Education System

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Education System in Canada


There is no federal education system in the country of Canada. The provinces are given exclusive jurisdiction in offering education to the people. The provincial and territorial legislatures have developed their own educational structures and institutions, creating thirteen education systems in Canada. Some of them have many similarities while the others are different from each other. At the post-secondary level, institutions are divided into community colleges and universities. Four types of educational institutions offer higher education in Canada:

  • Universities
  • University Colleges
  • Community Colleges or Technical Institutes
  • Career Colleges

'Universities' in Canada are mostly public funded and offer consistently high quality education at a lower fee structure for international students than other developed countries. They offer an extensive range of courses and degree programs from bachelors to doctorate and also certificate and professional degrees. 'University Colleges' in Canada offer students a choice of either academic-oriented university degree programmes or the more practical-oriented college diplomas and certificates. They also offer combined degrees or diploma programmes and university transfer programmes. 'Community Colleges' and 'Technical Institutes' in Canada normally have vocational-related curriculum. The uniqueness of Canadian colleges lies in the combination of employer-centred set of courses. These institutes have the primary function of responding to the training needs of business, industry and public service sectors.

Most colleges and technical institutes offer diplomas and certificates rather than degrees, however, more and more now grant degrees and applied degrees. 'Career Colleges' in Canada are privately owned and operated schools with the main objective of preparing students for the job market after a short period of training. The emphasis at career colleges is on practical skills over a broad range of programmes. They specialize in areas such as business, computers and secretarial skills. Although these Career Colleges are privately owned, these institutes are provincially approved and regulated.
The certifications given after stipulated study period in Canadian Education System are:

  • Diploma is the qualification awarded on the basis of one or two year's successful study and is offered at colleges.
  • Universities award undergraduate or bachelor's degree after four years of full-time study.
  • Graduate or postgraduate degrees lead to advanced degrees, diplomas and certificates. Eligibility to participate in graduate studies is a four-year bachelors or undergraduate degree.
  • Doctorate or Ph.D. is a degree ranking above the master's degree and generally completed after four to seven years of study in which a combination of course work, original research and a thesis is required. Prerequisites to this course include typically a master's degree, although direct entry from a bachelor's degree to a Ph.D. program may be possible depending on the school and levels of the research topics, students choose to pursue.