As one of the top destinations to study, Canada hosts approximately 178,000 international students, creating a dynamic multi-cultural society where students, regardless of ethnic origin, feel at home in Canada. Toronto, the largest city in Canada, with a population of 2.48 million, is heralded as one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Home to more than 100 distinct ethnic groups, Toronto attracts more visitors and immigrants than any other Canadian city. Although a new student might feel some anxiety coming to a new place, one can rest assured that Canadians are proud of their diversity and offer warmth and hospitality to residents and visitors. The Different Options of Post-secondary Education in Canada. In Canada, there are universities, as well as polytechnic institutes in which students can opt to pursue their post-secondary education. Both types of schools offer a variety of programs that can lead to degrees, certificates, and diplomas. The decision on which type of institution to attend involves research and knowing what the primary difference between universities and polytechnic institutes is.
Universities tend to offer programs leading to bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees. Class sizes tend to be larger, approximating from 50-200 students depending on the university and program of choice. Focus is placed highly on lecture-based learning, with optional co-op for specific programs. Applicants must meet higher admission requirements to directly enter into a university program. While this is an excellent option for those who have good academic standing in their secondary education, it may not be the best option for those who wish to upgrade their skills prior to pursuing a degree, or simply for those who wish to pursue a short-term program while gaining the same level of knowledge and experience as a university graduate.
For those applicants who may not wish to spend an additional 4 years in school and wish to acquire marketable skills to a specific career, then polytechnic institutions are the route to pursue. Polytechnic institutions not only offer 4 year degree programs, but also offer 2-3 year diploma programs, as well as 1-2 year post-graduate certificate programs. Post-graduate certificate programs are programs for those who want to pursue education after already having completed a Bachelor’s degree. Diploma programs offer two options for students. One option is to complete a diploma program to help upgrade marks for entrance into an advanced standing bachelor’s degree program. The other option is to directly enter the workforce with extensive hands-on experience and knowledge.
The primary difference between universities and polytechnic institutes is the hands-on classroom experience and close relationship with industry. Industry advisors provide guidance on polytechnic institution’s academic programming; ensuring students learn the most relevant curriculum. The partnerships with the industry also provide work study, field placement, and internship opportunities for students. Polytechnic programs focus on the technical aspect of a field of study. Class sizes are kept small, with an average of 20-40 students, allowing more one-on-one focus between students and teachers. Polytechnic institutes do not solely focus on lecture based learning; however feel that the best way a student can learn is to have hands-on access to the instruments they will be working with in the job force. With co-op and mandatory field placements, students are required to go out into the job market and actually gain work experience in their field of study. This allows students to be confident in their education upon graduation when entering the work force.
Canadian education is governed by each province. In Ontario, students have the option to complete a 2 or 3 year college diploma after graduation from high school, and then can transfer to an advanced standing in a degree program at a university. To qualify for post-secondary education in Ontario, one must be a high school graduate (completion of Grade 12/secondary school) or one can apply as a mature applicant if over the age of 19. As an international applicant, most universities and polytechnic institutes look for a general grade point average of 60-70% in the required subjects based on program of choice. If English is not the official language of the applicant’s home country, then IELTS or TOEFL exam scores will be required if choosing to enter directly into a post-secondary program. Humber Institutes of Technology and Advanced Learning, the biggest polytechnic institution in Canada, offers an English for Academic Purposes program for students who wish to study English prior to entering into a post-secondary program. This program helps students increase their level of English, verbal and written, to make them feel more prepared for their program of choice.
Studying in polytechnic institution in Canada provides an opportunity to gain prestigious education through well-rounded programs that reflect modern business and societal values. Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, located in Toronto, Ontario, is committed to ensuring a smooth transition and recognizes the value in learning beyond the classroom by providing hands-on education and work placements.
With Toronto being the nation’s largest employment centre, having 1/6 of Canada’s jobs, Humber offers a variety of programs to cover the wide ranges of interests reflected in today’s job market. Learning from accomplished and industry-connected faculty, students get applied training, hands-on skills, and real world experience. Imagine learning in a supportive academic environment where professors are approachable and classrooms reflect the cultural diversity of our land. Imagine entering the workforce with qualifications that are recognized and respected the world over. This is what it means to study in Canada.
Ms. Linda Chao
Manager – International Recruitment & Market Development
East Asia & South East Asia
Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning