This glossary explains some terms which are used frequently throughout this Calendar. It is intended as a quick-reference guide and may not necessarily offer the complete, official definitions and explanations which apply to the University’s programs and the administration of its regulations.

Term Description
Academic Audit Also called Degree Evaluation or CAPP - a computerized checking of courses completed against the requirements for a student’s academic program – available through Banner Self Service.
Academic Standing A student is in Good Standing if their CGPA is 1.70 or above. Students who have attempted at least 24 credit hours with a CGPA below 1.70 will be placed on Academic Probation and those with a CGPA below 1.00 may be on Academic Dismissal for 12 months or longer. See Academic Regulation 7.
Academic Year The period immediately following Labour Day in September up to and including Convocation Day in May of the following year. It is comprised of two academic terms or semesters.
Add and Drop Period A timeframe during which students can add or drop courses for the current academic term without those dropped showing on their permanent academic record; sometimes referred to as a “change of registration period”. See Academic Regulation 13.
Admission Acceptance of an applicant as a student.
Advanced Standing Credit hours granted for work completed at a post-secondary institution before admission to Saint Mary’s University. See Academic Regulation 20.
Annual Grade Point Average (AGPA) The average of all grades for all courses completed in a 12-month period (except repeated course processing).
Area of Concentration The main subject area of study (used in the 3 year B.A. and B.Sc. programs).
Attendance Status A student officially registered for at least nine (9) credit hours in a term is considered to be “full-time”, whereas a part-time student is registered for less than nine (9) credit hours in a term. The exception is Engineering. See Academic Regulation 1.
Audit Formal registration for a course(s) for which academic credit hours are not sought or granted. See Academic Regulation 2.
Bachelor Degree Refers to a three or four-year undergraduate degree awarded by the University. Also referred to as a Baccalaureate degree.
Bursary A monetary grant based on financial need. See Section 6 of the Academic Calendar.
Chairperson Faculty member responsible for an academic department and affiliated area(s) of study.
Certificate Specific courses grouped into a predetermined program, usually designed to be completed in the equivalent of one year of full-time study, intended to provide a general introduction to a field of study or specialized knowledge area. Non-credit certificates may be shorter.
Concentration See “Area of Concentration” above.
Cooperative Education (Co-op) A method of learning in which students alternate study terms on campus and work terms during which they are employed full-time by companies or institutions related to their academic field.
Co-requisite A course which must be taken concurrently with another course (e.g., CHEM 1211 requires MATH 1210 to be taken before or concurrently).
Course A unit of study in a particular subject identified by a course title and a unique course number.
Course-Based Service Learning (CBSL) is experiential learning linking community-based experience with course content. Activities to benefit the service provider (the student) and recipient (the Academic Regulations 18 Community Partner). Students participate in unpaid service experiences incorporating reflection about their experiences to academic work. Note: May require a Criminal Record Check (CRC), Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC), Child Abuse Registry Check (CAR), and/or other additional requirements. Costs associated with such requirements are the responsibility of the student and evidence of meeting such requirements is required before beginning the placement.
Credit Hours A unit of academic value. Six (6) credit hours are granted for each successfully completed full-year course three (3) credit hours are granted for a successfully completed one-term course. Credit hour values are used in the calculation of averages for academic standing and in the determination of the student’s year of study or level within a specific academic program.
Cross-Listed Courses Courses which are listed under two different numbers in two different departments or academic units. Cross-listed courses may be taken through either department/ academic unit, but credit hours may be earned for only one of the courses.
Cumulative Grade Point Average Each letter grade awarded has an associated numeric grade point value. A cumulative grade point average (CGPA) is an average calculated based upon all courses taken subsequent to admission to the University. The CGPA is used to determine academic standing and distinctions. See Academic regulations 5 and 6.
Dean Also called Dean of the Faculty; the chief academic administrator of a Faculty.
Degree Grade Point Average A degree grade point average (DGPA) is calculated based upon the courses presented in fulfillment of the degree requirements.
Diploma Specific courses grouped into a predetermined program, usually designed to be completed in the equivalent of two years of full-time study, intended to provide knowledge in a field of study that goes beyond general knowledge of a Certificate.
Directed Reading/Study An approved course in which an individual student studies, discusses and writes about a selected set of readings under the direction of an individual faculty member.
Elective Within an academic program, some courses are explicitly required and some courses may be selected from a specified set. These latter courses are called “electives”.
Faculty When spelled with a capital F, refers to an academic unit offering its own degree, diploma, and certificate program(s); when spelled with a small f, refers to instructors in a Faculty.
Full-time See “Attendance Status” above.
Grade The letter indicating an instructor’s evaluation of a student’s work in a course. See Academic Regulation 5 (undergraduate) and Graduate Regulation 6 (graduate).
Grade Point Average Each letter grade awarded has an associated numeric grade point value. A grade point average (GPA) is an average of these grade points. Commonly used GPA’s are Cumulative GPA, Degree GPA and Term GPA.
Honours Honours is the most intense level of study in a discipline within an undergraduate degree program.
Instructor A member of faculty.
Letter of Permission An official document issued by Saint Mary’s to enable its own students to register for a course(s) at another postsecondary institution and to guarantee transfer of the credit hours for that course(s), if successfully completed, to the student’s academic program. See Academic Regulation 21.
Major A formal, specific subject area of study within an academic unit as defined by its degree program. It has more depth than a Concentration, but not as much as Honours.
Open Studies Status An admission status permitting a student to take a course although that individual has not been accepted in an academic program at Saint Mary’s University. See Admission Regulation 4a.
Part-time See “Attendance Status” above.
Plagiarism An academic offence. Plagiarism means presenting words, ideas or techniques of another as one’s own. Please see Academic Integrity and Student Responsibility in Section 2 of the Academic Calendar and A Student’s Guide to avoiding plagiarism and cheating (
Preparatory Course Nova Scotia Grade 12 equivalent course designed to prepare students for entry level course work and hence not counted toward any degree, diploma, or certificate. A preparatory course’s number begins with zero (0).
Prerequisite A course for which credit hours must have been earned prior to registration in another course, lab, or recitation which lists it as a prerequisite.
Probation A conditional status assigned to a student who has shown evidence of academic weakness. See Academic Regulation 7.
Program An approved combination of courses in a subject area(s) which fulfills the requirements for a degree, diploma, or certificate.
Program Grade Point Average A program (major, honours, minor, concentration) grade point average (PGPA) is calculated based upon the courses presented in fulfillment of the program requirements.
Registration The process of officially selecting courses, labs, and recitations.
Satisfactory Academic Standing See Academic Standing above.
Scholarship A monetary award based on academic achievement.
Semester Same as “term” below.
Special Topics Approved courses dealing with specialized subject-matter that is announced from time to time by Departments; they involve classes at regularly scheduled times and are included in the normal timetable.
Subject Also called a discipline; a specific field of study, e.g., Accounting, Chemistry, History.
Summer Sessions Terms of study during the summer. See “term” below.
Term A formal period of instruction. There are normally 4 terms per year: September to December, January to April, May to June, and July to August.
Transcript An academic document issued by the Office of the Registrar which records all aspects of a student’s registrations and grades obtained at the University. An “official” transcript is one which bears the official seal of the University. See Academic Regulation 32.
Transfer Credit Credit granted for work completed at another post-secondary academic institution after admission and initial registration at Saint Mary’s University. Students must obtain an approved Letter of Permission before enrolling in courses for which transfer credit will be sought. See Academic Regulation 21.
Upgrading Student A student who already holds an undergraduate degree or professional certificate and who wishes to take an additional credit course(s) at Saint Mary’s University. See Admission Regulation 4c.
Visiting Student A student from another post-secondary academic institution who has a Letter of Permission to register for a course(s) at Saint Mary’s University.
Withdrawal A formal procedure set out within the regulations of the University for withdrawing from an individual course(s), or from the University entirely. See Academic Regulation 16.
Year of Study Attaining a degree, diploma, or certificate depends in part on earning credit hours for individual courses required in that academic program. However, progress may be measured in years or levels. Advancement from one year (or level) to the next signifies students having earned credit hours in the number of courses normally specified on an annual basis for their academic program. The following are the credit hour totals required for each year of study.
Year 1: 0 to 30 credit hours
Year 2: 33 to 60 credit hours
Year 3: 63 to 90 credit hours
Year 4: 93 or more credit hours