Please note:

To view the Fall 2017 Academic Calendar go to http://www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/2017/fall.html

Definitions

The following are the most commonly used terms that new students may find confusing.

Students

Simon Fraser University does not classify students as either full time or part time although there are varying course load requirements for many types of financial aid.

Student means a person who is presently enrolled in a credit course or who is designated by resolution of the senate as a student.

Continuing Students

  • Undergraduate
    • A person who is enrolled for one or more of the last three terms and who is eligible to continue.
  • Graduate
    • A person who is enrolled in the current term and is eligible to continue.
    • On leave is a person who is not enrolled in the current term but is eligible to enroll when their approved leave ends.

Former Student

A person who had enrolled at the institution, and is not currently eligible to continue (eg. graduated, required to withdraw, discontinued).

Special Audit Student

A person who is not admissible to the University through the normal admission process.

Visiting and Exchange Student

A person whose “home” institution is not SFU but has been admitted to SFU for the purpose of taking courses to transfer to their home institution or to take part in an approved research term.

Non-Credit Student

A person who is enrolled in only non-credit courses and/or programs.

Academic Year

Levels
Undergraduates in Canada are traditionally classified as first year (freshman), second year (sophomore), third year (junior), or fourth year (senior) students. Since ‘year’ does not apply to the trimester system, the student’s progression is expressed in levels. ‘Level’ refers to the status of a student’s program. Each level normally equals one term’s work with a full course load; a typical four year bachelor’s degree program consists of eight levels. The first four (i.e., the first 60 units) are lower divisions. Levels 5 and above are upper divisions. The term ‘level’ is not used for graduate programs. Usually students in levels 1 and 2 complete 100 series courses; those in levels 3 and 4 complete 200 series courses; those beyond level 4 complete 300 and 400 series courses.

Four Year General Degree Program

 

Level

Units

Traditional Terms

Lower Levels

1

0-14

first year or freshman

2

15-29

3

30-44

second year or sophomore

4

45-59

Upper Levels

5

60-74

third year or junior

6

75-89

7

90-104

fourth year or senior

8

>104

Total: 120 units

Four Year Honours Degree Program

 

Level

Units

Traditional Terms

Lower Levels

1

0-14

first year or freshman

2

15-29

3

30-44

second year or sophomore

4

45-59

Upper Levels

5

60-74

third year or junior

6

75-89

7

90-104

fourth year or senior

8

>104

Total: a minimum of 120 units

Term
The calendar year is divided into three academic terms (formerly called semesters) of 16 weeks each. Each term has its own enrollment and final examinations. All academic courses are one term long, or a shorter session such as intersession or summer session. Students may enter at the beginning of any term and attend one, two or three terms in a year. By attending continuously, a student who entered from BC high school grade 12 (or equivalent) in the fall 2009 term could graduate with a bachelor’s degree at the end of the spring 2012 term. The following illustrates an academic year.

Fall Term September – December
Spring Term January – April
Summer Term
May – August
Intersession Term
May – June
Summer Session
July – August

To increase the accessibility of the summer program (May-August) to teachers and others, the summer term is enriched by two, two-month sessions called intersession (May-June) and summer session (July-August). These programs are offered in addition to the regular four month summer term.

Term Codes
The University’s student information system uses numeric codes for terms. Students will often encounter these codes when using https://go.sfu.ca, the on-line student services portal. Here are the term codes for the upcoming year:

1171 Spring 2017
1174 Summer 2017
1177 Fall 2017
1181 Spring 2018

The codes can be interpreted as follows:

  • 1 represents the 21st century
  • 17 = year (e.g. 2017)
  • the final digit is the term: 1 for spring, 4 for summer and 7 for fall.

Courses

Additive Credit
In courses deemed to have additive credit, the units do not count towards the total units required for a degree. Co-operative Education practicum courses typically have additive credit.

Approved
This category identifies the specialization of a student who is formally approved by the department or signing authority for that specialization and may be granted at the department’s discretion or signing authority. This must be done by the 61st unit. Advising for approved students is the responsibility of the department offering the approved specialization(s).

Corequisite
A corequisite is a requirement which must be satisfied before, or while taking a course.

Course Numbering
Each subject is divided into courses usually offered in term length units. Each course is identified by a subject name followed by a course number, the number of units, and course title, e.g. ENGL 103-3 Introduction to Drama. The first course number digit represents the division of the course; the fourth digit indicates the units. For example, ENGL 103-3 is a first division course offering three units.

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-Free Courses
These courses carry no credit and do not count toward a degree, certificate or diploma. At times, they are termed 'non-credit courses'.

Credit Hours
See “Units” below.

Distance Education Courses
Many courses are available as distance education courses. The majority of these are print-based. Some may also have audio and/or video support. Increasingly, educational technologies (e.g. computer conferencing) are being incorporated as courses are developed and revised. The program parallels the campus term system of the University, with the same 16 week period for course completion. For more information, see Centre for Online and Distance Education.

Division
Division relates to undergraduate courses: those numbered 001 to 299 inclusive are lower division courses; those numbered 300 to 499 are upper division courses. Graduate courses are numbered in the 500 to 999 series. In certain instances, upper division courses may be completed in the lower levels and lower division courses in the upper levels. Refer to specific regulations pertaining to requirements for degrees, certificates or diplomas.

Lectures, Tutorials and Laboratories
Although there are variations among departments, instruction in lower division courses combines a large lecture section with small tutorial groups. The large lecture enables as many students as possible to hear the very best teachers. The small tutorial groups provide more personal instruction and an opportunity for discussion of readings and lecture material. A typical course consists of two lectures and one tutorial a week. Notable exceptions are the sciences and languages, where a laboratory may be involved.

Obligation to Declare Majors, Minors or Other Areas of Specialization
Students are expected to obtain formal approval to enter an area of specialization by the time they have earned 60 units. 'Specialization' is a term used to cover programs such as majors, minors, double majors, honours, extended minors, etc. 'Department' refers to the faculty, department, school or unit responsible for a program. There are some other programs (e.g., post baccalaureate diplomas, certificates) which may have additional instruction regarding procedure since the students in these programs fall outside the usual flow of units.

Prerequisite
A prerequisite is a requirement which must be satisfied before taking a course.

Subject
A subject (or 'discipline') is a body of knowledge with arbitrary boundary lines, e.g. philosophy, chemistry or psychology. For convenience, professors of a subject are usually grouped together in a department.

Undeclared
This category will be used for any student who, prior to the successful completion of the 61st unit, has not recorded an intended specialization. Academic advising for undeclared students is available from Academic Advising and Student Success.

Units
Units, formerly known as credits, are assigned to each course; most have three units. A normal course load for full attendance in a term is 15 units. Requirements for credentials (e.g., degrees, diplomas and certificates) are partially expressed as units.
The unit weight is shown for each course as follows.
subject: Mathematics (MATH)
course number: 232
units: 3

Course Loads

The following maximum course loads apply to all students, but certain students may be granted permission by their respective faculties to enroll in course overloads (see below).

Intersession or Summer Session Only
Students enrolling for the intersession or summer session only may not enroll in programs having a total value in excess of nine units, except where course combinations may require enrollment in a program of 10 units; however, no student will be permitted to undertake a program of more than 10 units of work.

Regular Session
The maximum course load for all students who are not enrolled for summer session courses only, or intersession courses only and who are not entering their graduating term is as follows:

Applied Sciences
18 units
Arts and Social Sciences 18 units
Business Administration 18 units
Communication, Art and Technology
18 units
Education
18 units (PDP and PLP students have a maximum load of 20 units)
Engineering Science
22 units (permission of the director is required for course loads below 12 units).
Environment 
18 units
Health Science 
18 units
Science 18 units

Summer Term, Intersession, Summer Session Combinations
Normal course load limits apply to students who enroll in combinations of the above. For course load values only, in the regular summer term the course load value corresponds to the course’s units. In the intersession or summer session, the course load value is twice the units because, in the shorter session, classes must meet twice as often or for longer periods to equal the regular term. Therefore, when calculating course load value, note the following example. This does not apply to the regulations for assessment of financial aid and awards.

Course

Units

 

Course Load Credit

ARCH 371-5
(if completed in summer term)

5

equals

5

ARCH 372-5
(if completed in eight week intersession or summer session)

5

equals

10

Total Course Load

10

equals

15