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What is The Difference Between a College and a University in Canada?

Tue February 18, 2020     650

Canada is gaining the reputation of an educational hub across the globe. In terms of post-secondary education, Canada has succeeded in imparting top-quality education to a vast number of students. When students go out to seek post-secondary education, they examine the differences between a college and a university. 
To a layperson, the difference might constitute essential points of distinctions such as scale, campus, and several students. However, there is a significant difference between a college and university as per a set of rules and regulations.


Colleges in Canada are local, community educational institutions that provide undergraduate degrees. The system of colleges in Canada was constructed to provide technical education, diploma, and certificates to locals to cater to the economy. Colleges in Canada were conceived to provide training and, thereby, employment to the local communities. Still, modern times changed the collegiate system, and today Canadian colleges are home to several international students as well.

Colleges across Canada work on a smaller level as compared to Universities. They have smaller class sizes, low student-teacher ratio, practical training, and thus better jobs. A college usually offers students undergraduate and other associate degrees since colleges offer a limited number of courses.

Furthermore, as the colleges have comparatively smaller campus locations, fewer facilities, and fewer programs, it is cheaper in comparison to a university. Also, not all colleges offer professional courses. Several colleges offer vocational and skill-enhancing courses, as well. The size of colleges directly affects the college population, which directly reflects their services and facilities, and that is directly proportional to the employment and job opportunities provided. In simple words, colleges offer less job placement opportunities as compared to universities.


In comparison to College, Universities are larger than life and provide a more metropolitan, global experience. Universities have huge, expansive campuses and multiple campus locations. Universities are regulated by the Provincial Legislation but take autonomous authority in case of decisions such as types of programs, quality of instructors, policies, rules, and procedures. 

Universities are more than just educational institutions, and they are often called degree-granting institutions. They provide a vast array of degrees such as Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral degrees as well as diplomas and certificates. Universities are more global and offer a wide range of courses which are academic yet professional.

Universities have various departments and faculties, which open up a vast number of options for students to choose. Hence, the total number of courses and programs in a university is way more than the number of courses offered in a college. Universities are more multicultural and ethnically diverse. Owing to better student services, numerous campus locations, more number of courses, and better international student facilities, Universities are a preferred choice for international students from far and wide hence, the more metropolitan crowd.

With full acknowledgment of all the features mentioned above, we have to agree that universities are more expensive as compared to colleges. Universities charge more fees owing to the facilities and services they provide to their students. However, Universities offer more options for financial aid and scholarships as compared to colleges. If a student is interested in working in academia or a research-based profession, the university is the best place for him/her to be. Universities have several specifically designed programs where students can gain an undergraduate and postgraduate in a shorter period.

Students can choose whether they wish to go for education in a college or a university. They can choose as per their requirements and also the institutes they are eligible for according to their IELTS or any other entrance score.