Québec school system
Printable version
Immigrate and settle in QuébecWorking in QuébecLiving in QuébecWhere to settle?Learning French in Québec or outside Québec

The Québec school system

The Québec school system is comprised of:

  • a public education network ranging from preschool to university
  • private education institutions, recognized by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, and by the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de la Science that offer official programs of study.


Number of years
1 to 2 years
6 years
5 years
College (CEGEP)
2 to 3 years
Undergraduate (Bachelor's)
3 to 4 years
Graduate (Master's)
2 years
3 years or +


Primary and secondary education

Primary education covers a period of six years (excluding preschool), while secondary education runs from level 1 through 5. Together, they make up a total of 11 years.

From the third or fourth year of secondary school, the student can choose to take vocational training to learn a trade. Such training is recognized by the Diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP - Diploma of Vocational Studies).

Successful completion of the general secondary program is recognized by the Diplôme d’études secondaires (DES - Diploma of Secondary Studies). The DES gives access to the first level of higher education, which is provided by a type of institution unique to Québec, i.e. the Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (or CEGEP).

College-level education

The CEGEP network offers both pre-university and technical programs. Pre-university programs, which last two years, serve as a preparation for university. Technical programs, which last three years, can lead to employment as a technician or technologist. They can also pave the way to university studies. These two types of programs lead to a Diplôme d’études collégiales (DEC - Diploma of College Studies).

There are also shorter, technical-type programs that lead to an Attestation of College Studies (ACS). These programs are normally intended for adult students (18 years or older). Finally, certain CEGEPs also offer an international baccalaureate.

Top of page

University education

University education is divided into three levels:
The first level (undergraduate) leads to a bachelor's degree after three or four years of full-time study, depending on the field. A bachelor’s degree enables students to enter the job market or go on to graduate studies.

Also offered at the undergraduate level are one-year programs, which are recognized by a certificate. The combination of three certificates can lead to a bachelor’s degree, provided a number of conditions are met.

The second level (graduate) leads to a master's degree after two years of full-time study and the writing of a thesis or the completion of an internship, depending on whether the master's program is research-oriented or practice-oriented.

Also offered at the graduate level are one-year programs recognized by a Diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées (DESS) (advanced degree) or a Graduate Certificate.

The third level (doctoral) prepares students for a career in research. A doctoral degree (Ph.D) can be earned after approximately three years of full-time study, including the writing of a dissertation.

Useful links

  Haut de page
Policy on privacy | Médias sociaux | Déclaration de services à la clientèle | Accès à l'information | Accessibility
Last modification : 2018-11-30
Portail du gouvernement du Québec