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Queen's University

Information about courses at Queen's

Glossary of terms


A unit of study


Academic value of a course, either 3.0 units or 6.0 units (3.0 units indicates the course runs in either the Fall or the Winter term; 6.0 units means the course runs for the full year from September 2013 to April 2014)


This is an academic requirement that must be met prior to registration in a course.  Prerequisites form the building blocks for progression within a particular academic subject. Exchange students must be able to demonstrate sufficient basis or foundation for acceptance into a 300-level course. Sometimes it may be necessary for an exchange student to visit the academic unit (i.e., department) upon arrival at Queen’s in order to discuss his/her background in a particular subject.

Academic Terms

  • Fall: September 2013 to December 2013
  • Winter: January 2014 to April 2014
  • Full year: September 2013 to April 2014

Numbering of Courses

Courses numbered 100 to 199 are introductory courses, normally taken in first year.

Courses numbered 200 to 299 are normally taken in the second year and usually require a previous course in the subject.

Courses numbered 300 to 399 are normally taken in the third year and have prerequisites determined by the departments.

Courses numbered 400 to 499 are normally taken in fourth year and are primarily intended as senior courses in the four-year programs.

  • Note:  Exchange students should not have a high expectation of gaining entry to 400-level courses.  It may be possible but only if there is room in the course, the student has the required prerequisite(s) and obtains the instructor’s approval.

Course types

LECT –Lecture

In classroom presentations by professors/instructors. Assignments are scheduled for submission on a regular basis, usually weekly.

LAB – Laboratory

An experimental session in a laboratory with report due at the end of each session. Usually held weekly. Labs count toward the final course mark.

TUT – Tutorial

An informal class which supplements a lecture usually conducted by a teaching assistant. The tutorial offers the chance to ask questions and receive clarification on lecture material.

SEM – Seminar

Small discussion group in a classroom, typically 10-20 students. Students are expected to prepare and deliver presentations to classmates and the professor. The presentations count toward the final course mark.

Full Time Course Load

Exchange students are encouraged to carefully consider their course load in consultation with their home university. Generally speaking, students should expect a heavier volume of work in each course. This is the most common observation exchange students report to our office. Time management is an essential component of a successful academic experience.  

A full time course load for one term in Arts and Science consists of a maximum of 15.0 units, meaning five courses each valued at 3.0 units for a total of 15.0 units. A full year consists of a maximum of 30.0 units. If studying at Queen’s for the full academic year (September to April), students are able to mix and match 3.0 unit courses with 6.0 unit courses for a total of 30.0 units. Students studying at Queen’s for one single term may not enrol in six courses. This is strictly prohibited.

Some past exchange students have found that taking four courses in a single term, or 12.0 units, provides them with a rigorous academic program but does leave time for other pursuits while on the exchange program. Consult with your home institution to determine the course load they expect you to carry. This can be done by contacting your International Exchange Office prior to departing for Queen’s.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000