University education is the second level of non-compulsory instruction, after college studies. In Québec, there are 18universities, which operate independently.
The university academic year consists of 3terms, usually lasting 15weeks each:
Fall: from September to December
Winter: from January to April
Summer: from May to August
Most courses and educational activities are worth 3credits; however, some may be worth 1, 2 or 4credits. A credit represents approximately 45hours of work per term. Hours of work may include individual study; attendance in class, in a laboratory or in a workshop; an internship, or online courses or activities.
For you to have full-time student status at the undergraduate level, your term must consist of no fewer than 12credits, which is usually equivalent to 4courses or educational activities.
Generally, to have full-time student status at the graduate level, your term must consist of no fewer than 9credits. However, this number can vary depending on the activities, university and program.
There are 3levels of university studies. Programs at the Master’s (Cycle2) and Doctoral (Cycle3) levels are also known as graduate and post-graduate studies.
Undergraduate (Cycle 1)
The main programs offered in Cycle1 are:
A bachelor’s degree is a long program that focuses on a specific field of studies. Depending on the program, it requires 3 to 4years of full-time studies and consists of 90 to 120credits. This is generally equivalent to 30 to 40courses or educational activities.
To complete the 90-credit Cycle1 program within the expected timeframe, you usually need to complete the equivalent of 15credits per term. This generally amounts to 5courses or educational activities.
A certificate is a short complementary or supplementary program in a specific field of studies, requiring 1year of full-time studies to complete. It consists of 30credits, which is usually equivalent to 10courses or educational activities.
In some cases, the combination of 3certificates can lead to the awarding of a bachelor’s degree. Certificate courses are sometimes part of a bachelor’s degree.
The main programs offered in Cycle2 are:
Master’s with thesis
A Master’s with thesis option centres around a research project. It generally requires 2years of full-time studies to complete and consists of 45credits.
Other Master’s degrees (e.g. professional or non-thesis)
These programs focus on professional practice or a research project, but to a lesser extent than the thesis option. They generally require 2years of full-time studies to complete, but may take longer, and consist of 45 to 60credits.
Specialized graduate diploma (DESS)
The DESS allows you to develop particular expertise in a specific field. It requires 1year of full-time studies to complete and consists of 30credits, which is usually equivalent to 10courses or educational activities.
The main program in Cycle3 is:
The doctoral program, which focuses on research and the advancement of knowledge in a given field, consists of 90credits, of which at least 60credits are dedicated to research. It generally requires 4years of full-time studies to complete but may be longer or shorter.
For some programs consisting of 120credits, an additional 1 to 2years of study is required.
Tuition fees and financial assistance
Basic tuition fees in 2020‑2021 are $87.43 per credit. For a Québec student registered full-time (30‑credits), this amounts to $2623 per term.
Non-residents of Québec must pay a lump sum in addition to the basic tuition fees. The lump sum for 30credits in 2020‑2021 is $5563. For a full-time student (30credits), this amounts to $8186 per term.
International students in Cycle2 and 3research programs are also required to pay a lump sum in addition to the basic tuition fees:
Cycle2: $13944 for 30credits in 2020-2021, for a total tuition fee of $16567
Cycle3: $12272 for a total tuition fee of $14895
Tuition fees for international students in undergraduate and professional graduate programs are set by each individual university.