UGO – Pathways – Canada – Types of Institutions

Types of Higher Education Institutions in Canada

Liberal Arts

Liberal arts institutions are colleges with a primary emphasis upon undergraduate study in the liberal arts. Encyclopaedia Britannica defines liberal arts as a “college or university curriculum aimed at imparting general knowledge and developing general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational or technical curriculum.” Liberal arts institutions can be either public or private.

Public

A public institution is one that receives funding from the provincial, territorial and/or federal government, although tuition revenue and private funding also contribute to their financial stability. These educational institutions may follow province-wide admissions requirements, or have their own individual campus requirements. These institutions are also controlled or managed by a body most of whose members are elected or appointed by or under the scrutiny of a public authority. Faculty research grants typically are important to public university faculty, and bring numerous practical research opportunities to you. These public universities often may have large departments which offer numerous degree options for you, from associate degrees to doctoral and postdoctoral programs. Public/Provincial universities generally are less expensive than private institutions.

Private

A private institution generally does not receive funding from the provincial, territorial or federal governments, instead receiving private funding through alumni donations, faculty research grants and tuition fees. Large endowments and private funding often allow for more resources to be available to the students and faculty.

Private Institution (not-for-profit)

Institution, controlled or managed by a body most of whose members are not selected by a public authority, that is not established for the purpose of distributing profits to individual directors, employees, owners or shareholders.

Private Institution (for-profit)

Institution, controlled or managed by a body most of whose members are not selected by a public authority, that is established for the purpose of distributing profits to individual directors, employees, owners or shareholders.

Private universities are able to attract and retain faculty well-known in their academic fields. You, as a student, can benefit from faculty experience in the field, which enriches the classroom experience. Unusual or innovative academic programs may be found on private university campuses.

There are numerous options in higher education in Canada. You can choose big or small, public or private, small town or big city settings. Another option is choosing between attending a four-year institution immediately after completing secondary school, or attending a community or technical college for the first two years, allowing you to prepare for a career or to prepare for transfer to a four-year institution. The option of attending a community college first is quite popular as it presents a number of advantages, yet still allows you to complete your bachelor’s degree from the college or university of your choice.