Education System In Canada

This section takes you through the universities admission process step by step. It starts with general requirements, application procedure right till bank loans. It also gives a helpful guide for Studying in Canada

Education in Canada is governed by the Provincial and Territorial governments and hence is not an integrated national system. In line with its commitment to the education sector, Canada’s public education is free up to and including the level of secondary school in all provinces. Post secondary education is offered by Community Colleges and Universities.

Education here may be public or private funded. However as the government aided education is provincially governed, there are fundamental differences in the education systems of the different Provinces. The standards of education are maintained by the Ministry of Education of each Province.

The following are the types of Educational Institute in Canada:

  • Universities
  • University Colleges
  • Community Colleges
  • Language Schools

Following are the brief details about general admission requirements:-


A minimum of 70% 12th grade; for Business and Computers program, Math’s in 11th and 12th is compulsory.


Bachelors in the same field that you wish to pursue Masters. It should be 4 years duration. A minimum of 70% in your undergraduate or Bachelors level of study. GRE and references (2-3) required only for some fields and for some institutions.


A master’s degree with a good academic record; GRE and references in some cases; previous research work, papers published etc.

The total cost on an average is CDN$ 10,000 as tuition fee and CDN$10,000 as living expense per year which varies for different provinces and courses. There is no ranking of any of the institutes recognized by Govt. of Canada.

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The basic steps for applying abroad are:

  • Identifying universities and the course of your interest
  • Request universities for application forms
  • Taking various required tests
  • Arranging and preparing essays and recommendation letters
  • Completing and sending application forms along with required documents
  • Applying for VISA after obtaining I-20 from the college

Selecting University

While selecting the right course and University keep in mind the following points -

  • Your academic grades (including achievements)
  • Test scores (GRE/GMAT/SAT/TOEFL/IELTS)
  • Your financial capacity
  • Major (Specialization) subjects that you are interested in
  • Term of entry (Fall/Summer/Spring)
  • The rank and reputation of the University
  • The student to faculty ratio of the college
  • The location of the school (Big city/Small town/Rural setup)
  • The climatic conditions (not to be stressed, unless you have health constraints)


A pre-application is a tentative list of schools that you would like to apply to. On the basis of your academic profile, your probable test scores and financial ability compile a list of universities to which you must send a letter requesting further information. At this stage, you can write to the selected 25-30 universities. You can directly request application materials from the universities. There are three ways to get application forms.

  • Requesting Application Forms via email
  • Requesting Application Forms via Air Mail
  • Downloading from the university website

Documents Required For Admission

  • Completed Application form
  • Essay/s or writing sample
  • Statement of Purpose required for graduates and optional for undergraduates
  • Resume for MBA Students
  • Official score reports of SAT/TOEFL/GRE/GMAT to be sent by ETS
  • Letter from Bank stating – funds available for study
  • Affidavit of Financial Support i.e. letter signed from sponsor or parent
  • Transcripts and Mark sheets from College or University
  • Certificates of Extracurricular Activities

Recommendation Letters

Letter of reference or recommendation letter plays a very important role in the admission process especially for Master’s and Doctoral courses. A recommendation letter is a signed statement from a person who knows you well professionally or has taught you in a subject that is related to the course you are applying to. It should list your positive and negative qualities, strengths and weaknesses, your character and integrity and other such information.

The author or teacher must indicate his position, how long he/she has known the applicant and in what capacity. He/she should briefly discuss the need, importance and usefulness of the study the applicant proposes to undertake. Authors are usually asked to rank applicants in their letters of recommendation, which helps admission officers to interpret the academic credentials of foreign students. Students should obtain letters of recommendation (often on the prescribed forms sent by the institutions) from teachers who know them as a person as well as a student. You may like to request your author to give concrete examples that may show your qualities and help your case.

Essays / Statement of Purpose

The personal essays, and/or statement of purpose, also play a very important role in the process of evaluating your application for both admission as well as financial aid because it gives the faculty, assessing your application, information about you as an individual. For MBA candidates this is probably the most important criterion. In the statement of purpose, which must be concise, the student must define his or her academic goals, and/or research plans. It should include justification for choosing the academic program and specialization, and for selecting the particular college as well as the advantages and benefit of studying that particular course.

The first step to be able to study at a recognized Canadian education Institution is to be accepted by that institution – this is usually in the form of a letter of acceptance or I-20.

Once a student has determined what course to study and at which universities, s/he must contact the registrar’s office at each of these universities and obtain an application form for a Bachelor’s or Professional degree. For; Post Graduate Studies (aka Graduate Studies), s/he must contact the dean of graduate studies at the universities that interest her/him. It is important to apply early.

When to apply:

Many universities have deadlines for application submission and this must be kept in mind while applying. In general, though, an international students would be required to apply around 8-9 or even 12 months before the start of classes (intake). Semesters typically start in September (fall or autumn) and in January (winter). However, some institutions have May intakes or even ‘rolling admissions’ (especially for higher education such as PhD) when students are admitted throughout the year depending on availability of the advisor or guide.

Calendars with course descriptions, admission requirements and procedures, costs and scholarships are available from the registrar at each university.

Engineering, optometry, medicine, veterinary medicine, law, and dentistry are fields where the first professional degree is considered an undergraduate program. Limited seats are available contingent on your academic merit. International students must have obtained very high percentage of marks for such courses, and some would even require the student to have completed at least two years of undergraduate study in specific subjects before embarking on the professional course. Entrance exams specific to the professional courses (such as DAT for Dentistry) too may be required to be given by the student.

This listing provides a general outline of requirements for students interested in applying to a university undergraduate program in Canada. There are a wide variety of programs to choose from at this level.

Please note that specific requirements for institutions will vary and students are encouraged to check directly with the institution(s) they are interested in for specific admissions requirements.

Successful completion of the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school academic program with strong marks.

  • Proof of strong proficiency in English (or French if studies in French). Students may be required to provide proof of language proficiency by way of a language proficiency test (For example, IELTS, TOEFL).
  • Generally, Francophone universities require international students to complete their own test of French proficiency.
  • Some institutions have other forms of English or French language assessment; they may offer their own language proficiency test or, may admit students to academic programs on the basis of having successfully completed that institution’s language program.

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate was created as an international qualification for students aged between business 16 and 18 at schools around the world. It is accepted as an entry qualification for higher education by most countries, including the UK. Three subjects must be offered at A-level equivalent standard and three at AS-level equivalent during this two-year course. Students must also complete an extended essay on one subject and take part in a course on the theory of knowledge, as well as extra-curricular activities. Award of the diploma depends on the student gaining at least 24 points from these subjects.

Career-based Courses

These qualifications tend to be more work-related than academic and can put you on a fast-track route within your current career, into a new career or on to a degree course. Career-based courses in the UK often involve strong links between institutions and industry. This ascertains the continuing relevance of these qualifications to the world of work, which, in turn, improves the career prospects of the students who take them.

Courses at this level tend to be particularly flexible. Many do not have specific entry requirements, so, no matter what qualifications you currently have, you can find a course that will let you get a foot on the educational ladder. And, as you will see from the table below, some of these courses meet the entrance requirements for degree courses, allowing you to supplement your newly found practical skills with academic knowledge.

These courses involve classroom instruction, essays, projects and practical work. Class sizes tend to be relatively small, so students benefit from personal contact with tutors. There is continuous assessment of coursework plus examinations. Some career-based/professional programmes are offered only as degree courses – e.g. Medicine, Dentistry, and Law – so it is best to also check the degree section of the chapter as well.


The most popular undergraduate qualifications are the Bachelor’s degrees (also called undergraduate or first degrees), which are now required for entry into a wide range of careers in the UK and other countries. British degree programmes incorporate the most up-to-date subject developments, and are underpinned by world-class research and links with business and industry. At Oxford, Cambridge and the ancient Scottish Universities, the first degree in Arts is a Master of Arts (MA).

Many universities and colleges now co-operate to deliver degree courses, and this has further increased the number and variety of courses and study environments. The new two-year foundation degrees, introduced in England in September 2001, will widen the range of options still further, offering an innovative blend of academic and career based study. Many degree courses are now offered via distance learning. This allows you to study from home with course materials provided by the institution. These can be paper-based, on CD-Rom or provided through the Internet. Institutions provide special systems of support to help you through the course.

If you don’t currently meet the standard entrance requirements for a degree programme, you can begin with an access or foundation course instead and then move smoothly on into degree work – studying English language courses alongside it if you need to.


There are two main types of taught postgraduate course: Master’s programmes, which normally are classes and seminars plus a dissertation; and diploma or certificate courses, which consist of classes and seminars, but with no dissertation. Some diploma courses enable you to transfer to a Master’s when you have successfully completed them.

A research degree is the ultimate opportunity if you want to pursue your own specialist interests. You will be expected to initiate and develop your topic under the supervision of one or possibly two academics. To be successful, you will need to demonstrate intellectual independence

Taught Masters

Qualifications Offered Entrance Requirements Teaching Methods Assessment Methods Duration
MA , MSc , LLM , MEd , Others British or recognised overseas undergraduate degree in a relevant subject plus English language proficiency (e.g. IELTS band six or above). Programmes are intensive and you should be prepared for a heavy workload. Postgraduate students attend classes and lectures, do a great deal of independent reading and/or experimental work between classes, complete regular written assignments, and write a substantial dissertation. Taught elements are assessed by continuous assessment and/or final exams. The dissertation forms a major part of the total assessment. One Year

Research Masters

Qualifications Offered Entrance Requirements Teaching Methods Assessment Methods Duration
M.Phil. , MA/M.Sc. by research , M.Res. British or recognised overseas undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, at 2.1 Honours or above plus English language proficiency (e.g. IELTS band six or above). Students are expected to work on their own under the guidance of a supervisor..The first two-thirds of the programme are spent researching the topic and planning the dissertation. The remaining time is spent writing the dissertation, which describes in detail the research. Dissertation – typically 30,000 to 40,000 words. One to three years

Research Doctorates

Qualifications Offered Entrance Requirements Teaching Methods Assessment Methods Duration
Ph.D. , D.Phil. Taught or research Masters degree in a relevant subject plus English Language proficiency (e.g. IELTS band 6 or above). An outstanding academic record is expected. Students will be expected to work on their own to a large extent, under the guidance of a supervisor. The research is usually written during the third year. The first two years are spent researching the topic and planning the dissertation. Dissertation – typically of 70,000-100,000 words. Three years minimum


Business studies are increasingly popular with students from all countries and the MBA (Master of Business Administration) is the most popular business qualification. MBA programmes are designed to develop management skills, knowledge, the ability to analyze complex problems and the ability to make decisions. There are many MBA programmes to choose from in the UK, from those that teach principles of general management to highly specialised programmes tailored to careers like, banking and finance, construction, oil and gas, health care, hospitality, transport, and technology. Many have pipeline to relevant industries to ensure their direct relevance to the working world.

Many postgraduate courses – particularly MBA’s where people tend to need to continue working – are now offered through distance learning. This allows you to study from home with course materials provided by the institution. These can be paper-based, on CD-Rom or accessible on the Internet.

Qualifications Offered Entrance Requirements Teaching Methods Assessment Methods Duration
MBA (Master of Business Administration) Both general and specialised versions are available. British or recognised overseas undergraduate degree or a professional qualification plus a good GMAT score plus English language proficiency (e.g. IELTS band six or above). Projects, practical work and simulations or games are important elements. Lectures (sometimes involving guest speakers from industry) and seminars are also used. Continuous assessment plus dissertation and exams. About one year.