Canada claims one of the highest rates of post-secondary education completion in the world. According to the 2006 census, six out of every 10 adults between 25 and 64 years of age had completed some form of post-secondary education. Enrolment in post-secondary education has grown significantly in recent years, due to increasing educational demands in the labour market rather than because of population growth. Post-secondary institutions are located throughout the country; there are approximately 70 universities and 80 colleges in Canada.
In Canada, the provinces and territories are responsible for all levels of education including colleges and universities.
In addition to post-secondary options, Canada offers a wide range of independent private boarding schools for younger students noted for their excellence in preparing young men and women for university and college placement.
Canadian universities offer high-quality education and are very well respected around the world. A degree from a Canadian university holds substantial prestige, thus making Canada a primary target for many international students.
University degrees are offered at three successive levels – bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. Bachelor’s degrees normally require three or four years of full-time study, depending on the province. An honors bachelor’s degree involves a higher degree of concentration in the major subject, as well as a higher level of academic achievement, and in some cases, an additional year of study. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study after completion of either a general or an honors baccalaureate program.
Virtually all Canadian universities are public institutions, which is the main difference between Canadian and American universities.
A community college is a public post-secondary educational institution that offers a variety of programs to high-school graduates and adults seeking further education or employment training. Public colleges offer vocational programs in a wide range of professional and technical fields including business, health, science, agriculture, applied arts, technology, skilled trades, and social services.
Diplomas are awarded for the successful completion of two- or three-year programs, while certificate programs most often take one year to complete.
Many colleges offer university transfer programs, providing the first two years of a university undergraduate program. Many also offer bachelor’s and applied degree programs.
Colleges are much cheaper than universities and more career-oriented.