Programs and credentials offered by degree-granting institutions
Quebec university-level teaching and research institutions offer a full range of degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, as well as a variety of certificate and diploma programs that usually require one year of study. Some universities like, Université Laval, Université de Montréal, McGill University, Concordia University, Université de Sherbrooke, and Université du Québec à Montréal, offer a wide range of both undergraduate and graduate programs. Bishop's University and some institutions within the Université du Québec system (Trois-Rivières, Chicoutimi, Rimouski, Outaouais, and Abitibi-Témiscamingue) tend to focus on a range of undergraduate programs, but also offer an increasing number of programs at the master's and doctoral levels.
Educational settings vary from large, research-intensive, urban universities to small specialized or regional teaching institutions. Some of the institutions within the Université du Québec system, as well as the two schools affiliated with the Université de Montréal, are highly specialized, offering programs in areas such as health care, high technology, public administration, engineering, and management.
A number of university-level institutions, including Université de Sherbrooke, Institut de technologie supérieure, École polytechnique and Concordia University, offer cooperative education programs that combine academic study with on-the-job training.
A number of university-level institutions, including Université de Sherbrooke, Institut de technologie supérieure, and Concordia University, offer paid cooperative education programs that combine academic study with on-the-job training.
Undergraduate programs include honours bachelor's degrees, bachelor's degrees with a major and a minor, general bachelor's degrees, undergraduate certificates and diplomas. Generally speaking, a Diplôme d'études collégiales — DEC (diploma of college studies), or the equivalent, is required for admission to an undergraduate program. Bachelor's degree programs generally require three years of full-time study, or 90 to 120 credits, after completion of a two-year cégep program. Undergraduate honours degrees require a higher level of concentration in the honours subject and higher academic standing but do not usually require an additional year of study.
Programs leading to diplomas and certificates are particularly popular within French-language institutions. These programs normally require 30 credits.
Master's degree and graduate diploma programs generally require a bachelor's degree for admission. Master's programs usually involve 45 to 60 credits for graduation. In addition, universities offer shorter (30 credit) graduate diploma programs with a professional focus leading to the Diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées (deuxième cycle) — DESS (Diploma of Specialized Graduate Studies).
Doctoral programs generally require a master's degree for admission, although, in exceptional cases, candidates may be admitted with an honours bachelor's degree. Doctoral programs normally require 90 to 120 credits, including a thesis, for completion.
Programs and credentials offered by non-degree-granting institutions
College-level institutions offer students a choice between pre-university and technical programs. Students in both streams take the same common core curriculum. Both pre-university and technical studies lead to the diplôme d'études collégiales - DEC (diploma of college studies).
Pre-university two-year cégep programs lead to university admission. There are eight pre-university fields: natural sciences, humanities, arts and letters, music, visual arts, dance, history and civilization, and science, letters and arts. A ninth program is offered on a test basis until 2012-13: Computer Science and Mathematics. Some institutions also offer the International Baccalaureate (IB).
Cégep three-year technical programs train students for technician or technologist positions. Technical programs can also be followed by university admission in some cases. There are more than 100 technical programs in areas such as biological sciences technology, physical science technology, humanities technology, administrative technology, and arts.
In addition to programs leading to the diplôme d'études collégiales — DEC (diploma of college studies), cégeps also offer shorter programs leading to an attestation d'études collégiales — AEC (attestation of college studies).