University Programming and credentials
Ontario universities offer a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs in a wide variety of educational settings. The University of Toronto, with a total enrolment of more than 50,000 students, 129 academic departments, and 75 doctoral programs, is the largest English-language university in Canada and a major centre for research and graduate studies. The University of Ottawa is North America's oldest and largest bilingual university, offering a wide range of programs in both English and French.
Students can choose to study at large urban universities or smaller undergraduate institutions such as Trent or Brock. The intimacy and personal attention that are typically found at smaller universities are also available at most of the province's larger institutions through their federated and affiliated colleges and universities.
The University of Waterloo is a world leader in the field of cooperative education, combining academic studies with on-the-job training. Ryerson University specializes in particular fields, such as applied professional programs.
Undergraduate degrees at most universities in Ontario require four years of full-time study. Honours degrees, involving a higher level of concentration in the honours discipline and a higher level of academic performance, generally require a research paper or a thesis. Most universities also offer diploma and certificate programs in various specialized fields. These can vary in length from two to three years, depending on the program and the institution.. University calendars are the best sources of information about specific program requirements.
IIn addition to the publicly supported universities, 17 privately funded institutions in Ontario — all with religious affiliations — have restricted degree-granting authority through an Act of the Ontario legislature. A number of other private and out-of-province public institutions have been granted authority by the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to offer specified degree programs in Ontario. Information about the degree-granting status of any institution in Ontario is available through the Postsecondary Accountability Branch of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Visit PEQAB Web site for more information.
College Programming and credentials
Together, Ontario's 24 public colleges of applied arts and technology, with more than 100 campuses across the province, offer some 900 programs in business, social services, health sciences, applied technology, applied arts, communications, and a host of other fields. All college programs are career-oriented and are intended to prepare students for employment. College Program Advisory Committees (PAC) are made up of local community members, experts and employers and work with the college to develop programs that are intended to meet the diverse needs of the local community.
Colleges also provide contract training that aretailored courses and programs, designed to meet the training needs of particular businesses and industries. Colleges also provide the in-classroom training portion of apprenticeship training. Recent initiatives in distance education and alternative delivery strategies are also widening the choices available to students in accessing postsecondary educational services. A system of prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) has been implemented in all Ontario colleges. PLAR allows for the evaluation of past learning against established academic standards so that college credits can be awarded.
Hospital-based programs include diploma programs in areas such as medical-laboratory technology and radiotherapy. Most of these programs require 24 to 32 months of study. The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences offers three-year diploma programs in areas such as nuclear-medicine technology and respiratory therapy.
For over 100 years, private career colleges (PCCs) have had an important role in preparing Ontario students for entry into occupations. About 570 PCCs across Ontario offer approximately 3,000 registered programs to approximately 36,000 students in 70 communities. PCCs must be registered and have their programs approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005. This Act ensures that private career colleges meet certain standards for the programs they offer and for their advertising, refund policies, and instructor qualifications.
PCCs are independent organizations that offer certificate and diploma programs in fields such as business, health services, human services, applied arts, information technology, electronics, services, and trades. Some PCCs operate as for-profit businesses; others operate as not-for-profit institutions. Registered PCCs range in size from small ones offering one program to large multi-campus organizations with on-site student-support services.
Registered PCCs and approved programs can be found using the on-line search tool. It is important to note that students enrolled in an unregistered college or an unapproved program are not covered by the protections provided by the government under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.