Academic language can be tough to decipher, and when you enter into University or Seminary a lot of new words and phrases will get thrown around. Below we wanted to outline some key words and phrases for you, in order to help clarify some of the most common things you will hear that affect your academic life.
A major is the primary area of study for your degree. Generally before you start school you would 'declare a major', which means you have stated that this academic pursuit that most interests you. For example if you declare History as your major, this means you will spend the majority of your time taking History and related courses. To get a visual representation of this, take a look at the major sheets on the Office of the Registrar (University & Seminary). There you will see your program broken down into areas of study, including Major Requirements.
An Honours Degree at the University is when you declare your intention to pursue the Honours version of your major. This carries with it more specific major requriements, such as a GPA requirement, and additonal courses within the major. See your major sheet for more details.
It is also possible to change your major. You will visit the Registrar's office and fill out a Change of Program form (you can also find the form online). Be warned however, the further into your studies you are, the more difficult it is to change your program without adding additional time to your studies.
Minors at the University and conentrations at the Seminary act in much the same way. They are declared by the student as an alternate area of study within your degree. They have their own requirements, but it requires less credit hours than your major, and they typically will use the available slots outlined as electives on your Major Sheet.
Minors and concentrations can augment, or compliment your major, but they also can be completely independent of your major. For example, if you were a Psychology major and decalred a Linguistics minor, this could show that you intend to work with persons who have speech impediments upon graduation. Or, you could be a Philosophy major, and take a Music minor because it is something you are passionate about, but it is unrelated to your major. There is no right, or wrong answer when it comes to declaring a minor or concentration.
A focus and a track are very similar. They both are a narrow lense to study within your major. These exist only within a major, and cannot be declared by all students.
Electives are courses that you are required to take to finish your degree, but they are not designated to a specific department or program, giving you the freedom to choose any course you want. This allows you to pursue some courses outside your major that are of interest to you.
There are however some exceptions.
- If you declare a minor or concentration, focus or track, and/or an Honours Degree, you will lose the overall amount of free electives.
- At the University you must have 45 credit hours of courses at the 3000 or 4000 level, meaning some of your electives will need to be at those levels.
- Transfer credit into the University and Seminary from another institution will typically use up free electives.
Tyndale uses the 4.0 grading system at both the University and Seminary, however they vary slightly in use. Please review the Grading System and Scale page for more information on that.
On your transcript you will note Term GPA and CGPA. Your Term GPA is the Grade Point Average that you recieved for that specific semester. CGPA is the Cummulative Grade Point Average, and is the average of your GPA over the course of all your studies. Your CGPA (among other things) is used to determine graduation, and is also used for any application to Graduate or Post-Graduate studies. As well Student Development will use your CGPA to determine elegibility for student leadership, athletics, and other extra-curricular activities.
In order to remain in good standing at Tyndale, and avoid probation or suspension, you must have a GPA at or above a 2.0.
Credit hours reflect the amount of time a course requires each week of a semester. Most courses at Tyndale are 3 credit hours, this means each week you will spend roughly 3 hours in class. There are also some 1 and 2 credit hour courses available.
You need 120 credit hours to graduate with a BA, 90 credit hours for a BRE, 81 credit hours for an MDiv, and 54 credit hours for an MTS.
This is for University students only.
The course codes can be very helpful in determing when you should take specific courses. When you view the course offerings you will see 2 things, a department indicator and a number. For example BSTH 1013 - Old Testament Studies. BSTH tells you that this course belongs to the Biblical Studies and Theology department. 1013 tells you a few more things. The first number tells you generally what "year" that course is to be taken in. The last number tells you the credit hours for that specifc course, and you can largely ignore the middle two numbers. So for example a course like ENGL 3083 tells us that this is an English course that is generally taken around 3rd year and is worth 3 credit hours.
The year indicator (first number) is a guideline and not a rule, students can take courses in any year provided they have the prerequisties (if any) for that course. For example many Biblical Studies and Theology students will take BSTH 2013 - Hermeneutics in first year, despite the year two indicator.