Canada has a large selection of universities and university colleges
located in both urban and rural settings in every region of the
country. Our universities are internationally known for the quality
of teaching and research. Degrees from Canadian universities are
considered to be equivalent to those from American and other Commonwealth
universities. Canadian universities are largely publicly funded;
as a result they are of a consistently high quality, regardless
of location or area of study. As well, they all retain a high degree
of academic autonomy.
Full-time student enrolments at individual universities range from
over 35,000 to less than 1,000. In addition, most universities have
a large number of part-time or continuing education students. They
offer a broad range of courses and a full range of degrees from
undergraduate to doctorates, and can also offer certificates and
professional degrees. Fees for universities differ depending on
the province, institution and program of study.
The university year usually runs from September to May. Some universities
are on a semester or trimester system, with all courses available
even in the summer. There is no Canada-wide entrance test: each
university sets its own admission standards and assesses the qualifications
of each applicant individually.
As Canada has two official languages - English and French - an
international student can take a degree either at an English language
or French language institution. Some universities offer instruction
in both languages. However, students do not have to be fluent in
both languages to attend a Canadian university.
To qualify for a degree program at most English-speaking universities,
students for whom English is not a first language must have passed
an English examination test. The TOEFL is commonly accepted but
Canadian universities often have their own tests for students or
may accept other English examination tests such as the IELTS.
Your local Canadian Education Centre (CEC) can provide valuable
information on English examination tests acceptable to Canadian
universities. CEC staff can also advise students on whether they
may qualify for an exemption from English examinations. In addition,
CECs have extensive materials on Canadian schools and can also provide
counselling to students on finding the appropriate institution and
applying for study in Canada.
If you are interested in studying at a French language institution,
please note that there is no standardized French language test that
international students are required to pass in order to qualify
for a degree program. French universities, however, will determine
the level of a student's French language skills on a case-by-case
basis, and may choose to administer their own written tests if language
skills are in question.
In some cases, it is possible to complete only one or two semesters
of undergraduate study in Canada, and then apply your studies towards
a degree program in your home country. You may also be interested
in transferring to a Canadian university to complete you studies.
In either case, it is important to ask the advisors at the Canadian
institution you are planning to attend, as well as your home university
or college, about equivalencies specific to your program of interest.