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Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


Universities use special terms to describe certain processes. If you come across a term you don’t understand, you can learn what it means here.

Academic Advisors

Academic advisors are support staff at the university who can help ensure you meet the requirements to obtain your degree. You should meet with an academic advisor at least once a year while a student.

Academic advisors also provide academic advice, connect you with important resources, and can help you create a plan to reach your academic goals.

Academic Term

A term is a specific length of time that classes are in session. There are five academic terms in the calendar year at Laurier. Most programs admit to the fall term only; however, some programs admit students for the spring or winter.

The five academic terms are:

  • Fall: September – December (12 weeks)
  • Winter: January – April (12 weeks)
  • Spring: May – August (12 weeks)
  • Intersession: May – June (six weeks)
  • Summer: July – August (six weeks)

Note: The number of weeks listed above refers to teaching weeks, and final examinations occur afterward.

Academic Year

The academic year in the undergraduate system consists of two four-month terms, typically from September to April. You progress through four years of study in a typical honours degree program. Most honours degrees require 20 credits.

  • Year 1: 0 to 5 credits
  • Year 2: 5.25 to 10 credits
  • Year 3: 10.25 to 15 credits
  • Year 4: 15.25 to 20 credits
  • Year 5 (double-degree programs with 20.5+ credits)

Audit

A course without credit toward a degree or program. Audit students don’t write the final examination and don’t receive a course grade. The classroom and laboratory privileges and responsibilities are at the discretion of the instructor. The deadline to revise the status of a course from credit to audit is the same as the final date to withdraw without academic penalty. Tuition fees are usually one-half of the regular course fee.

Competitive Admission Range

The mean entrance average of last year’s admitted students.

Concentration

Concentrations and specializations enable you to dive deeper into your program by taking a minimum of three courses in a related area of study. These courses typically count towards the course requirements for your major as well.

Some examples include concentrations in the Business Administration and Music programs on the Waterloo campus or the Forensic Psychology Specialization on the Brantford campus.

Convocation

A graduation ceremony that occurs in the spring and fall, where degrees and diplomas are presented to graduates.

Course

A unit of study in a given discipline, identified by a unique number and name in a given department.

The weight or value of a course is defined as follows: a full-credit (1.0) course normally consists of three contact hours a week taken over an eight-month period (September-April). A half (0.5) credit course is normally conducted over a four-month period. A half-credit course is indicated with the 0.5 weight, and a quarter-credit course as 0.25 in the course description.

Course Load

Part-time students take less than 2.0 credits per term. Full-time students take more than 2.0 credits per term. Most honour programs take four years to complete if you complete five half-credit courses (2.5 credits) per term.

Curriculum

The collection of courses and other learning initiatives that make up a program.

Curriculum Divisions

Many courses are divided into three different areas of study: 1) Social Sciences, 2) Humanities, and 3) Science. Degree programs in the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Science in particular require courses from these divisions.

Degree

A degree is what you earn upon completing the requirements for graduation. A degree is different than your major. For example, if you earn a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, “Bachelor of Arts” is the degree, “Political Science” is your major.

Department

An academic department, usually a discipline within a faculty, as constituted by Laurier’s Senate and Board of Governors.

It can also refer to non-academic areas of the university, for example: Department of Residence.

Designation

A subject or field of specialization, an option or minor.

Discipline

A field of study or subject.

Elective

A course that’s part of a program, but not a required course. The choice of elective may be subject to departmental approval, or may be chosen from a stated group of elective courses in a program.

Faculty

“Faculty” has two meanings:

  1. A division of the university, for example: the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Music the School of Business and Economics.
  2. A member of the teaching community, for example: a professor or a part-time instructor.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The average of the grade points attained in specific courses. For purposes of calculation, the grade point (GP) earned in a 0.5-credit course will be given half of the weight of that earned in a 1.0-credit course. Likewise, the GP earned in a 0.25-credit course will be given a quarter of the weight of that earned in a 1.0-credit course.

The Grade Point Average translated into letter grades and percentages:

Grade Point Average Conversion

GPA

Letter Grade

Percentage

12.00

A+

90-100%

11.00

A

85-89%

10.00

A-

80-84%

9.00

B+

77-79%

8.00

B

73-76%

7.00

B-

70-72%

6.00

C+

67-69%

5.00

C

63-66%

4.00

C-

60-62%

3.00

D+

57-59%

2.00

D

53-56%

1.00

D-

50-52%

0

F

0-49%

Honours Program

An honours program consists of a minimum of 20.0 credits and is normally taken over four academic years with an area of specialization.

In-Combination Program

An in-combination program must be paired with another Bachelor of Arts (BA) program of study at the university. The program page will indicate if it is only available as an in-combination program. For example, the BA in Computer Science must be paired with another Bachelor of Arts major, such as North American Studies, Indigenous Studies, etc.

Letter of Permission

Students registered in a degree or diploma program at Laurier may take courses at another recognized university, provided that a Letter of Permission has been obtained from Enrolment Services at Laurier.

Conversely, students registered at another university wishing to take courses for transfer credit to their home university may register at Laurier on a Letter of Permission from their home institution.

LORIS

LORIS stands for Laurier Online Registration and Information System. LORIS is a web application used by students, alumni and employees of Laurier.

As an applicant, you’ll use LORIS to review your application to Laurier, submit your required documents, and watch for an admission decision.

As a student, you’ll use LORIS to access your grades, review your tuition and fee bill, register for your courses, confirm your program of study and much more.

Major

A major is the subject or discipline you are primarily studying at Laurier. It forms your program and appears on your degree. In most cases, you’re automatically placed in the subject major you choose through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre.

In some cases, your program will be a combination of two majors.

Minimum Admission Range

The minimum overall average required for admission.

Minor

A minor is a secondary area of focus made up of at least six courses from a program of study that is not your major.

You do not apply to complete a minor when you apply to the university. Minors are not declared until you apply to graduate from Laurier. You must complete an honours program to be able to declare a minor.

MyLearningSpace

MyLearningSpace is the Learning Management System (LMS) Laurier uses to deliver online courses and to host digital resources to support in-class courses.

MyLearningSpace allows instructors and administrators to organize and manage course content and students in an online environment. Your course instructor may use MyLearningSpace to facilitate course content, discussion forums, online quizzes and more.

Option

An option is a grouping of courses from different programs that related to the same topic. Options can be taken in addition to your honours program. Options appear on your transcript along with your major.

Post-Degree Studies

Post-degree studies is a non-degree option for students who have already completed an undergraduate degree. Typically, post-degree students register in undergraduate courses to discover a new academic interest, to upgrade their academic history, to work towards a designation or to work towards a second degree.

Students who are interested in completing another full degree must seek departmental approval from the faculty in which they wish to study. This approval can only happen after being accepted into post-degree studies.

Program

A group of courses, generally a combination of required and elective courses, that leads to a degree.

General program: A program consisting of a minimum of 15.0 credits and normally taken over three academic years.

Honours program: A program consisting of a minimum of 20.0 credits and normally taken over four academic years with an area of specialization.

Senior student

A student who has completed at least 5.0 credits and is classified as Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, post-degree, etc.

Specialization

Specializations and concentrations enable you to dive deeper into your program by taking a minimum of three courses in a related area of study. These courses typically count towards the course requirements for your major as well.

Some examples include concentrations in the Business Administration and Music programs on the Waterloo campus or the Forensic Psychology Specialization on the Brantford campus.

Subject

A specific field of study or discipline.

Syllabus

An outline for a course, detailing what you study and what assignments you do to satisfy course requirements.

Transcript

A transcript contains a chronological listing of courses and grades obtained at your education institution. An official transcript bears the signature of staff from the issuing institution.

At Laurier, a transcript is an official document prepared by the Department of Enrolment Services. Your Laurier transcript is a record of your entire academic performance at the university and bears the university seal. A fee is charged for each transcript.

Contact Us:

Recruitment and Admissions

E: chooselaurier@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x3385
F: 519.884.0618

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