Understanding Ontario’s education system
Education systems differ from one country to another and the terminology can be confusing. Here is an overview of the educational levels in Ontario.
Schooling at the elementary level spans 8 years. At the secondary level, students attend secondary school from grades 9 to 12. The secondary school diploma is the requirement for entry into a postsecondary educational institution.
Postsecondary studies take place in a university or a CAAT (college of applied arts and technology, commonly designated “college”). College programs of study focus on trades, technical professions and practical training. They vary in duration: students can earn a certificate (1 year), a diploma (2 or 3 years) and, in certain colleges, a bachelor’s degree (4 years).
In our universities, undergraduate programs last either 3 or 4 years and lead to a postsecondary diploma known as a bachelor’s degree. Holders of a bachelor’s degree can undertake graduate studies: at the master’s level, programs last 1 to 2 years; at the doctorate level, they last a minimum of 4 years.
Postsecondary European model
North American postsecondary model
How to become a student in Canada
Here are some essential points to consider before leaving home and upon arriving in Canada.
Before leaving home
Before coming to study in Ontario, you must inquire about ways to facilitate your stay and take the appropriate steps. Canadian embassies and consulates, as well as visa offices abroad can provide detailed information on the necessary authorizations to study in Canada.
In order to study in Canada, as a general rule, international students must obtain a study permit in advance. Here are the main conditions you must meet:
- be admitted to a recognized educational institution
- demonstrate that you have adequate financial resources to cover your tuition fees, living expenses and transportation.
- have no criminal record and represent no security risk.
- be in good health, as confirmed by a medical examination, if needed.
- produce proof of your intention to leave Canada after completion of your studies (such as a return airline ticket).
In Ontario, it is compulsory for international students to acquire private health insurance to cover possible medical and hospital care costs. The college or university you will attend can assist you in accessing this type of insurance. All persons accompanying you to the country during your studies (spouse, child) must also have health insurance coverage.
Resources to help you prepare