The Education System in Canada

Study in Canada

Studying in Canada is increasingly becoming the top choice for international students. From an undergraduate degree course in Canada to an MBA in Canada, the traction is in favour of Canadian universities.

Let us first understand the education system in Canada. The North American neighbour of USA, has a complete and well-developed higher education system. You have a host of Bachelor’s degrees to be obtained after which you can proceed to earn your Master’s degree and Doctorate or PhD. These degrees are offered by universities that may be private institutions or state-run public institutions. Needless to say, the tuition costs are lower in state-run public universities than in their privately-run counterparts, as is the case in most countries. The educational institutions, both private and public, enjoy a high level of autonomy though there is constant monitoring by the educational boards to keep the curriculum and modules up-to-date.


Types of Educational Institutions in Canada:

  • Undergraduate Degrees
  • Postgraduate Degrees
  • Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates
  • Professional Degrees
  • Doctorates
  • Larger institutions
  • May be state-funded or privately run
  • Larger student population
  • Attracts most international students
  • Highly recommended by Study Abroad Consultants
University College
  • Academically-oriented University Degrees
  • Practically-oriented Diplomas and certificates
  • Smaller Cohorts
  • Students can transfer to university colleges after completing 2 years at a community college
  • The credits earned can also be transferred
  • Strong student support services and campus environments
Community Colleges
  • Certificates and Diplomas
  • Associate Degrees
  • Specialised Undergraduate Degrees
  • Postgraduate Diplomas
  • Provide job-oriented courses
  • Smaller classes
  • Good ratio of labs to classrooms
  • Co-op and practicum opportunities
Career and Technical Colleges
  • Vocational Training Certificates
  • Diplomas
  • Few specialised degrees
  • Private institutions
  • Offer job-oriented training courses
  • International students are accepted
  • Short courses are also available in addition to 1-2 year courses


While this is a comprehensive list of the types of institutions, you need to get appropriate guidance from abroad education consultants before making an educated decision.


Study Levels in Canada:

In each of the 13 provinces in Canada, the provincial government holds complete sovereignty of their education system. Thus, there may be a slight variation in the study levels and stages. However, to give you a rough sketch of the same:

Certificates and Diploma 1-2 years Technical courses that prepare you for a career in a technical field
Associate Degrees 2 years They are equivalent to the first 2 years of the 4-year undergraduate degree programmes
Bachelor’s Degrees 4 years The undergraduate-level qualification that you can pursue after completing the 12 years of your school. Commonly they are 4-year programmes but some universities offer 3-year programmes too.
Bachelor’s Degrees (With Honours) 4 years Highly competitive courses that command certain requirements such as a high GPA, a specific major or credits, etc.
Postgraduate Diploma 1-2 years These Diplomas are essentially to specialise in a particular field after graduating with the Bachelor’s degree
Master’s Degrees (Non-Thesis) 1-2 years Lecture-based programmes that do not require a thesis submission
Master’s Degrees (Thesis) 1-2 years A research-intensive course that entails a thesis submission to earn the degree.
PhD 4-7 years Typically pursued after earning a Master’s degree. Requires completion and effective defence of a dissertation.
Post-Doctoral Programmes No specified duration Research-intensive programmes


Additionally, Canada also offers an option of Co-operative Education which involves 50% work experience and 50% academic learning. It is best for people who prefer practical learning over lecture-based education and takes in international students, provided they have a work permit to Canada.


Academic year:

Most universities follow the semester system with two intakes in a year. The main intake (September – January) attracts most applications and processes maximum admissions whereas the summer intake (April – May) is open for a few chosen programmes and has limited seats.


Canadian Pedagogy:

Lectures are delivered in English and their teaching methods also include tutorials and lab works. Tutorials and lab sessions are focused on providing deep comprehension of the concepts and thus, involve smaller groups of students. Students are given assignments and encouraged to pursue research and analysis and make presentations.


Tuition fee:

Canada is not only world-class, but also world’s favourite for higher education; its lower tuition costs is also one of the reasons. Among the top study abroad destinations like the USA, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, Canada has the lowest tuition rates though the fee structures and amounts may vary depending on the university and the programme.


Financial aid:

There are several options for financial aid, especially for foreign students such as Merit-based scholarship, Provincial Government scholarship, Need-based grants and Bursaries by college, Commonwealth scholarship, and Private/Organisational scholarship. Then, you have the Research Associate-ship, Professional Development Award, Fellowships, and Teaching Assistantships for postgraduate students.

The competition for scholarships is high which requires one to apply at least 12 months before the desired intake.

Wish to know more? Please connect with Manya – The Princeton Review for a counselling session.

Find Your Dream University

If you are planning to study abroad and searching to match your profile with the best suited university, Experts at Manya – The Princeton Review have gathered important information of top Universities from abroad. Surely, this information will help you narrow down your quest for universities.

You can access accurate & authentic information related to rankings, application fees, average tuition fees, cost of living, scholarships, latest updates, and much more from more than 1000+ universities. You may also search for universities by name, country, or courses in common specializations, such as Physics, Finance, Business, Language and Culture, Agriculture, Environmental Science, Computer and IT, Media and Communication Marketing.

Manya – The Princeton Review offers end-to-end study abroad services encompassing admissions consulting services, test preparation, English language training, career assessment, and international internship opportunities to study abroad aspirants.

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