Going from community college to university in Canada is a great way for international students to experience the quality and flexibility of the Canadian education system. Many students begin their post-secondary studies at one college or university and complete them at another. In the province of Quebec, this is built into the system, where students attend 2 years of CEGEP and earn a CEGEP diploma before applying to university.
Community college programs can lead to a degree or other credential, but can also be stepping-stones into universities. A community college will usually have what's called an "articulation agreement" with certain universities. Articulation agreements mean the university agrees to recognize the community college's courses as credit towards a university degree. Therefore, you can transfer your credits from a community college to an agreeing university. Often, agreements are between institutions in the same province or region; however, you can also transfer credit to a university in another province, since there are pan-Canadian transfer protocols.
Many community colleges have specifically designated university transfer programs (sometimes called simply UT), in which students can take up to two years of their degree program and then transfer to another institution. Courses can be transferred individually, as a block (related by subject area) or as a program. Common areas of study for university transfer are: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Credits earned in a certificate, diploma or 2-year associate's degree program are also often transferable towards a 3- or 4-year university program. Each institution, and each program, has its own admission requirements and international students should make themselves aware of the requirements of the institution of their choice. There may be a minimum and maximum number of credits students are allowed to transfer, and a minimum grade may also be required for transfer eligibility. Transfer policies and guidelines may also differ for specific specialized programs (like engineering, nursing or biological sciences) and from province to province, so be sure to do your research!
It is important to note that completion of a university transfer program does not guarantee admission to university degree programs. You must still meet all the admission requirements of the university, and certain university programs have limited enrollment. Transfer credit is generally assessed on an individual basis once a student applies to the university. The university Registrar or Admissions Office can provide information on having your transfer credit assessed.