Community colleges in British Columbia are government-regulated post-secondary institutions offering 1- to 2-year academic and pre-professional certificates, diplomas, 2-year associate's degrees and even 3- and 4-year specialized bachelor's degrees. Community colleges aim to make post-secondary education available to as many students as possible, and one school will often operate multiple campuses in different regions. Across all of Canada, more than 150 community colleges operate over 900 campuses.
Community colleges in British Columbia may also be called institutes, institutes of technology, technical colleges, regional colleges, university colleges or simply colleges. They aren't just lesser versions of universities, though; community colleges fill a unique niche in the province's education system, combining high quality, comprehensive academics with employer-centred programs, industry connections and internship opportunities.
So what can you study at a community college in British Columbia? Community colleges offer academic courses in the arts and sciences as well as specialized career and language training. The college itself may be a general education school offering a variety of programs in different fields (such as health, business, technology, trades, academic upgrading, applied and creative arts, social services, hospitality, and university preparation), or it may be a single field-, industry-specific college (for example, college of forestry, college of art and design, college of justice and public safety). Community colleges may also be faith-based, offering specialized Christian programs in leadership, ministry and theology.
Compared to universities, community colleges in British Columbia have smaller classes, more options for off-campus courses, a greater ratio of laboratory space to classroom space, more interactive teaching, more co-op and practicum opportunities and more inclusive admissions requirements. Many community colleges have university transfer agreements, so you can transfer your credits toward a university degree program.
Use the links in the menu on the right to read more about preparing for, choosing, and applying to community college in British Columbia. We've also provided information on scholarships for international students, community college accreditation, going from community college to university in British Columbia, plus a section of stats on the largest community colleges in British Columbia and answers to some common questions about community colleges. Profiles of featured community colleges will tell you still more specific details about individual schools. Curious about community colleges in British Columbia? Start here!