The Canadian study system is largely similar to the German system. Here, too, the traditional academic degrees are Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degrees (Ph.D.). In addition to these classic university degrees, there are a number of other degrees within the study system in Canada, which are awarded by the universities and above all by the many colleges. However, these are not academic, but primarily job-related degrees.

Compared to Germany, vocational training in Canada is less strictly separated from academic training. While vocational training and continuing vocational training are not part of the study system in Germany, the Canadian postsecondary education system includes all (further) training measures after graduating from high school.

General information on the education system in Canada

Canada, like Germany, is a federal state. This is also reflected in the education system: the ten provinces and three territories are themselves responsible for structuring and organizing it and each have their own ministry of education.

The Canadian federal government only exercises an indirect influence by setting certain targets for the individual ministries, which they can implement in their own way. The CMEC (Council of Ministers of Education Canada) represents a common forum for the individual ministries. It has a similar function to the German Conference of Education Ministers and serves for cooperation and mutual exchange.

In Canada, there is also no uniform system for quality assurance and also the evaluation and grading system is not the same everywhere. The individual education systems of Canada show some serious differences, especially from the (pre) elementary to the secondary area, but in the area of post-secondary education it can be stated that, with the exception of Quebec, a uniform system predominates here.

Structure of the study system in Canada

Modeled on the Canadian study system, both the academic system of Great Britain and the study system of the USA, a major country in North America listed on sunglasseswill. Accordingly, it is divided into two sections:

  • Undergraduate area (Bachelor)
  • Postgraduate area (master, doctorate)

In addition to the classic academic training, as we know it in Germany, the Canadian study system enables a variety of opportunities for professional and academic further education and training. In addition to the degrees we are familiar with, there are a number of other degrees in Canada that can be obtained at various universities. For this reason, the university landscape appears very diverse.

The classic academic education in Canada

The classic university degrees are, building on each other, Bachelor, Master and Ph.D./Doctoral. These are established degrees that are recognized almost everywhere in the world.


Bachelor degrees are awarded by universities and sometimes also by colleges. As a rule, the Bachelor’s degree in Canada takes three to four years to complete, in which 90 to 120 credits are usually acquired through attending courses and through performance reviews. Once students have earned the required number of credits, they will receive their degree. A thesis or an exam is not common.

Most programs consist of general, overarching subjects (liberal arts) and electives (electives). Only in the later semesters is there a slight specialization with one (major) or two (double major) main subjects and / or a minor (minor). But a purely general education, three to four-year bachelor’s degree is not uncommon. Depending on the focus of the course content, the degrees are called Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc).

There are also a number of job-oriented courses with specializations. The content of the program can also be seen in the title, such as Bachelor of Commerce or Bachelor of Social Work. This is also referred to as Applied (Bachelor’s) Degrees.

Bachelor with Honors

The so-called Bachelor with Honors can also be found in Canada’s study system. It is mostly a basic requirement for a master’s degree. Bachelor-with-honors programs are more time-consuming and require early specialization as well as a research-oriented focus. The Bachelor with Honors requires 120 credits and includes a thesis.


Master’s programs (Graduate Studies) are offered by the various faculties of the universities. Only in rare cases, and only in cooperation with a university, can college students complete master’s programs.

A master’s degree in Canada lasts one to two years and can be completed either by attending events (Master by Coursework) or by writing a research paper (Master by Research). In the Master by Coursework (or Applied Master’s Degree), the focus is mostly on professional practice and the application of theoretical knowledge. The direction of the program is again reflected in the title.

The admission requirement for a master’s degree in Canada is a first degree (usually a four-year bachelor’s degree or a three-year bachelor’s degree with an associated one-year certificate or diploma). Depending on the university, faculty and course of study, other requirements apply.


The Ph.D. is the highest academic degree in the Canadian study system. Ph.D. programs are offered by the individual graduate schools of the faculties. The course of study usually looks like this:

  • Attendance at various courses for at least one year
  • Completion of comprehensive oral and written exams (qualifying exams) based on the respective research content of the program
  • Writing, defending and publishing a research paper (dissertation)

The basic requirement for a doctoral program is usually a master’s degree. In the natural sciences and engineering, it is not uncommon to enable particularly promising students to obtain a doctorate after completing their bachelor’s degree (fast track). In this case, however, the doctorate will take longer. The duration of a doctorate depends on various factors and can be between three and five years.

The Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) is common to disciplines. In addition to the research-oriented Ph.D. there is also the professional doctorates (Doctoral) as the Doctor of Medicine (MD) or the Juris Doctor (JD).

Study System in Canada Part 1

Study System in Canada Part 1
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