Glossary of Terms

Academic Decision

Based on the final grades you receive at the end of each session, an Academic Decision recaps your progression status in your program (e.g. eligible to proceed). You can see your academic decision on your online grade report.

Area of Concentration

An academic focus within your major; e.g. Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) - environmental management: policy, resources and conservation. Not all majors have an area of concentration. See also Stream.


The Calendar is the University’s official reference document for all academic programs, policies and requirements.

Certificate Program

A prescribed set of courses that define a specialization in a particular area of studies. Usually comprised of 24 to 36 credits, certificate programs can be taken as either part of or independent from a degree program. For more information, visit the Future Students website.

Degree Program

A prescribed set of courses and accompanying requirements that lead to a degree (e.g. Bachelor of Arts - BA) upon completion. See also Honours/Bachelor.

Double Major

An equal concentration of courses taken in two subject areas - only available in an Honours (120 credit) degree. Note: graduating with a double major does not mean you will receive two degrees upon completion. You will receive one Honours degree with two identified specializations that will appear on your transcript. See also Major.


A large academic division of the University that offers programs in related disciplines. For example, the Faculty of Science offers programs in biology, chemistry and physics. The School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design offers programs in music, dance and film.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Every letter grade received at York has a numerical value (e.g. B+ = 7) attached to it. In this way, an average of all your grades can be calculated. GPAs can be assessed at the end of an academic session or cumulatively, taking all courses ever completed into consideration. For more information, visit the Grade Report Legends page.


A bachelor’s degree requires the completion of a minimum of 90 credits or equivalent. An Honours degree requires the completion of a minimum of 120 credits or equivalent. See also Degree Program.

Letter of Permission (LOP)

A Letter of Permission or LOP is issued to a student who has been approved to take a course at another university towards their York degree.


A primary concentration of courses taken in one subject area within a degree program. Normally, a major requires at least 30 of the 90 credits required for a bachelor’s degree or 42 of the 120 credits required for an Honours degree. See also Double Major and Minor.


A secondary concentration of courses taken in one subject area within an Honours degree. Normally, a minor requires at least 30 of the 120 credits required. Minors are not available in a bachelor's degree. See also Major and Double Major.


Non-degree studies allow you to take courses offered for credit, but not towards a degree.

Passport York

The verification system that acts as your electronic signature for online tools.


A prerequisite is a requirement to successfully complete another course, set of courses or achieve a specific grade in a course before enrolment in an undergraduate or graduate course. For example, many programs in the Lassonde School of Engineering have high school math and science prerequisites. York courses can also have other York courses as prerequisites. For example, you must successfully complete HH/PSYC 1010 6.00 with a minimum grade of C before you can enrol in any other PSYC courses in the Faculty of Health.

Program Change

A program change could include a change of major (e.g. exchanging one major for another or adding/dropping a double major or minor). It could also involve changing degrees (e.g. BA to BSc) or Faculties (School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design to Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change). Students may personally request a program change. If you are no longer eligible to continue in a program, your home Faculty may administratively change your program for you.


Reactivation is the process by which you can return to your studies after an absence from an academic session. If you did not enrol in courses in the last fall/winter session, you must reactivate your record before you can enrol in any future sessions.


An academic session (e.g. Fall/Winter 2021-2022) is a prescribed period of time designed for the delivery of courses. See also Sessional Dates.

Sessional Dates

Each academic session is scheduled to provide 12 weeks of teaching and a separate examination schedule. All sessions have beginning, end and suspension dates as governed by the Senate Policy on Sessional Dates and the Scheduling of Examinations. For more information, visit the Important Dates page.


A stream is a structured set of courses with a particular focus within an Honours undergraduate degree program that focuses on a particular area within the Major (e.g. business and society - media and communication). It is usually a minimum of 12 credits in addition to the core credits. Not all majors have streams. If your major has a stream, the stream you take will appear on your academic transcript, but not on your diploma. See also Area of Concentration.

Transfer Credit

If you attended another postsecondary institution before coming to York, you will be assessed for and may be granted transfer credit towards your York degree. This transfer credit may count towards the total number of credits required and it may exempt you from specific York degree requirements. For details, check your transfer credit statement issued at the point of admission. If you change your program, your transfer credit may need to be re-assessed. Your home Faculty advising office can help you understand your transfer credit.


The first degree pursued after admission from high school or equivalent is your undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree. Once you have graduated from your bachelor’s degree, you may pursue graduate-level studies towards a Master’s or Doctorate degree.

Visiting Student

Visiting students include those who are at York on a Letter of Permission (LOP) from another accredited university. They enrol in undergraduate or graduate for-credit courses but do not intend to complete a degree, certificate or diploma at York. See also Letter of Permission.

Visiting students can also include those pursuing courses on a non-degree basis. See also Non-degree.