Postsecondary education in Newfoundland and Labrador

The public postsecondary education system in Newfoundland and Labrador consists of Memorial University of Newfoundland and College of the North Atlantic. Memorial University includes the St. John's Campus, Signal Hill Campus and the Marine Institute, each in St. John's; Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook; the Labrador Institute in Happy Valley-Goose Bay; and a residential campus in Harlow, England. Memorial University enrolls approximately 18,500 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students annually and conducts award-winning research in oceans, health, natural resources, energy and the environment, culture and heritage, and other areas.

College of the North Atlantic is the province's public college, enrolling approximately 7,000 students annually. It is one of the largest non-university postsecondary educational and skills-training institutions in Atlantic Canada. It operates 17 campuses across the province, online programming via Distributed Learning Services and a campus in the Middle East State of Qatar.

There are 22 private training institutions (PTIs) operating in the province offering a wide variety of employment-oriented training programs, enrolling approximately 2,000 students in a variety of programs such as apprenticeship training (including industrial trades), business, health sciences and information technology.

Memorial University was founded in 1925 (as Memorial University College), and achieved degree-granting status in 1949, the year the Newfoundland and Labrador became a province of Canada. The university grew rapidly during the 1970s. Program offerings expanded, especially in the areas of ocean and marine sciences, and another campus -- Grenfell Campus -- was opened in Corner Brook in 1975.

The Marine Institute was founded in 1964 as the College of Fisheries, Navigation, Marine Engineering, and Electronics. It became part of Memorial University in 1992, and today offers diploma, certificate and degree programs in areas such as aquaculture, fishing technology, marine engineering, ocean technology and maritime studies. Signal Hill Campus officially opened in 2018, consists of graduate student housing, and is Memorial's state-of-the-art facility for community and industry engagement and business incubation.

Today, Memorial University's faculties and schools offer a wide variety of degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The province's vocational school system was established in 1963 with nine schools located throughout the province. Six more schools were added to the system in 1972. The schools provided pre-employment training in the traditional trades, as well as academic upgrading.

In 1985, the vocational school system was reorganized into a provincial public college system that included three institutes and five colleges with a total of 22 campuses across the province.

In 1992, this system was merged into five regional colleges with similar mandates.

In 1996, a further refinement of the system resulted in College of the North Atlantic. College of the North Atlantic offers programs in six schools (Academics, Applied Arts and Tourism; Business and Information Technology; Engineering Technology; Health Sciences; and Natural Resources and Industrial Trades), and has been creating curriculum and developing training programs that address industry priorities for over 55 years. There are currently 17 campuses in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Programs and credentials offered by degree-granting institutions

Memorial University offers a full range of programs leading to degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Memorial University's campus in Corner Brook, Grenfell Campus, offers bachelor's degree programs in arts, science, fine arts, business administration, education, and master's degrees in environmental studies. The campus also provides support services to the Western Regional School of Nursing.

Most bachelor's degrees require four years of full-time study. Other undergraduate degrees (in social work, education, or engineering, for example) require five years of full-time study. Honours degrees generally require a higher level of concentration in the honours subject, as well as a higher level of academic performance, and are often prerequisites for study at the master's level.

Memorial University also offers distance education programs to reach potential students nationally, internationally, and throughout the province, including those living in rural and remote communities. A variety of credit and non-credit courses are available on-line including more than 475 undergraduate and graduate courses and 37 fully or partially online programs.

As part of Memorial University, the Marine Institute provides training in areas of fisheries and oceans, and marine technology. Degree programs include a bachelor of maritime studies, bachelor of technology, a master of marine studies (fisheries resource management and marine spatial planning and management options), master of technology management and master of maritime management. These programs cater to students seeking careers in the marine transportation and aquaculture industries respectively.

The Marine Institute also offers one-year advanced diploma programs, three-year diploma of technology programs, two-year technical diploma programs and one-year or less technical and vocational certificate programs. It also offers shorter programs, such as industrial response and professional development training programs, on a regular basis.

College of the North Atlantic delivers educational services throughout the province and offers over 100 full-time diploma and certificate programs in six schools (Academics, Applied Arts and Tourism; Business and Information Technology; Engineering Technology; Health Sciences; and Natural Resources and Industrial Trades). . College of the North Atlantic also offers a full range of more than 300 part-time courses and apprenticeship training. Programs include:

  • Two- and three-year programs leading to a diploma;
  • One-year post-graduate programs leading to an advanced diploma;
  • Full-time occupational courses leading to a certificate;
  • Academic upgrading programs;
  • Career enhancement and personal development programs;
  • Courses conducted in formal institutional settings, and courses delivered in communities to meet local needs;
  • Various skills training programs administered by the province with funding support from the Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement
  • Applied research and technology transfer;
  • Courses conducted in partnership with other publicly funded institutions, community agencies, and the private sector.


Under College Act 1996, College of the North Atlantic has received the authority to offer academic programs leading to applied degrees. However, such academic programs are not currently offered.

College of the North Atlantic's Distributed Learning Services provide online access to more than 340 college credit courses as well as complete certificate and diploma programs. Distributed Learning continues to support student enrolment from within Newfoundland and Labrador, every Canadian province and territory, and international locations including Qatar.

Programs and credentials offered by non-degree granting institutions

There are 22 private training institutions (PTIs) offering postsecondary education in the province. Currently, PTIs offer a wide variety of programs, approved by the Department Education, in information technology, health sciences, business and apprenticeship training (including industrial trades). PTIs are governed by the Private Training Institutions Act and Regulations. PTIs may also have credit transfer agreements with other institutions (e.g., colleges and universities) outside the province.

Apprenticeship in Newfoundland and Labrador is comprised of a combination of interprovincial Red Seal and provincially designated trades. Most apprenticeship training programs require entry-level training, followed by on-the-job training with additional classroom training at specific intervals.

Apprenticeship training is offered through union schools, PTIs, and the College of the North Atlantic. Additional information on apprenticeship training in Newfoundland and Labrador can be accessed on-line.

Not all programs are offered at all College of the North Atlantic campuses or PTIs. Students are advised to contact College of the North Atlantic or individual PTIs for further information.

Newfoundland and Labrador's secondary school curriculum includes three years of intermediate school and three years of senior high school -- levels 1 through 3 -- leading to a provincial high school diploma.

For admission into undergraduate programs directly from high school, Memorial University requires applicants to complete a high school program and diploma or certificate under a curriculum that is sanctioned by a ministry of education or government jurisdiction or an organization that offers internationally-recognized standardized exams (for example, the International Baccalaureate Diploma or Cambridge GCE). Applicants shall have completed the requirements for their high school diploma or senior secondary certificate following completion of university-preparatory courses in the five following subject areas: academic or advanced mathematics; English (literature); laboratory science (biology, chemistry, earth systems/geology, or physics); a social science or a modern or classical Language; and electives. The courses in each subject area shall have been of a depth and breadth that prepares students to continue studies in the related subject areas at the undergraduate university level. An overall minimum average grade among the courses used to satisfy admission requirements may also be required. Admission to some undergraduate programs may have additional application or admission requirements. Different requirements exist for graduate programs. Further information concerning admission requirements for international students is provided in the Memorial University Calendar. Applicants are advised to contact the Registrar's Office, Memorial University, for further application or admission advice.

Admission requirements to the Marine Institute vary from program to program. Diploma programs generally require high school graduation with a minimum combined average of 60 percent in level three mathematics, language, and science (Please note that a minimum grade of 60 percent is required in mathematics). Certificate programs require high school graduation or the equivalent. Advanced diploma programs require successful completion of a three-year diploma program or a university degree. Applicants who do not meet the regular requirements, but who are at least 21 years of age, may be admitted as mature students. Applicants are advised to contact the Marine Institute for further information via their Web site or e-mail. Marine Institute degree programs are governed by Memorial University regulations. Applicants can visit the Marine Institute Web site or email at for further information.

Admission requirements to College of the North Atlantic vary from program to program. Certificate programs usually require high school graduation or equivalent. Diploma programs usually require high school graduation or equivalent, with an overall average of at least 60 percent on specific level three courses. Applicants who do not meet these requirements, but who are at least 19 years old and have been out of school for at least one year may be considered for mature student admission on an individual basis. Applicants are encouraged to visit the website at for program specific entrance requirements or they may contact the College for further information via e-mail or 1-888-982-2268 (North America only).

PTIs offer a variety of programs with varying admissions requirements. Applicants are advised to contact the appropriate PTI for further information on their admissions requirements.

For details of the current tuition fees at Memorial University, please see the Memorial University Calendar, for tuition fees for Marine Institute programs see, please refer to the Marine Institute's Registrar's Web site. For details on College of the North Atlantic's tuition fees, please visit the College's Web site. PTIs in Newfoundland and Labrador are responsible for setting their own tuition fees. Tuition rates at PTIs vary by institution and program and applicants are advised to contact individual PTIs for information on tuition and scholarship opportunities.

The Provincial Government has a competitive student financial assistance program for provincial residents to supplement the Canada Student Loans Program. Please visit Newfoundland and Labrador's Provincial Student Aid Web site for the most recent information. A number of scholarships and bursaries are also available through Memorial University, College of the North Atlantic and various private institutions. Applicants should contact Memorial University's Scholarships, Awards and Financial Aid Office at (709) 864-3956 or e-mail for information. For more information on College of the North Atlantic's scholarships and awards visit the Web site or call 1-888-982-2268 (North America only). Individual PTIs should be contacted for further information about any available scholarships or awards that may be offered by those institutions.


Comprehensive review of this information: January 2021