The Canada Education System Explained

July 6, 2021

canada education system

The Canada education system is a solid, well-funded, and a provincially administered one. As a result, certain aspects of the Canada education system can differ slightly from one province to the next. Having said that, schooling is governed by the federal government, which ensures that educational quality is uniformly high across the country. One of the reasons Canada excels in education is because it hires only the best professors. Canada has already implemented a technical education program that allows students to remain enrolled, lowers dropout rates, and trains students. With a few exceptions, most degree programs in Canada are administered in English. English language proficiency is required for international students who plan to settle in Canada after finishing their studies.

High School Canada Education System

High school is the most rigorous stage in Canadian public schooling, both educationally and socially, and lasts until late adolescence. It culminates with a graduation party at the completion of grade 12, where the majority of students are 18 years of age. And as they are far into adulthood, many Canadians recall their high school days with great fondness. For several, high school represents the transition from youth to teenage. Classes in high school are becoming more advanced and unique. Rather than merely “science,” students can take lessons in physics, biology, or chemistry, which place a greater focus on honing academic expertise in a specific direction.

Canada’s high schools intend to train students for a university or college degree and/or to provide them with the qualities they need to excel in the professional world after they graduate. At the high school level, depending on the state, a selection of programs—both technical (job-training) and academic—are accessible. Some jurisdictions also have dual credit classes, which enable students to earn both high school and higher education credits.

canada education system

Post Secondary Canada Education System

After graduating from high school, students are eligible to apply to any college or university of their choice. In Canada, a community college or a vocational, applied arts, or applied science school is commonly referred to as a college. These are post-secondary educational institutions that award vocational certificates, diplomas, and related degrees. Many students attend college to further their preparation for a university degree, earning transferrable credits that they will apply after the transfer. Other students attend college to train for trade or vocation, receiving a diploma or credential that would enable them to seek job opportunities directly after finishing the program.

In Canada, a university is a higher education and educational college that awards undergraduate degrees in a number of subjects. A university is a setup that offers both undergraduate and secondary education. Canadian colleges have a degree system that is somewhat close to that in the United States:

  • Bachelors: A Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science is an academic degree that usually requires 3, 4, or 5 years to complete for full-time students.

  • Masters: A college degree, such as a Master of Arts or Master of Science, usually requires 2 years to complete.

  • PhD: Doctorate degree, also known as the PhD, is a technical post-graduate degree that can take 3-6 years to complete.

How Does the Canada Education System Work?

Canada has a variety of universities and post-secondary institutions that have technical, vocational, and training courses spanning from culinary arts to market study. University degrees in Canada are usually four to five years long, while college degrees are two to three years long.

When applying to a Canadian university, you can usually choose a broad field of research that interests you, such as humanities, astronomy, forestry, or kinesiology. The major/minor scheme is seen by several Canadian universities. Your major is the key subject you choose to learn, and that would be the highlight of the majority of your courses. Your minor is a subject that you take in addition to your major, normally in your 1st or 2nd year. 

Numerous Canadian universities also enable you to tailor your degree to your needs outside of the classroom. You may want to do undergraduate studies or obtain foreign experience by studying at one of the world’s partners universities. Many Canadian universities often provide cooperative education programs to foreign students, who are paying full-time placements in a range of job environments specific to the degree.

Grading System

The grading system in Canadian universities generally depends upon the region your college is located in.

British Columbia

GradePercentage %
I0-49 (Incomplete submissions)
WThe student has withdrawn from the course
PPassed but no grade allotted
canada education system


Institutions in Manitoba usually utilize a method that is identical to student GPA scoring. In comparison to other countries, the use of percentages is less popular.


In the province of Alberta, academic grading is mostly done by the use of letter grades (A through D). For example, an A+ grade in one university may translate to a GPA of 4.0 in another, whereas it may translate to 4.3 in another area of the country. 

Quebec and New Brunswick

Letter GradeGrade PointsQualification
A3.66Very Good
B+3.33Very Good
B3.00Very Good


Going to study in Canada is an excellent opportunity for students to develop their language abilities, which can be honed by conversing with locals and other foreign students. Overall, Canada’s higher education sector is known for high-quality schools and a fulfilling student lifestyle.

With her expertise in the study abroad space, Shreya has worked closely with EdTech leaders like Unacademy, upGrad, Shiksha, and CollegeDunia. She knows her way around words, both written and spoken, which is also her strongest suit. A passionate learner and a mentor, she is often found passing her knowledge to young minds.
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