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Canadian postsecondary enrolments and graduates, 2014/2015

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Released: 2016-11-23

Enrolments in Canadian public postsecondary institutions (colleges and universities) totalled more than 2 million in the 2014/2015 academic year, edging up 0.3% from the previous year.

Slight increase in college and university enrolments

Enrolments in Canadian public colleges and universities totalled 2,054,943 in 2014/2015, up slightly compared with 2,048,343 in the previous academic year. Enrolments rose in four provinces and two territories, led by Ontario (+8,358) and Quebec (+6,600). Decreases in British Columbia, Alberta and New Brunswick moderated the national increase.

International student enrolments rose 11.4% in 2014/2015 and accounted for over 10% of total enrolments. The majority of international students attended postsecondary institutions in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. China was the main country of citizenship, accounting for 3 in 10 (30.4%) international postsecondary students in Canada. India ranked second (8.9%) followed by France (8.1%).

About 6 in 10 enrolments in Canadian postsecondary institutions in 2014/2015 were in programs at the bachelor level or above at universities and degree granting colleges. More than 80% of this group were in undergraduate programs.

About 2 in 10 enrolments were in career, technical or professional training programs. These programs accounted for over 60% of college enrolments.

Women accounted for 56.3% of total enrolments in 2014/2015. They represented over half of the enrolments in most fields of study with the exceptions of personal, protective and transportation services (43.6%), mathematics, computer and information sciences (25.5%) and architecture, engineering and related technologies (19.5%). In 2014/2015, the top field of study for women was business, management and public administration.

For the second consecutive academic year, the largest increase in the number of enrolments for 2014/2015 was in the field of architecture, engineering and related technologies (+9,810). This was also the top field of study for men in 2014/2015, replacing business, management and public administration, which had been the most popular field of study for men for 11 years.

Number of postsecondary graduates continues to rise

In 2014, 515,865 students received a credential such as a certificate, diploma or degree from a public postsecondary institution, up 3.2% from a year earlier. There has been an upward trend in the number of graduates from 2000 to 2014.

Almost half of these graduates had successfully completed a program at the bachelor level or above, as 37.0% received a bachelor's degree, 9.3% graduated with a master's degree and 1.4% obtained a doctorate.

The number of students with a career, technical or professional training diploma increased significantly over the past 15 years. These students accounted for 18.3% of all graduates in 2014, compared with 10.8% in 2000.

Women represented 57.7% of graduates. As with enrolments, female graduates are outnumbering their male counterparts in every province and territory. Female graduates accounted for more than half the graduates at the bachelor and master levels, but represented a slightly smaller proportion (45.2%) of all graduates in doctoral programs.

Over half of the college and university graduates received their qualification in one of the following three fields of study in 2014, business, management and public administration (21.9%), social and behavioural sciences, and law (14.8%) and health and related fields (14.5%).

Women represented the vast majority of graduates in health and related fields (78.3%), education (77.4%) and social and behavioural sciences and law (70.4%). Men, in turn, accounted for the vast majority in architecture, engineering and related technologies (83.0%) and mathematics, computer and information sciences (71.2%).

  Note to readers

Canadian postsecondary institution enrolment data for 2014/2015 and graduate data for 2014 are obtained from public colleges and universities using information from the Postsecondary Student Information System. The count excludes students enrolled in apprenticeship programs. Enrolment and graduate counts for certain institutions are preliminary or are based on estimates.

The data are subject to annual revisions. These revisions are applied to include new data submissions, any updates to classification and changes in concepts.

The levels of enrolment presented are not meant to represent a complete enumeration of all students at postsecondary institutions during the 2014/2015 academic year. Rather, they are based on students enrolled in postsecondary institutions at the time of the fall snapshot date; that is, a single date chosen by the institution that falls between September 30 and December 1. Therefore, students who are not enrolled during this period are excluded. This has a greater impact on colleges as they have a continuous intake of students and offer shorter programs.

Enrolments are based on program counts and not on student counts. If a student is enrolled in more than one program as of the snapshot date, then all of their programs are included in the count.

Graduate data are published based on the calendar year.

It should be noted that some programs at the bachelor level and above can be offered in colleges.


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

Contact information

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