List of Terms

The academic world uses its own terms and concepts. Many of these date back to the universities in medieval times and are used internationally. Others are more recent additions to the bounty of terms and are specific to Swedish universities. Below is a brief list of terms with some of the most commonly used words.

Academic quarter It is an old tradition at many universities that the lecture or seminar begins fifteen minutes after the specified time. This tradition is applied to some courses, but not everywhere.
Annual Celebration
Public ceremony each autumn in which new professors, honorary doctorates and award recipients for scientific achievement are installed by the Vice-Chancellor and hold their inaugural lecture.
College year The programme gives participants basic skills for university studies and better qualifications for successful studies at the university level. The College year is administrated by the Folkuniversitetet.
Course All undergraduate education is carried out in the form of courses. Study programmes consist of linked courses. Most courses are for 7.5 credits and up to 30 credits.
Credit increment Credit increment was introduced for application to higher education in the autumn of 2010. It is extra credits that are applied to the grade average (the mean value of grades from upper secondary school) that are sent to university admissions. The highest value is a 2.5 credit increment, which means that the highest possible grade average is 22.5.
Credits The extent of university studies is given in credits. Thirty credits are equal to one academic term of full-time study. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) of credits is followed by at Umeå University. A 5 week single-subject course is typically worth 7.5 ECTS.
CV (Curriculum Vitae) The Latin name for a list of personal qualifications (also called résumé).
Dean Chairman of the faculty board and the person in charge of faculty activities.
Decentralised education Education that is carried out in another location. For instance, the university's programme for a master's degree in sustainable management is decentralised and located in Örnsköldsvik.
Degree General degrees: university certificate 120 credits (2 yrs.), bachelor's degree 180 credits (3 yrs.), master's degree 120 credits (2 yrs.). Occupational degrees: includes medical degree, psychology degree, law degree, engineering degree, teaching degree.
Degree conferment ceremony (Spring graduation) Ceremonial gathering in Aula Nordica in which those who have completed their doctorate are presented with its ostensible symbols: ring, diploma and mortarboard or laurel wreath
Department The basic unit at the university is the department. Education and research are carried out here in one or several related areas. The department is the primary place of employment, not just for students, teachers and researchers, but also for other professional categories like administrators, janitors, technicians and instrument makers.
Department head The head of operations in a department.
Dissertation Scientific thesis which the doctoral student defends in public to receive a doctorate.
Distance education For people who for various reasons have difficulty participating in instruction full-time in Umeå, distance education has been set up in a number of subjects. The courses are often run as half-time courses. Students study in their hometowns, but several times a term, usually on weekends, they meet for education or examination in Umeå or elsewhere.
Doctoral student A student who is pursuing studies for a Doctorate, that is, postgraduate studies.
Educational brief In its decree of instructions, the government establishes the requirements, framework and restrictions for undergraduate education at the various universities
Exam Also called a test, oral or written, which is taken at the end of a course or completed portion of a course. If the student fails to pass the exam, he or she has an opportunity to retake the exam.
Faculty Unified organisational unit for related subjects in education and research. At Umeå University there are five faculties. the faculties of arts; science and technology; medicine; social sciences and a faculty for teacher education
Faculty board The faculty's decision-making body. The faculty boards are responsible for undergraduate education, postgraduate education and research in their different scientific areas.
First cycle (basic level studies) The first cycle comprises general education, which leads to a two-year University Diploma, a three-year Bachelor’s degree, as well as all vocational degrees shorter than four years
Guaranteed admission (guaranteed place) Applicants that have met the eligibility requirements and have applied on time whom are admitted to courses with a guaranteed place.
Main field of study Previously referred to as main subject, the main field of study is included in the first and second cycles (bachelor's and master's level). In order to earn a degree, a student needs to fulfil a certain concentration within the main field of study.
Professorial inauguration (see also Annual Celebration) Public ceremony held every autumn in which newly appointed professors are installed by the Vice-Chancellor. They also hold an installation lecture.
Public defence When a doctoral student presents and defends his or her thesis in public. The result is a doctoral degree.
Public posting of dissertations ("Spikning") Following a centuries-old tradition, doctoral theses are officially posted, using a hammer and nail, in the University Library.
Second cycle (advanced level studies) The second cycle comprises for general education a one-year Master's degree and a two-year Master’s degree, as well as all vocational degrees which are four years or longer.
Seminar Form of education carried out in groups in which there is a discussion of a text, such as an essay, book or article.
Student funding allowance The amount of money the government gives the university for each student studying full-time.
Student unions Student unions are to look after the interests of individual students in their studies. Students at universities and university colleges in Sweden are required by law to be members of the student union. At Umeå University there are three student unions: Umeå Union of Students, Umeå Student Union of Science and Technology, Medical Sciences Student Union.
Study programme A study programme is a planned course of study for a degree. Most programmes have a fixed course of study largely with required subjects and courses. Students who have been accepted to programmes are guaranteed a place in required courses.
Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT) A standardized test used as one of the means to gain admission to higher education in Sweden. The test itself, which is administered by the Swedish Council for Higher Education, is given twice per year. It is divided into eight sections and contains 160 multiple-choice questions.  Apart from the English language reading comprehension test, all sections are taken in Swedish.
Swedish Council for Higher Education (Universitets- och högskolerådet) The council is responsible for the recognition of qualifications from other countries, information about study programmes and issues relating to admissions.
Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslersämbetet) The Swedish Higher Education Authority is responsible for the quality assurance and supervision of higher education and for following up, analysing and the external monitoring of issues within the authority's area of responsibility.
Third cycle (doctoral level studies) There are two degrees within the third cycle: a two-year licentiate degree and a four-year doctoral degree.

Böcker i bokhylla

Image: Mattias Pettersson

Related Information

Swedish-English list of terms