Terminologies You Should Know as a University/College Fresh Student
Terminologies You Should Know as a University/College Fresh Student

These are some of the Terminologies You Should Know as a University/College Fresh Student in any university or college.

These terms are widely used and you must be familiar with them before you start your studies at any tertiary institution.

Terminologies You Should Know as a University/College Fresh Student

Some of them are mistaken for others but in the null shell, they are not the same. For example course and programme. These are two different things altogether but we used them as one.

Find out the wide terms used below:


A programme is a curriculum package that consists of courses and leads to the award of a specific degree, diploma or certificate.


A course is an approved self-contained instructional package with a title, code number, stipulated contact hours and credit weighting.

Core (Compulsory) Course

A core or compulsory course is a course that a student is required to take and pass in order to graduate. There are four types of compulsory courses: University-wide compulsory courses, faculty compulsory courses, departmental compulsory courses and programme-specific compulsory courses. A student who fails a compulsory course must repeat the course and pass it before he/she can graduate.

Types of Core (Compulsory) Courses

University Compulsory Courses

Currently, they are the following:

  1. Communicative Skills
  2. General African Studies
  3. Information Literacy Skills
  4. Critical Thinking and Practical Reasoning
  5. Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation

Faculty/School-Specific Compulsory Courses

These are Faculty/School specific courses that are required to be taken by students in the Faculty or School irrespective of their programmes of study, e.g. in the School of Biological Sciences there are foundation courses at Levels 100 and 200 taken by all students.

Departmental Compulsory Courses

The departmental compulsory courses are courses that are declared core by the department for students at various levels.

Programme-Specific Compulsory Courses

These are compulsory courses specific to certain programmes

Elective Course

An elective course is a course which is freely chosen by the student within the context of the programme being pursued. The purpose of the elective course is to give the student the opportunity to construct a personalized curriculum to meet personal, career or individual academic interests.

Cognate Course

A cognate course is a course in a related field that facilitates, reinforces, or enriches learning within a chosen area of specialization.

Inter-Faculty Course

An inter-faculty course is a course that a student takes outside his/her area(s) of specialization to broaden his/her academic outlook or enrich his/her general education. Such courses are taken outside the student’s faculty.

Pre-Requisite Course

A pre-requisite course is a course that the student must pass before he/she can be allowed to take a higher-level or related course.

Audited Course

An audited course is a course that the student voluntarily takes for zero credit. The course appears on the student’s transcript but will not count towards the computation of GPA.

Elective Subject

An elective subject is a subject, e.g. History, Geography or French, which a student is offered to read as per his/her admission letter (by virtue of his/her choice or entry background).

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