Glossary of Terms

Sometimes it seems like U of T has its own language. This handy glossary will help you navigate the world of “U of T speak.”



AACC (Academic Advising & Career Centre, UTSC) – for the Mississauga campus, see RGASC and for St. George see ASC

Get a boost in academics and career preparation with UTSC’s Academic Advising & Career Centre. You’ll have access to developmental advising, career counselling and employment coaching, as well as learning skills workshops and other resources.

Academic Calendar: A large document, usually found online, that tells you everything you need to know about program requirements leading to graduation and lists every single course offered in a Faculty or division. Pore over it, along with your division’s Registration Guide, to plan your future courses, explore electives and generally get excited about the school year ahead!

ACORN: Accessible Campus Online Resource Network. Dig into this system: it includes online resources such as your marks, timetable, Course Finder, Degree Explorer (which can help track your progress toward graduation), the CCR, the CLN and more.

APUS: Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students. If you are taking fewer than 2.5 FCE’s on any of the three campuses, this is your student union. They provide health and dental plans, bursaries and scholarships, a tax clinic and more. Run to be a Class Representative, volunteer, or participate in their campaigns to become engaged with campus life.


Back Campus (St. George): These multi-purpose fields between Hoskin Avenue and University College are Ontario’s first International Hockey Federation (FIH) certified pitches, and believed to be the highest quality two-turf field hockey facility currently in place in Canada. They’re designed to be enjoyed by University of Toronto students, faculty and staff, as well as by high-performance athletes. During non-programmed activity times, recreational field hockey, soccer, Ultimate, lacrosse and other field sports can be played here.

Breadth requirement: A course taken outside of your program to learn new skills and broaden your knowledge base. Most Faculties require some breadth requirements to be met before graduation.

Bursar: A staff member at some colleges responsible for financial affairs. If you are part of Trinity or Victoria, the Office of the Bursar is where you will go to get information about scholarships and financial aid. For other colleges and Faculties, visit your registrar for this information.


CCR: Co-Curricular Record. Search the database for opportunities to get involved on campus, learn how to describe the skills that you have gained through your involvement and create an official record of your experiences to show to future employers or graduate schools. What you do outside the classroom is often just as important as what you learn in lecture halls. So explore, get involved and recognize how valuable your experiences are.

CFRE Radio  (UTM): CFRE Radio is UTM’s campus radio station, broadcasting at 91.9 FM and over the Internet. Formally known as Canada’s First Radio Erindale, CFRE is located in the heart of the UTM Student Centre and broadcasts live 24/7.

CIE: Centre for International Experience. You’ll want to head here if you’re an international student or are looking to study abroad. The CIE runs programs to help international students acclimatize to their new home on campus, including an English Communication program, a mentorship program and advising. And if you’ve ever dreamed of spending a semester in countries such as England, Türkiye or New Zealand, visit the CIE to find out how to make that dream a reality.

CIUT: The St. George campus radio station, which can be found at 89.5 FM. They feature 24/7 programming of diverse genres and interesting talk shows and provide an alternative voice to mainstream radio stations. Ever dreamed of hearing your voice on the radio? Volunteer with the station and this could become your reality.

CLN: Career Learning Network. Browse job postings, learn about career-related programs and workshops, and access a plethora of online career-development resources.

CLSS (St. George Campus; for the Mississauga campus, see RGASC and for Scarborough, see AACC): Centre for Learning Strategy Support (formerly “Academic Success Centre”). You got into U of T, which means you were a great student in high school! You have the potential to be a great student at U of T too, but for many that might mean seeking help, which may be a new experience. Fortunately, the Centre for Learning Strategy Support is on your side. You can be counselled individually or attend workshops to learn skills such as time management, exam preparation or stress and anxiety management. Everybody can benefit from a little skills sharpening.

College: Arts & Science students on the St. George campus are split into seven colleges – InnisNewSt. Michael’sTrinityUniversityVictoria and Woodsworth – each with their own distinct atmosphere and architecture. Your college is your home base – you will visit the registrar and writing centre there, and may stay in one of their residences. Each college has their own form of student government and a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs to get involved with. Your college is your smaller community within the larger University.

Community Crew (St. George): These students will be bloggingtweetingfacebooking and instagramming all year to share their U of T experience, answer your questions and introduce you to the U of T community.

Con Hall: Convocation Hall. The name for this building comes from the fact that you will experience graduation between its walls. But you will probably meet it four years earlier for some of your first-year classes.

Convocation: The formal ceremony at the end of your time at U of T where you get your diploma. You’ll wear an academic gown and hood, pose for pictures with your loved ones and feel incredibly proud of how far you’ve come.

Co-requisite: A course or requirement that a student must take at the same time they are completing another course or requirement (unless it has already been taken). Co-requisites will be listed on the Academic Calendar.

Course Finder: An online tool to search for courses available in Arts & Science and engineering at St. George, and all courses at UTM and UTSC. It displays information like the course description, prerequisites and lecture time, and you can filter the results by day of the week or time of day.

Course load: A term for how many courses a student is taking. A course load of 0.5 to 2.5 is part-time; 3.0 to 5.0 or 6.0 is full-time.

Course Union (Faculty of Arts & Science, St. George campus): A student-run group that all members of a program are automatically a part of. They provide academic services, as well as run social events to help classmates get to know each other and have fun.

Credit/no credit (CR/NCR): An option where your transcript will only show if you gained the credit, regardless of whether you got 51 or 99%. This is great for taking courses outside of your program that make you simultaneously shake with excitement about the material and with fear of not doing well!


Degree Explorer: A planning tool that tracks the courses you have taken and your progress toward fulfilling your program requirements. Enter in courses you want to take in the future to see if your plan will lead you to graduation.

Department: The academic unit that conducts research and hosts courses in a particular subject. U of T has 90 departments across all three campuses!

Division:An academic unit, including the University of Toronto Scarborough, the University of Toronto Mississauga, as well as the various Faculties and schools on the St. George campus, including the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education.

Drop date: The last day to drop a course without it appearing on your transcript and affecting your GPA. Check the Academic Calendar for the specific dates each term. This is different from the refund date, which is the date you must drop a course by in order to get some or all of your money back. The refund date is earlier than the drop date.


Exchange: A program, accessed through the CIE, in which students spend a semester or more taking courses at another university, often in another country. U of T students have the opportunity to take courses in countries as diverse as Germany or Kenya, and students from other institutions around the world can do an exchange at U of T.


Faculty: An academic unit – also referred to as a division – which is made up of group of academic departments. Your Faculty or division will influence the courses you can take and the type of degree you will graduate with, as well as provide unique extracurricular opportunities. The first-entry Faculties and divisions — which you can enter directly from high school — include the Faculties of Applied Science & Engineering, Architecture, Landscape and Design, Arts & Science, Kinesiology & Physical Education, Music, as well as the University of Toronto Mississauga and University of Toronto Scarborough.

FCE: Full-course equivalent. This is either a Y (year) course that takes place in both the fall and winter terms, or two H (half) courses that each take place in only one term.

First Year Foundations: A collection of optional small-group courses, seminars, and experiential learning opportunities specially designed to help first-year Arts, Science and Business students get off to a solid start at U of T. Students learn key critical thinking and writing skills, develop intellectual independence, expand their creative side and make a successful transition into university life.


Gerstein (St. George campus): The Gerstein Science Information Centre is the main science library. Besides having over a million volumes to read and research, this is a gorgeous place to study with large windows overlooking the nearby provincial parliament buildings.

Governing Council: The University’s governing body. GC oversees the academic, business and student affairs of the University. Comprised of 50 members drawn from staff, faculty, students, alumni and community members, meetings are open to students and it’s a good way to see how the university operates and what decisions and topics are being discussed. Students choose student governors at elections each spring. 

GPA: Grade Point Average. This is calculated by converting each mark to a four-point scale and then finding a weighted average. It is the summary of your academic achievement at U of T, though it is important to remember that there is more to life (and success!) than a 4.0 GPA.


Hart House (St. George): The co-curricular centre at U of T. It has an athletics and aquatics facility, the acclaimed Justina M. Barnicke Art Gallery, a theatre, a beautiful library, study spaces and Sammy’s Student Exchange for quick snacks or meals. You can take creative or fitness classes, join a club or committee or volunteer at CIUT, the campus radio station hosted on the first floor.

Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre (UTM): The Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre is home to the UTM Library, with an array of teaching, learning, collections, and technology-related services.


Intramurals: Non-competitive sports teams that anyone can join. A casual opportunity to get active, be part of a team and meet like-minded people. Intramural teams are offered for a variety of sports – from cricket to lacrosse to Ultimate frisbee.


LEC: Lecture. You’ll see this abbreviation in the timetable when choosing courses. Almost every course has a lecture component, either in multiple-hour blocks or in smaller sessions throughout the week.

Life sci: A casual term for Life Sciences, the general area of study including biology, ecology, psychology and related disciplines.

LWD: Late withdrawal. A way for a student to drop a course in the Faculty of Arts & Science after the drop date if they become irreparably behind, usually for personal reasons. If this option is used for a course, it will appear on the transcript as “LWD,” but will not affect your GPA. If you think you may need to do this, visit your registrar as soon as possible.


Mentorship: A mentor is traditionally someone with more experience who provides advice and guidance to someone starting out on their path. At U of T, you can be matched with a peer mentor (an upper-year student), a career mentor or an alumni mentor.

MiWay (UTM): Mississauga’s public transit system. Qualified students ride the system fare-free during academic sessions.


OSAP: Ontario Student Assistance Program. A financial-aid program that awards grants and loans to eligible post-secondary students.


PEY: Professional Experience Year. Undergraduate students in the Faculty of Engineering, and in Commerce and Computer Science programs, are given the opportunity to gain industry experience and money by working for 12-16 months after their second or third year.

PRA: Practical. An abbreviation in the timetable. A “practical” is a hands-on learning session, sometimes in pairs or groups, under the supervision of a TA. Often, but not always, this takes the form of conducting experiments in a lab.

Pre-requisite: A course that you must have taken and passed before starting a certain course, to ensure that you’re prepared. Pre-requisites for each course can be found in the Academic Calendar.

Priority enrolment: To make sure that students can get the courses they need to graduate, for the first part of course selection only certain students (based on their entry stream or Subject POSt) are able to enrol in specific courses. These students have priority. Priority controls are lifted at a later date, at which time any student can enroll in the remaining spaces or join a waitlist.

Program: A set of requirements that you must satisfy to earn a specific degree.


Quad: An outdoor area in the inner part of a building, often surrounded by four walls. These are arguably the most beautiful places on campus, and can be found in locations such as Trinity College, University College and Hart House.

Quercus:  The online teaching and learning system where you can find course information (including assignment grades, lecture slides, syllabi, and announcements from your professors) as well as various other resources.


Registrar: Your registrar is your first stop for academic advice, financial aid, personal advice, registration and referrals. You can visit your registrar at your college, Faculty, or division.

Registration Guide: Each division produces this detailed listing of the current year’s course offerings and scheduling. This will help you organize your course schedule, which you can do on ACORN.

Restricted: A restricted course is one that is intended for only a certain group of students, based on things like their Subject POSt or year of study. Students who do not meet the requirements can sometimes take the course, but only with special permission from the department.

RGASC (The Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM)—for the Scarborough campus,AACC and for St. George see ASC

Give your academic skills a boost with the RGASC’s full range of workshops, seminars and individual consultations, all designed to help you succeed in your studies.

Robarts: The John P. Robarts Library is home to 4.5 million books about the humanities and social sciences, as well as countless other resources.

ROP (Faculty of Arts and Science, St. George campus): Research Opportunity Program. Courses restricted to second- and third-years, which match students with professors to work on original research in their discipline. ROPs run in both the summer and during the year, and require an application the winter before.

ROSI/ACORN: The Accessible Campus Online Resource Network (ACORN), formerly the Repository of Student Information (ROSI). This is the online system where you register for courses, view your final marks, see your fees, declare Subject POSts and more.


SCSU: Scarborough Campus Students’ Union. If you are a full-time undergraduate student at the Scarborough campus, this is your student union. SCSU provides health and dental plans and is responsible for representing the interests of the student body.

Subject POSt:  Your program of study. These are specialists, majors or minors, and you can have up to three Subject POSts. Typically, students enroll in these at the end of their second year.

Syllabus: A document with the outline/rules for a course, usually given by a professor on the first day of class and/or posted on Quercus. Read it! It will answer many of your questions, keep you on track with your readings and get you excited about what you’ll be learning in the months ahead.


TA: Teaching Assistants. These are typically graduate students or upper year undergraduates who will be leading your tutorials, marking your essays and often grading your exams. Get to know them – they’re a great source of advice about what you can do with your degree and they can also tell you what graduate school (or upper-year undergraduate studies) is like.

TCard: Your TCard is your student ID, and your picture will probably look nicer than your driver’s license because you’re allowed to smile. It gets you into libraries, allows you to use your meal plan and can be filled with cash to use for printing and photocopying. You’ll also need to bring it to final exams to sign in. It can even get you discounts at various places around the GTA.

The Five-minute Walk (UTM): Describes the walkway between the old South Building (now Davis Building) and the old North Building (now Deerfield Hall). The walk between the building takes approximately five minutes.

The Medium (UTM): The Medium is UTM’s student newspaper, located on the second floor of the Student Centre. It aims to give students a means of connecting, staying informed about their community, and of discussing their concerns.

The Meeting Place (UTM): As the name suggests, it’s a common gathering spot in UTM’s Davis Building next to a food court.

Timetable: Large document listing the times, locations and professors for all classes. Use it to plan your schedule on ACORN.

The Underground (UTSC): The Underground is UTSC’s official student paper. It provides a voice to the student body and keeps campus members informed about the latest news in arts, lifestyle, sports, health and more.

TTC (St. George and Scarborough campuses): Toronto Transit Commission. The TTC is responsible for the subways, streetcars and buses that you can use to get around the city.

TUT: Tutorial. This is the abbreviation you will see in the timetable when choosing your courses (be aware that for some courses you’ll sign up for tutorial times on Quercus after classes start. But if you see an option to enroll in one when doing course selection on ACORN, go ahead and do so!).


UHIP (International Students): University Health Insurance Plan. This is a mandatory plan for all international students to ensure they have access to proper healthcare while in Ontario.

Ulife: A directory of clubs and student organizations at U of T.

U-Pass (UTM): A U-Pass is a student transit card for UTM students allowing unlimited fare-free rides on MiWay, Mississauga Transit’s bus system, during academic sessions.  A U-Pass holder simply shows the MiWay driver her or his U-Pass card and T-card (UT student ID) when boarding.

UTAPS: U of T Advance Planning for Students. A financial-aid program for full-time students who receive the maximum government financial aid available but whose funding still doesn’t cover all their university costs. UTAPS helps fill the financial gap. Ontario residents must be receiving OSAP to be considered. If you’re receiving financial aid from another Canadian province, territory or a First Nations band, you may be eligible for UTAPS too.

UTARMS: University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services. UTARMS is responsible for preserving records associated with the University. It’s a great resource if you’re doing research on the University, but also for general knowledge. Browse through the image bank on their website to see what student life looked like as far back as the 1800s.

UTmail+: Your U of T email account, ending in Make sure to check it regularly. You’ll receive announcements from your professors, newsletters for your program and official announcements from the school.

UTMSUUniversity of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union. If you are a full-time undergraduate student at the Mississauga campus, this is your student union. UTMSU provides health and dental plans and is responsible for representing the interests of the student body.

UTM Student Centre: The UTM Student Centre is home to a variety of student organizations, including the campus student newspaper The Medium, the campus radio station CFRE, the UTM Students’ Union UTMSU, along with several student clubs.

UTORid: Your username that gives you access to ACORN, Quercus, UTmail+, and more. It is assigned to you and is a variation on your name. You’ll need to activate it before you can use it.

UTSC Library: Located in the Academic Resource Centre, the UTSC Library’s local collections include over 300,000 print volumes, almost 700 print journal subscriptions, more than 2,000 sound recordings and over 1,000 videos and films. Plus, as a student, you’ll have access to the entire U of T Library system’s offerings.

UTSC Student Centre: A focal point of student life on campus, the UTSC Student Centre houses the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union, the Department of Student Affairs, student clubs and associations, the student media centre, a multi-faith prayer space, lounges, a pub, food outlets, retail stores, a games room and study area, and more.

UTSU: University of Toronto Students’ Union. If you’re a full-time undergraduate student at the St. George or UTM campus, this is your student union. UTSU provides health and dental plans, sells discounted TTC passes and are responsible for representing the interests of the student body.


The Varsity: U of T’s student newspaper and Canada’s largest and second-oldest (it’s been around since 1880!). Try your hand at writing, copy editing or designing and share your voice with the school at large.


Waitlist: Once a course is full, you can add your name to this first-come-first-served list. If someone drops the course, the person who is first on the waitlist will be automatically enrolled. This process continues for about two weeks, after which waitlists disappear and any open spaces become open for grabs to those checking at the right time on ACORN.

WalkSafer Programs: Staying late on campus? Contact the university police to organize a Walksafer escort. The service is free.

Work-study: All students taking courses at U of T are eligible for these on-campus job opportunities. They are for a maximum of 12 hours per week, and are great opportunities for students to gain work experience and make money in a setting considerate of their class schedule.

Writing centre: All divisions have undergraduate writing centres. You can meet with instructors to discuss any part of your essay-writing process, or improve your academic skills by attending workshops and training sessions.