Important Terms

This glossary explains some of the academic and administrative terms you will come across in the program and course information outlined on this website.

Academic Achievement Award

Many students who register in certificate programs at Ryerson, do so for purposes of academic development. An Academic Achievement Award is designed for students who wish to extend or broaden their academic skills through a course series. Applicable certificate and/or degree credit courses earned in a Chang School course series can be used towards a relevant Ryerson certificate or degree.


Students may not enrol in a course that lists, as an antirequisite, one which they are currently taking or have already taken and obtained standing. Antirequisites are typically created because the course content is too similar to another.

Area of Interest

This term refers to the grouping of career-oriented programming in various subjects of study.


A grouping of all academic work undertaken by a student. At Ryerson there are three careers: Continuing Education (CNED), Undergraduate (UGRD), and Graduate (GRAD).

Certificate Program

A certificate program consists of a minimum of four (4) single-term courses that provide post-secondary level studies in specific career-related areas and result in the awarding of a Ryerson certificate at the successful completion of all courses.

Challenge Credit

An evaluation process whereby a student can earn academic credit for learning and experience outside of the traditional post-secondary environment. See Challenge Credits for more information.


You must take Course X prior to, or concurrently with, Course Y.

Course Hours

The hours associated with a given course may include lecture hours, seminar hours, laboratory hours, and hours that need to be scheduled to allocate resources for such course-related activities as unsupervised studio and laboratory work, internship, and independent study.

Course Numbers

All courses offered through The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education have a unique course ID beginning with the letter “C” followed by three letters and three numbers. The three letters following the “C” indicate the subject area (e.g., ACC for Accounting courses) and the catalog numbers identify the specific course. Multi-term courses have a two-digit catalog number followed by “A/B” (e.g., CBLG 10A/B).

Many, but not all, continuing education courses are the same as those offered in Ryerson full- and/or part-time programs (e.g., CACC 100 and ACC 100) and will be automatically used towards certificate graduation requirements, if applicable. The Chang School also offers courses that may be equivalent to courses offered in full- and/or part-time degree programs; these are designated as “Certificate And Degree Credit” and may require a course substitution in order to be used towards certificate graduation requirements. As well, The Chang School also offers courses that are specifically for certificate credit which do not have a full- or part-time degree course equivalency and therefore cannot be used towards degree program requirements. See also Course Series below. The credit designation of each course is clearly indicated under the course title, and equivalencies (if applicable) are stated at the end of the course description.

Course Series

A program or grouping of two or more courses in a defined area of knowledge or skill. Where indicated, successful completion may result in the achievement of a Professional Development Award or an Academic Achievement Award. Course series are typically comprised of certificate and/or degree credits, while some courses may be non-credit.

Course Substitution/Directive

The term given to substituting one Ryerson course for another course or for use in an elective group that is not part of the regular certificate curriculum. See Course Substitution/Directive for more information.

Course Weight

A single-term course has a weight of 1.00. A multi-term course has a weight of 2.00. The weight of a course is used to determine the Grade Point Average (GPA). Variances from the above will appear in the individual course descriptions.

Department Consent

Permission from the teaching department is required before enrolling in some classes. See also Interviews/Placement Assessments.

Direct Entry­

Students who have been admitted to designated undergraduate degree programs from qualifying programs at Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) may be eligible for enrolment in courses for which they would otherwise not have the correct prerequisites. These students should consult with the teaching department responsible for the course in question to determine if they are eligible to enrol in a course that specifies an “or Direct Entry” prerequisite exemption.

Elective Groups

You must select and successfully complete a predetermined number of courses within the group in order to meet program requirements.

Elective Sets

You must successfully complete all stated courses within the selected set in order to meet program requirements.


A change in a course number or title only; equivalent to a prior numbered course.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The average of all the grades received while registered in a certificate program. See Grade Point Averages for more information.

Interviews/Placement Assessments

Some courses require you to take a placement assessment or attend an interview before you enrol. These sessions help ensure that your proposed course of study is appropriately matched with your present level of knowledge and learning goals. See Interviews/Placement Assessments for more information.

Liberal Studies (LL) (UL)

These are studies that develop the capacity to understand and appraise the social and cultural context in which the individual will work as a professional and live as an educated citizen.
LL: Lower-level Liberal Studies course
UL: Upper-level Liberal Studies course

Mature Students

Students who do not possess the published admission criteria for a Chang School certificate program may be eligible to register in that certificate program under the Chang School mature student category. To be eligible as a mature student for Chang School registration, students must be 21 years of age by December 31 of the year in which they will commence studies or have been away from formal education for at least two years; and where specified, must attend interviews and/or placement assessments. Moreover, mature students must have the published prerequisite requirements for the courses within the certificate program.

The Chang School mature student definition applies to certificate programs as noted in the certificate program’s Admission Criteria. For specific information on undergraduate program mature student guidelines, please refer to the Undergraduate Calendar.

Online Identity

All continuing education students are required to maintain a Ryerson University personal email account which shall be an official means by which they will receive University communications. Your online identity will also allow you to log into to check your grades, update personal information, and view your course schedule. To activate your Ryerson Online Identity, visit

Ontario Education Number (OEN)

This is the nine-digit student identification number assigned by the Ministry of Education to elementary and secondary school students across Ontario. The number is unique to every student and is used as the key identifier on a student’s school records, and will follow the student through his or her elementary and secondary education.


An area of study within an academic program specific to the student’s academic career (e.g., Finance major within the Business Management program).


You must pass Course X before taking Course Y. A prerequisite may be waived if the student has specific academic/professional experience.

Professional Development Award

Many students who register in certificate programs at Ryerson, do so for purposes of professional development. A Professional Development Award is designed for students who wish to extend or broaden their professional skills through a course series. Applicable certificate and/or degree credit courses earned in a Chang school course series can be used towards a relevant Ryerson certificate or degree.


A student applies to and is admitted to a program from which they ultimately graduate (e.g., Certificate in Accounting – Finance).


The previous course has been deleted from a certificate program and is replaced by a different course.


Necessary requirements in order to take a course (e.g., department consent, corequisites, and prerequisites). A requisite may be waived if the student has specific academic/professional experience.

Time Span

The number of years normally given to complete graduation requirements. To graduate, you must successfully complete the published certificate curricula (that was in effect at the time you registered) within six years from the time you were first admitted into the certificate program.

Transfer Credit

Credit toward a certificate for a course that has been completed prior to registration in the certificate, or at another accredited post-secondary institution. See Transfer Credits for more information.