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Canadian postsecondary enrolments and graduates, 2011/2012

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Released: 2013-11-27

Almost 2 million students were enrolled in Canadian postsecondary institutions during the academic year 2011/2012, a 1.9% increase from the previous year.

Canadian students made up 90.7% of the total enrolment of 1,996,200, while international students accounted for 9.3%. The proportion of international students increased one percentage point from a year earlier.

Enrolments rose in most provinces and all territories. In Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba, the number of students enrolled was lower, while in New Brunswick, it remained at the same level.

More than half (56.1%) of students attending a Canadian postsecondary institution in 2011/2012 were enrolled in programs at the bachelor level or above.

Women accounted for 56.0% of the national enrolment total compared with 43.1% for men. This ratio has remained constant over the past decade.

Enrolment increased in all fields of study except education, which decreased slightly. In 2011/2012, three fields of study accounted for nearly one-half of total enrolment: the humanities (18.3%); business, management and public administration (17.6%); and social and behavioural sciences and law (13.0%). These have been the top three fields of study for over a decade.


In 2011, about 461,520 students received a certificate, diploma or degree from a postsecondary institution, up 3.4% from the previous year.

Over half of postsecondary graduates (51.7%) had successfully completed a program at the bachelor level or above.

Female graduates represented 58.2% of the total, continuing a long trend in which female graduates have outnumbered their male counterparts.

In 2011, three fields of study accounted for about half of those receiving qualifications: business, management and public administration (21.8%); social and behavioural sciences and law (14.5%); and health, parks, recreation and fitness (14.0%).

Female graduates outnumbered men in every field of study except mathematics, computer and information sciences; architecture, engineering and related technologies; personal, protective and transportation services; and agriculture, natural resources and conservation.

  Note to readers

Canadian postsecondary institution enrolment data for 2011/2012 and graduate data for 2011 are obtained using information from the Postsecondary Student Information System. Enrolment and graduate counts for certain institutions are preliminary or based on estimates.

Levels of enrolment presented are not meant to represent a complete enumeration of students at postsecondary institutions during the academic year of 2011/2012. They are based on students enrolled in the postsecondary institutions at the time of the fall snapshot date, that is, a single date chosen by the institution which falls between September 30 and December 1. Therefore, students who are not enrolled during this time period are excluded. This has a greater impact on colleges as they have a continuous intake of students and shorter programs. It should also be noted that enrolments are based on program counts and not student counts. If a student is enrolled in more than one program as of the snapshot date, then all of his/her programs are included in the count. The count also excludes students enrolled in apprenticeship programs.

Data are subject to revision.

A data table is available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Summary tables.

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