Accelerated Program
Modified delivery model of a regular college postsecondary program,  which enables 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.
May also describe a diploma program delivered in a continuous 12 month format without extended vacation breaks and sometimes increased classroom hours per week
See: Advanced Standing, Fast Track Program, Intensive Program, Compressed Program, Academic Discipline

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
See: Major, Faculty

Academic Standing
Statement of a student's overall academic performance in an institution; generally used to determine student eligibility for honours, promotion and graduation, etc.; usually 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 each course.
See: Semester/Term

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
See: Semester/Term

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

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)
See: Collaborative Program

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 postsecondary grades or grade point average, standardized test scores, portfolios, or other criteria depending on the institution and program
See: Grade, Grade Point Average, Competitive program, Ontario Secondary School Credits, Portfolio

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
See: Exemption, Transfer Credit, Equivalent Credit

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

Apprenticeship is a process for learning a skilled trade in the construction, industrial/manufacturing, motive power and service sectors
Apprenticeship programs include classroom learning and on-the-job experience under the direction of more experienced workers
Apprentices are employees and earn a salary while they are training
Related Websites:

Articulation Agreement
Official agreement between two (bilateral) or more (multilateral) postsecondary institutions that defines the terms and conditions enabling students to transfer between specific programs
May also determine which courses or programs taken at the sending institution will apply to graduation requirements at the receiving institution

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
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

Bachelor's Degree in an Applied Area of Study
Degree offered by colleges in Ontario combining theory and analytical skills with advanced training and education to the standard of a bachelor's degree
Developed in program areas with emerging employment needs, in specialized areas not generally offered at universities
Sometimes called Applied Degrees

Block Transfer
Advanced standing for a group of credits or courses at one institution based on their equivalence to a defined set of course or program learning outcomes at another institution
Block credit enables students to enter a program at a receiving institution at an advanced level
See: Degree Completion Program, Transfer Credit, Advanced Standing, Exemption, Learning Outcomes

Bridge Course/Program
Also referred to as Bridging courses or programs
Course or set of courses that students take to fill gaps in their 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 course/programs are designed to prepare internationally educated professionals to write certification examinations to practice in Canada

A bursary is an amount of money awarded to students to finance postsecondary education.
Bursaries are usually based on financial need and are non-repayable. They are provided by postsecondary institutions, government programs, and private donors.

Print or electronic information describing the schedule of courses for a specific college or university as well as describing institutional programs, services, rules, regulations, and policies
Typically available annually for the September to August academic year

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

Collaborative Program
An academic program offered jointly by university and college partners
The partners have agreed on a defined sharing of responsibility for curriculum that is recognized by both institutions as earning credit toward one or more credentials
Some collaborative programs offer graduates a diploma and a degree
See: Joint/Integrated Program

College of Applied Arts and Technology
Postsecondary 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
Colleges also offer programs in adult basic education and literacy, adult retraining, customized training for industry, professional training, pre-employment, pre-apprenticeship and Continuing Education
See: Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, University

Colleges Ontario
Organization of Ontario's Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology and Institutes of Technology and Advanced Learning
Provides communications, advocacy, and professional development in support of Ontario colleges and their contribution to employability, economic development and technological innovation
Related Websites:

Competitive Program
Postsecondary program receiving more applications than the program can accommodate
Applicants are selected based on criteria such as grades/grade point average, portfolios, or other supplemental information or procedures, depending on the institution
Sometimes called an oversubscribed program
See: Grade, Grade Point Average, Portfolio, Admission Requirements

Compressed Program
Modified delivery model of a regular college postsecondary program, referred to as an accelerated, intensive or fast track 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, intensive or fast track program.
May also describe a diploma program delivered in a continuous 12-month format with increased classroom hours per week and shorter vacation breaks than other programs
See: Accelerated Program, Fast Track Program, Intensive Program

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
See: Elective Credit/Course

Continuing Education
A course or courses taken on a part-time basis at an Ontario college, university or secondary school
Includes courses, workshops and seminars offered for credit toward a postsecondary credential or for general interest
In an institutional context, a division within an institution offering part-time courses and programs, seminars, workshops, distance education and online learning
See: Distance Education

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

Council of Ontario Universities
Organization of Ontario's publicly-funded universities, providing communications, advocacy, and professional development in support of Ontario universities and their contribution to research, international relations and accessibility
Related Websites:

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

Course Transfer
Individual course(s) which you may receive credit for when transferring

Course Transfer Maps
Course Transfer Maps are comprised of a list of courses you have completed, and how they transfer to other institutions

Official document recognizing completion of a program or course of study
In postsecondary education, issued by the individual college or university
In Ontario, includes certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, graduate certificates, bachelor's degrees in applied areas of study and bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees
May also be issued by professional or government organizations for licenses or other certifications, qualifications or memberships

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 among institutions
See: Course, Credential

Credit Transfer
Acceptance or recognition of credit by an institution for courses or programs completed at another institution
See: Block Transfer, Degree Completion Program, Transfer Credit, Advanced Standing, Exemption

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

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 bridge courses where applicable
Specifies additional credits necessary to qualify for a degree
Subject to conditions such as academic standing or minimum grades
Example: College Advanced Diploma in Chemical Engineering Technology to Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
See: Transfer Credit, Bachelor's Degree, Bridge Course/Program, Academic Standing, Grade, Ontario College Diploma, Ontario College Advanced Diploma

Degree Completion Program (Specially Designed)
Program designed to enable students to complete a bachelor's degree program following graduation from a diploma program
Usually offered in a field of study not closely related to the diploma program

Disabled Students
Learners with physical, medical, mobility, sensory, learning or other disorders who may access special services and facilities to promote success
Related Websites:

See: Academic Discipline

Distance Education
Courses taught online, over satellite or local television, by video tape or CD ROM, through self-study or by correspondence
Timeframe for completion and/or sessions with teachers may be fixed or flexible
Designed for diverse populations of students whose schedules or personal circumstances make it difficult for them to study on campus

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

See: Distance Education

Elective Credit/Course
Course taken in addition to compulsory or core courses to enhance breadth of knowledge and skills and encourage continuous learning
In colleges, usually referred to as General Education or Breadth courses
Normally included in requirements for graduation
See: Compulsory Credit/Course

Equivalent Credit
Transfer of course credit from one postsecondary institution to another where courses are considered equal in content or academic value
See: Transfer Credit, Exemption, Advanced Standing

Students may request a waiver of the requirement to take a specific course at a college or university if it is comparable to a course previously taken elsewhere. Waivers may be granted based on an assessment by the receiving institution that a course already taken is equivalent in level and scope to the required course.
See: Transfer Credit, Equivalent Credit, Advanced Standing

Academic division of an institution, such as arts or business, sometimes called a School
Academic teaching staff of the institution
See: School, Academic Discipline

Fast-Track Program
Modified delivery model of a regular college postsecondary 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
See: Advanced Standing, Accelerated Program, Intensive Program, Compressed Program

Financial Aid

French Language Colleges or Universities
Colleges or universities where French is the language of instruction

General Bachelor's Degree
A General Bachelor's degree is typically completed in three years of full-time study and often involves more generalized study of a broadly defined area

General Education Courses
See: Elective Credit/Course

General Education Diploma (GED)
Credential certifying that a person has achieved academic skills equivalent to a secondary school graduate
Related Websites:

Generic Skills/Essential Employability Skills
Skills considered essential for personal and career success including literacy, numeracy, communication, computer, interpersonal, work and study, effective thinking and problem solving
May be developed through elective or compulsory credits, or through seminars and workshops, or as part of non-credit college or employment preparation programs

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

Grade Point Average
Measure of a student's academic achievement at the end of a semester, year, term or program, usually calculated using the numeric value of grades earned divided by the number of credits attempted
May include other factors, such as weighting of specific courses or credits

High School
See: Secondary School

Honours Bachelor's Degree
An Honours bachelor's degree is typically completed in four years of full-time study and usually focuses on a particular area of study
Usually requires a higher level of academic standing than a General degree

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

Indigenous Institute
Indigenous Institutes currently partner with colleges and universities to offer: degree, apprenticeship, certificate, and diploma programs. Under the Indigenous Institutes Act, 2017, Institutes can develop independent postsecondary credential granting programs. Some Indigenous Institutes also provide: high school programs, continuing education courses, literacy and basic skills training, Indigenous language education programs.
Related Websites: 

Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
Name used by certain Ontario colleges
See: College of Applied Arts and Technology

Intensive Program
Modified delivery model of a regular college postsecondary 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 fast track program.
May also describe a diploma program delivered in a continuous 12 month format without extended vacation breaks and sometimes increased classroom hours per week
See: Accelerated Program, Compressed Program, Fast Track Program

International Baccalaureate
Internationally-accepted qualification for entry into higher education, recognized by colleges and universities worldwide, offered in English, Spanish and French
Related Websites:

International Student
Learner from a country outside of Canada
Websites of interest to international students in Canada include:

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
Develops essential professional and general skills, provides practical experience and networking opportunities
May be completed at a college or university campus or with an external employer

Joint/Integrated Program
A program offered co-operatively by university and college partners
May integrate two or more distinct programs also offered independently by partner institutions
Students study at both institutions either sequentially or concurrently
Graduates receive one or more credentials from partner institutions, for example, a student might receive both diploma in media arts and a degree in communications
May sometimes describe an educational program developed and delivered by two different academic programs or departments at the same institution, or concurrent programs offered within the same institution
See: Academic Discipline, Credential

Learning Outcome
Description of knowledge, skill and ability achieved by students through an academic course or program
May also describe knowledge and skills acquired through personal and work experience

Letter of Permission
Document issued to a student by the postsecondary institution where the student is enrolled verifying that one or more specific courses taken at another institution will be recognized for credit equivalency upon successful completion

Specific point in an academic program, usually expressed in semesters, terms or years
Measure or description of a postsecondary credential, such as a diploma or baccalaureate (first level), master's (second level) or doctorate (third level)
May also describe a measure of complexity or difficulty
See: Semester/Term, Program of Study, Curriculum

Focused and specialized area of study, such as geography or mathematics
Usually specified in credential, e.g., B.A. Psychology
See: University

Master's Degree
Degree following 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 Applicant
College or university applicant without the required academic qualifications, and meeting the minimum age required by the institution
May describe an applicant who has been away from school for a specific period of time
Also known as adult applicants or special 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

Focused area of study with less emphasis than a major
Not usually specified in credential
See: Major

A member organization with participation of all 45 publicly funded colleges and universities in Ontario, ONCAT was established in 2011 to enhance academic pathways and reduce barriers for students looking to transfer among those institutions.

Online Learning
See: Distance Education

Ontario College Application Services (OCAS)
Central processing centre for applications to Ontario college programs|
Related Websites:

Ontario College Certificate
Credential awarded by an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology or Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning on successful completion of an approved one-year program (two or three academic terms)
Requires secondary school diploma or mature student status for admission

Ontario College Diploma
Credential awarded by an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology or Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning on completion of an approved two-year program (four academic terms)

Ontario College Advanced Diploma
Credential awarded by an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology or Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning on completion of an approved three-year program (six academic terms)

Ontario College Graduate Certificate
Credential awarded by an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology or Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning on completion of an approved one-year (two or three academic terms)
Requires a college diploma or university degree for admission
Colleges may also consider an equivalent combination of education and related work experience, with each college setting its own specific requirements and equivalencies

Ontario Ministry of Education
Ontario government ministry that administers the system of publicly-funded elementary and secondary education in Ontario
Related Websites:

Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities
Ontario government ministry that administers the system of publicly-funded postsecondary education in Ontario, including Apprenticeship
Related Websites:

Ontario Secondary School Credits
Grades 9 and 10

  • Academic courses emphasize theory and abstract problems
  • Applied courses focus on practical applications and concrete examples
  • Open courses prepare for further study in some subjects

Grades 11 and 12

  • University preparation (U) courses prepare students for degree programs at a college or university
  • University/college preparation (M) courses prepare students for specific programs offered at universities and colleges
  • College preparation (C) courses prepare students for most college certificate, diploma or advanced diploma programs or for apprenticeship and other training programs
  • Workplace preparation (E) courses prepare students for employment
  • Open courses (O) broaden knowledge and skills in a subject area, and may not be designed for specific requirements of universities, colleges, or the workplace
  • Locally developed (L) courses are offered by individual Ontario School Boards

Although there are general requirements for entry to college and university programs, each postsecondary institution determines specific subject requirements, minimum grades, and selection procedures for admission to each of its programs.
Related Websites:
See: Ontario Secondary School Diploma

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
Official Ontario credential awarded on completion of 18 required and 12 optional secondary school credits, community involvement activities and the secondary school literacy requirement
Related Websites:

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
Government loan, grant, scholarship and bursary program
Assistance is based on circumstances and/or academic achievement
Available to full-time and part-time postsecondary students
Related Websites: 

Ontario Student Record
Confidential record of a student's educational progress through elementary and secondary school in Ontario
Accessible to students, parents/guardians (for students under the age of 18), principals and educators

Ontario Student Transcript
Official record of a student's academic achievement at the secondary school level in Ontario, required for admission to a postsecondary program
See: Ontario Secondary School Diploma

Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC)
Central processing centre for applications to Ontario university undergraduate programs
Related Websites: is a website provided by the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) that connects current and prospective students to transfer opportunities.

Oversubscribed Program
See: Competitive Program

Performance Assessment
Evaluation of a student's knowledge, skill and ability related to a course or program of study
May be a written demonstration or performance of a task or activity
May be based on the work of an individual student or a team
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

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
See: Cooperative Education Program, Internship, Practicum

A portfolio documents a student's formal and informal learning history and achievements, work experience, autobiographical background, career aspirations and personal goals
Most commonly used for prior learning assessment and recognition
Sometimes required for admission into a postsecondary institution, particularly for the performing and visual arts

Post-diploma program
See: Ontario College Graduate Certificate

Postsecondary Institution
College, university, institute, or school, either private or publicly funded, requiring secondary school completion or equivalent for admission

Postsecondary 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
See: Placement - Clinical/Field, Internship

Course or credit that must be completed before a more advanced course can be taken

Prior Learning Assessment
Process to evaluate learning from work experience or independent study and translate into academic credit
Usually accomplished through portfolios or challenge tests/exams
Sometimes called Learning Assessment Recognition (LAR), Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Priority for Admission
For entry to college programs in semester one, a process granting first consideration to residents of Ontario, followed by other Canadian provinces and International applicants
For entry to semester two or later in college and university programs, a process granting first consideration to graduates or students of specific programs, particularly when partner institutions have a formal articulation agreement

Professional Degree
A Professional 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

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

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

Program Transfer Searches
Searches you have saved when using our Block Transfer guide

Receiving Institution
Institution to which a student transfers during a program or level of study; not the first institution where the student enrolled
See: Sending Institution

Required Course
See: Compulsory Credit/Course

Requirements for Graduation
Courses and conditions that must be successfully completed before a credential is awarded, with terms and standards specific to the institution
Includes successful completion of compulsory and optional subjects, general education requirements, and academic standing at a defined minimum level
May include other factors, such as the payment of any outstanding debt

For admission purposes, the status of an applicant as a resident of Ontario for a prescribed period of time, particularly for oversubscribed programs
For graduation from college and university programs, the requirement that a learner must complete a specific amount of the program at the institution awarding the credential
For example, a university might have a 50% residency requirement, meaning that students must complete 50% of their courses there in order to receive a degree from that institution

Monetary award for academic achievement either before or during postsecondary studies
Awarded by institutions, by government programs and by private donors

Institution of learning, or sometimes an academic division within an institution
See: Faculty

Second Career
Government sponsored program that provides career planning and financial support to help Ontario residents who have been laid off from their jobs to participate in training for a new job or further education
Related Websites:

Division or segment of postsecondary education; for example, in Ontario there is the college sector and the university sector
Division or segment of business or industry, such as finance, health or manufacturing
Division or segment of employment or economy, such as public sector or private sector

Defined period of time, usually twelve to eighteen weeks, during which classes are in session at a postsecondary institution, ending with evaluation and awarding of credits
See: Academic Year

Sending Institution
Institution from which a student is transferring, or in a transfer agreement, the institution where course work was completed
See: Receiving Institution

Document issued by a college or university 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

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
Provides academic mobility for students while maintaining the quality of educational programs and credentials
See: Equivalent Credit, Transfer Credit, Transfer Agreement, Transfer Student

Transfer Agreement
Formal agreement between postsecondary institutions that specifies how courses and credits completed at the sending institution will be accepted and applied at the receiving institution
See: Block Transfer, Advanced Standing, Transfer Credit, Articulation Agreement

Transfer Credit
Credit granted by one program or institution for courses taken at another program or institution
May apply to core courses deemed equivalent in content or may be used to fulfill optional elective course requirements
See: Equivalent Credit, Exemption, Transfer

Transfer Pathway
Defined route from one program or institution to another program or institution that specifies eligibility requirements and how transfer credits will be accepted and applied at the receiving institution
Usually applies to multiple sending institutions and one or more receiving institutions
Does not require formal signed agreement between institutions
See: Transfer, Transfer Agreement, Transfer Credit, Transfer Student

Transfer Student
Student who moves from one institution to another and receives credit at the receiving institution for work completed at the sending institution

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 includes specialized professional certificates and diplomas, continuing education, distance education, and collaborative/joint programs with colleges

Courses and programs that prepare learners for further education, usually offered by colleges
Not typically included as part of a postsecondary program, and not generally applicable for postsecondary or transfer credit
Also called Academic Upgrading, College and Career Preparation, Academic and Career Entrance
Related Websites:
See: Secondary School Credits