The following definitions will help you become familiar with common university terminology. They are not, however, considered official definitions when interpreting university or faculty regulations.


Academic year: An expression normally used to describe the period between the fall session (September to December) and the winter session (January to April).

Advanced standing: Recognizing a course previously completed at another academic institution as part of the student’s program of study at Saint-Paul University.

Annual grade point average (agpa): Measure of the student’s performance over all courses taken during an academic year (May through April).


Bachelor; bachelor’s degree; Baccalaureate: An undergraduate degree conferred upon completion of a three- or four year program of studies.


Calendar: Document containing the official descriptions of programs of study, degree requirements and courses, as well as faculty and university regulations.

Complementary program: A program for which there is no direct admission (ex: complementary minor), but is instead taken in addition to a student’s main program.

Compulsory course: Any obligatory course taken to fulfill core-education and program-specific requirements.

Course: A set of teaching and learning activities for which the calendar definition hasbeen approved by Senate.

Course codes (Undergraduate courses): Understanding course codes is essential to choosing your courses adequately. Here is an example of a course code to help you understand what each digit represents: here is an example ECH 3310.

Course codes contain three letters followed by digits in the 1000s to 4000s.

  • The first digit indicates the year of study : 1*** first-year courses, 2*** second-year courses…
  • The second digit indicates the language of the course : numbers 1 to 3 indicate courses taught in English, numbers 5 to 7 indicate courses taught in French and the number 9 indicates a bilingual course or a course involving mainly individual work (thesis or practicum, for example).
  • The last two digits are used at the discretion of the faculties: If all the digits for different courses are the same except for the second one (the one indicating language), this tells you that the courses are the same or equivalent, but simply differ in the language in which they are taught.

Course sequences: The course sequence for a program is the order in which your courses should be taken in order for you to complete your degree on time.

Credit: The numerical value assigned to an academic activity. Regular courses at Saint-Paul University are usually worth 3 credits each and last one session. Some courses can be worth 6 or even 9 credits, but these usually involve a practicum or internship:

Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA): The cumulative grade point average (CGPA) represents a student’s performance in all courses that have been taken. The CGPA is calculated at the end of each session.


Elective: An interest course chosen from other subject areas offered at Saint-Paul University. Electives are a part of the degree requirements but are not part of the core education requirements or the disciplinary program of study (including compulsory and optional courses). For example, a student doing an honours degree in Conflict Studies take a social communications course as an elective.


Faculty: Administrative entity consisting in several academic units

Full-time: Status of a student registered for 12 credits or more during a session.


Grade point average (GPA): A measure of academic performance corresponding to the sum of the final grade values times the number of credits for each course divided by the total number of credits attempted.

Grade report: Document that presents the academic results obtained by a student during an academic session.

Grading scheme: The grading scheme represents how grades are allotted to students at Saint-Paul’s University and the University of Ottawa. Each university uses its own grading scheme, although some of them may be similar or even the same.

Alpha letter gradeNumerical valuePercentage value
Other non-numerical grades (do not affect the student’s average)


NSNot satisfactory


Honours Bachelor: Honours Bachelor’s Degree; Honours Baccalaureate: An undergraduate degree requiring the equivalent of four years of studies and at least 120 credits with the required cumulative grade point average (CGPA) and diploma grade point average (DGPA), except in specific cases approved by the Senate.

Honours Bachelor’s with Specialization: Degree conferred upon completion of a program requiring in-depth training in a single discipline or in an interdisciplinary area of studies with a minimum of 54 credits in the discipline or interdisciplinary area.


International or national exchange Program: Program available to students at the Saint-Paul University who are interested in studying at another Canadian university or abroad for one session or an entire academic year.


Lecture: A course in which the subject matter is communicated orally to a class requiringlimited student participation.


Major: Intensive training in a main discipline or field of study consisting of minimum 42 credits in the discipline or field of study.

Minor: Introductory-level training in a branch or sub-branch of a particular discipline or subject, consisting of 30 credits, of which at least 6 credits are at the 3000 level or above.


Optional course: A course included in the program requirements, which must be chosen within a given disciplinary field or a specific list of courses.


Part-time: Status of a student registered for fewer than 12 credits during a session.

Prerequisite: Course that must be passed before being able to take another course.

Program of studies: A set of courses or other work that must be successfully completed before qualifying for a degree, certificate or grade from the University.


Registrar (Office of the): The unit responsible for registrations and admissions, for filing academic records, and for the publication of course descriptions, timetables, and calendars.

Registration: Formal notice in which students show the courses they are taking in a session.

Regular student: A person who has been admitted to a program of study leading to an undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate at the Saint-Paul University, and who is registered for one or more courses in that program.

Retained credits: Credits for courses completed in one program of studies at the University that are recognized as part of the requirements of a new program to which a student has transferred and are counted in the determination of the grade point average in the new program.


Scholarship: A scholarship is non-repayable financial assistance that is awarded on the basis of academic or other merit, or to assist a student continue his or her studies.

Session: Period during which the University’s academic activities take place (Fall session: September to December; Winter session: January to April; Spring-summer session: May to August). In general, the fall and winter sessions run 15 weeks each, including the exam period. The spring-summer session breaks down into subsessions with a varying numbers of weeks.

Sessional dates: A list of the dates corresponding to important deadlines or events during the academic year for different sessions (i.e., fall, winter, summer sessions).

Sessional Grad Point Average (SGPA) : Measure of the student’s overall performance for all courses in a given session.

Special student: A person who is allowed by the University to register for undergraduate courses in order to obtain university credits, but who is not seeking an undergraduate degree, certificate or diploma from the University.


Transcript: An official and confidential document issued by Saint-Paul University at the student’s request which indicates all courses and corresponding results for which a student is officially registered at the University.

Transfer credits: Credits for courses completed at another university, which are recognized and counted as part of the requirements of a program of studies at Saint-Paul University (see also Advance Standing).


Undergraduate studies / student : University studies leading to a bachelor’s degree or an undergraduate certificate; a person pursuing such studies.


Year of study: One year of study is equivalent to approximately 24 completed credits (or two sessions of full-time study). However, students in a given year of study can take courses in higher years.

Year of studyCompleted credits
1st year0-23
2nd year24-53
3rd year54-80
4th year81-120+