Study In Alberta > Alberta Education Fact Sheet
Alberta - Your Choice for Quality Learning
Education in Alberta
Under the Canadian Constitution, education is considered a provincial responsibility. Public education is provided free of charge to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents under 20 years of age until the end of secondary school. In Alberta, students are legally required to attend school from ages 6 to 16.
Alberta's public education system includes public, separate, francophone and charter schools, as well as alternative programs and virtual programs offered by school boards, and home education. Public and separate school boards operate the basic education system in the province - the universal system accessible to everyone. In Alberta, Roman Catholic or Protestant faith has the right to form its own school system.
At the post-secondary level, Alberta has 29 publicly funded institutions, including 4 universities, 14 colleges, 2 technical institutes, the Banff Centre for Performing Arts, and 8 private colleges that deliver accredited degree programs and offer internationally recognized, affordable short and long-term programs. These institutions also have an international reputation for research and teaching excellence.
The high quality of Alberta's education system is demonstrated in the excellent results Alberta students achieve on national and international testing, often outperforming students from across Canada and consistently performing amongst the best in the world. On the 2003 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) administered by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Alberta students shared the highest scores in the world in reading, ranked second overall in mathematics and third in sciences. Alberta is the only province whose average scores are significantly higher than the Canadian average in every area tested.
With teaching methods that emphasize intensive studies and critical thinking, an Alberta post-secondary education is a very concentrated, rewarding and valuable experience. Schools are excellently equipped and students have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technologies.
Albertans are charting exciting new courses in the fields of engineering, medicine, telecommunications, agriculture, and other emerging technologies. Nowhere is the Albertan commitment to exploring frontiers more apparent than in their education system.
Alberta's growing and prosperous economy provides students with an excellent environment to learn business administration expertise and practice their skills in a vibrant business community. A constantly broadening cultural landscape also makes Alberta a great place to study, as people from around the world come to explore the opportunities available there.
Why Study in Alberta?
First-Rate Education System
- Albertans place a great importance on learning, and have developed a first-rate education system with high standards.
Globally Recognized and Respected Credentials
- All programs of study in Alberta are of high quality and Alberta credentials are recognized and respected around the world.
Affordable and Prosperous
- Alberta has some of the lowest tuition fees in all of Canada.
- Alberta is the only debt-free province in Canada, has the lowest tax burden in the country and with no provincial sales tax, has a very low cost of living when compared to other Canadian provinces and territories.
- With one of the strongest economies in North America and the strongest and fastest growing economy in Canada, Alberta is prosperous and politically stable.
- Alberta's low unemployment rate and high employment growth rates make it an attractive option for many international students
Safe and Friendly
- Alberta is a peaceful, politically stable and safe province, with a multicultural and diverse population.
- International students arriving in Alberta to attend one of their institutions can expect to be warmly welcomed and taken care of
- Albertans enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery and enjoyable outdoor living in the world.
- The diverse landscape of Alberta ranges from the majestic Rocky Mountains , picturesque foothills, parkland and rolling prairies, to spectacular badlands and remote northern forests.
Flexibility and Choice
- In Alberta, the education system is very flexible, and once you attend an institution or begin a program, you are not locked into your institution or program.
- Alberta has 29 publicly funded post-secondary institutions spread out across the province.
To study in Canada, you need to apply for a study permit from your country. For more information about study permits, please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website at www.cic.gc.ca.
All international students are required to have complete medical insurance for the duration of their studies. Make sure to obtain and maintain appropriate health, travel and personal insurance. Please contact your chosen institution for more information.
- September to June for elementary, junior high school, and some high schools.
- 5-month semesters begin in September and February for other high schools.
- 4-month semesters typically begin in September and January for post-secondary institutions with some offering spring and summer sessions as well.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
- International students can study ESL for general, business or specific purposes.
- Most universities and colleges have ESL programs and there are many private ESL institutions that specifically concentrate on improving language skills.
Your institution is a good resource for finding somewhere to live. They can advise you on locations, renting, apartment listings and more. Some institutions also have a home stay registry for those who prefer to live with a host family. These institutions will help to find a home for you while you study. The host families all undergo rigorous safety and legal checks before they may be included in the home stay registries. Ongoing supervision of the host family will be made by the staff of your institution during your stay. Students who are under 18 are required to be under the care of a legal custodian.
FAQ for International Students
Q: Is there an application deadline?
A: Yes. There are application deadlines for all schools; however, application deadlines differ by school and program, so please check with your chosen institution for exact dates.
Q: How do I apply for a study permit?
A: Before you can apply for a study permit, you will need a letter of acceptance from your Alberta institution, as well as proof of your identity in the form of a passport, and proof of financial support such as a bank draft or scholarship documentation. Please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website at www.cic.gc.ca for more information about applying for a study permit.
Q: Can I/my child start school at anytime of the year?
A: Students may enter high schools or post-secondary institutions at the beginning of a semester. Semesters typically begin in September and February for high schools and September and January for post-secondary institutions. For most schools, elementary and junior high students may enter a program at any time, dependent upon space availability.
Q: Where can I find out more about the curriculums of Alberta schools?
A: Please visit http://www.studyinalberta.ca for information and details about the curriculums of Alberta schools.
Q: Am I required to live in Alberta while my child studies?
A: If your child is elementary-aged (i.e., 12 and under) you must live in Alberta while your child is a student here. If your child is in junior high or high school, you do not need to live in Alberta but you must appoint a custodian to take responsibility for your child while he/she is living in Alberta .
Q: Who can I choose as a custodian for my child?
A: A custodian must be at least 25 years of age and must be a Canadian citizen. Please use caution in choosing a custodian. The custodian should be someone who has the interests of your child in mind.
Q: What responsibilities does a custodian have?
A: The custodian acts as the parent to the child and takes on the same responsibilities that the parent would have.
Q: Is my child required to live with the custodian that I appoint?
A: No. As long as the custodian is available for your child 24 hours a day, the child can live elsewhere.
Q: Can I work while studying in Alberta ?
A: You may be able to work while you are studying in Alberta under certain situations. Some graduates from Alberta's post-secondary institutions are eligible to work for a period of up to two years. For more information, please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site, www.cic.gc.ca.
Q: How do I get my foreign credentials assessed?
A: Please visit International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) website, www.advancededucation.gov.ab.ca/iqas , for more information.
Q: Can I apply for scholarships?
A: Yes. Although there are few scholarships available for international students, there are some available for students entering into a post-secondary institution. Please contact your institution and visit the Alberta Learning Information Services website, www.alis.gov.ab.ca, for more information about the scholarships available for international student. You may also visit www.internationalscholarships.com for other scholarships available worldwide.
Q: What types of post-secondary programs are available for international students after graduating from high school?
A: Alberta's post-secondary institutions offer Degree, Applied Degree, University Transfer, Diploma, Certificate, Trades (Apprenticeships), and English as a Second Language programs to those who have graduated from high school.
Alberta Advanced Education and Technology
Alberta Learning Information Service
Canadian Education Centre ( Hong Kong Office)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Government of Alberta
For further information, please contact:
Alberta Government Hong Kong Office
Room 1004, Tower Two, Admiralty Centre
18 Harcourt Road
Tel : (852) 2528-4729
Fax : (852) 2529-8115
E-mail : email@example.com