University Lingo 101: 20 Key Terms You Need to Know

By Vancouver Island University Modified on December 01, 2020

Fourth-year students share important vocab you'll need for university.

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Fourth-year students share important vocab you'll need for university.

Starting university creates a lot of new. New school, new friends, new classes, and along with all that there's new lingo to learn! University lingo can be hard to navigate at first, but our fourth-year veterans, Kass and Dayna, have compiled a list of commonly used terms to help get you through!

Alumni

Graduates/former students of the university. They often provide support to current students. Singular: alumnus (male) or alumna (female).

Bachelor's Degree

A degree given to a student after studying at university for four years. May be achievable in three years in places like the United Kingdom.

Co-op

An integrated work experience within the field related to your program. Usually worth school credit.

Educational Advisor

Advisors are here to support you through your university experience. They don't just assist you with your course choices — they also help you figure out which program is the best fit, connect you to resources to help you succeed and establish a plan to make your post-secondary experience more fulfilling.

Elective

A course you get to choose outside of the core courses set for your program. Most programs require electives along with core courses.

Faculty

A group of departments focused on a similar area of study. For example, VIU has nine faculties: Academic & Career Prep, Arts & Humanities, Education, Health & Human Services, International Education, Management, Science & Technology, Social Sciences, Trades & Applied Technology.

Graduate Studies

Research and study that extends beyond the bachelor's degree. The usual pathway is a master's degree, and for some, doctoral and post-doctoral studies.

Internships

A learning opportunity offered to students from an employer to allow them to gain experience in the field; these students may become potential employees.

Lab

A course component to support what students are learning during lectures. Labs allow students to gain hands-on, practical experiences.

Lecture

An educational presentation of information delivered by the professor to students.

Major

An area of specialization within your program/field of study. For example, if you are a Bachelor of Arts student, you might choose to major in English or History.

Minor

An optional, secondary focus for your studies. A good way to explore your passions and interests during your degree.

Practicums

A supervised experience that provides students with hands-on learning opportunities, often in a specialized field of study.

Professor

Someone who teaches at a university level, also referred to as a prof or an instructor. Be sure to take advantage of professors' office hours, when they set time aside toi discuss material!

Reading week

A week-long break from lectures given to students each semester to allow them extra study time. It's also a time to catch up on assignments.

Semester

A way of dividing the academic year. VIU has a fall, spring and summer semester.

Student Funding

To pay for university, there are several different funding options. Pick the option(s) that best suit your situation:

  • Bursary: an award given to a student based on financial need.
  • Scholarship: an award given to a student based on academic or extracurricular achievements.
  • Grant: money given to students based on set criteria that look at academic achievement and/or financial needs.
  • Loan: money borrowed to help support students through their education. This needs to be paid back, but the first three do not.

Students' Union

The organization that provides support and advocacy to students to support their needs and well-being throughout their academic careers.

Study Abroad

An opportunity to complete academic credits from an international location. There are several different types to choose from:

  • Field Schools: a short-term education abroad opportunity led by your professors, providing hands-on experiences.
  • Exchange: the opportunity to spend a semester (or longer) at another school while still earning credits towards your program.

Syllabus

This is a document that describes the course material to be presented throughout the semester. It showcases important dates and points that address assignments, readings and exams.

Dayna Stevenson is a fourth-year Tourism Management student at VIU. Before attending VIU, Dayna worked as a Lifeguard/Instructor in Campbell River, BC. She has always had a passion for recreation and knew it would be worth her while to come to VIU.

Kassandra Sime Duchesne is a fourth-year Tourism Management student from Fort Nelson, BC. When she first started at VIU she was a Biology student but decided that the sciences were not for her. In addition to her studies, she is a member of the VIU dance team and is on the Recreation and Tourism Association executive team.



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