College Education

In the Québec education system, college is the first level of post-secondary studies and precedes university studies.

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 (Springboard to DCS pathway, remedial activities, activities fostering student success, university prerequisites, customized training and services for business and industry)

Programs of Study Leading to a DCS

A program is an integrated set of learning activities leading to the achievement of educational objectives based on set standards.

Each program has a program-specific component and general education components, each made up of a certain number of credits.  One credit corresponds to 45 hours of learning activities (theoretical classes, practical work and individual projects).

The Ministère establishes the programs of study leading to a DCS. These programs must include:

  • a program-specific component
  • general education components (26 2/3 credits):
    • 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 languages, mathematics literacy and computer science, art and aesthetics, contemporary issues

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. Each college must provide precise information on the programs it offers.  

Pre-University programs

The main goal of pre-university programs is to prepare students for university. They usually require two years of study (four terms). Besides the three general education components, pre-university programs also have a program-specific component consisting of a certain number of credits that vary based on the program involved:

  • 32 credits in science, computer science and mathematics, music, and visual arts
  • 30 to 31 1/3 credits in social sciences
  • 30 credits in  arts, literature and communication
  • 28 credits in dance
  • 36 2/3 or 38 credits in arts and sciences
  • 34 to 35 1/3 credits in liberal arts

Technical Programs

The main goal of technical programs is to prepare students for the labour market, although they may also provide access to university studies. They usually require three years of study (six terms). 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  Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre.(in French only) that integrates periods of college studies and practicums in the workplace.

Some technical programs follow specialized paths or consist of training modules that are followed successively or independently. Successful completion of a module may be recognized by the college, allowing eligible students to obtain recognition for secondary-level vocational training.

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, determine the courses and are 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.

Other Types of Education and Training

  • Springboard to a DCS pathway
  • Remedial activities
  • Activities fostering student success
  • University prerequisites
  • Customized Training and Services for Business and Industry

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