Calendar, levels and length of studies

Levels of study


A level of study is a segment of university courses and programs that lead to obtaining a diploma. The Québec university system is divided into three levels of study that include the following types of programs:

  • 1st level (undergraduate): Bachelor, Certificate and Short Program
  • 2nd level (graduate): Master, Specialized Graduate Program (DESS) and Short Program
  • 3rd level (post-graduate): Doctorate

2nd and 3rd level programs are also referred to as graduate and post-graduate programs.


In Québec, a degree is a title that is conferred by a university and attested by a diploma. The degrees that are available are Bachelor, Master and Philosophiae Doctor (PhD or Doctorate). Certain diplomas (e.g.: Certificate, DESS, Short Program) do not result in earning a degree.

Bachelor of Engineering degrees earned at ÉTS are accredited by Engineers Canada, which recognizes them as being substantially equivalent to engineering training in France, as accredited by the Commission des titres d’ingénieurs (CTI).

It is worth noting that in North America, a Master degree is superior to an Engineer diploma.

Important information for international students

The Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ – Québec Acceptance Certificate) is issued for a specific level of study. If you change your study level (e.g.: from Bachelor to Master or from Master to Doctorate), you must request a new CAQ, even if the old one is still valid. For more detailed information, please consult the Immigration and official documents page.

Study regime


The study regime is the pace of a student’s academic progress within a program, namely full-time or part-time. Some programs are only offered on a full-time basis, including Master's with thesis (M.Sc.A) and Doctorate (PhD) programs, while others are only offered on a part-time basis (Short Programs and most Certificate programs).

Full-time studies require registration as follows:

  • Undergraduate level: Minimum of 12 credits per term
  • Graduate and post-graduate levels: Minimum of 9 credits* per term


All co-op work terms in undergraduate or Master's with project (M.Eng.) programs are considered to be full-time studies.

* Full-time status can be maintained with less than 9 credits if the student is registered for “ACTIVIT” or “REDACT” at the end of the program, or is registered for an extension session. Visit the Registration for graduate programs page or communicate with the contact person for your program for more information.

Important information for international students

In accordance with immigration regulations, international students in Quebec must make their studies their principle activity. This means registering on a full-time basis during each regular session of their program (with the exception of their final session) and succeeding in their studies. For more detailed information, please consult the study permit conditions page of the Immigration Canada website.

Lenght of studies


The length of studies can vary depending on the program and other factors such as the number of credits taken each session, vacation, failed courses, etc.  

Normal length of studies for each program:

  • Bachelor: 4 years (12 sessions)
  • Certificate: 8 to 12 months (2 or 3 sessions)
  • DESS: 12 to 16 months (3 or 4 sessions)
  • Master: 2 years (6 sessions)
  • Doctorate: 4 years (12 sessions)

Find more information concerning the length of studies in the Graduate Studies Hub section.


If a student takes longer than expected to complete their program at the graduate level, they must submit a request for extending their studies.

Important information for international students

Students sometimes complete their program more quickly than expected. Please note that your immigration documents are issued in accordance with the typical length of your program, based on what is indicated in your admissions letter. The same is true of the validity of a post-graduation work permit.

If your immigration documents are going to expire prior to having completed your program, you must renew them ahead of time from inside Canada. Please refer to the procedure indicated on the Immigration – During your studies page.

International students in the Master's with thesis and PhD programs must have valid immigration documents (CAQ and study permit) through their final submission.

Academic calender


An academic year covers a period of 12 months. At ÉTS, the academic year includes 3 regular sessions lasting 4 months (15 weeks) each:

  • Fall session: September to December
  • Winter session: January to April
  • Summer session: May to August

Consult the ÉTS Academic Calendar to see the important dates for each session.


The majority of students begin their study program in the Fall session, but it is possible to begin your studies in the Winter or Summer sessions, with the exception of Bachelor programs, for which there is no Summer admission.

Continuous registration is not mandatory for all programs, but many students use Summer sessions to complete co-op work terms or intervention projects (Please note that the Master's with thesis and PhD programs do not include co-op work terms).

In Master's with thesis and Doctorate programs, continuous full-time registration is mandatory (see Section 4.4.1 of the Règlement des études aux cycles supérieurs) – Regulation respecting graduate studies). If you wish to take a break from your studies, you must obtain an Autorization for leave of absence in advance.

The last two weeks of each session are reserved for exams. The final schedule for exams is posted during the session. Therefore, it is important to not make any plans before the official date of the end of the session.

Important information for international students

Unlike the system in France, there is no make-up period at the end of a session.

Not studying during the summer almost automatically results in exceeding the expected period for completing your program. If necessary, you will be required to extend the period of validity of your immigration documents. The procedure is indicated on the Immigration – During your studies page.