Post-secondary school admissions requirements

By Delaney Rombough

Posted on October 25, 2021
Applying to post-secondary school in Canada is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. For the best chance of being admitted to a Canadian college or university, students must meet several admissions requirements.

Secondary school diploma

To apply for an undergraduate program, students must complete Canadian Grade 12, Grade 11 in Quebec, or their home country’s equivalent. In Quebec, students wanting to enroll in post-secondary school must also complete Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP). Students will need to provide proof of this, such as their secondary school graduation diploma and transcripts.

Proof of English language proficiency

Almost all Canadian post-secondary programs are delivered in English, so students must have a strong understanding of the English language. International students applying from countries where English isn’t their primary language, may have to pass an English Language Test as part of the application process.

These tests assess students’ English listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. The most common tests that Canadian institutions accept are the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Students should check with their school of choice to determine what score is required for a successful application. An English language test may be required for both undergraduate and postgraduate admissions.

Students who want to attend post-secondary school in Quebec where the courses are taught in French may require students to demonstrate an acceptable level of French language proficiency. One of the most common tests is the The Test d’Évaluation de Français pour le Canada (TEF Canada).

Prerequisite courses

Students may be required to take prerequisite courses depending on the program they are applying for. Prerequisites are specific courses or programs that must be completed before students can enroll in the course or school they are applying to.
Most Canadian institutions require students to have Grade 12 English, or equivalent. Students applying to specialized undergraduate programs such as STEM-related degrees, will often have to have courses such as Grade 12 math, chemistry, physics, and biology, in addition to English. Prerequisite courses vary depending on the school, so be sure to check the program’s academic requirements on the school’s website.


If students are applying to an undergraduate program, they will be assessed on their high school grades, so they will need to provide their transcripts. Students applying to postgraduate programs will be evaluated on the grades they earned during their undergraduate studies. Many programs have a minimum average or grade point average (GPA) requirement that students must meet in order to be admitted. It should also be noted that some schools weigh students’ grades from their final two years heavier than the first two. For both undergraduate and postgraduate studies, a student’s GPA may also determine eligibility for scholarships or funding.

Undergraduate degree

To apply for a postgraduate program such as a master’s degree, students will need a three or four-year bachelor’s degree in a related field of study. Students may have to provide their degree certificate and transcripts.

Supplementary documents

Many Canadian schools evaluate students on more than just their grades and past academic qualifications. This means that they require additional documents. These supplementary documents may include personal statements, essays, resumes/CVs, or standardized test scores. Students who have applied to arts or creative programs may also need to provide a portfolio, work samples, or attend an audition.
Because admissions requirements vary from school to school and program to program, students should always check with their school and program of choice for exact requirements. Making sure they have all the required documents will give them the best chance of success.

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