(Approved by the Senate on September 21, 2020, and effective January 1, 2021)

A course is a set of teaching and learning activities whose calendar definition has been approved by Senate.

Each course has its own identifying code, to which a specific number of units and teaching or learning hours is assigned.

Professors are responsible for the teaching and learning activities of the courses and for their adherence to the University’s policies and procedures.

Prerequisite course

Refers to a course that must be passed before taking another course.

Corequisite course

Refers to a course that must be taken at the same time as another course, but that can also have been passed in advance.


A unit is the numerical value assigned to an academic activity. Except for co-op work terms, intensive practicums covering extended periods, and research projects, a unit generally represents 45 hours of work, including class attendance (lectures, labs, practical training), online presence, personal work, practical assignments and exam preparation.


Period during which the University's academic activities take place.

  • Fall Term: September to December
  • Winter Term: January to April
  • Spring-Summer Term: May to August

In general, the fall and winter terms are 15 weeks each, including the exam period. The spring-summer term is broken down into terms with a varying numbers of weeks.

At the Faculty of Law, the Civil Law and Common Law sections have four terms:

  • Fall Term: September to December
  • January Term: January
  • Winter Term: February to April
  • Spring-summer Term: May to August

A-2.1. Course code and weight

(Version approved by the Senate on January 21, 2019, and effective May 1, 2019)

Each course is identified by a seven-character code (e.g.: ADM2750):

  • the first three characters specify the discipline; 
  • the fourth character indicates the year or level of the course (except for courses in the Faculty of Education and graduate-level courses);
  • the fifth character identifies the language(s) used in the course or special circumstances; 
  • the sixth and seventh characters complete the course code. One or two letters may be added at the end of a code to identify the course section or the campus where the course is offered (e.g.: ADM2750AB).

Information on the fifth character

The fifth character identifies special circumstances as well as the language(s) of instruction and discussion in the course as follows:

  • 1, 2, 3: designates a course taught in English;
  • 5, 6, 7: designates a course taught in French;
  • 0, 9: designates either:
    1. bilingual courses, where English and French are used in a balanced way in the teaching of the course. Students can use the language of their choice, but they must at least understand the other language orally and in writing. The language proficiency level required must be specified in the course description.  
    2. language courses other than French or English;
    3. individualized teaching where the notion of bilingualism will be adapted according to the student’s language (courses where no lectures are given), such as workshops, laboratories, practicums, clinical training, directed research or readings, field courses, etc. These characters can also be used for theses and comprehensive examinations.

The following even numbers in the fifth position represent courses worth more than three units (0, 2, and 6) and odd numbered courses worth three units or less (1, 3, 5, 7, and 9).

Note that the numbers 4 and 8 are reserved for special circumstances.

Two courses that are equivalent in English and in French are identified by a difference of 4 in the number that appears in the fifth position. This is valid only if this number is between 1 and 8.

(e.g.: ECO 1100 and ECO 1500 are equivalent, but not ECO 1100 and ECO 1700 or ECO 1500 and ECO 1900)

The sixth and seventh characters of the course code are left to the discretion of the department and/or the faculty.

A-2.2. Second-language certification and courses

(Approved by the Senate on April 17, 2023, and effective May 1, 2023)

Second Language Certificate

The Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute offers two second language certificates (ESL 3100 and FLS3500). 

ESL3100 and FLS3500 are intended for students who have a high-intermediate or advanced level of English proficiency (ESL 3100) or French proficiency (FLS 3500) and who seek an official certificate which states their current level of proficiency. To this end, students must pass the Second Language Certification Test. Students who complete all components of the Second Language Certification Test with a minimum level of 2 in each component will receive the University of Ottawa Second Language Certificate.

ESL3100 is a program requirement for the Bachelor of Arts program with a major in ESL. FLS3500 is a program requirement for the Bachelor of Arts program with a major in FLS. FLS 3500 is also a requirement for the French Immersion stream. 

Immersion courses

Immersion courses allow students to enhance their abilities in their second official language. Three units are granted for the regular content course taken in their second language and three additional units for the accompanying language course, for a total of six units.

A-2.3. Course attendance

(Approved by the Senate on May 13, 2019, and effective immediately)

To ensure they succeed in all courses in their program of study, students are responsible for participating in the various learning and assessment activities of each of their courses.

Specific requirements regarding course attendance are indicated in each course syllabus or its equivalent, in accordance with faculty regulations, if applicable.

A-2.4. Course syllabus for undergraduate and graduate studies

(Approved by the Senate on November 22, 2021, and effective on May 1, 2022)

Professors must supply a course syllabus during the first meeting with the students at the beginning of each course. This course syllabus must include:

  • the course description approved by Senate
  • learning outcomes
  • teaching methods
  • assessment methods and weighting of grades
  • a list of required and recommended readings
  • a calendar of activities and evaluations
  • course attendance requirements
  • the professor’s contact information and office hours
  • a reference to the regulation on plagiarism and academic fraud
  • The following paragraph from Academic Regulation A-1 on Bilingualism:

“Except in programs and courses for which language is a requirement, all students have the right to produce their written work and to answer examination questions in the official language of their choice, regardless of the course’s language of instruction.”