Important terms


Academic Calendar

A catalogue of the courses offered by the university. The Academic Calendar lists admission and degree requirements, university rules, regulations and important dates. It is available online.

Academic Timetable

An online listing of the courses offered at Dalhousie in a given term. It includes information on course days and times, location, enrolment statistics and professors, as well as the course reference number (CRN) needed to register for the course from Dal Online.

Acceptance Package

Once you've been accepted, you'll receive a package from Dalhousie. It will include your acceptance letter with your student number (Dalhousie ID), information on scholarships and financial aid, and information related to your next steps as a Dalhousie student.

Credit/Credit Hour

A unit used to measure the time spent in a class. Generally a full credit is a course taken over two terms (fall and winter). In most programs, one full credit is the same as a course designated as 6 credit hours, or a course labeled X/Y (e.g., ENGL 1000 X/Y.06). Half a credit is designated as 3 credit hours (e.g., BIOL 1010.03). In most programs, it is required that students obtain 20 full credits (120 credit hours) prior to their graduation.

CRN (Course Reference Number)

A unique, 5-digit identifier for each course section. CRNs are the key piece of information you will need to register for courses online. You can find the CRN for each course by looking on the Academic Timetable.

Dalhousie Alumni

A community of Dalhousie graduates. You become a Dalhousie alumnus after you convocate. 

DalCard, Student ID Card

Your university identification card. Your DalCard has many functions aside from identification; it serves as a library card and an access card to Dalplex, your residence, and other buildings on campus. Money can be placed on your DalCard to allow you to use it on and off campus at various eateries and service stores.

Dalhousie ID, Student Number, Banner Number

A nine-character identification number in the format B00######. This number can be found on your acceptance letter.

Dal Online

A web service that can be reached directly at For students, DalOnline provides access to online registration. DalOnline also has information on student accounts, T2202A tax receipts, final grades, degree audits and personal information.


Units that make up a Faculty and have a specific specialization under the broader area represented by the faculty. For example, Biology is a department within the Faculty of Science; Political Science is a department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science.

Elective Course

All degree programs include required courses and electives. An elective is a course you choose to take out of interest.


An exclusion is when one course is sufficiently similar to another course that credit will only be given once if both are taken. For example, MATH 1215 and MATH 1000 are both introductory calculus courses and they cover much of the same material. Therefore, if you take MATH 1215 and MATH 1000, you will only receive credit for one of these courses. 


Departments (such as English, History and Theatre) are grouped into divisions called Faculties. Dalhousie Faculties include: Agriculture, Architecture, Arts and Social Sciences, Computer Science, Dentistry, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Law, Management, Medicine, Science. Professors are known as faculty members.

FIG (First Year Interest Group)

A free and informal small group of first year students who have similar academic interests. FIGs are an opportunity for undeclared Arts and Science students only and there are FIGs specifically for Arts students and FIGs specifically for Science students. The different FIGs can be found in the Academic Timetable and students can register for them as they would an academic course using the CRN.  

GPA (Grade Point Average)

Each course grade gets converted from a percentage to a letter grade which has a numerical value associated with it (The grade point). The grade point average is the sum of all your course grades divided by the total number of courses you have acquired grades for.   


MyDal is the website students use to access their school email accounts. It is important to check this email account as this is where students receive important information from the University. You can also access useful things, such as OneDrive, Brightspace, and myCareer. 


Along with a password of your choice, your NetID is used to access:

  • DalOnline (course registration, marks, etc.)
  • myDal (email account)
  • Brightspace (online course management system)
  • As well as access to computers in labs on campus.

This alphanumeric sequence becomes your Dalhousie email address.


A course, or courses, that need to be taken before you can register for a more advanced course. For example, you need first year English before you can take second year English.

Registrar, Registrar's Office

The Registrar's Office maintains all information about students while they are at Dalhousie. It also provides certain student services, such as admission to Dalhousie, graduation checks, financial aid and awards. The Registrar is the person who heads the Registrar's Office.

Required Course

A course you have to take to fulfill your specific degree program. For example, all students pursuing a BA in International Development Studies take two required courses: INTD 2001 and 2002.


A 4 month period in which courses take place. The three semesters (or terms) occur in the fall, winter, and spring/summer. 


A course outline that each professor distributes to their students at the beginning of the term. This has important information such as readings, assignment due dates, and mid-term test dates.

Course Syllabus Policy - Section C  


A component of your course containing only a small portion of the larger class that is lead by an instructor or a teaching assistant. They provide opportunities to put into practice or discuss material you are learning in lecture. If a lecture has a tutorial and/or lab you must also register these along with the lecture and they will also have a CRN.

Undergraduate Student

A student pursuing a bachelor's degree or a technical diploma. Undergraduates cannot enrol in graduate-level courses. An undergraduate degree (bachelor's) can be a stepping stone to post-graduate programs, such as: medical school, education programs, an MBA, a master's degree or law school.