What’s the Difference Between College and University in Canada?

difference between college and university in Canada - university of toronto

What’s the Difference Between College and University in Canada?

The words “college” and “university” are often used to refer to all postsecondary education. However, these words don’t actually mean the same thing in North America. What makes this even more confusing is the fact college and university can be different between countries. For example, the college system in Canada is different from the USA, so it’s hard to talk about Canadian and American colleges at the same time.

If you didn’t grow up in North America, you may not even know there is a difference between college and university at all! To help clarify what these words mean, today we will be focusing on the difference between college and university in Canada. This is valuable info for both international recruiters and students who may not know Canada’s postsecondary education system works or how it’s different from the USA.

College

difference between college and university in Canada - fanshawe
Sourced from Philip Agar Architect Inc.

Let’s start with colleges. Canada’s college system focuses on practical, hands-on training. In the United States, the term college refers to local or community schools that offer undergraduate degrees. However, in Canada, colleges provides technical training and is set up to respond to shifting labour trends in the national and global economy.

What kind of programs are available?

Colleges offer courses in applied arts and technology, with full-time and part-time diploma and certificate programs. Certificate programs can be completed in one year or less, while a diploma will usually take two to three years. However, many colleges also offer Bachelor degrees in applied areas of study. For example, Conestoga College offers programs such as a Bachelor of Applied Health Information Science (Honours) and Bachelor of Community and Criminal Justice (Honours), both of which include Co-op terms.

Colleges are also where you’ll find trades and apprenticeship training, language training, and skills upgrading. Some popular Canadian colleges include Conestoga College, Fanshawe, Northern Lights College, and LaSalle College

Universities

difference between college and university in canada - Western
Sourced from Western University

As of 2016, there were 96 universities in Canada, with over 1.8 million students enrolled. These institutions are overseen by Universities Canada, a non profit organization. However, universities must meet strict criteria to maintain membership in Universities Canada.

What kind of programs are available?

Universities offer academic and professional programs, as well as focus on analytical skills. All Canadian universities grant bachelor’s degrees, but many also have Master’s and PhD programs.

Bachelor’s degrees usually take 3-4 years to complete. Universities are also where you’ll find Professional programs, such as medicine or law. Students can expect 3-4 years of study on top of their undergrad for med or law school.

Who is University for?

Universities are ideal for students looking to obtain their first undergrad degree, prepare for professional programs, or who want to work in academia or research-based careers. Some popular Canadian universities include the University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, and Western University.

 

We hope you enjoyed our breakdown of the difference between college and university in Canada!

For more information on studying in Canada, visit ApplyBoard’s school page to find a full list of our partner schools.

2 Comments

  1. What's the Difference Between College and University in the USA? - ApplyBoard

    […] think of college and university is quite different. As we covered in our previous blog post, “What’s the Difference Between College and University in Canada?”, Canadian universities are where you’ll find degree programs, whereas colleges grant […]

  2. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY IN THE USA - GRAND STUDIES AFRICA

    […] think of college and university is quite different. As we covered in our previous blog post, “What’s the Difference Between College and University in Canada?”, Canadian universities are where you’ll find degree programs, whereas colleges grant certificates […]

Comments are closed.

Like what you read? Spread the word :)