In the Québec education system, college is the first level of post-secondary studies and precedes university studies.
Only colleges established under the General and Vocational Colleges Act (CEGEPs), colleges holding a permit under the Act respecting private education and a few affiliated public institutions under the jurisdiction of another Ministère are authorized to offer college education in Québec.
The college network offers various educational opportunities:
- programs leading to a Diploma of College Studies (DCS)
- programs leading to an Attestation of College Studies (ACS)
- other types of education and training (remedial activities, university prerequisites, customized training and business services)
Programs of Study Leading to a DCS
The Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur (MEES) establishes the programs of study leading to a DCS. These programs must include:
- a program-specific component
- three general education components:
- one common to all programs (16 2/3 credits), in language of instruction and literature, philosophie or humanities, second language and physical education;
- one specific to each program (6 credits), in language of instruction and literature, philosophie or humanities, and second language;
- one complementary component (4 credits), composed of courses chosen by the student from among the following subject areas: social sciences, science and technology, modern language, mathematics literacy and computer science, art and aesthetics, contemporary issues.
One credit corresponds to 45 hours of learning activities (theoretical classes, practical work and individual work).
The Ministère establishes the competencies to be acquired. The colleges determine the courses that will enable the students to acquire these competencies and are also responsible for the evaluation of learning. Certification of studies is a responsibility shared by the Ministère and the colleges. The DCS is a diploma issued by the Ministère.
A college must obtain authorization from the Minister in order to offer a program of study leading to a DCS.
The main goal of pre-university programs is to prepare students for university. Their program-specific component consists of 28 to 32 credits.
The main goal of technical programs is to prepare students for the labour market, although they may also provide access to university studies. The program-specific component of technical programs consists of 45 to 65 credits. These programs also include at least one workplace practicum.
In addition, some colleges use the work-study format (in French only) that integrates periods of college studies and practicums in the workplace.
Programs of Study Leading to an ACS
Programs leading to an ACS are technical programs set by the colleges. The colleges establish the competencies to be acquired and determine the courses that will enable the students to acquire these competencies. The colleges are also responsible for the evaluation of learning and the certification of studies. The ACS is a diploma issued by the colleges.
Colleges that are authorized to offer programs of study leading to a DCS may also offer programs of study leading to an ACS. In all other cases, the college must obtain authorization from the Minister.
As the selection of programs leading to an ACS offered by the colleges is always changing, please consult each college's website (in French only) to find the most up-to-date information.