutorials and labs offered during different sessions at UofT.

Transcript - An official record of all courses taken and grades obtained. Students can make transcript requests on ACORN.

Transfer Credit - A credit earned from another university or advanced placement and accepted towards a UofT degree.

Transfer student - A student who has completed some of his/her studies at another university or college and has transferred to UofT.

TTC - Acronym for Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto’s public transit system.

Tutorial - A class in which a teacher’s assistant gives intensive instruction in some subject to an individual student or a small group of students. Tutorials are supplements to regular course lectures.

UTORid - A username and password used to log in to various online academic support services and in computer labs.

UTmail+ - A student's individual UofT e-mail address and the primary manner by which the university will contact students. It is mandatory for all UofT students to add this email address on ACORN.

UTSU - Acronym for University of Toronto Student Union.

WalkSmart - A security escort service for the UofT community members (including students, employees and visitors) who prefer not to walk alone on campus after dark. Call 416-978-SAFE (7233)




Below are common words used at Victoria College. If there are words/phrases used at Vic that you want to know the meaning of, email vic.registrar@utoronto.ca


Annesley Hall – An all female residence with single, double and triple rooms.

Burwash – A slang term for the dining hall at Victoria College.

Caffiends - A student-run Café which serves fair trade coffee, loose leaf tea and vegan food. It runs throughout the academic year.

E.J. Pratt Library - The name of Vic's library: Equipped with about 55 computers and dozens of Ethernet hook-ups for laptops. It contains mainly humanities texts with a focus on History, English, and Philosophy.

Goldring Student Centre - A newly constructed student centre for all things “student life” related.

In-course scholarship - A $1,000 scholarship awarded after the completion of 5, 10, 15 credit if a student maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Lower House - Co-Ed residence. Students are housed in single and double rooms

Margaret Addison Hall (Marg. Add. Or MAH) - Traditional Co-ed residence, housing both first year and upper year students in single and double rooms. It also houses Residence Services.

Northrop Frye Hall - An administrative building housing the Registrar Office and classrooms.

Old Vic - A building at the centre of campus containing Administrative Offices, Alumni Hall, Conference/Food/Plant Services, classrooms, Principal’s Office, IHPST, Caffiends, and the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese.

Rowell Jackman Hall (RJ) - Apartment style residence, with co-ed and single sex suites with combination of single and double rooms. Designed to accommodate residents with special accessibility needs.

The Bob - Canada's longest running sketch comedy revue show. It began at Victoria University in 1874 as a variety show. All material is written, performed and produced by students.

The Strand - A student-run newspaper at Victoria College.

Upper House - Co-ed residence for both first year and upper year students, in single, double, and loft double rooms (bunk bed above desk).

Vic Dollars - Meal plan account for use at The Wymilwood Café and Burwash Dining Hall. VicDollars can be accessed through your Tcard.

Vic One - A select and intimate one-year program for first year students designed to provide an excellent foundation for the pursuit of further studies in the humanities, social sciences, life sciences & studies in education. Each stream is associated with distinguished names in the history of Victoria College: Northrop Frye, Lester Pearson, Augusta Stowe-Gullen, Arthur Schawlow, Egerton Ryerson & Norman Jewison.

Vic One Hundred Seminars - An initiative offering first years a community environment in the classroom.

Vic Listserv - A bi-weekly rundown of upcoming deadlines, events and other useful information.

VUSAC - Acronym for the Victoria College Student Administrative Council. It is an elected body responsible for voicing the view of student members, planning events and providing services.

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