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Level of Study in Canada

Planning on studying in Canada? Knowing the educational system in Canada and the levels of Education is necessary. Canada’s education system is conducive for international students, and for you to know your best bet, you have to understand Canada’s education levels.

Levels of Study

The educational system consists of various levels which include;

Elementary and Secondary Education

Elementary education is compulsory for every kid in Canada. Children begin schooling at age five (5) or six(6) and continue at least until the child is 16. Students in Elementary school spend 6years normally from grade 1 to grade 6.

junior high school runs from grade 7 to grade 8 and high school education runs from grade 9 to grade 12. As the child completes Grade 12, they receive their high school diploma which makes them eligible for post-secondary education.

 There are both public and private schools in Canada’s schooling system. public schools are funded fully by Canadian governments and teach the government-mandated curriculum. while private schools have special curriculum and charge high tuition fees.

Types of Post-Secondary Education


A university is an educational structure designed to instruct and examine students in many branches of learning, students spend a minimum of three to five years. International students should budget a minimum of four years to complete a bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree


College is a post-secondary educational program that is more career-oriented. a college student spends a minimum of two full-time academic years of specialized post-secondary study and on completion, a diploma is awarded.

Diploma programs are mainly developed to meet specific demands of trades and technical or vocational careers, and – depending on the job required – may span upwards of three or four years. Diploma programs are also likely to have a co-op internship component or other apprenticeship options, and diplomas can be upgraded or transferred into a bachelor’s degree.

Admission into a college diploma program requires a completed senior secondary program in Canada (or its equivalent).

Vocational school

A vocational school is a type of educational program, designed to provide vocational training, or technical skills required to complete the tasks of a particular and specific job. In the case of secondary education, these schools differ from academic high schools which usually prepare students who aim to pursue tertiary education, rather than enter directly into the workforce.

What is an Associate Degree in Canada 

An Associate Degree in Canada is a 60-credit, foundational undergraduate program in a classical area of study. The associate degree comprises general academic subjects as well as your area of interest. 

Examples of an Associate degree are, Associate of Arts (Business) and Associate of Arts (Science). The Associate Degree allows students to begin their studies at one college or university and transfer into third-year coursework at a university, pending recognition by the receiving institution. 

The British Columbia province is the only province in Canada that offers associate degrees, where a student can complete a two-year associate degree which enables a student to enter a Bachelor’s Degree Program in the third year of study.

Understanding Undergraduate  vs Graduate Education

Universities offer different levels of degrees. The Undergraduate degree program is broader and cuts across every part of a particular field not relatively been specific about a particular topic.

While a graduate education program is a topic-specific program, that is narrowed down to a particular subject in a field. Examples of graduate education are Master’s or Ph.D. level programs.

Understanding Certificate vs Diploma 

The actual difference between a Certificate and a Diploma program is the length of the duration of the program. Certificate as well as Diploma program, both provide a student with the training required to get entry directly into a specific occupation or work. A certificate program is shorter with a duration of one(1) year of full-time study, while a Diploma program has a duration of two(2) years of full-time study.

Diplomas provide more in-depth knowledge of a field of study and are of longer duration than certificates. Certificate programs are typically specialized in one particular skill set or an area and do not provide a broad overview of a field of study.

Levels of Education in Quebec

The level of education in the province of Quebec is slightly different from the others in Canada. Other provinces in Canada have a 12-grade system. Once a student completes 12 grades in secondary school and receives a high school diploma and completes high school they become eligible for post-secondary education. But this is different in Quebec.

Quebec has a four-level educational program

  • preschool education also called kindergarten
  • elementary and secondary school education, which includes general education and vocational training
  • college education, which includes two streams: pre-university education and technical training
  • university education, which includes undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate studies as well as postdoctoral studies.

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