Program types

University systems are different in the structure of their programs but also in the terms they use to describe them. Canada, like others, has its traditions and its vocabulary. You will find in the Glossary, the definitions of terms commonly used in universities.

Below is a description of our degrees:


A bachelor’s degree or the equivalent of a canadian bachelor degree must be held to be eligible for admission into a master’s program. Duration of the program is approximately two years, depending upon if the student pursues a master’s with thesis or research paper, or master’s with coop internship. The first year of studies consists of courses directly relating to the program, while the second year is dedicated to the writing of the student’s thesis or research paper.

Master's with thesis

Students who have completed this master’s program are eligible to continue at the doctoral level.

  • Duration: Typically two years (full time)
  • Financing: Funding possible for the full two years
  • Structure: Year one: Courses and thesis proposal; year two: research and thesis writing
Master's with major research paper

Similar to the master’s with thesis. However, less time is devoted to the research and writing component.

  • Duration: Typically 16 months (full time)
  • Financing: Funding possible for one year*
  • Structure: Eight to 12 months of courses; four to eight months working on the research paper

*Funding based on student meeting specific academic standards.

Master’s by coursework

Ideal for full-time employees wanting to expand their knowledge or to develop career-related skills.

  • Duration: Three to four years part time; one year full time
  • Financing: Not eligible for scholarship support from the University (there are some exceptions.*
  • Structure: Year one: Courses and thesis proposal; year two: research and thesis writing

*Programs eligible for funding: English, philosophy, health sciences and nursing. Funding based on student meeting specific academic standards.

Professional master’s

Leads to entry in a profession OR to career progression.

  • Duration: Typically 18 months to two years (full time)
  • Financing: Not eligible for financial support from the University
  • Structure: Primarily course-based with field internships, internships or hands-on projects.

List of professional master’s programs: Business Administration (MBA), Health Administration (MHA), Criminology (MCA), Education (MEd), Engineering Management (MEng), Communications (MComm), E-Business Technologies (MEBT), Geography (MGeg), Music (MMus), Systems Science (MSysSc), Translation – Conference Interpreting (MCI).


The highest level of study, the doctoral degree follows the master’s degree and takes approximately four to five years to complete. Typically, the first two years are dedicated to courses relating directly to the subject, while one to two years are used to write the thesis.

  • Duration: Typically four to five years (full time)
  • Financing: Typically funded for four years*
  • Structure: Years one and two: coursework, comprehensive exam, thesis proposal; years three and four: research and thesis writing

* Funding based on student meeting specific academic standards.

Graduate diplomas

Comprising of 15 university credits (usually 5 courses), diploma programs are intensive thus allowing students to get right to the heart of a subject. Duration is one year of studies typically consisting of two terms (sessions).


There are general requirements (general requirements section B) that all graduate students must meet in addition to program-specific requirements. Additionally, each program has its own specific requirements (section E) that the student must meet.

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