Academic Terms and Definitions

An Undergraduate Degree is the first degree you can complete at the university level. It is commonly called a baccalaureate or bachelor’s degree, and may be further classified as honours or general (see below).

An Honours Degree is typically completed in four years of full-time study and often focuses on a particular discipline. It provides the widest range of options should you wish to pursue postgraduate study. Examples:

  • Honours Bachelor of Science (in Biochemistry)
  • Honours Bachelor of Arts (in Classical Studies)

Note: If you are in an Honours program, you must have a major at the time of graduation.

A General Degree is typically completed in three years of full-time study and often involves a more generalized or broadly defined area of study.

To view a list of majors that are offered in general versus honours format, please visit the Undergraduate Calendar.

A Professional Degree meets the accreditation standards of a particular professional association or college. At U of G, we offer professional degrees in Veterinary Medicine (DVM); Engineering (B.Eng.); Applied Human Nutrition (B.A.Sc.); and Landscape Architecture (BLA). Several professional degrees, like DVM, require the completion of some university study prior to application.

An Associate Diploma is a two-year program offered on our main campus and at our Ridgetown campus. It involves focused, hands-on training in a specific field. For example:

  • Associate Diploma in Environmental Management
  • Associate Diploma in Turfgrass Management

A Graduate Degree can be completed after an undergraduate degree. It involves additional study in a particular area of interest, and may include research or the completion of a thesis. Visit the Graduate Program Services website for a list of graduate degrees offered at U of G.

A Major is the main area of study within a degree. It involves intensive focus on a specific discipline. For example:

  • Applied Human Nutrition
  • Bio-Medical Science
  • Marketing Management
  • European Studies

A Minor is an optional secondary area of study that can be related to or different from your major, and provides an introductory level of education about a single discipline. A minor is not mandatory, and is selected after you begin your university studies. See the Alphabetical List of Minors for options.

A Credit is the unit of measurement for university courses. Usually, a course that lasts one semester is equivalent to one half-credit (0.5).

A Semester is an academic period of twelve weeks. U of G offers three semesters of study: Fall (September to December), Winter (January to April), and Summer (May to August).