Canada Higher Education

Canada is a multicultural country with a large and growing indigenous population (first nation people). Many Canadians have ancestors in Europe, and in recent years immigration from Asia has increased in scope. According to Countryaah, Canada is the largest country in the American continent, including North America, Central America and South America.

Higher Education in Canada

Public educational institutions belong to each of the 10 provinces and 3 territories into which Canada is divided. The education systems, including admission requirements, programs, tuition fees and tuition fees, are broadly similar with small variations from province to province. The territories are sparsely populated and therefore there are no universities.
The academic year lasts from September to May / June.

At the Canadian Studies Center at Aarhus University, you can get more information about the individual institutions and the opportunities to study or come on study stays in Canada.


In Canada, there are many different higher education institutions, but overall they can be divided into the following two types:

  • Universities, which in addition to the traditional university educations also educate e.g. nurses and teachers. Some institutions at the university level are called institutes. There are a total of 90 universities or institutes in Canada.
  • Colleges that have educations that reflect the interests and needs of the region. Some colleges have e.g. specializes in agriculture, fisheries, health sciences or business economics. At many colleges you can also take courses with an academic content.

There are many different types of colleges in Canada, e.g. community colleges, colleges of applied arts and technology (Ontario) and technical schools.

Higher education

In Canada, a distinction is made between undergraduate studies, which are the first 3-4 years at university level, and graduate studies, which are the advanced studies after undergraduate studies. You can achieve the following degrees:

  • Bachelor Degree / BA / BSc (undergraduate level), Baccalauréat (French language), which lasts 3-4 years. A Bachelor Degree / Baccalauréat can be taken at college or university.
  • Diplome D’Études Supériures Spécialisées (DESS), minimum 1 year of studies on top of a bachelor’s degree. Occurs only in French-language universities.
  • Master Degree / Maitrise (French language) (graduate studies) is taken after Bachelor Degree and lasts another 2 years.
  • PhD degree, which lasts 3 years on top of a Master Degree.

Higher education at Colleges

  • Diploma: 2-3 years of vocational higher education. The diploma specifies the field of study.
  • Associate Degree: 2-year education with generally introductory studies in academic subjects.

Application for higher education

There is no coordinated enrollment system in Canada, except in the province of Ontario, where applications to all 17 universities are made through the Ontario Universities’ Application Center. For all other educational institutions, you must instead send your application directly to the educational institution where you want admission.

At the university’s registrar (university secretary) you can get an application form and a lesson catalog (an undergraduate calendar or graduate calendar) with an overview of the teaching at the university. The lesson catalog also contains information on admission procedures, application deadlines, tuition fees and scholarships, as well as useful maps of campuses and addresses.

Many universities in Canada now have online admission. This means that for a fee you can register over the internet and send the necessary documents, such as diplomas.

Some Danish higher education institutions have exchange agreements with Canadian universities. You can get more information about the agreements at the international office at your Danish education.

Admission requirements

The entry requirements for higher education depend on whether the undergraduate or graduate level is:

  • Undergraduate level. A Danish upper secondary education gives access to apply for admission at undergraduate level. There are differences in the admission requirements for the different institutions, and the individual applicant’s qualifications are assessed individually. In some cases, with a high school education you can get credit for some subjects and instead take a 4-year Bachelor Degree of about 3 years. The higher education institutions can provide information about the possibility of admission and to obtain credit.
  • Graduate level. Admission requirements vary greatly from institution to institution. As a rule, a bachelor’s degree is required in the subject you want to study at graduate level. Some universities require official documentation of the upper secondary education as well as a diploma or official transcript of records for the other higher education.

Language proficiency

If you are applying for admission at undergraduate or graduate level, you must be able to document your language skills in English or French. Some universities require you to pass a language test in both English and French. This is often the TOEFL test.

Recognition of foreign educations

If you have completed a publicly recognized education abroad, you can have it assessed by the Danish Agency for Research and Education

Facts about Canada

Population: about 35 million.

Languages: English and French.

Employment: In October 2014, unemployment was 6.8% (OECD).

Residence permit: Students must have a “student authorization”. Work permits are required for work stays.

Canada Higher Education

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