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Higher educational system in Canada: guide for foreign students


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Higher educational system in Canada: guide for foreign students


In Canada, there is no traditional concept of a "national education system" - this issue is dealt with by the relevant government agencies in each province. Today, the Canadian education system includes over 100 colleges and universities , most of which are concentrated in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, where most of the population lives.

The higher education system in Canada can be roughly divided into 3 levels:

  1. post-secondary education (postsecondary / undergraduate programs)
  2. higher education (bachelor / master / PhD)
  3. post-higher education (graduate / post-degree programs).

With a diploma of secondary education, the student can consider the following study programs:

Certificate (Sertificate)

A 1-year program (up to 30 credits) aimed at obtaining highly specialized knowledge.

Diploma (Diploma)

A program designed for 2 years of study and covering a wider range of knowledge and skills (up to 60 credits).

Advanced Diploma

The program is designed for 3 years of study and includes an internship (paid / unpaid; up to 120 credits)).

Associate Degree

Analogous to half of a bachelor's degree: 2 years of study (up to 50 credit points), after which the student can transfer to the senior year of the university in the chosen specialty (as a rule, for the 3rd year).

Next is the bachelor's degree, which can be obtained both at the university and at the college, if the latter is eligible for teaching degree programs.

Here we can already talk about the concept of "higher education", which includes three levels of academic training:

  • undergraduate (UG / Bachelor degree)
  • Master's degree
  • doctoral studies (PhD).

Bachelor's Degree (Undergraduate / Bachelor Degree)

The program for the chosen specialty for a period of 4 years. The next stages of higher education - Master's degree and PhD - can be obtained only at universities.

Master Degree

A program designed for 2 years of study after completing a bachelor's degree. May imply in-depth training in a previously acquired or related specialty.

Doctorate of Science (PhD)

Research activities for a period of 4 to 7 years, ending with the writing of a dissertation. Possible when receiving the first and second stage of higher education (UG and Master degrees).

The term "post-graduate education" can be applied to the following programs. As a rule, they are enrolled with a bachelor's degree (as well as a master's degree). Some specialties may require work experience.

Graduate Certificate and Post-Degree / Post-Baccalaureate Diploma

These programs are aimed at improving the existing qualifications obtained in the framework of the bachelor's degree, or at retraining and obtaining an additional (new) profession.
Certificate programs are designed for 1 academic year, while diploma programs are for 2 years, which include practice (Co-op element). These programs are located between bachelor's and master's degrees and are more focused on obtaining practical, applied knowledge than research (for example, in the case of master's and doctoral studies).

These programs can be offered at both colleges and universities in Canada.

Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Kuban State University, Russia (World Economics); Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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