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.