College education and its programs

According to the education ministry, a college education program is an integrated group of learning activities that aims to attain educational objectives according to determined standards.

A recognized diploma?

Each program of study leads to a diploma of college studies (DEC – Diplôme d’études collégiales) issued by the Ministry or an attestation of college studies (AEC – Attestation d’études collégiales) issued by cégeps.

To better understand college education…

And better support your child, view the video about the influence of parents on their child’s college studies. (in French)

The programs, designed according to the rules of the Quebec College Education Regulations, permit students to acquire a general education and a specified education. Each component contains a certain number of credits related to theoretical courses, practical and personal work.

Since the 1994-1995 school year, for all programs leading to a DEC, general education is comprised of three components:

General education common to all programs

  • Language of instruction and literature.
  • Philosophy.
  • Physical education.
  • Second language.

General education specific to a chosen program of study

  • Language of instruction and literature.
  • Second language.
  • Philosophy.
  • Complementary general education.
  • Art and aesthetic.
  • Scientific and technological culture.
  • Mathematical and informational language.
  • Modern languages.
  • Contemporary issues.
  • Social science.

In addition to the components of general education, a college study program includes a specific component in the chosen program:

  • For a pre-university education program, the specific education component includes between 28 and 32 credits and generally lasts two years.
  • For a technical training program, the specific educational component is comprised of 45 to 65 credits and generally takes three years.

Quebec has 48 public colleges or cégeps. It also has private subsidized college institutions that, like cégeps, offer pre-university education and technical programs. View the list of public and private colleges.

The Quebec college network offers a group of educational programs that considers students’ earlier preparations, their career orientation and that leads them either to university or the labor market.

College instruction responds to the current needs of universities and the job market. It ensures a level of higher education while preserving the student’s versatility and the possibility of transitioning between the technical and pre-university education sectors.