Dominating the northern half of the North American Continent, Canada is a massive country with vibrant urban centers and wide-open wilderness spaces. Stretching from the Arctic Ocean in the north to its lengthy border with the United States in the south, Canada is the second largest country in the world by total area. This federal parliamentary democracy recognizes both English and French as its official languages, reflecting its colonization by both England and France. It is ethnically diverse and multicultural, the result of a large number of indigenous peoples and large-scale immigration. It is one of the wealthiest, most developed countries in the world, with high rankings in many measures of human development, including education, quality of life and civil liberties.
Education in Canada is administered by the individual provinces, creating great diversity in the types of institutions and programs available. Programs often reflect regional history and interests. Students may study at vocational or technical schools, public or private colleges or universities, theological colleges or post-secondary institutions, which specialize in training for a specific career. Many universities emphasize research as a key component in education, and many programs include the opportunity to participate in meaningful research. Only colleges and universities offer accredited degrees.
Students who study undergraduate studies in Canada might pursue various bachelors’ degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering. Depending on the program requirements, it may take three to four years of full-time study to earn a bachelor's degree in Canada. The cost of the degree will vary depending on the institution and program chosen. The cost of living can also vary greatly.
Most universities and colleges in Canada split the academic year into two semesters, beginning in September and completing the year at the end of April or early in May. The semester break usually lasts several weeks and coincides with the Christmas and New Year holidays. A limited selection of classes may be offered between May and August for students who wish to continue their studies over the summer. Several universities run on a trimester system, with a full course list offered each term.
Canada offers more than 10,000 degree programs at over 100 universities around the country. These programs are recognized internationally and can give students the opportunity to learn from professionals in their field and to study alongside a diverse local and international student body. They may have the opportunity to complete resume-building internships or work while they study. As a nation Canada is welcoming to outsiders and boasts some of the safest urban areas in the world.