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Tertiary education


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Post-secondary education in Canada is provided by universities (research universities, undergraduate universities, and university colleges) and vocational institutions (vocational colleges, career colleges, community colleges, institutes of technology or science, colleges of applied arts or applied technology, and in Quebec, collèges d’enseignement général et professionnel). Universities offer bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees as well as post-graduate certificates and diplomas while vocational institutions issue diplomas, associate degrees, certificates, and apprenticeships. Vocational institutions offer career focused training that is often practical where these institutions train their graduates to work as semi-professionals in various fields such as the skilled trades and technical careers and for workers in support roles in professions such as engineering, information technology, accountancy, business administration, health care, architecture, and law. University colleges and vocational institutions also offer degree programs where a student can take courses and receive credit that can be transferred to a university.

Nearly all post-secondary institutions in Canada have the authority to grant academic credentials (i.e., diplomas or degrees). Generally speaking, universities grant degrees (e.g., bachelor's, master's, professional or doctorate degrees) while colleges, which typically offer vocationally oriented programs, grant diplomas, associate degrees, and certificates. However, some colleges offer applied arts degrees that lead to or are equivalent to degrees from a university. Private career colleges are overseen by legislative acts for each province. For example, in British Columbia training providers will be registered and accredited with the (PCTIA) Private Career Training Institutions Agency regulated under the Private Career Training Institutions Act (SBC 2003). Each province with their own correlating agency. Unlike the United States, there is no "accreditation body" that oversees the universities in Canada. Universities in Canada have degree-granting authority via an Act or Ministerial Consent from the Ministry of Education of the particular province. Tertiary and post-secondary education in Canada is also the responsibility of the individual provinces and territories. Those governments provide the majority of funding to their public post-secondary institutions, with the remainder of funding coming from tuition fees, the federal government, and research grants. Compared to other countries in the past, Canada has had the highest tertiary school enrollment as a percentage of their graduating population.

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