One of the most confusing elements of Quebec’s education is the CEGEP system, which stands for “College of general and vocational education” (Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel, in French), and is a concept that is unique to the province.
CEGEP is the educational institution placed between high school and university in Quebec whose purpose is to assist in continuing education. It provides pre-university programs and vocational career programs to students, both young and mature in age. To be eligible for the CEGEP system you must have attended a total of 6 years of elementary, and 5 years of secondary school.
Here are some different cases:
• If you have attended high school abroad, and obtained a GED (General Education Diploma) – or your countries equivalent, and want to acquire a bachelors, master, or PhD degree at the university level, CEGEP is probably not for you. This is because after attending 6 years of secondary school (grades 7-12), you are eligible to enter straight university in Quebec and CEGEP would be an unnecessary step.
• If you are relocating to Quebec from another Canadian province or US state and have complete grade 12 and/or 13 CEGEP is not necessary to attend and you can apply directly to a university.
• If you have completed only 5 years of high school (7-11) in your country, you are not able to go straight to university in Quebec, and in this case the CEGEP system offers both vocational training degrees, and pre-university programs that will help you prepare to complete a degree at the university level – or decide what you would like to continue to study.
• If you are a relocating to Quebec and posses a French or International Baccalaureate, you are able to enter straight into a university in the province, and skip the CEGEP system all together.
For more information on continuing education in Quebec, see continuing education in Montreal.
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