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Studying at CEGEP

College is the first level of education at which schooling is not compulsory in Québec. College studies follow secondary school and precede university education. There are numerous college institutions:

  • 48 CEGEPs (public colleges), five of which are English-language institutions 
  • about 70 private colleges, more than a third of which are subsidized
  • 4 affiliated public institutions, including the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec 

A college year is comprised of two 16-week terms (including the examination period), one in the fall (August to December) and one in the winter (January to May). Shorter terms may be offered in the summer.

Most courses average 45 hours per term, which is about three hours per week. In order to be considered a full-time student, you must register for at least 180 hours in a term, or 165 hours if Physical Education is one of the courses taken.

Types of Diplomas

There are different types of college diplomas:

Diploma of College Studies (DSC) 

Programs leading to a DCS have general education courses and program-specific courses.

General education consists of:

  • general courses related to the program of study (language of instruction and literature, philosophy or humanities and second language)
  • general courses common to all programs (language of instruction and literature, philosophy or humanities, second language and physical education)
  • complementary courses from the following subject areas: social sciences, science and technology, modern languages, mathematics literacy and computer science, art and aesthetics and contemporary issues  

Two types of programs lead to a DCS:

Pre-University Programs

Program that prepares students for university and that requires two years of full-time study.

Technical Programs

Program designed to prepare students for the job market and that requires three years of full-time study. Vocational training may also provide access to university, provided that certain requirements related to the chosen university program are met.

Technical programs include at least one practicum in the workplace.

Attestation of College Studies (ACS)

Programs leading to an ACS are short-term technical programs designed to prepare students for immediate employment. As the selection of these programs is always changing, the most up-to-date information can be found on each college’s website. 

R Score

The R score, or CRC (cote de rendement au collégial in French), measures a person’s academic performance in a context where students take separate courses and are evaluated by different professors in groups with varying characteristics.

Universities use the R score to analyze applications, particularly when a program has a quota, or as a minimum threshold for admission to certain programs. This score ensures greater equity in the processing of applications to university.

For more information, please consult the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Last update: April 28, 2021

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