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 Sociology)

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 before 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 Technician
  • Associate Diploma in Turfgrass Management

A graduate degree can be completed after an honours 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 an honours degree. It involves intensive focus on a specific discipline. For example:

  • Applied Human Nutrition
  • Bio-Medical Science
  • Marketing Management
  • Culture and Technology 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. You can choose a minor 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). Full-year courses are usually one full credit (1.0).

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).