Study Options

There are many options for students seeking to study abroad. All countries follow the same basic structure, although the specifics may change between countries and institutions, such as the names or durations of qualifications, or the type of institution.

Most countries have the following levels of study which students can choose between:

  • Certificate: a qualification awarded upon successful completion of a program which is usually one year in length.
  • Diplomas/Advanced Diploma: indicate broad knowledge and skills for paraprofessional or highly skilled work and/or further learning. These usually take two to three years to complete.
  • Bachelor’s degree: the standard university qualification recognized worldwide. Graduates at this level will have advanced theoretical and technical knowledge and cognitive, technical, and communication skills for professional or highly skilled work and/or further learning. Most courses require a minimum of four years to complete.
  • Post Graduate Diplomas / Certificates: Similar to a Master’s, these postgraduate courses are 8 - 12 months long and can be done along with a “Co-op Work Program” to provide students with practical experience along with theoretical studies. These are much shorter, cheaper, and easier to get accepted into than a Master’s
  • Master’s: Graduates at this level will have specialized knowledge and skills for research, and/or professional practice and/or further learning. A Master's degree usually requires two years of full-time study to complete. A master’s degree generally requires one to two years, depending on the institution and area of specialization.

These certifications and qualifications can be received through several different types of institutions. While the names and differences between the institutions may vary slightly, they all follow the same basic structure and function.


Universities are the most common way of achieving a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate (Ph.D.) degree. These institutions are generally the most academically demanding and rewarding educational institutions in every country. Whilst some countries have distinctions between public and private universities, in terms of varying levels of prestige, quality, etc. in general they are the same.

Colleges & Private Institutions: these are similar to universities, but generally offer more basic certifications, although some can offer almost the exact same as universities. They can also offer certifications lower than degrees, such as diplomas and certificates, as well as language classes.

Technical Colleges, Vocational Institutions, and Polytechnics: these institutions focus more on training students in practical and vocational education, helping them get the skills in order to do more “hands-on” work. Students receive diplomas and certificates and can often find pathways straight into university once they complete their studies, fast-tracking them into a career they want!

To find out more about each country’s specific institutions, please see the relevant destination’s page.