Canada? Images of log cabins in the wilderness, loggers in checked shirts, famous ice hockey players or the red and white national flag with the maple leaf appear before the inner eye. A bachelor’s degree in Canada? Hardly so many associations are awakened here. The higher education landscape and system of study in Canada are far less well known compared to the US or UK study systems.
But in recent years more and more foreign students have discovered the land of the maple leaf for themselves. And not just for one or two semesters abroad in Canada: Many choose to complete a bachelor’s degree in Canada and apply for a course at one of the many attractive universities and colleges. And not without reason: A bachelor’s degree in Canada not only offers “Indian Summer” and winter sports, but also high-quality basic training in all conceivable subject areas. In fact, there is hardly a country that invests as much in education as Canada.
Bachelor in Canada: Procedure
As in so many other countries, the bachelor’s program in Canada the classic undergraduate -Studies (undergraduate studies / premier cycle). In a study in the undergraduate range is both the Universities as well as at colleges possible. Originally the colleges only awarded certificates and diplomas. In recent years, however, they have also started offering the academic bachelor’s degree.
Overall, school leavers have a huge selection of courses and subject combinations that enable them to prepare for a specific professional field or for a scientific career.
Standard period of study in Canada for a Bachelor’s degree
The standard period of study for a Bachelor’s degree in Canada is six to eight semesters and depends on the course and the degree of specialization. Unlike in Germany, the three-year bachelor’s degree programs are primarily of a general and vocational training character.
The Bachelor of Honors lasts four years: it is more research-oriented and offers opportunities for specialization. In Canada, a bachelor’s degree is not the same as a bachelor’s degree: there is a fundamental distinction between
- academic education and
- professional education / études professionelles.
It applies to both undergraduate and graduate areas. The professional degree programs (programs professionelles) focus on practice-oriented vocational training, while the academic education area focuses on science and research in the courses. As a rule, the bachelor’s degree enables you to start your career straight away in most departments.
Academic education in Bachelor in Canada
The three or four-year bachelor’s degree in classic academic disciplines such as physics, history, politics or mechanical engineering usually qualifies for a direct career entry. Depending on the focus, the degrees are called Bachelor of Arts / Bachelier ès Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science / Bachelier ès Sciences (BS).
At the beginning of their studies, students receive a kind of basic training in which they become familiar with the basic knowledge of various scientific disciplines. A bachelor’s degree in Canada is therefore a general study, especially in the first semesters. This is a decisive difference to the bachelor’s degree in Germany.
The first-year students attend events that offer a broad overview of various subject areas. Only in the course of the second year of study do the students commit themselves and choose a major (major / majeur). In some departments you have the option of combining this with one or two minor subjects (minor / mineur) or with another major. In-depth studies on a certain sub-area of the main subject are rather unusual. These only take place in the fourth year of study, which serves as preparation for a master’s degree.
The advantage of this general bachelor’s degree is that the students often have the opportunity to choose a subject in their master’s degree that did not play a role in their bachelor’s degree.
The Bachelor students attend a total of 30 to 40 courses during their studies. At least four courses per semester are compulsory, ideally five. Students have to collect a total of 120 credit points. There are three different types of courses:
- Compulsory subjects
- Elective subjects: They serve the subject specialization
- Free / real electives: To cover specific interests or for key qualifications, such as language courses or courses on communication techniques
The proportion of these subjects in the overall course depends on the course. There are usually fewer compulsory subjects in the subjects of linguistics, cultural studies and social sciences than in the natural sciences or in the professionally-oriented courses.
The course of the Bachelor’s degree in Canada, a major country in North America listed on educationvv, is very well structured and there is a fixed order of events. This order is decided by the respective program committee of the degree program. It consists of at least two professors and two students. The main task of the committee is to design the program in such a way that the students graduate as quickly and flexibly as possible.
The number of those who take part in an honors program after three years and then begin a master’s degree in Canada is steadily increasing. Employers prefer the master’s degree as the basis for professional practice, especially because the professional fields are becoming more and more differentiated. This is particularly the case in the natural and engineering sciences. In other fields, a master’s degree or even a doctorate is essential, such as medicine or law.
Professional education / études professionelles
The job-oriented bachelor’s degree programs are particularly widespread in the following subjects:
- Pedagogy / teaching degree
- Business administration
- Fine arts
These are usually single-subject courses in which the name of the subject studied is also included in the title at the end, for example
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
- Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.)
- Bachelor of Journalism (B.Journ.)
In the first semesters, students attend courses and lectures in which they acquire broad theoretical knowledge in the respective subject area. During the last semester, the focus is on practice: the course content is more application-oriented and the students complete internships or carry out projects in parallel.
As in Germany, access to some professions is strictly regulated in Canada. Unlike us, the Canadian government has the control of the quality of vocational training to the responsible professional associations (professional corporations transmitted). The associations have various methods of checking whether the graduates have sufficient skills for the profession.
On the one hand, the accreditation of university courses by a visiting committee takes place every five years. This is the case, for example, in engineering and medicine. On the other hand, there are procedures that are similar to the German state examination. Here, the graduates have to take exams after completing their university studies and one or two years of professional experience (similar to the German traineeship). This procedure is particularly common in law and economics.
Bachelor of Honors in Canada
The Bachelor of Honors is a prerequisite for a Master’s degree in Canada. There are several ways to obtain the Bachelor of Honors:
- One-year honors program (baccalauréat specialisé) after a three-year bachelor’s degree with higher requirements and options for specialization and deepening
- After completing a four-year bachelor’s degree, write an independent thesis
- Specialization right at the start of your studies with attending extra courses in addition to the general program / baccalauréat général
Ambitious first-year students who want to specialize straight away choose a demanding and research-oriented honors program right from the start. Of course, this means more courses and higher pressure to perform. Those who achieve a very good honors degree then even have the option of directly completing a doctorate and “skipping” the master’s degree.