Education System in Canada for International Students

Canada is a popular destination for students due in large part to its accessible, high-quality education system. The Canadian government generously invests in higher education and is one of the top three nations for post-secondary education spending per capita. Let’s learn more about the educational system in Canada.

Study levels in Canada

The study levels and educational stages may be found in different clusters with different names in Canada because the provincial governments are in charge of running the educational system. Here is a summary:

Qualification Duration Description
Certificates and Diploma 1 to 2 years Vocational and job-oriented programs, mainly technical
Associate degree 2 years Equivalent to first two years of a 4-year bachelor’s degree
Bachelor’s degree 3 to 4 years An undergraduate degree which requires successful completion of secondary school. The duration of your course depends on the province and type of program although most courses last for 4 years. Certain provinces like Quebec have bachelor’s degree of 3 years.
Bachelor’s Honors degree 4 years This will require getting a specific GPA or credits, a majors or a specialist program
Postgraduate diploma 1 to 2 years A post Bachelor’s degree qualification
Master’s degree (by thesis) 1 to 2 years Often referred to as research masters, this requires mandatory submission of thesis for assessment and course completion
Master’s degree (by non-thesis) 1 to 2 years This is a taught master’s degree, not requiring thesis submission
Doctorate or PhD 4 to 7 years Ph.D. is awarded when students complete dissertation and successfully defend their work before a panel of faculty members
Post-Doctoral Programs No time limit Specialised research-oriented programs
Academic Year

From the beginning of September to the end of April or the beginning of May, the majority of colleges and universities normally offer classes. Typically, the winter session is split into two terms that run from September through December and then again from January through April. Between May and August, a variety of summer study options are available. A select few schools in Canada also provide year-round education.

Undergraduate degrees can be earned in three or four years, depending on the university. Postgraduate degrees can be earned in one to two years, depending on the type. In general, master’s programmes last one to two years, but PhD programmes are lengthier than in other nations. They typically take four to seven years to finish.

Education Style

Canadian universities are committed to research and excellent instruction, but they also want to give their students opportunity to succeed in school, in the workplace, and in life. Lectures and tutorials are both used in university courses. Professors deliver lectures to groups of between 30 and 200 students. They typically include a related element, such a lab or a tutorial.

A tutorial or lab enables a more thorough discussion of course material. Typically, tutorial classes have between 20 and 30 students.

Fees and Scholarships

Education costs

Without a question, studying abroad may be expensive for students. However, Canada has the lowest tuition costs for international students when compared to the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. You will require between CA$7000 and CA$29,000 per year to pay for tuition. This is merely a rough guide, though, and actual costs will depend on the institution and programme you are applying to, as well as your region and way of life.

Courses in the humanities, education, and the arts are typically less expensive than those in the sciences, medicine, and engineering. The tuition fees are normally greater and the charges vary based on the programme if you want to pursue postgraduate education. MBA programmes are frequently the most expensive, as is true in most other nations. These programmes typically cost roughly $42,000 CA.


Some universities and colleges in Canada give scholarships and prizes to foreign students who perform very well. The available funding and award types differ amongst the various institutions. It’s difficult to get a scholarship, and you typically have to apply directly to the school that grants it.

Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan

This program is designed to enable students to pursue programs of advanced study and research at the master and PhD level in Commonwealth countries other than their own. The award comprises travel, living allowance and all compulsory tuition fees.

Master’s degree holders in engineering and PhD holders in the natural sciences or engineering are eligible for National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) Research associateships.

Program for Graduate Scholarships in Ontario. For graduate students in many different academic fields. Students must get a valid student permit and accept an offer from an Ontario university before proceeding (visa).


Supports both basic university research through research grants and project research via partnerships of universities and industry.

Quebec Provincial Government Scholarship

For students studying in Quebec. Financial assistance is available to students studying master’s level or above. 

Ontario Trillium Scholarship

First announced in November 2010 for the best doctoral students from around the world to study in Ontario. Each scholarship is worth $40,000 annually, renewable for a maximum of four years. 75 scholarships are awarded each year.

Ontario universities are responsible for selecting and awarding scholarships to international PhD students based on merit and program

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