Words and concepts in the academic world

Last changed: 09 November 2022

At university, you will encounter a lot of new words and concepts. On this page, you will find explanations of some of them. We have also included some words and concepts that are unique to our University.



academic quarter (ak)
akademisk kvart (ak)
"Academic quarter" means that if a lecture is shown on the timetable as beginning at 8 am, it actually starts at 8.15 am. If it says 8.00 am, however, it begins promptly at 8.00 am. Ask your lecturer if you are not sure.
This tradition began in the days when not all students had their own clock, but instead relied on the striking of the church clock. Once the clock had struck the hour, students had 15 minutes to get to the lecture.

adjunct professor
adjungerad professor
A professor who does not hold a permanent or full-time position. Such a position is limited to a maximum of 12 years.

Former student of the university. SLU has a network for its alumni. The word comes from the Latin and means scholar, student or pupil, but its current meaning has entered the language from American English. Read more about SLU Alumnus.

Student who is studying or has completed their studies at SLU in Alnarp.

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business council
Event where representatives from business are invited to discuss how the programme meets the needs of business for the future workforce, what skills recent graduates can be expected to have, possibilities for cooperation on placements or project work, etc. Often organised by the programme board or equivalent, particularly for professional programmes.

business day
Event to which representatives from business are invited to give lectures, take part in panel debates, put up posters, arrange question and answer sessions or otherwise tell the students about the outlook on their future labour market. Arranged at a number of SLU's campus areas, often by, or in conjunction with, the student unions.

Bylunds backe
Bylunds backe
Outdoor amphitheatre located in the middle of Ultuna. It is named after Ann-Christin Bylund, SLU's vice-chancellor 2000-2006, with the addition of the Swedish word for slope. 

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Campus is Latin and means "open field", but is now used to mean "university site". SLU has three main sites/campuses: Alnarp, Umeå and Ultuna/Uppsala.

The Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN)
Centrala studiestödsnämnden (CSN)
The authority that administers Swedish student finance, in other words study loans and grants. Read more about CSN.

compulsory element
obligatoriskt moment
A compulsory element is something you must complete in order to pass a course. Compulsory elements are indicated in the course syllabus.

Courses are the building blocks of a university education. Each course has a specific scope, as detailed in the course syllabus. A course may form part of a degree programme or may be taken as a self-contained course. Search for courses at SLU.

course date
A course can be given more than once, and the start date, rate of study etc. may vary. As a student, you apply for and are accepted to a specific course date.

course schedule
A course schedule is part of the programme syllabus. It describes the structure of the programme, that is in what order and when you should take the different courses that make up the programme.

course evaluation
After each course you must complete a course evaluation. It is important that you complete the evaluation, as your responses will be used to develop the courses to make them as good as possible.

course syllabus
The course syllabus is a document that describes details such as the scope of the course (indicated in terms of credits), its objectives, main content and how the examination will be conducted.

högskolepoäng (hp) / poäng 
University studies use a system of credits, where 60 credits is equivalent to one year's full-time study. Credits can be awarded by public-sector universities and university colleges, as well as by independent education providers which have been permitted by the government to award degrees.

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dekan / dekanus
The head of a specific academic unit or faculty, also a member of the university management team along with the Vice-Chancellor.

The evidence or proof that you have completed your education.

A general degree is evidence that a student has obtained the credits required and fulfils the requirements for their degree. General degrees are a higher education diploma, a bachelor's degree, a master's degree (60 credits) and a master's degree (120 credits). The requirements of general degrees are stipulated in the Higher Education Ordinance.

Bachelor's degrees correspond to three years' full-time study (180 credits) at first-cycle level. Master's degrees (60 credits) correspond to one year's full-time study at second-cycle level and master's degrees (120 credits) correspond to two years' full-time study at second-cycle level.

SLU is also able to issue certain professional qualifications. Special requirements apply to these, as specified in SLU's own regulations. Requirements are also specified in the programme syllabus for each programme, which may lead to a professional qualification. In order to practise certain professions, a professional status qualification or specific authorisation is also required.

Doctoral studies include both a licentiate degree and a doctorate in most subjects. A licentiate degree consists of 120 credits, of which at least 60 must come from doctoral thesis work. A doctorate consists of 240 credits, of which at least 120 must come from doctoral thesis work. A doctorate is the highest academic degree. Read more about degrees.

degree certificate
Document that shows you have been awarded a specific degree. Read more about degree certificate.

degree project
Larger independent assignment at the end of a programme. Also called an independent project or dissertation. Key aspects include problem formulation, implementation and reporting. You present and defend your work at a final review. In order to take a bachelor's degree, you must complete a degree project worth 15 credits in your main field of study. In order to take a master's degree (120 credits), you must complete a degree project in your main field of study at second-cycle level carrying a total of 30 credits. Read more about degree projects.

A small sub-unit within a faculty, divided by subject or areas of application. There is a department responsible for each course, which looks after the running of the course. There may also be one or more jointly responsible departments involved in the course. Link to a list of all departments at SLU.

deputy vice-chancellor
Deputy to the Vice-Chancellor, appointed by the University Board. See also pro-vice-chancellor.

Diploma Supplement
Diploma Supplement
A Diploma Supplement is a document (in English) that is appended to all degree certificates. This document describes where your education fits into the Swedish education system, with regard to scope and prior knowledge requirements, for example. Read more about Diploma Supplement.

director of studies
studierektor / institutionsstudierektor
Teacher who is responsible for education at a department.

disciplinary board
All universities/university colleges have a disciplinary board that deals with disciplinary matters at the university. The university may take disciplinary action against students who cheat, disrupt its activities or subject anyone to harassment. Disciplinary action consists of a warning or suspension.

Docent is an academic title. To be accepted as a docent, the applicant must have a doctorate and have subsequently developed their academic and educational skills independently.

A person who has a doctorate.

doctoral award ceremony
promotion / doktorspromotion
Ceremonial gathering at which those who have been awarded a doctorate are given the symbols of their new status, such as certificate, cap, ring and laurel wreath.

doctoral student / PhD
student doktorand
A person who has been admitted to a third-cycle programme and undertakes studies at research level. At SLU, 60% of doctoral students are employed by the university. A doctoral student is the same as a research student.

doctoral studies
A programme consisting of four years' full-time study and 240 credits, which leads to a doctorate. A licentiate degree consists of 120 credits and two years' full-time study. In order to be accepted for doctoral studies, you must have completed basic university education, with at least one year at second-cycle level. A doctoral student gains a deeper insight into their subject in their doctoral studies. A doctoral thesis constitutes at least 120 credits of doctoral studies (80 for a licentiate degree). Read more about doctoral studies.

doctoral thesis
avhandling / doktorsavhandling
The doctoral thesis is the most important part of doctoral studies, which are largely devoted to conducting guided research. The doctoral thesis is an academic work where the doctoral student reports on their area of research and their research results.
The doctoral thesis is presented and defended at a licentiate final review or a public defence of doctoral thesis.

double quarter (dk)
dubbelkvart (dk)
See Academic quarter and multiply by two. Double quarter is used to indicate the time when welcome drinks begin at parties. 

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ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) is a system for converting a student's performance between the systems of different countries. ECTS credits are based on the amount of work required to achieve an expected study result. At Swedish universities and university colleges, 1 credit is equal to 1 ECTS credit.

education cycle / education level
Since autumn 2007, higher education in Sweden has been divided into three levels: first-cycle, second-cycle and third-cycle. Each level requires and builds on education at the previous levels. For example, you must take a first-cycle bachelor's degree before you can begin studying on a second-cycle programme. In order to begin a third-cycle programme, you must have read for at least one year at second-cycle level. Read more about education cycle / education level.

evening dress
Dress code for more formal events. Dress suits and ball gowns or national costume or uniform.

An examination is where you demonstrate that you have the skills the course is expected to give you. The examiner awards a grade on the basis of the examination format(s) specified in the course syllabus. There are several different examination formats, including written examination, take-home examination, oral examination, compulsory attendance, memorandum/dissertation, laboratory practicals, reviews, inter-group reports and placements. Written and take-home examinations are often called 'tentamen', or 'tenta' for short. Read more about examinations.

The teacher who is responsible for ensuring that the course content and level complies with the specified course syllabus. The examiner also determines the grade criteria and is responsible for assessing the performance of students.

Short study trip.

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The major organisational unit in the academic operations of the university. SLU has four faculties.

faculty board
Faculty management group that plans, organises and follows up on the teaching and research carried out at the faculty.

faculty office
The central administrative unit of a faculty, which prepares matters and supports the faculty management.

FTE (full-time equivalent) student
A student who studies full time for a year; in other words, who reads for 60 credits in a year. Many students only take individual courses, however, which is why the number of people at the university is greater than the number of FTE students.

full time
Full-time study is equivalent to at least 60 credits (40 working weeks) per year. One and a half credits is equivalent to one week's full-time study.

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Party with food, entertainment and singing. Also called a sitting.

You will be given a grade for each course you complete. A four-grade scale is used for most courses at SLU. The scale used for a particular course is indicated in the course syllabus.

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head of department

prefekt / områdeschef
The head of a department.

Higher Education Institution (HEI)
högskola / högskolesektorn
In Sweden, there are approximately 50 higher education institutions, referred to as universities and university colleges (högskolor), which have the right to award degree qualifications. The Higher Education Act and the Higher Education Ordinance regulate Swedish higher education institutions. The difference between a university and a university college has traditionally been the fact that only a university has had the right to award third-cycle qualifications. However, in 2000, the government extended this right to include specific university colleges. The government also decides which university colleges can call themselves universities.

honorary doctor
Title awarded to a person who has made an exemplary academic contribution or has otherwise promoted research at the university. The Latin title doctor honoris causa is also used sometimes.

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independent project
självständigt arbete
See degree project.

Previously an inspector was a person whose job was to keep the students in line. Today an inspector is someone who works at SLU and who provides support for and keeps a watchful eye on a student union.

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LADOK (student registry)
Study documentation system used at Swedish universities and university colleges. All information about the courses you have taken, the credits you have earned and the courses/programmes you are registered on is stored in LADOK. You can see what information is recorded about you via the student web. You can also register a change of address here. The information contained in LADOK is public. More information about how personal information is handled can be found on the student web. Read more about LADOK.

Sports contest between the agricultural universities of the Nordic countries. The right to host rotates between the countries every year. The contests are usually held at the end of September.

The traditional form of university teaching. Takes place in larger groups, sometimes with several hundred students. At a lecture, the teacher discusses key aspects of the section of the course being examined and comments on and adds to the course literature.

adjunkt / universitetsadjunkt
A lecturer is a teacher at a university or university college. A lecturer has a first degree from a higher education institution, as well as teaching experience, but does not have to have a doctorate.

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main subject / main field of study
huvudämne/ huvudområde
The subject you read for most credits in. At SLU there are a number of main subjects which correspond to the subjects you can take a degree in. In order to be able to take a degree, you must have a certain number of credits within your main subject – 90 credits for a bachelor's degree, 30 credits for a master's degree (60 credits) and 60 credits for a master's degree (120 credits), in addition to a bachelor's degree.

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official transcript of records
official transcript of records / betygsutdrag
A translation of a degree certificate or a course certificate into English. Issued by SLU at the request of the student.

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part time
Normal study pace is 30 credits per semester. If you study part time, you complete 15 credits per semester.

A placement is part of your programme, where you spend a certain period of time at a place of work. Many programmes contain one or more placements. A placement provides training in skills and abilities and an insight into what life will be like at work.

Plagiarism is when you use the work or text of another person as if it were your own.

Plagiarism is always wrong. If it takes place with the intention of deceiving in an exam or similar, this will be considered cheating and may result in disciplinary action (see disciplinary board). Read more about cheating and and plagiarism.

post-doctoral research fellow
Teacher at the university with a doctorate, who specialises in research.

perpetual student
A person who does not ever manage to leave the academic world and who often takes a number of courses in addition to those initially intended. Really enjoys life as a student. Common during the 1970s, but rare nowadays.

Deputy to the dean. May be responsible for education or research within the faculty.

A person who holds the position of professor. Professor is the highest academic teaching position. A professor carries out research and doctoral studies within the subject area of the professorial position.

professor emerita / professor emeritus
professor emerita / professor emeritus
Retired professor. The form emeritus is used for male professors and emerita for female professors.

A programme is a combination of courses, both compulsory and elective, which you take in a given order. The programme leads to a degree. Towards the end of your studies, most programmes allow you to choose from a number of advanced courses.

programme board / programme committee
programnämnd / programkommitté / programutskott
Different names are used in different faculties. Has overall responsibility for a specific degree programme or several degree programmes within the same or closely-related areas. Works, among other things, with course syllabuses, range of courses and course evaluations, as well as student/work issues.

programme director of studies
A person with the responsibility for a specific programme.

programme syllabus
Each degree programme must have a programme syllabus. The programme syllabus states, among other things, the objectives and content of the programme, as well as which degree/degrees it leads to. The programme syllabus is specified by the faculty responsible for the programme.

The Vice-Chancellor may appoint one or several pro vice-chancellors with specific areas of responsibility. SLU currently has three pro vice-chancellors: one for education, one for environmental monitoring and assessment, and one for cooperation.

public defence of doctoral thesis
The occasion on which the doctoral student presents and defends their doctoral thesis. An examining committee assesses the performance of the doctoral student and the doctoral thesis and awards either a pass or a fail.

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A person with a third-cycle qualification (PhD) who conducts research at the university.

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self-contained course
fristående kurs
Course that is not linked to a degree programme.

A teaching method based on students engaging in active discussion with the teacher/supervisor and with one another.

senior lecturer
lektor / universitetslektor
A member of the university teaching staff who has been awarded a third-cycle qualification (doctorate) and is a skilled teacher.

Skogis is both the nickname for the Forest Student Union facility or the campus buildning in Umeå.

småtting / recentior (recce)
småtting / recentior (recce)
Names given to new students. Other names are also used.

A person who has been admitted to and pursues higher education.

student nation
A student nation is an association of students who come from the same part of the country – although this is not a requirement. The student nations organise a wide range of balls, entertainment and sport, and also provide administration, reading places and accommodation. The student nations can mainly be found in Uppsala and Lund.

student union
A student union is an organisation that works to safeguard the interests of students. All universities and university colleges in Sweden have one or more student unions. SLU has a total of eight student unions. Read more about student unions.

student union card
Card that proves your membership of a student union. Take it with you to union meetings, pubs and parties and use it as student ID, for example to obtain student discounts.

study advisor
The study advisor supports you in decisions affecting your studies. They can also answer questions about applications, prior knowledge requirements, registration and admission, student finance, study techniques, degrees and other practical issues. Read more about study advisors.

Teacher or researcher who provides ongoing support for a degree project/independent project or doctoral studies, for example. A supervisor acts as a sounding board and helps you to develop your scientific, critical and independent capacity. A supervisor may also provide feedback on your texts.

Swedish Council for Higher Education
Universitets- och högskolerådet (UHR)
The Swedish Council for Higher Education provides general information about higher education in Sweden, manage admission to Swedish universities and evaluate foreigen academic education credentials. They also provide information on and support for international cooperation and exchange activities.

Swedish Higher Education Authority
The Swedish Higer Education Authority is responsible for overseeing Sweden's universities and university colleges and evaluating their quality. They also provide statistics and perform follow-up and analysis within the higher education sector in Sweden.

Both the Ultuna restaurant and the restaurant in Alnarp are called "Syltan". 

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Teaching positions at a university or university college are professor, senior lecturer, adjunct professor and visiting professor. For a transitional period, they also include post-doctoral research fellow. At SLU, there are also lecturers, adjunct senior lecturers and adjunct lecturers.

teaching assistant
Student from a higher level course who is employed to help with teaching.

teaching platform
An IT system that is specifically designed to handle study services and communication between teachers and students. At SLU, we use the Fronter system.

A shorter test that can be given during a course.

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Student who is studying or has completed their studies at SLU Ultuna (apart from veterinaries).

undergraduate studies board (GUN / UN)
grundutbildningsnämnd (GUN) / utbildningsnämnd (UN)
Faculty board that makes general decisions on the faculty degree programmes.

universitet / universitetsvärlden
See Higher Education Institution (HEI).

university board
The highest executive body at SLU, appointed by the government, with the ultimate responsibility for the university's operations and finances. It is made up of representatives from industry, businesses and public organisations, as well as teachers, researchers and students.

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The "managing director" of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, which is a public authority. Appointed by the government on the basis of nominations from the University Board. The vice-chancellor oversees the day-to-day work of the university and is a member of the University Board.

visiting professor
Teacher who fulfils the qualification requirements for a professor and who is employed as a professor for a specified period of no more than five years. 

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