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Education system in Canada

Know all about the education system in Canada

Canada’s education system is considered one of the best in the world.  Excellent higher education system and yet affordable, it offers numerous opportunities for international students. Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia are the most popular Canadian provinces which are home to some of the best universities globally. In 2017, more than 5 Lakh international students were studying in Canada across different levels. The staggering numbers explain its popularity globally.

There is both a public and private education system in Canada. The Canadian government subsidizes the education cost significantly and this is reflected in very low tuition costs for domestic students as compared to international students.

Levels of Education:

Canada Education System has three levels of education Primary, Secondary and post-secondary.

Primary education is also called elementary school and starts between the age of 5 or 6 depending on the provinces. The academic year starts in September and ends in June. Secondary education, however, runs from grade 9 to grade 12. This again depends on the provinces. Post-secondary education is where most Indian students start applying to. This can be pursued either in Universities or colleges.

Certificates and Diploma1 to 2 yearsVocational and job oriented programs, mainly technical
Associate degree2 yearsEquivalent to first two years of a 4-year bachelor’s degree
Bachelor’s degree3 to 4 yearsAnd undergraduate degree 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 a bachelor’s degree of 3 years.
Bachelor’s Honors degree4 yearsThis will require getting a specific GPA or credits, a major or a specialist program
Postgraduate diploma1 to 2 yearsA post-bachelor degree qualification
Master’s degree (by thesis)1 to 2 yearsOften 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 yearsThis is a taught master’s degree, not requiring thesis submission
Doctorate or PhD4 to 7 yearsPh.D. is awarded when students complete a dissertation and successfully defend their work before a panel of faculty members
Post-Doctoral ProgramsNo time limitSpecialized research-oriented programs

Co-op Education and courses:

One of the options that many Indian students are not informed about is the co-op programs that are unique to Canada. Many universities and colleges have a regular program that runs the length of the course and also has a co-op option along with it. In this option, the student normally completes one term of studies which is followed by a term working full time in the industry. It is a great tool to get hands-on experience in the professional world and also to prove yourself. Not only this but with the income earned via this full-time work, the student can support his education and living expenses. Bear in mind that to be eligible for the co-op program following conditions need to be met

  1. You should be on a study and work permit
  2. The university and the course should have that option
  3. You should have decent grades during the course work

Academic year/Intakes

Unlike the Indian education system, Canadian universities and colleges have multiple intakes throughout the year. These are also called as semesters or terms. The following are the major intakes in Canada

Term 1: January

Term 2: September

Term 3: Optional (May)

Find out more about the Upcoming intakes in Canada

Teaching methodology in classrooms


Active participation, research, and analysis via presentation, assignments and lab tests are the basis of Canadian learning. Classes are usually a mix of lectures, tutorials and lab sessions having a student strength of about 30 to 200. While lectures may have a higher number of students, tutorials are generally held within small groups for a better and in-depth understanding of the concept. Canadian universities focus on providing a holistic experience wherein students get opportunities that improve their learning, career, and life. Many campuses are equipped with state of the art libraries and sports facilities for recreation

Tuition Fee

In comparison to other popular study destinations for Indian students like the USA, Australia, and UK, the tuition fees are comparatively affordable in Canada. On average the tuition fee for an undergraduate program starts from 12,000 CAD and goes to about 40,000 CAD. For Masters or PG diploma programs, the fees can start between 15,000 CAD to about 60,000 CAD depending on the course, university, and the duration.

Click here to know more about Cost of studying in Canada


Various Canadian educational institutes offer scholarships to international students based on merit. However, the number and amount of these scholarships are less compared to other study abroad destinations since the fees in Canada are already low. It is recommended to start early and have a good academic background if you want to apply for the scholarships as it would be very competitive.

Click here to know more about Scholarships in Canada.

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