Orientation Lingo

The Orientation Dictionary

Dont know what a word means? Hopefully, this can help with everything from building abbreviations and university jargon to everyday student lingo!

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Admin: The Administration building is where you can find the Office of the Registrar, Financial Services and Student Connect. Here you can pay tuition, speak with and advisor and much more.

AgFor (AF): The Agriculture and Forestry Centre. Home to the Faculty of ALES. Contains the AgFor pit, a hangout place for students.

ALES: Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences.

Assiniboia Hall (ASH): Originally an all-male residence.

Asynchronous: This type of class means that the instructor and the students in the course all engage with the course content at different times (and from different locations).

Athabasca Hall (ATH): The first building of the University of Alberta on North Campus. It addition to classrooms, it contained a residence, library and a gymnasium.

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BARST: Bachelor of Arts in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism.

BCom: Bachelor of Commerce.

Bear Tracks: An online service for students and applicants. This is where you’ll build your schedule and enroll in classes, apply for awards, check your grades, and much more.

BEd: Bachelor of Education.

BFA: Bachelor of Fine Art, can be completed in Art and Design or Drama.

BioSci (BS): Biological Sciences Centre. You’ll have your first/second year biology, zoology, botany and microbiology labs here. Research participation for psychology classes are also held here. Everyone jokes about getting lost in here. The abbreviations “CW”, “G”, “M”, “P” and “Z” stand for the different wings in the buildings. Just follow the signs, you got this!

BKin: Bachelor of Kinesiology.

BoG Rep: Undergraduate Board of Governors Representative for the Univeristy of Alberta Students' Union.

BSc: Bachelor of Science.

Business (BUS): Business Building. Home to the Alberta School of Business. Shares an atrium with the Tory building.

Butterdome (PAV): The nickname of the Universiade Pavilion, due to its bright yellow colour.

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CAB: The Central Academic Building. Has a cafeteria on the lower floor and plenty of seating areas.

Cameron Library: The Science and Technology Library. Named after Donald Ewing Cameron, a former Chief Librarian of the University of Alberta. Contains a 24/7 computer lab in the basement called Knowledge Common. Also contains study rooms that can be booked.

CCIS: (Pronounced see-cis). The Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science. One of the newest buildings on campus and home to the Faculty of Science. Contains the largest lecture theatres on campus. You’ll definitely have an intro class in this building.

CCID: Your Campus Computing ID, which will give you access to campus email and other online serviceslike Eclass and BearTracks. It’s usually a combination of your first, middle, and last name and a number. It's always the first part of your ualberta email! You will get it within 3-5 days of registration!

Chem (C): The Gunning/Lemieux Chemistry Centre. This is where your chem labs will be. This building has two wings, “C E” (Chemistry East) and “C W” (Chemistry West).

CJSR: The campus radio station.

Clare Drake Arena: The hockey arena where the Bears and Pandas hockey teams play their home games.

Colleges: A formal subdivision within the University whose mission is the administration and organization of the faculties.

CompSci (CSC): The Computing Science Centre. You’ll have computer science classes here.

Corequisite: A requirement, usually a course, that must be previously passed or taken in conjunction with another course.

Credit: At the University of Alberta, a credit is equivalent to one unit of course weight.

CS: Clinical Sciences Building. Try not to have a class here as it’s located on the south end of the University Hospital.

CSJ Campus Saint-Jean. This is our Francophone campus at the University of Alberta. It is located in le quartier francophone just north of Whyte Ave on 91st Street.

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Department: The basic organizational unit within a faculty that is responsible for a field of study. Example: the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science.

Dewey's: The licensed pub of campus run by the UASU. It is located in the North Power Plant (NPP).

DG: Daily Grind. The coffee shop located in the Student Union Building ran but the UASU.

DICE: The Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering. Home to the Faculty of Engineering. Contains study spaces with a great view of the river valley from the 8th floor.

Discipline: This is a term used to denote a highly specific section of teaching or research that a student focuses on. While this term is most commonly used in the Faculty of Engineering, where students choose a discipline to focus on after their first year, you may also hear it used in the Faculty of Science or Arts.

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EAP: Education Abroad Program (also known as Go Abroad).

ECERF: Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Facility. Connected to ETLC.

ECHA: (Pronounced eck-a).The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy. A home to many of the health science programs. It contains many seminar rooms students rush to claim as study rooms during finals.

eClass: The portal used to access class materials posted by professors. It is the University of Alberta's centrally supported learning management system.

ESB: The Earth Sciences Building. Many people fix their hair using its mirror-like windows.

ETLC: Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex. Engineering HQ, home to the Faculty of Engineering.

ETS: Edmonton Transit System, Edmonton’s transportation system, providing bus and LRT services.

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FAB: Fine Arts Building.

Faculty: Your faculty is how we group the many different programs at the U of A. Some major faculties at the U of A are the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering.

Fall Term: The period of the academic year that runs from September through December.

FamO: Family Orienation.

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The Gateway: The free campus newspaper.

Golden Bears: Also referred to as just “Bears”. The UAlberta Golden Bears is the name of the men’s varsity team.

Green and Gold: The official colours of UAlberta, chosen to reflect the colour of the river valley trees during fall at the start of the school year.

GPA: Grade Point Average, a measure of a student's weighted average obtained by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total units of course weight attempted.

GSB: General Services Building.

Guba: The Golden Bears’ mascot. Guba stands for the “Great University Bear of Alberta.”

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Hanson Fitness & Lifestyle Centre: Adjacent to the Van Vliet Complex, the Hanson Fitness & Lifestyle Centre contains a variety of fitness equipment including cardiovascular machines, synergies stations, squat racks, free weights, and resistance training machines.

HC: Humanities Centre.

HEB: Human Ecology Building.

Henday Hall: One of the five towers of Lister Centre.

HUB: Housing Union Building. A campus mall, containing over 50 services, including restaurants, shops and student lounges. HUB is also a residence, housing about 800 students.

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ID number: Your Student ID Number is unique to you, and separate from your application number. It is 7 digits long and good to memorize because you will need it for exams and any reports you submit, but you can also find it on your ONEcard, and Bear Tracks account.

I-House: International House, the University residence for Canadian and International students.

ISS: International Student Services.

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Katz: (Not pronounced “cats”). Katz Group Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research. Contains research labs. Has a really nice atrium with tables on the main floor and couches on the upper level.

Kelsey Hall: One of the four towers of Lister Centre.

KSR: Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation.

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Lab: The lab portion of a course is when students meet to gain practical, hands-on experience on the course matter (for example, in a computer lab or science lab).

Lecture: The lecture portion of a course is when students attend a class where the professor gives a talk on the course subject matter.

Lister Centre: The primary first-year student residence at UAlberta.

LRT: Light Rail Transit is Edmonton’s subway system, stretching from the U of A to the far north end of the city.

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Mackenzie Hall: One of the five towers of Lister Centre.

Major: A major is your main area of study! The majority of the courses you take in university will relate to your major.

MEC: Mechanical Engineering Building.

Minor: Your minor is a smaller version of your major that can help you specialize your degree even more! Minors are completely optional but can help cater your degree to your interests!

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NREF/NRE: Natural Resources Engineering Facility. Connects to GSB and ETLC.

NSO: New Student Orienation.

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ONEcard: The official identification card of UAlberta. This gives students access to campus services and can carry a cash balance to be used for photocopying/printing and certain food purchases.

Open Studies: A program in which students may register in selected credit courses, but are not admitted or committed to a degree or diploma program.

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Panda Bears: Also referred to as just “Pandas”. The UAlberta Panda Bears is the name of the women’s varsity team.

Patches: Patches is the mascot for the UAlberta Panda Bears.

PAW Centre: Physical Activity and Wellness Centre. Includes a climbing wall, a fitness centre, social spaces and a good outlet.

Pembina Hall (PB): Originally an all-female residence. Home to the Faculty of Native Studies.

Perks: University of Alberta Students Union online engagement system with opportunities to answer surveys and quizzes for rewards and free stuff.

Peter Lougheed Hall: First-year residence on campus.

PhD: A Doctor of Philosophy, the most common degree at the highest academic level.

Postgraduate: University student working towards a master's degree.

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Quad: A large grassy courtyard in the centre of campus. A popular hangout when it’s nice outside, Quad is home to the Week of Welcome activities, as well as to many different events throughout the year.

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RATT: Room At The Top restaurant and lounge, located on the 7th floor of the Students’ Union building. Has a fabulous view of the city.

Reading Week: A recess near the middle of the second term designed to allow students to catch up on outstanding reading and to prepare for the oncoming final examinations.

Rutherford Library: The Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Named after Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first premier of Alberta. Has two parts, Rutherford North (RN) and Rutherford South (RS). The reading room in Rutherford South as earned the nickname “the Harry Potter Room”.

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SAB: South Academic Building. A great indoor connection to CAB and Dentpharm during the winter. Men’s and women’s washrooms are found on alternating floors.

Schaffer Hall: One of the five towers of Lister Centre.

Seminar: The seminar portion of a course is when students meet for reports and discussion in an area of research under the guidance of a professor.

SGS: Student Group Services providing programming and administrative assistance to student-run clubs and organizations on campus.

Spring Term: The period of the academic year that runs from May through June.

SU: Students’ Union, the representative body for undergraduate students.

SUB: Students’ Union Building. Contains the University Bookstore, RATT, student services, and student lounges. Currently undergoing renovations.

Summer Term: The period of the academic year that runs from July through August.

Synchronous: This type of class means that the instructor and the students in the course all engage with the course content at the same times (and from the same location).

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Telus Centre (TEL): Contains lecture theatres. It’s located on the southeast edge of campus, so be sure your next class isn’t across campus.

Thelma Chalifoux Hall: One of the five towers of Lister Centre.

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Tory (T): The Henry Marshall Tory Building. Named after the first President of UAlberta. Shares an atrium with the Business building. “T B” denotes the lower level of the building.

Tory Lecture (TL): Also called “Tory Turtle” because of the building’s resemblance to a turtle.

Transcript: A statement of the student’s entire official academic record.

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UAI: University of Alberta International.

UASU: The University of Alberta Students' Union. Your representative student body.

UAlberta 101: Presentation at New Student Orientation that delivers important information about academics, wellness, involvement, and student life in general.

UComm:Unvieristy Commons building, formerly the Dentistry/Pharmacy building.

Undergrad: Undergraduate, the most common first level of univeristy studies.

UofA: Abbreviation for the University of Alberta.

U-Pass: The U-Pass grants you access to ETS, LRT services, as well as bus services in St. Alberta and Strathcona County. You’ll need a sticker for each term, Fall, Winter and/or Spring/Summer. Currently, it is distributed through the city's ARC card system.

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Van Vliet Complex (VVC): Home to the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, & Recreation. Includes several facilities including a fitness center, climbing centre, arena, dance studios and pools.

VPA: University of Alberta Students' Union Vice-President Academic.

VPEx: Univeristy of Alberta Students' Union Vice-President Extrental.

VP Ops Fi: Univeristy of Alberta Students' Union Vice-President Operations and Finance.

VPSL: University of Alberta Students' Union Vice-President Student Life.

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Winter Term: The period of the academic year that runs from January through April.

WOW: Week of Welcome. The week of events during the first week of school put on by the University of Alberta Student Union.

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New Student Orientation
Suite 2-800
Students' Union Building
University of Alberta
8900 - 114 Street NW
Edmonton, AB
T6G 2J7