Academic Terms in Canadian Universities/Colleges

May 1, 2018 · 2 min read
Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

New international students are often confused about the way that academic terms are structured in Canada. Many of them get anxious during their first year on whether to enrol or drop courses for shoulder terms like spring and summer, because the practises abroad are usually different! Furthermore, it doesn’t help that the exact start date, orientation week, required arrival dates differ across institutions and provinces. Here is a general overview:

Most universities and colleges in Canada follow the semester system in which an academic year is divided into

Fall Term: usually September to December

Winter Term: usually January to April

Spring/Summer break: usually May to August, with short optional spring and/or summer classes in between

Students in universities or colleges that follow this system do not need to drop classes or apply for deferment in the spring/summer break, because you are considered on break by default. Often, limited spring and summer classes are offered for students who want to take them.

Exceptions to this system are

  1. Institutions with big Co-op programs like University of Waterloo and Simon Fraser University

To suit their co-op students, who work throughout the year and need flexibility in the summer, these universities offer full terms (which means regular class offerings) during summer.

2. Université du Quebec system

Most francophone universities in Quebec use the trimester system with three distinct terms of 15 weeks.

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Studies economics part-time, everything else full time. Likes annoying questions.



Zept - for prospective international students and the schools they wish to attend

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