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Understand Quebec's educational system

HEC Montréal is a world-renowned business school, a fact attested to by the schools’ three international accreditations, considered the world’s most prestigious acknowledgments.

In North America, universities are the only establishments where graduate studies can be pursued; “Grandes Écoles” per se do not exist. North American universities are renowned for the quality of the education they dispense, and they are considered prestigious institutions. In this university framework, HEC Montréal is affiliated with Université de Montréal. Although HEC Montréal functions independently from Université de Montréal, the two share a certain number of resources. HEC Montréal therefore enjoys both the prestige of a North American university and the independence of a European “Grande École.”

To understand equivalences of degrees, it helps to examine Quebec’s entire educational system.

Elementary (primary) school lasts six years; high school lasts five years. Pre-university, or collegial, studies last two years and lead to a diploma of collegial studies (DCS), which is a prerequisite for university admission.

As a result, students can attend university after completing 13 years of schooling, usually at 19 years of age. The most demanding programs are subject to strict admission criteria.

Undergraduate studies, which lead to a Bachelor’s degree, last four years.

HEC Montréal’s Certificate program lead to the issuance of an undergraduate degree. Offered in French and designed for part-time studies, each certificate must be completed within no more than four years.

The first level of graduate studies is the Master’s program, which last two years with a master's thesis or a supervised project, is geared toward research and is often completed in preparation for a Ph.D. program.

The D.E.S.S. (Diplôme d’études supérieurs spécialisées) is a graduate diploma with a professional orientation.

The second level of graduate studies is the Doctorate (Ph.D.), which is a three-year, research-oriented program.

Despite bearing some resemblance to the European LMD system, Quebec’s university degrees do not quite correspond to the continental License, Master’s or Doctorate degrees.

HEC Montréal’s B.B.A. (a North American Bachelor’s degree) is equivalent to the training provided by the European “Grande École” system as far as the level of excellence and preparation for professional life are concerned. The degree is recognized as such by employers. Students wishing to continue their studies in Europe can generally be admitted into the last year of the Master’s degree (M2).

HEC Montréal’s Master’s (M.Sc.) degree is a highly specialized, theoretically oriented program that constitutes a solid introduction to research and often leads to Ph.D. studies.

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