Postsecondary education in Prince Edward Island

Postsecondary education in Prince Edward Island is delivered through the province's one publicly funded university, the University of Prince Edward Island; Holland College, a publicly funded community college with training centres throughout the province; the Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É. a publically funded francophone community college based in Wellington with a campus presence in Charlottetown and a number of private vocational training schools (sometimes called career colleges).

The University of Prince Edward Island offers programs and courses through four faculties and four schools--Arts, Science, Business, Education, Nursing, Mathematical and Computational Sciences, Sustainable Design Engineering, and Veterinary Medicine--and is home to the Atlantic Veterinary College, which serves all four Atlantic Provinces - Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. Holland College welcomes students of all ages and educational backgrounds to its full-time, adult and community education and continuing education programs. The Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É. also welcomes students of all ages and educational background to its French-language full-time, adult education, language and customized training programs. Approximately 18 private training schools offer a wide assortment of vocational programs ranging from computer technology to personal health care.

The provincial Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning is responsible for the province's postsecondary system.

St. Andrew's College, founded in 1831 to train Roman Catholic clergy, was the province's first institution of higher learning. The college remained operational until 1845. It was replaced by St. Dunstan's College, which opened its doors in 1855, and achieved university status 30 years later. The Central Academy, later Prince of Wales College, was founded by the government in 1834. The college did not achieve degree-granting powers until 1965.

Following the recommendations of a royal commission into the province's postsecondary education system, Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan's University were merged into the University of Prince Edward Island in 1969.

Other recommendations from the royal commission led to the creation of Holland College, in 1969, on the campus of the former Prince of Wales College.

Programs and credentials offered by the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI)

Building upon the academic traditions of its founding institutions, Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan's University, UPEI explores innovative methods of teaching and features a strong network of faculty, staff, and student researchers in every discipline.

UPEI's 300-member faculty provides a rich blend of academic programs in arts, sciences, engineering, business, education, nursing, and veterinary medicine to over 4,500 full- and part-time students. Graduate programs, internship opportunities, and exchange programs are offered in every faculty and school, in addition to a wide selection of courses coordinated by the Centre for Life-Long Learning and other departments. The University also offers certificate and diploma programs.

Undergraduate programs require four years of full-time study. Honours programs, available in History, English, Psychology, Biology, and Physics and others, also require four years of full-time study and require a higher level of concentration in the honours subject, as well as a higher level of academic achievement.

For the graduate programs, a master's degree requires at least two years of study beyond the undergraduate level. PhD programs are also offered and normally, the prerequisite is a master's degree. The program requires three to five years of full-time study.

Programs and credentials offered by Holland College

For more than 40 years, Holland College has welcomed students of all ages and educational backgrounds to its full-time, contract and continuing education programs. Currently the college has approximately 2,600 full-time students, 205 part-time students, 2,000 adult and community education students and 4,500 continuing education students at 13 training centres located throughout the province.

The curriculum for all of Holland College's programs is industry driven. The college's diploma and certificate programs are recognized for their combination of theory and hands-on training and are led by instructors hired from industry, all of whom have experience in their own particular occupation. Programs are reviewed and updated regularly and utilize the most advanced facilities, learning materials and technology.

Holland College offers more than 70 full-time programs and customized contract training in several state-of-the-art facilities including:
  • The Atlantic Police Academy (APA) – Located at Slemon Park, the APA trains dedicated people who want to enter the field of law enforcement for the first time, and offers advanced training to those already experienced in law enforcement. The academy also offers training in the areas of corrections, firefighting, and industrial security.
  • The Culinary Institute of Canada (CIC) – Home to Culinary Youth Team Canada, Gold and Silver medalists at the 2004 World Culinary Olympics, and the 2008 World Culinary Olympics, the CIC has been training aspiring chefs since 1983 and has been deemed by MacLean's magazine as “…arguably, the country's hottest cooking school.” The CIC is also home to Canada's Smartest Kitchen, a food product development lab that is also a Technology Access Centre for NSERC, the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada. The CIC is located in the college's Tourism and Culinary Centre, on the Charlottetown Waterfront.
  • The Summerside Waterfront Campus – This facility houses the labs, workshops and classrooms for most of the college's Industrial Trades and Technology programs, as well as a Computer Information Systems program and a Legal Administration program.
  • The Marine Training Centre - Part of the Summerside Waterfront Campus, this centre has been providing Transport Canada approved training to the marine industry for more than three decades. The centre offers a full range of certification, from deckhand to master mariner, as well as two full-time programs, Commercial Diving and Power Engineering. At its peak, it employs up to 25 staff and has an average of 800 full-time and part-time students.
  • The Prince of Wales Campus – Located in downtown Charlottetown, the Prince of Wales Campus is home to most of the college's programs. The campus includes the Charlottetown Centre, the School of Performing Arts, the Centre for Community Engagement, and the Centre for Applied Science and Technology. The college's residence, Glendenning Hall, is also located on the Prince of Wales Campus.
  • The Georgetown Centre – The Georgetown Centre houses the college's Welding Fabrication, Plumbing, and Steamfitting/Pipefitting programs.
  • The West Prince Campus – Located in Alberton, in the western region of the Island, the West Prince Campus offers a variety of full-time diploma and certificate programs, as well as Adult and Community Education programs for residents of the West Prince area.

College programs work together, sharing resources and technical expertise to offer comprehensive training programs to a broad range of professionals. Regardless of the program or the location, Holland College remains committed to its mandate of providing quality, life-long learning opportunities to support learner, industry and community development.

Programs and credentials offered by Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É.

Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É. offers approximately six full-time (ie. college) programs (some with a distance education component). It also avails itself of general education (GED preparatory), language and customized training programs.

Programs and credentials offered by registered private training schools

Especially over the past decade, there have been a growing number of privately operated institutions, which provide characteristically-hands-on-training, a mix of theory and practical learning, leading to a great variety of occupations. The programs range in length from 40 hours to more than two years and result in a diploma or certificate of achievement issued by the schools. Training is available in fields such as hairdressing, aesthetics, truck driving, school bus driving, computer technologies, network administration, computer applications support, Web site development, office skills and administrative support, accounting, business practices, travel and tourism, pharmacy (technician), call centre service, counselling, residential care, home health care (aide), animal training, teaching English as a second language, heavy equipment operation, graphic art, animation, and fitness and lifestyle training.

There are three years of senior high school in Prince Edward Island, grades 10 through 12, leading to a high school graduation certificate. Successful completion of the university preparatory program is required for admission to the University of Prince Edward Island's undergraduate programs. The University also makes provisions for mature students who lack high school certification. International students are welcomed and supported at the University with ESL and other transition and academic supports; a limited number of seats in the DVM program are available to international students.

Requirements for specific programs at Holland College may vary considerably. The minimum academic requirement is a high school diploma or the equivalent. Many programs have additional requirements that are unique to that area of study. Mature applicants who do not meet the minimum requirement may also be considered if their life experiences are likely to contribute to their success at the college.

Admission policies may vary considerably among the private vocational training schools but in general resemble those for the public community college: high school diploma or equivalent, with an allowance for mature student status. Specialized programs may have additional screening criteria.

Undergraduate tuition fees for the 2015-16 academic year were $5,690 for a 10-course load for full-time students at UPEI ($569 per three semester hours of credit). The foreign differential fee for full-time students (per year) was $6,222.

Graduate program fees for the 2015-16 academic year

  • Master of Education: $8,418 per 2-year program
  • Master of Science program: $7,638 per 2-year program
  • Master of Arts in Island Studies: $7,638 per 2-year program
  • Master of Nursing (thesis or nurse practitioner streams): $7,638  per 2-year program
  • Master of Business Administration: $33,000 per 2-year program
  • Master of Veterinary Medicine: $7,638 per 2-year program
  • PhD in Educational Studies: $11,457 per 3-year program
  • PhD in Veterinary Medicine: $11,457 per 3-year program
  • International differential fee, for full-time Masters students: $6,622 per year
  • International differential fee, for full-time Doctoral students: $6,622 per year

DVM program fees for the 2015-16 academic year

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine:
    • Canadian students: $12,015 per year
    • International students: $56,372 per year

Tuition fees at Holland College vary, depending upon the program and duration. Tuition fees for full-time programs generally range from $3,600 to $5,800. Fees for international students start at $3,465 (per year).

There is a great range in tuition fees and other charges among the private vocational training schools and their individual programs. The least expensive programs tend to be at the $4,000 level; the longest program can cost $20,000 or more.

The provincial government maintains a student assistance program for provincial residents, which complements the Canada Student Loans Program. In addition, various scholarship programs are available through the university and the college, as well as from private agencies.

Comprehensive review of this information: January 2019