University Demystified | UNB
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UNB: University Demystified

Some of the most commonly misunderstood university terms


Undergraduate degree

  • The first degree you will pursue after high school
  • Typically, it takes 4 years to complete
  • Undergraduate degrees are also referred to as “bachelor’s degrees”. Students who complete an undergraduate or bachelor degree will receive a Bachelor of Arts, or a Bachelor of Science, or a Bachelor of Business Administration, etc.

Graduate degree

  • A degree you can only pursue after completing an undergraduate degree.
  • Typically, it will be a Master’s or Doctorate degrees and can take 1-4 years to complete.

Professor Know-it-all says:

Students pursuing an undergraduate degree are often referred to as undergraduate students or “undergrads”.
Students pursuing a graduate degree are often referred to as graduate or “grad” students.

Want to be a teacher?

You will need a Bachelor of Education.
Some universities require that you have already completed an undergraduate degree before pursuing a Bachelor of Education while others will offer a combined degree such as a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education program.
We offer both at UNB! On the Fredericton campus, you can complete an 11-month Bachelor of Education program after completing your undergraduate degree.
On the Saint John campus, you can complete a combined 5-year Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education program.

Want to be a doctor or lawyer?

You need to complete an undergraduate degree first.
It often doesn’t matter what kind of degree, so study something you love so you can get the best GPA and increase your chances of getting into your preferred program.


Admission requirements

The courses and averages needed to be considered for your preferred program. The average of your grades in these courses will be your admission average.

Admission average

The average of all high school courses required to get into your preferred program, NOT your overall high school GPA.

Professor Know-it-all says:

Meeting the minimum admission average doesn’t always guarantee you will be admitted into your program, so study hard!



Monetary awards given to students based on academic achievement.
Some scholarships may also consider:
  • Financial need
  • Participation in extra-curricular activities
  • Home location
  • High school attended
  • And other possible criteria


Monetary awards given to students based primarily on financial need.

Government student loans

Loans offered by the government to help pay for your education. Interest does not accrue on these loans while in school and there are repayment assistance programs available after completing your degree.

Comparison between scholarships, bursaries and student loans

Scholarship amounts are based on academic achievement and are sometimes based on financial need, but does not need to be repaid.
Bursary amounts are based on financial need and are sometimes based on academic achievement, but does not need to be repaid.
Student loan amounts are based on financial need and needs to be repaid, but it is not based on academic achievement.

Scholarship average

Used to determine amount of scholarship support. Often this is the same as your admission average (the average of all high school courses required to get into the program you’re applying to).

At UNB, we offer bonus points for completed enriched grade 11 and grade 12 courses (enriched courses are those identified by your province such as International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, and Level 1 courses). Students can receive up to 4 bonus points which are added directly to the Scholarship Average, as long as a mark of 75% or higher is achieved in the enriched course.

Did you know?

Our innovative scholarship program, Renewable Opportunities, gives every UNB student the opportunity to earn thousands of dollars in scholarship support every year based on their grades in their previous year at UNB! Every year is an opportunity for a fresh start!

Financial Need

Some scholarships weigh a student’s financial need to deciding on whether or not to award a scholarship.
Financial need ca be determined by:
  • Family income
  • Number of dependents supported by the family income
  • Number of dependents attending university in the coming year
  • Spouse’s income
  • Number of student’s dependents
  • Student loan and/or other details provided by the student



A faculty is a division within a university built around on subject area or multiple subject areas.
Example: UNB has a Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Computer Science, etc.

Faculty can also refer to teaching staff at a university
Example: The faculty at the University of New Brunswick are passionate about what they teach and care about their students.


Same concept as a high school class. A course is a class taught by a professor around a defined academic subject. Courses can last one term/semester or the entire academic year.


Every degree program will have required courses and elective courses. Elective courses are courses you choose. Sometimes you will be required to take elective courses from different faculties. For example, students in UNB’s business program will be required to take courses from the Arts faculty.


A course a student must pass before enrolling in a more advanced course. Prerequisites build base skills and knowledge that can be used for the successful completion of the more advanced course.

Credit hours

A unit of measurement of courses. Each faculty is responsible for assigning credit values to the courses they offer. The typical term course provides 3 credit hours and typical full-year course has 6 credit hours. A certain number of credit hours is required to complete a degree. Example: you will need to complete at least 120 credit hours’ worth of courses to complete an Arts degree at UNB.

Major, minor, honours

Pursuing a major, minor, or honours in a subject personalizes your degree to your interests.

A major is the primary focus of your degree. Many of your courses will be focused on this area. Honours requires an even higher concentration of courses in an area of study.

A minor is a smaller focus in an area of study.

The exact number of courses required to attain major, minor, or honours varies by program.


Universities sometimes refer to programs as “interdisciplinary programs”. This means that two or more academic disciplines are involved in creating and offering the program.

Example: the Gender and Women’s Studies program within the Faculty of Arts at UNB involves courses from different departments within the Faculty including the Department of Anthropology, Department of English, Department of Sociology, and others.


Experiential learning

Just a fancy term for hands-on learning. This includes anything that involves you applying what you’ve learned inside the classroom. For example, this would include doing experiments outside to working at a company for a term through co-op program.

Professor Know-it-all says:

Employers like to see graduates who have some real-world work experience. Try to participate in an internship or co-op program!

Co-op program

A full-time paid work opportunity at an employer related to your area of study. Instead of attending classes for a term, you will work at a job related to your filed and earn credit towards your degree.

Internship program

An unpaid work opportunity at an employer related to your area of study. Internships count as a credit toward your degree and typically are part-time.

Did you know?

All faculties at UNB offer either an internship or co-op component.

What did we miss?

Send an email to and let us know what university terms you and your friends struggle with and we’ll make a part 2 to this infographic!