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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

TRU Lingo — Learn the Language of University

As you may have discovered, there is some jargon that's unique to post-secondary education and some acronyms unique to TRU, so here's a glossary of terms to help keep you on course.


Programs of study which usually involve theoretical knowledge and research and usually lead to a diploma or degree.

Academic Advisor

Academic Advisors are professionals with a strong foundation in student development theory and advising practices. They work in partnership with students to foster critical thinking, seek out resources proactively, and formulate a strategic plan for attaining educational and career objectives. Advisors embrace a holistic approach and recognize the individuality of students, including their diverse interests, aspirations, experiences, and backgrounds. Through meaningful and supportive dialouges, advisors provide constructive feedback to nurture student growth and personal development. Visit Academic Advising.


A process in which college and university programs are reviewed, assessed and accepted by provincial, national or international guilds, institutes or review boards. When a program is accredited, it means that the program meets the training standards set by government or the industry.

Add/Drop Date

The dates pertaining to when you can add an additional course or drop a course while being able to receive a refund. If you withdraw from a course during this period, it will not show on your transcript.


Being allowed into a program after the requirements for entering the program have been met. Some programs have 'limited admission,' which means there are a limited number of spaces available. Visit the Admissions Department.


A graduate of a particular school, university or college. TRU Alumni offers benefits and services to graduates of TRU.


The first step toward being admitted to a program of study. How to Apply at TRU.

Assistant Dean

An Assistant Dean has a leadership position in an assigned Faculty or School and oversees departmental units. The Assistant Dean serves as a resource to staff and faculty, and the role includes research, evaluation and assessment.

Associate Dean

An Associate Dean is a tenured or tenured-track faculty member who takes on the role of educational administrator to perform duties in a leadership position for their assigned Faculty or School.


Taking a course for the educational value, but not for credit. Students who audit a course pay the same fees, but do not write the exams, and will not receive a grade upon completion of the course.


Monetary award to students who demonstrate financial need, similar to a grant. Learn more at Financial Aid and Awards.


Catalogue of courses and programs offered by a post-secondary institution. Our calendar is only available online!


Campus Activity Centre.


An applied program of study involving theoretical and practical knowledge, usually leading directly to a certificate or diploma in a specific career path. Visit Trades & Technology.


Recognition that a student has successfully completed a program of applied study.


A faculty member, chosen by his/her peers to coordinate the instructional activities of a program.


An honourary appointment to head the university, bestowed on a community leader by the university's Board of Governors.


A single teaching session within a course.

Collegial governance structures

According to TRU’s General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, John Sparks, “Collegial governance connotes a decision making process in which there is consultation among colleagues before a decision is reached as opposed to a top-down decision-making process. The tri-cameral governance generally utilizes collegial governance processes to achieve decisions by one of the three governing bodies at TRU: the Board of Governors, the Senate and the Planning Council for Open Learning. This is not ‘shared governance’ in which the governing board has ultimate authority and (to the extent it decides) it shares authority, typically with a faculty senate. At TRU the powers of each of the three governing bodies in set out in the Thompson Rivers University Act.”


A cluster of courses in one discipline within a general Bachelor's degree program, combined with area requirements which ensure a broad selection of courses.


An educational component that allows students to participate in paid, on-the-job training sessions often for credit. The Co-operative Education department at TRU manages these work terms.


The large, formal ceremony where students receive their degrees, diplomas and certificates, the university's version of graduation ceremonies. Our convocation ceremonies happen in June and October. Visit the Convocation website.


A person attached to the Student Services department who helps students determine career goals and objectives, or assists in dealing with issues relating to success in post-secondary education from stress to study techniques. Visit Counselling at TRU.


A single component of a program of study, which includes classes, seminars and labs. Semester courses are approximately four months long.


Cplul’kw’ten means ‘the Gathering Place’ in Secwepemctsin, and refers to the friendly and inviting Indigenous Student Centre on campus. Learning Strategists are on-hand to provide information and resources, and there is space to socialize, study or take a break from your day. Cplul’kw’ten is truly a home away from home.


A counting system used to determine the amount of class time that a student has completed, usually based on hours of instruction. Every course has an assigned number of credits, which are used to calculate the cost of tuition. The number of credits that a student has completed are recorded on a permanent record or 'transcript.'


The Clock Tower building which is home to University Administration, Research, Faculty of ACT and the Alumni Theatre.


A Dean is an individual with significant academic administrative authority over a Faculty or School at TRU.

Dean's List

A listing of students with exceptional academic standing compiled by the Deans of each school.


Recognition that a student has successfully completed a four- or five-year program of study in a university program.


This web-based degree audit tool allows students to track their academic progress towards their certificate, diploma or degree completion.


Recognition that a student has successfully completed a two- or three-year program of study.


These courses provide fun and creative options that expand your horizons and allow you to study other subjects (aside from program core courses) that interest you. Some programs require specific subjects to satisfy elective requirements. i.e.) Humanities, Social Science, Science, Non-science, General. Students are encouraged to check Degree Works or their degree planning form for subject options.

  1. The instructors at a post-secondary institution.
  2. A group of university departments concerned with one area of knowledge.

TRU Foundation is a registered society raising and managing funds to provide scholarships, bursaries and special needs funding to support students in post secondary education and training.

Grade Point

The value of the final mark in a course rated on a scale between 0 and 4.33, with 4.33 being an "A" or "A+".

Grade Point Average

GPA, the value of each course final mark multiplied by the credit value of each course, divided by the number of courses taken.

Graduate program

A graduate program is a general term for an advanced university credential that one pursues after finishing an undergraduate degree. A graduate student refers to someone currently enrolled in a graduate program. Graduate certificates, graduate diplomas, and master’s degrees are all graduate programs.


An undergraduate degree more specialized than normal studies which requires students to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or greater and completion of a thesis or additional course work.


A hands-on portion of a course in which students apply the theoretical knowledge they have gained in their classes.


A process which allows students to apply credits earned in previous post-secondary study towards a higher level program. For example, many diploma programs allow you to "ladder" those credits into a degree program.

Learning Strategist

A Learning Strategist helps students understand their scholarly strengths and areas of growth; they also develop strategies, provide resources and guide students to toward methods that improve their academic standing. Learning Strategists provide one-to-one consultations and case management for academic success.


A program of study in a degree program in which the student specializes in a particular field in the final two years in order to obtain a Bachelor's degree in that field.


A program of study accompanying a major program, where the student specializes in a second field.


Open Learning Faculty Members provide education services and instruction through distance education programs that range from trades to traditional academics, and from certificates to degrees, professional career paths, and interdisciplinary options.


Old Main building.

Open Learning

Open Learning (OL) provides online courses and programs that can be completed anytime, anywhere, with access to courses without prerequisites; gain a new career and a new perspective while maintaining a flexible schedule.

Peer Mentor

Peer Mentors are student leaders, ambassadors, tutors, and advisors that offer support, empathy and guidance. The affiliated programs create opportunities for peer mentors to access valuable training, partake in professional development, gain hands-on experience, and contribute to the campus community.


An unpaid practical component of a program that allows students to gain on-the-job experience. In many TRU programs, these are a required part of the program, and also may be called "practicum" placements.


A course or other requirement which must be met before taking certain courses or enrolling in some programs.


Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition is a process involving the assessment and assignment of credit for learning that a student may have acquired as previous education or work experience. Students requesting PLAR usually submit a portfolio summarizing learning gained from non-formal learning experiences and may also need to write an exam or essay or complete a set of assignments to gain the required credit.

Professor (or Lecturer)

A professor (or lecturer) is an academic position at universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions. Professors teach undergraduate, professional and postgraduate courses in their fields of expertise and conduct original research. Instructors teach undergraduate, professional and postgraduate courses in their fields of expertise.


A group of courses that combine to provide skills and learning leading to a certificate, diploma or degree.


A Provost is a senior administrative officer in Canadian colleges and universities. The Provost's Office supports access to academic learning and teaching environments; ensures that students, faculty and staff have the best possible opportunities for intellectual growth; and allocates resources in support of TRU’s academic and research priorities.


The selection of individual courses after completion of all required admission procedures. Full payment of fees is usually required to finalize your registration. TRU students register online with myTRU.


Monetary award to students who demonstrate excellence in their program of study. Visit Financial Aid & Awards.


A group of university departments concerned with one area of knowledge.


A period in the school year in which courses are completed.


A scheduled discussion period in which students debate and discuss classroom theory and lab results.


A sessional lecturer or sessional instructor is an academic position in Canadian universities and colleges. Sessional lecturers are contract faculty members who hold full or part-time teaching positions. They may perform administrative duties but do not have research responsibilities nor are they required to commit to any committee work.

Student Case Manager

A Student Case Manager acts on behalf of Student Affairs. The manager works with students to understand TRU policies and procedures, including academic integrity and academic appeals, and guides students to appropriate on-campus and community services to best support their academic, personal and social needs.

Study Abroad

An international exchange program that allows students to live and study in a different country and obtain credit toward their degree. Visit the Study Abroad website.


A permanent record of the number of courses a student has completed, together with the marks for those courses. Read more about Transcripts.


Refers to TRU’s unique tri-cameral governance model, its structure and the roles of the three governing bodies: the Senate, the Board of Governors, and the Planning Council. TRU’s General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, John Sparks notes, “All three governing bodies share in divided governance with equal responsibility.” This model achieves greater transparency and open consultation, which increases the effectiveness of TRU’s collegial governance structures and accessibility of senior administrators.


Thompson Rivers University Student Union, an elected body of student representatives who deal with student services, events and advocacy issues. TRUSU is located in the Campus Activity Centre. Visit the TRUSU website.


Fees charged for courses, usually charged on a "per credit" basis. Vocational tuition is based on a per-month charge. Learn more about tuition and fees at TRU.

Undergraduate Degree

An undergraduate program is usually the first level of university education one completes after high school. An undergraduate student refers to someone who is currently enrolled in an undergraduate program. Bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas are all undergraduate programs.


An applied program of study, usually less than two years, that leads to a certificate in a specific career path. Fees for most vocational programs are calculated on a per month basis, not per credit.

Withdrawal Deadline

Registration and withdrawal deadlines are the latest possible dates to withdraw from a class without it affecting your grade-point average (GPA). A “W” will show on your transcript, but that course will not be used in the calculation of your GPA.

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