Explore the glossary to learn new terms you might come across during your research and application to post-secondary education.



Adult Basic Education Program

Upgrade basic skills in reading, writing, computer literacy, and math to grade 12 equivalency (i.e. B.C. Adult Graduation Diploma). 

Learn more on the Government of B.C.'s website

Adult Special Education Programs

For people with disabilities, access an educational environment, attain job skills, increase work/life capabilities, and/or transition into the workplace. 

Learn more on the Government of B.C.'s website.

Advanced Certificate

Typically can be completed in less than 1 year. These programs are a combination of all undergraduate courses to gain greater specialization in an area of study. 

Advanced Diploma

Typical study length for this type of program can be up to 2 years. These programs are a combination of all undergraduate courses to gain greater specialization in an area of study. 

Alternative Path

An alternative path demonstrates another way to reach that career, whether through a different type of educational program or straight from high school. Explore careers available by clicking on ‘Show careers’ when using Find Your Path

Associate Degree

Typical study length for this type of program is 2 years. It involves university course work (60 credits) in arts or sciences. These undergraduate programs guarantee students all 60 credits will be accepted for transfer to another B.C. institution. The B.C. Transfer guide is a great resource to better understand your options.

Learn more on the B.C. Transfer guide website


Financial assistance that typically recognizes a significant contribution in various area(s) of expertise. Awards tend to acknowledge contributions made by a student and typically include a monetary value. 

Bachelor’s Degree

Typical study length for this type of program is about 4-5 years. It involves undergraduate university course work to gain breadth and depth in an area of study, and typically specializes in one subject area through a Major or Honours program.

Beneficial Path

A beneficial path identifies additional training or experience that could allow you to progress in your career. Beneficial paths typically show continuing education programs or micro-credential options when using Find Your Path.  


Financial assistance that typically focuses on a student who has demonstrated financial need, and satisfactory academic achievement. 

Career/Vocational Programs

Obtain practical training, of up to three years, which is geared to find immediate employment in specific careers.


Typical study length for this type of program is between 6-12 months. Academic certificates that provide necessary skills needed for entry into the workforce. These undergraduate programs are typically made up of 30 credits or about 10 courses. 


Typical study length for this type of program is less than 6 months. An entry level credential in a specific area of study, typically made up of at least 4 post-secondary courses. 


This type of institution offer several undergraduate programs including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diploma, certificates, trades programs, and university transfer courses. ­­­­­­­­­­­

Combined ESL/Career Programs

Tends to be for second language learners, develop communication, theoretical, and practical skills needed for specific careers. 

Continuing Education

Opportunities to continue your education after completion of a credential. Often associated with professional development learning that supplements your previous academic credential. 

Cooperative (Co-op) Education

Provides academic credit by combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. These programs often offer compensation for your time. Co-op programs can support future career prospects.  


Typical study length for this type of program is about 2 years. Academic diplomas that provide the necessary skills needed for entry into the workforce. These undergraduate programs are typically made up of 60 credits or 20 courses.

Direct University Entry

High school graduates with the required high school courses and grades can enter university directly to pursue an undergraduate degree.

Distance and Online Learning

An opportunity to study and learn from anywhere (home, coffeeshop, work, etc.) anytime.

Doctoral Degree

The length of study for these programs can vary, typically 3 or more years. This is the highest level of academic achievement within an area of study. Involves completion of oral and written exams and original research presented in a dissertation. 

Employment Preparation Programs

Explore career options that tend to focus on self-exploration and skill building for the workplace.

Employment Prospects

Demonstrates the opportunity for employment within that specific career path. Employment prospects will show median salary, number of job openings, and a chance to explore job openings by region. Explore employment prospects for careers using Find Your Path

English Language Learners

Build up English language skills in speaking and listening, reading, vocabulary, grammar, and writing. Could be for personal growth or to transition into other post-secondary programs. 

External or Study abroad

Obtain university credits towards your studies and gain international educational experience at the same time. 

First Professional Degree

This type of degree prepares you for a particular profession, often by meeting academic requirements of licensure or accreditation. Typical length of study for this type of program is about 2 to 4 years and follows a full or partial completion of a bachelor’s degree. Entry into a first professional degree program requires previous post-secondary experience, including completion of specific university-level admission prerequisite courses. These programs tend to consider students from a variety of academic disciplinary backgrounds. 

General Education Development (GED)

Preparation and testing is an effective way to successfully complete a Secondary School Equivalency Certificate. The GED is made up of five multiple choice tests in language arts writing, language arts reading, social studies, science, and math. You can use it to fulfill post-secondary program admissions requirements.

Graduate credentials

Post-secondary programs which can be completed after an Undergraduate degree, study time can vary. These programs lead to a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, master’s degree, or doctoral degree. 

Graduate Certificate or Diploma

Typical length of study for this type of program is about 8 months to 1 year. These programs tend to require a university degree or college diploma for admission. These programs often prepare students for advanced degree programs such as a master’s degree. 


This type of institution often offers programs focused on a particular field of study, tend to see a focus on technology or trades. 


A Laddering approach allows students who have completed a Certificate or Diploma to ladder the credits they earned towards a Bachelor’s Degree in the same area of study. This can shorten your study length. 

Learn more on the B.C. Transfer Guide website.  


This will be the subject area that will be the primary focus of your studies during your undergraduate degree, typically declared within the last few years of your program. Usually it is a focus in Arts, Science, Engineering, Technology, and Business degrees. Often we see most of these courses are taken in the final few years once a ‘Major’ subject has been chosen. Many Majors will prepare students for entry into professional schools such as Education, Law, Engineering, Medicine, and Social Work. Check with your institution’s advisors to discuss your studies and support with course selection. 

Master’s Degree

Typical length of study is 2 years, and follows an undergraduate degree. These programs focus on a combination of course work and independent research under a faculty advisor and research that is presented in a thesis. 


These are shorter programs that align with labour market or community needs and can be assessed and recognized for employment or further learning opportunities. Intended to support learners who may not be able to or do not wish to enroll in longer post-secondary programs. 

Learn more on the Government of B.C.'s website


Often known as a second subject of interest which you can focus on throughout your undergraduate degree. The subject areas of your minor may also complement your major. A minor consists of 25% of your course work in the final few years of your program.

Part-Time studies

Normally considered as taking one or two courses per semester. Some part-time programs may be designed to help you pursue your course work either during the day, evening, or weekends at a flexible pace, while working, travelling, or raising a family.  

Post-Baccalaureate Diploma

Typical study length for this type of program can be 8 months to 2 years. Diploma or undergraduate degree grads can gain greater specialization in their original area of study or develop core skills in a new field of study. These diplomas are not graduate level studies, and often combine higher level undergraduate courses. 

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Typical study length is 6 months to 1 year. Certificate or undergraduate degree graduates can gain greater specialization in their original area of study or develop core skills in a new field of study. These certificates are not graduate level studies, and often combine higher level undergraduate courses. 


Work experience opportunities that are built into the course plan of a program. These opportunities give students practical hands-on learning, and on the job experience. Practicums are normally not paid, and are common for programs such as Education, Nursing, Counselling, and Social Work majors. 

Red Seal Certificate

Study length for these programs tends to be about 4 years, it includes a combination of on-the-job training, and classroom learning. A red seal certificate shows knowledge and skills necessary to practice a certain trade. A red seal certificate is acknowledged throughout Canada. 

Learn more on Skilled Trades BC


Tend to be awarded to students for outstanding scholastic achievement, community/leadership involvement and/or sports accomplishments. Some scholarships can be renewed for more than one year.  

StrongerBC future skills grant

Financial assistance available for all B.C. residents. This grant will support programs and continued education for programs less than 13 weeks or 1 semester long. 

Learn more on WorkBC.


Secondary or post-secondary programs which lead to vocational education that focuses on technical skills with hands-on learning. These programs teach skills required to complete the tasks of a specific job. 

Learn more on Skilled Trades BC

Trades Foundation Certificate

Typical study length for this program is between 6-12 months. Introduces students to various training opportunities, with a trade area. Some foundation certificates can be completed in high school. Completion of these programs all you to receive some technical training credit towards your desired trade. 

Learn more on Skilled Trades BC

Trades Foundation Training

Pre-apprenticeship programs earning credit towards the technical training portion of an apprenticeship program. Provides entry level skills to find employment and an apprenticeship sponsor for continued training. 

Learn more on Skilled Trades BC

Trades Apprenticeship Training

Programs with on-the-job training combined with in-school instruction. These programs are designed for students with employment in a trade area and lead them to a Red Seal Certificate. 

Learn more on Skilled Trades BC


An official record of all courses you have taken in high school or post-secondary with credits and grades documented. This is an admission document that is required for any school you apply to. 

B.C. students can order their transcripts through the StudentTranscript Service (STS)

Technology Entry Program

Academic preparation programs that help you enter technology programs at the post-secondary level. Sometimes referred to as bridging programs as they provide an opportunity to gain the skills and prerequisites to transition or bridge from your academic area of study to a technology area. 

Technical Programs

Designed to equip you for immediate access to the workplace, these technical programs use a practical instruction method and are generally in the mechanical or scientific areas.  

Undergraduate credentials

Post-secondary programs which can be completed after high school, study time can vary. These programs lead to a certificate, diploma, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. 


Tend to offer all different types of programs including undergraduate and graduate programs.  

University Transfer Studies

University transfer studies/courses enable you to complete first and second-year university level course work at a college or university before transferring to an undergraduate degree program at a different institution. 

Learn more on the B.C. Transfer Guide website.

Work Experience

Practical experience within your field of study that can supplement your education. These opportunities can be paid and may offer academic credit towards a program or may satisfy admission requirements for a program you wish to apply to. Work experience can support future career prospects.   

Work Study

These opportunities are offered by many post-secondary institutions to support students in learning and paying for your post-secondary education. It provides part-time, paid work on campus that will work with your class schedule.  

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