Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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Atlantic Canada's Education and Training Sector

A Clear Choice

Atlantic Canada is known for its natural beauty, friendly people, quality of life, and a low cost of living that is envied around the world. The region also boasts a high quality education system specializing in a wide variety of undergraduate, graduate, and off-shore programming, with education and training available in French or English. This makes Atlantic Canada a preferred education destination for Canadian and international students alike.


Atlantic Canada has been offering university education since 1785, longer than anywhere else in Canada. The Atlantic region is home to 17 universities in 25 communities with undergraduate, graduate and specialized programs, including a full range of programs in sciences, engineering, business, agricultural and veterinary sciences, liberal arts and ocean technologies. World-class academic programs, small class sizes, highly qualified faculty and affordable tuition rates make Atlantic Canadian universities a great choice for any student.

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Community Colleges

There is also a wide range of community and public colleges in all four Atlantic provinces. Each college's unique variety of programs focus on practical skills training and provide educational opportunities for everyone. The Atlantic region also boasts a great number of schools offering programs which specifically target the demands of the current job market.

Public Schools

Schools in Atlantic Canada, from kindergarten to grade 12, are publicly funded. Our region's schools are provincially accredited, and follow a standard curriculum consistent with other Canadian provinces. To ensure a high quality of education, public school teachers are all government certified, and our schools offer a variety of program choices.

Private Schools & Colleges

Atlantic Canada is also home to many private educational and training institutions, including boarding schools and several language schools. By customizing programming to meet the demands of global job markets, private schools have a lot to offer. A number of our private schools are focused on a specific type of student, such as children with learning disabilities, students of specific religions, or students who are interested in a specific curriculum.

What Atlantic Canada has to Offer

New Brunswick
  • New Brunswick is home to four public and three private chartered universities, two community colleges, three private colleges, several private schools and career colleges, and many English and French K-12 schools.
  • The province's two distinct community colleges, one in English and one in French, boast a combined total of 11 campuses. These community colleges offer over 80 different programs tailored to the needs of the current job market.
  • Welcoming students from over 100 different countries, New Brunswick has a diverse population of international students attending French and English institutions from K-12 through to colleges and universities.
Nova Scotia
  • Nova Scotia is home to 11 universities, 13 college campuses, and many English and French K-12 schools. Known as Canada's Education Province, Nova Scotia is recognized not only for its number of institutions but also for the wide variety of available program options.
  • Nova Scotia universities maintain low student/faculty ratios, guaranteeing students a personalized experience, which adds value to their studies.
  • With 13 campuses across the province, the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) welcomes over 25,000 students each year with over 110 program choices. The NSCC also offers off-shore curriculum delivery.
  • Students and faculty from over 120 countries come together to learn, teach and do research in Nova Scotia. Students are encouraged to undertake cooperative work terms, both in Nova Scotia and overseas, exchange programs, and even to participate in global research projects.
Prince Edward Island
  • Canada's smallest province is home to one public university, one private college, many English and French K-12 schools, and over 20 private training schools.
  • The University of Prince Edward Island has a growing reputation for academic excellence and research innovation, specializing in veterinarian and life sciences.
  • Holland College, which was founded in 1969, boasts 13 campuses across the province, and offers over 65 full-time programs. Holland College is also home to the Atlantic Police Academy, and the Culinary Institute of Canada, the top-ranked culinary school in Canada.
Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Newfoundland and Labrador is home to one university, one public college, many English and French K-12 schools, and at least 18 independent career colleges.
  • Memorial University, located on four campuses (three in Newfoundland and Labrador and one in Harlow, England) is known for its strengths in engineering, business, geology and medicine. It is also home to the Marine Institute, one of the world's leading ocean technology research and teaching institutions. With over 17,500 students, Memorial University is the largest university in Atlantic Canada.
  • The College of the North Atlantic, boasting 17 campuses across the province, welcomes over 20,000 students each year. It offers over 100 full-time programs, 300 part-time programs, and includes an Office of Applied Research.
  • The province's 18 career colleges offer training in trade, technologies and business programs to post secondary and corporate clients locally, nationally and internationally.
ET/FA (Education and Training/Formation Atlantic)
  • ET/FA is a consortium of stakeholders in the field of education, training and economic development within the Atlantic region. They act as an advisory group and clearing house for projects and ideas relating to the development of education and training as a service export in Atlantic Canada.

For more information, please contact:

Education Training/Formation Atlantic
Ava Czapalay, Co-Chair, ET/FA

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

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Catalogue number: AC5-15/2011E ISBN: 978-1-100-18743-3