Academic regulation I-8 - Courses

(Approved by the Senate on February 28, 2017)

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 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. 

Unit (undergraduate level)

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 run 15 weeks each, including the exam period.

The spring-summer term breaks 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

8.1. Course code and weight

(Approved by the Senate on February 28, 2017)

Each course is identified by a seven character code as follows (e.g.: ADM2750AB): the first three characters specify the discipline; the fourth character indicates the year or level of the course (except for the courses of the Faculty of Education and of graduate-level courses); the fifth character identifies the language of instruction; 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.

The fifth character identifies the language of instruction as follows:

1, 2, 3, 4: designates a course taught in English;

5, 6, 7, 8: designates a course taught in French;

0, 9 : a) designates bilingual courses, English and French are used equitably 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 level of language required must be specified in the course description.  The characters 0 and 9 do not identify courses taught in rotation (sometimes  in French sometimes in English on a yearly basis);

          b) designates language courses other than French or English;

          c) designates individualized teaching (courses where no lectures are given), such as workshops, laboratories, practicums, clinical training, directed research or readings, etc. These characters can also be used for theses and comprehensive examinations.

Even numbers in the fifth position represent courses worth more than three units and odd numbers courses worth three units and less. Note that the numbers 4 and 8 in the fifth position are reserved for special circumstances.

Examples: Course codes offered in English

1 to 3 units: numbers 1 and 3

4 units or more: number 2

Examples: Course codes offered in French

1 to 3 units: numbers 5 and 7

4 units or more: number 6

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. 

Definition of contact hours

In the course calendar, the number of contact hours appears in brackets and is indicated in hours per week.

The first digit in brackets indicates the hours of instruction for lectures and seminars; the second digit indicates the hours of instruction for discussion groups or tutorials; and the third digit indicates the hours of instruction for laboratories. A small letter “b” after a digit indicates that the activity takes place every two weeks.

8.2. Second-language certification and courses

(Approved at the Senate of February 28, 2017)

Second-language certification 

The Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute offers an independent learning course leading to second language certification. In this course, students’ knowledge of their second official language is assessed. After successfully completing the course and the Second Language Proficiency Test, the students receive an official University of Ottawa certificate describing their linguistic profile (reading and listening comprehension as well as written and oral expression).

Second-Language Proficiency Test (Telfer School of Management)

Students registered in the B.Com. Program of the Telfer School of Management may take the Second Language Proficiency Certification (FLS 3500 for those who declare English as their first language and ESL 3100 for those who declare French as their first language) at any time during their program of study. Students who obtain a pass mark (50 percent or more) on the proficiency certification test will receive three units on their academic transcript. These units will be counted towards the requirements of their program.

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.

8.4. Class periods

Regulation abolished by the Senate on April 9, 2018.

8.5 Course syllabus for undergraduate and graduate studies

(Approved by the Senate on June 6, 2011.)

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,

·         general and specific objectives of the course,

·         teaching methods,

·         evaluation methods and distribution of grades,

·         a list of required and recommended readings,

·         a calendar of activities and evaluations,

·         the professor’s contact information and office hours,

·         a reference to the regulation on plagiarism and academic fraud.

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