Glossary of University Studies in Québec   

In Québec, our education system is similar to other North American systems, with a few particularities. We use North American terminology to describe our programs of studies and university operations. However, our terminology is not always the same in French and in English. This glossary will help you to understand all these words that may not have the same sense for you (depending which country and continent you come from), or that simply do not exist elsewhere!

A list of the courses that you must follow to obtain your diploma, often including many sequencing requirements.

Term used outside Québec
Course sequence, course grid, course progression, list of courses, program schedule

In Québec, one academic year normally extends over twelve months. It is composed of three semesters of four months each: fall, winter and summer.

When you submit a request for admission, you ask ÉTS to grant you the right to register for courses in the program of studies that you have chosen.

These are the criteria which you must meet in order to be admitted to a program.

At ÉTS, this is the person who deals with the admission files for the university’s various programs of studies and who can answer questions about registration or graduation. 

This is the first administrative step prior to undertaking university studies. To be able to register for a course or a program at ÉTS, you must first be admitted by the Office of the Registrar. Once this is done, you can register.

Program of studies at the undergraduate level (cycle 1 in French), leading to a degree and including 90 to 120 credits, that is to say approximately 30-40 courses.

Term used outside Canada

  • Licence or DEUG (many francophone countries)
  • Licenciado (Mexico and other hispanophone countries)
  • Bachelor (USA, UK)

By presenting a request for admission to ÉTS in order to pursue a program of studies at the undergraduate (bachelor’s) level or the graduate (master’s or doctoral) level, you become a candidate for admission. You cease to be a candidate when you receive a letter of acceptance or refusal from the program to which you applied.

An undergraduate level program of studies, not leading to a degree and normally including 30 credits, that is to say approximately 10 courses.

This is typically a photocopy of an original document which bears the seal and signature of a commissioner of oaths, a notary, a lawyer or another person authorized to validate the accuracy of a photocopy made from the original document.

This certification can also be issued at a city hall, a police station, a consulate or embassy.

In Québec, college studies are required between secondary and university studies.  

There are two year programs, called “pre-university”, and three-year programs, called “technical” programs. See below for more information.

Tems used outside Québec

  • Lycée
  • College
  • Sixth form

This means studies that allow a person already in the labour market to acquire new knowledge and skills to improve his or her professional career. These programs usually do not give the student university credits or academic diplomas.

Co-op placement (see also internship)

Practical learning activity forming part of a program of studies and taking place in a business or organization. At ÉTS, the bachelor’s programs include three paid mandatory internships.

Value assigned to the workload required to complete the objectives of a given course.  One credit normally corresponds to 45 hours of work, i.e. 15 hours of classes or labs and 30 hours of study and homework.

Terms used outside Canada

  • UE
  • ECTS
  • Other

Undergraduate studies: Includes undergraduate microprograms as well as certificate (30-credit) and bachelor’s (90-credit) programs.  In Québec French, these are referred to as “cycle 1” programs.

Graduate studies:  Divided into master’s level and doctoral level studies. The master’s level (cycle 2 in French) includes microprograms, Specialized Graduate Studies Diplomas (known in French as Diplômes d’études supérieures spécialisées or DESS), and Master’s degrees (equivalent to M2 level in the European system).

Doctoral studies are referred to as cycle 3 in Québec French. This includes all the various doctoral programs.

Term used outside Canada

  • LMD level (France, EU)

Title conferred by the university and attested by a diploma. These grades are generally: Bachelor, Master, or Philosophiae Doctor (Ph. D.)

Term used outside Canada

  • Degrees (degree programs)

DESS is an abbreviation for “Diplômes d'études supérieurs spécialisées".

A graduate-level program of studies, not leading to a master’s degree and normally including 30 credits, that is to say approximately 10 courses. Known in French as “Diplômes d'études supérieures spécialisées” or DESS.

The highest level graduate studies program in any faculty (called a cycle 3 program in Québec French), comprising at least 90 credits and leading to a degree.

  • At the undergraduate level: Registration for 12 credits or more per semester.
  • At the graduate level: Registration for 9 credits or more per semester.

Foreign students filled a visa of studies must be enrolled full time to comply with Immigration Canada regulations.

A grade (sometimes called a mark) is a number that reflects the evaluation of a student’s performance in a course. In Canada, university students are generally graded on a scale of 4.3.  The numeric scale also has equivalent letter grades:

  • A+, A and A- (4.3, 4.0 and 3.7)
  • B+, B and B- (3.3, 3.0, 2.7)
  • C+, C and C- (2.3, 2.0, 1.7)
  • D+ and D (1.3, 1.0)

The lowest grade is E at ÉTS, or F in some other schools, which means failure.

This term includes master’s and doctoral programs, including microprograms, short programs, DESS diploma programs and the master’s and doctoral degree programs.   

In Québec French, these are called “Études supérieures” and are grouped into cycle 2 (master’s level) and cycle 3 (doctoral level) studies.

This is normally a part-time teacher who is paid by the course. For example, it can be a graduate student.

Practical learning activity forming part of a program of studies and taking place in a business or organization. At ÉTS, the bachelor’s programs include three paid compulsory internships (or co-op work terms).

Undergraduate studies: Includes undergraduate microprograms as well as certificate (30-credit) and bachelor’s (90-credit) programs. In Québec French, these are referred to as “cycle 1” programs.

Master of Engineering. 

This degree is granted at ÉTS to graduates of a Master’s with project (project profile) program.

Master of Applied Sciences.

This degree is granted at ÉTS to graduates of a Master’s with thesis (research profile) program. 

A graduate studies program in any faculty (called a cycle 2 program in Québec French), comprising at least 90 credits and leading to the degree of “Master of …”.

A very short program of studies at any university level of at least six credits, not leading directly to any degree and normally including six to fifteen credits.

  • At the undergraduate level: Registration for 11 credits or less per semester of studies.
  • At the graduate level: Registration for 8 credits or less per semester.

Foreign students with study permits must be enrolled full-time.

A learning process recognized for the award of a number of credits. It can be a course or some kind of practical training.

Any diploma granted for studies after the secondary school level.
In Québec, this includes diplomas awarded on completion of either college or university studies. 

A process that evaluates and officially recognizes the acquired knowledge and skills you have gained in life and at work. This can give you course credits which may gain you admission to a program or serve to exempt you from certain courses.  

A process by which an institution evaluates a diploma obtained outside of Québec.

Term used outside Canada
Equivalence of a diploma

An administrative department that manages admissions, registrations, student records and the conditions relating to the continuation and completion of your ÉTS program. The head of this department is known as the Registrar.

Term used outside Canada
Admissions service

This is the second administrative step prior to undertaking university studies (Admission is the first step).  To be able to register for a course or a program at ÉTS, you must first be admitted by the Office of the Registrar. Once you are admitted, subject to regulations, you remain in the program until you complete it. Each term, you must then register for the courses you will take in that term.

A graduate-level pedagogical activity contributing to the advancement of research.

In Canada (including Québec), one university academic year normally extends over twelve months and is composed of three semesters of four months each, these being:

  • Fall (September to December)
  • Winter (January to April)
  • Summer (May to August).

Term used outside Canada

  • Semester
  • Trimester

A short program of studies at any university level of at least six credits, not leading directly to any degree and normally including 6 to 15 credits.

A graduate-level program of studies, not leading to a master’s degree and normally including 30 credits, that is to say approximately 10 courses. Known in French as “Diplômes d'études supérieures spécialisées” or DESS.

A professor who oversees the work of a graduate student leading to the completion of a thesis, report, or business intervention project.

Fees charged for attending a course or program. In Québec, these fees, which are charged for each semester of study, vary depending on the number of course credits taken and the legal status or origin of the student.