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List of academic terms

The academic world uses its own terms and concepts. Many of these date back to the universities of 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, their definitions and Swedish equivalents.

Academic quarter – akademisk kvart

It is an old academic tradition at many universities that the lecture or seminar begins fifteen minutes after the time announced. This tradition is applied to some courses, but not everywhere.

The tradition arrives from when students and lecturers lived on campus. When the clock struck, you had fifteen minutes to get from your accommodation to your lecture.

There is no established translation for the Swedish term.

Annual Celebration – årshögtid

Public ceremony taking place each autumn in which new professors are installed by the Vice-Chancellor and hold their inaugural lecture. Also, honorary doctorates and award recipients for scientific achievement are celebrated.

Course – kurs

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 – meritpoäng

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 Swedish upper-secondary schools) 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 – högskolepoäng

Completed university studies earns the student credits (högskolepoäng, shortened HP). Thirty credits are equal to one academic term of full-time studies. Umeå University follows the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). A 5 week single-subject course is typically worth 7.5 ECTS.

CV (Curriculum Vitae) – CV

The Latin name for a list of personal qualifications (also called résumé).

Dean – dekan

Chairperson of a faculty board and the person in charge of faculty activities.

Decentralised education – decentraliserad utbildning

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 – examen

General degrees: University certificate 120 credits (2 yrs.), Bachelor's degree 180 credits (3 yrs.), one-year Master's degree 60 credits (1 yr), two-year Master's degree 120 credits (2 yrs.). Occupational degrees: include medical degree, psychology degree, law degree, engineering degree, teaching degree.

Degree conferment ceremony (Spring graduation) – vårpromotion

Ceremonial gathering that takes place at the University every spring in which those who have completed their doctorate are presented with its ostensible symbols: ring, diploma and mortarboard or laurel wreath.

Department – institution

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 teachers and researchers, but also for other professional categories such as administrators, janitors, technicians and instrument makers.

Distance education – distansundervisning

For people who for various reasons have difficulties in participating in instruction full-time in Umeå, distance education has been set up in a number of subjects. The courses are often run at half-speed. Students study from home, but several times per term, usually on weekends, they meet for education or examination in Umeå or elsewhere.

Doctoral student – doktorand

A student who is pursuing studies for a doctorate, that is, postgraduate studies.

Exam – examination, tentamen

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, they have an opportunity to retake the exam.

Faculty – fakultet

Unified organisational unit for related subjects in education and research. Umeå University consists of four faculties: the Faculty of Art, the Faculty of Science and Technology, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Social Science. Umeå School of Education was previously a faculty but now functions as a centre.

Faculty board – fakultetsnämnd

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) – grundnivå

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.

Foundation year – basårsutbildning

A preparatory programme for university studies for students without full qualifications. The programme gives participants the basic skills required for university studies. The foundation year cannot be counted into a degree.

Funding agreement targets – utbildningsuppdrag

The Swedish government annually gives the various universities, including Umeå University, funding agreement targets with a financial funding cap, a maximum remuneration, to offer first and second level education.

Guaranteed admission (guaranteed place) – platsgaranti

Applicants that have met the eligibility requirements and have applied on time are admitted to courses that have guaranteed admission.

Head of Department – prefekt

The head of operations in a department.

Main field of study – huvudområde

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) – professorsinstallation

Public ceremony held at the Annual Celebration Ceremony every autumn in which newly appointed professors are installed by the Vice-Chancellor. They also hold an installation lecture in connection to the inauguration.

Public defence of doctoral thesis – disputation

When a doctoral student presents and defends his or her thesis in public. The result is a doctoral degree.

Public posting of thesis – spikning

Following a centuries-old tradition, doctoral theses are officially posted, using a hammer and nail, in the University Library upon completion.

Second cycle (advanced level studies) – avancerad nivå

The second cycle comprises general education of a one-year Master's degree or a two-year Master's degree, as well as all vocational degrees that are four years or longer.

Seminar – seminarium

Form of education carried out in groups in which there is a discussion of a text, such as an essay, book or article.

Students' union – studentkår

Students' unions exist 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 students' union. At Umeå University there are three students' unions: Umeå Student Union, Umeå Student Union of Science and Technology, Umeå Medical and Health Sciences Student Union.

Study programme – program

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 the required courses.

Swedish Council for Higher Education – Universitets- och högskolerådet (UHR)

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 (UKÄ)

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.

Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT) – Högskoleprovet

A standardised 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.

Thesis – avhandling

Scientific thesis or dissertation that the doctoral student defends in public to earn a doctorate.

Third cycle (doctoral level studies) – doktorandstudier

There are two degrees within the third cycle: a two-year licentiate degree and a four-year doctoral degree.