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Admission advisor

Admission advisors help you understand the application process, and the admission requirements for your program of interest. They also help you understand university policies and procedures.

Academic advisor

Academic advisors help you choose courses and plan your program. They also help you understand university policies and procedures.

Academic Calendar

The official SFU description of all programs, courses, rules and regulations. Sometimes called a “catalogue.” Current and archived Calendars are at sfu.ca/students/calendar.

Academic program

The area of study that you apply to, are admitted to, and complete for your degree. Programs have requirements for admission and graduation, and sometimes have different fees. See the Academic Calendar for a list of academic programs.

Academic standing

When students begin their first term at SFU, they are considered to be in Good Academic Standing (GAS). However, once a student has attempted nine units the record is evaluated at the end of each term and the standing may change. Academic Difficulty describes various types of academic standing and what can be done to get back to Good Academic Standing.

Admission deposit

The $250 (domestic student) or $5,000 (international student) deposit you pay before enrolling in your courses informs SFU that you accept your offer of admission and that you intend to enroll and attend classes for the upcoming term. The total deposit paid is then put toward the cost of your total tuition and student fees for that term.

Advising transcript

This is an ongoing record of the courses you take each term and the grades you achieve in them. It also shows academic work you completed prior to coming to SFU, such as high school courses and grades and, for transfer students, courses completed at other post-secondary institutions. Print a copy from goSFU, the student information system, any time you are planning to see an advisor.


Graduates of a university or institution of higher education. Alumni refers to many graduates, alumnus is singular for male graduates and alumna is singular for female graduates.


Anyone who is ready to apply to SFU or has applied for admission to SFU but has not yet received an offer of admission.


A web-based student application portal that allows you to view your application status, and to-do list items (documents required to complete your application), submit self-reported grade information (for current Canadian high school students), and lists your personal information so that we can contact you easily. You log into your account at applicant.sfu.ca using the student number provided to you when you applied via Education Planner BC.

Application fee

The application fee must be paid before you can submit your application to SFU via Education Planner BC.

Athletic award

SFU offers more than 50 athletic awards, based on a combination of academic and athletic excellence.


Money, a prize or a medal awarded to a student based on intellectual, cultural, social or athletic contributions to university life.


Bachelor's degree

An undergraduate university degree program that requires certain courses to graduate. Examples: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of General Studies.


British Columbia Student Assistance Program, which provides loans to post-secondary students in BC. Forms provided by Financial Aid and Awards.


Money given to students based primarily on need, but sometimes requiring other conditions such as enrollment in a specific program. Application for money is done online. Administered by Financial Aid and Awards.


Certificate program

A program of courses you could complete while you study for your Bachelor’s degree, or for general interest. Usually requires one to two years of university study.


See Cumulative Grade Point Average.


A specific offering of a course in a term. A class may have several components — lecture, tutorial and lab.

Class load

The number of units you enroll in each term. SFU considers nine units to be "full-time" for most forms of financial assistance.

Class schedule

A schedule of the classes you have enrolled in each term. Your personal schedule is available to you at goSFU.

Computing ID

The name and password you use to log in to your free SFU computing account, which is provided to all SFU students. This also allows you access to SFU email and other online services.


A series of courses you take in a topic within your program: for example, you might take an Artificial Intelligence concentration in Computing Science.

Confirmation of Enrollment

You can request this confirmation letter from goSFU (go to Student Center / Academics / Enrollment).

Continuing student

You are a continuing student when you are eligible to enroll in future terms because you have been enrolled in a previous term.


The ceremony recognizing the academic achievement (graduation) of students who successfully complete their academic program. A convocation ceremony is held every June and October.


Education Once you have taken some courses and been accepted into the Co-op program, you will work during some terms and attend classes during other terms. This allows you to earn money and get valuable work experience before you graduate. See Co-operative Education.


A course you will be required to take during the same term you take another course.

Course description

The official description of an SFU course, included in the Academic Calendar.

Course numbering

Courses numbered 100 are usually taken before courses numbered 200, 300 or 400. Each course will have “prerequisites” that tell you which other courses you need before enrolling in that course. The number of units you receive for each course are also indicated: for example ENGL 101-3 is a beginning English course for which you will receive 3 units.

Course outline

Each term, professors describe the courses they will teach, including the topics, texts to read and exams and assignments required. Course outlines are available on goSFU.


See unit.

Credit courses

These courses carry units and count toward the total required for a degree, certificate or diploma, subject to the regulations governing the credential.

Credit hour

See unit.


The Canada Student Loan program for students from across Canada. Application forms are available from Financial Aid and Awards.

Cumulative grade point average

(CGPA) SFU calculates a “grade point” on all the courses you have enrolled in. Grade Point Averages (GPAs) are calculated after each term: the CGPA is calculated on all the courses you have taken toward your degree, in all terms.



The academic head of a faculty.


An academic unit responsible for teaching a subject—for example, SFU's Department of History or School of Engineering Science.


See Admission Deposit.



A class you may choose to take, not required as part of your major program.


(We use enrollment instead of registration.) The formal process of choosing your classes one to two months before each term begins.

Enrollment appointment

The date and time you can begin to enroll in classes.

Exchange student

See visiting and exchange students.

Extended minor

Part of your degree program, when you take all the lower division requirements for your major as well as all the upper division requirements for your minor.



A group of departments and/or schools that offer courses and programs in similar areas of study. SFU has eight faculties: Applied Sciences; Arts and Social Sciences; Beedie School of Business; Communication, Art and Technology; Education; Environment; Health Sciences; and Science. "Faculty" may also refer to the teaching staff of the University (also called instructors or professors).

Financial Aid and Awards

A service within Student Services that provides advice on, and administration of, money available to students, as well as information on BCSAP and the Work-Study program is available.

Former students

Under certain conditions, former students may submit a formal application for readmission in order to continue academic studies at the University (see Special/Other in Admission Requirements).

Full time student

If you are taking courses that will give you a total of 9 or more units, SFU considers you a full-time student. There are varying course load requirements for many types of financial aid (see Financial Aid and Awards).



A web-based student information system that allows you to enroll in class, shows you your class and exam schedule each term, allows you to see your student account of money deposited and withdrawn, and lists your personal information so that we can contact you easily. You log into your account at go.sfu.ca using the computing ID that SFU provides. Many features of the system are available on the goSFU app. See the SFU app suite for details. (Should we be noting applicant.sfu.ca ?)


Honours program

Students may choose to take an honours program in their area of study; an honours program has more requirements than the major program.


Joint major

A degree program that offers you two equal areas of study and gives you credit for two majors.



The practical portion of a class, given in one of SFU’s laboratories.


The instructional portion of a class, usually two or more hours each week, given by a faculty member (e.g. professor, lecturer) who presents the subject to be learned in a class.



A subject area on which you concentrate within your degree program. All programs have individual requirements for lower and upper division classes and units you must take.


A subject area you may choose to study at the same time you study in your major program. Minor programs have fewer requirements.


New student

After you have applied to SFU, been offered admission, paid your admission confirmation deposit and enrolled in your first term, you are considered a “new student.” After you have completed your first term, you are considered a “continuing student.”


Office hours

Your professors and other instructors will tell you their office hours at the beginning of a class. You are welcome to come to their offices at those times to discuss the class work. Many instructors are willing to arrange appointments if their office hours are not possible for you.


Part time student

If you take a class or classes that will give you fewer than 9 units toward your degree program, SFU considers you a part-time student. There are varying course load requirements for many types of financial aid (see Financial Aid and Awards).


A course you will be required to take before you can enroll in another course, or any other requirement you must fulfill before taking a particular course.

Prospective student

Anyone considering applying to a post-secondary institution.


Requirements, Admission

To be considered for admission, you must meet both the general scholarly requirements and the requirements specific to the program you wish to be admitted to.



High school students who demonstrate excellence in both their academic and extracurricular activities may apply for an entrance scholarship. Values range from $10,000 and higher. Scholarships are available to domestic and international high school students admitted for the fall term to an undergraduate degree in any faculty.


See term.


A small class for discussing school work. Seminars are usually given in graduate classes.

Student Information System

See goSFU.

Student Society

The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) promotes, directs, and administers all undergraduate student activities at SFU through the Student Forum, which is elected by students. The equivalent for graduate students is the Graduate Students' Society.

Summer session

A separate, shorter term of study (July-August) offered during the main Summer term.

Summer term

Summer term runs May—August. Within Summer term are two shorter blocks of study: intersession (May—June) and summer session (July—August).


Teaching Assistant/Tutor Marker (TA/TM)

Each department encourages their graduate students (e.g. doctoral, master’s) to give tutorials for discussion of class work. Graduate students who give tutorials are Teaching Assistants (TAs) and graduate student who tutor and mark papers and exams for Distance Education classes are Tutor Markers (TMs).


The 13 weeks during which classes are held. SFU’s three terms begin in September (Fall term), January (Spring term), and May (Summer term). Intersession is eight weeks in May and June, and Summer Session is six weeks in July and August. Each term has its own enrollment and exam period.


The official record of the classes you have taken, your grades and your program. Official transcripts can be sent, confidential and sealed, to another educational institution you wish to attend. You can order official transcripts and also print your unofficial transcript, for information only, on goSFU. See advising transcript.

Transfer units

Your advising transcript will show the total number of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB),and post-secondary transferable units you have received credit for toward your SFU degree.


The fees you pay toward the cost of your classes. These fees can vary depending on your program.


The smaller portion of a class, given by a teaching assistant, that allows more discussion on class topics. Students choose a class and a tutorial at the same time when they enroll.



If you do not choose a major program within the time you earn your first 60 units, you are considered an undeclared student. Academic advising for undeclared students is available from Academic Advising in Student Services.


A student studying for a bachelor's degree or certificate.


The credit you will receive toward completing your degree. Each SFU program requires a certain number of units. Courses indicate the number of units they are worth, for example English 104-3 gives you 3 units toward your degree.

Unofficial transcript

See transcript. You can print an unofficial transcript on goSFU.

U-Pass BC

SFU students who enroll in classes are entitled to special pricing on public transit.


Visiting and Exchange Students

Students from an accredited institution who attend SFU to complete SFU courses to be used toward their degree, certificate or diploma at their home institution.



The Work-Study program provides employment opportunities for full-time undergraduate and graduate students. It is managed by Financial Aid and Awards in Student Services.


The “Week of Welcome” offers activities during the first week of classes every September.