Ontario government approves new three-year degrees at colleges

Northern College News and Events

TIMMINS, ON: Northern College is pleased to share that the Ontario government’s announcement today that colleges can develop new three-year degree programs is a historic breakthrough that ensures more students will acquire the professional expertise to succeed in their careers.

“This groundbreaking announcement elevates Ontario’s post-secondary system on the world stage,” stated Linda Franklin, the President and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “It will open up a much greater range of career options for graduates and drive economic growth through a more highly qualified workforce.”

The announcement was made today by Colleges and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop at an event at Conestoga College in Kitchener.

The minister announced colleges can begin developing new three-year degree programs alongside their diploma programs and can expand their range of career-focused four-year degree programs.

“Expanding the degree programs at colleges ensures more students will have access to high-quality, career-focused programs,” Minister Dunlop said. “More students will acquire the expertise and credentials to succeed in today’s job market.”

Currently, most of the programs offered at colleges are diploma programs, prior to today’s announcement, colleges were only authorized to award degrees to graduates of their career-focused four-year programs.

This announcement recognizes the success of the colleges’ degree programs and brings true equity to Ontario’s post-secondary system. It ensures every student whose education fulfils Ontario’s degree-level requirements is awarded a degree upon graduation.

Expanding the degree programs at colleges will fulfil the growing demand among employers for graduates with more highly specialized qualifications. This will be particularly important in sectors like the electric-vehicle industry that are advancing the transition to a cleaner economy.

Currently, the only degree program offered at Northern College is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, made possible through an agreement with Laurentian University. The BScN program has been a source of great success, with Northern grads boasting the highest the provincial pass rate for the entry to exam in the province.

This announcement will change that, with Northern already laying the foundation to offer a degree in Welding Engineering. Other areas for degree development will be developed in conjunction with the labor force needs of industry in our region.

This expansion of the colleges’ degree programs also opens the door to more career options for graduates, especially graduates who are looking to advance into management positions.

As well, this benefits companies that promote themselves and their workforce internationally, as most jurisdictions outside Ontario aren’t familiar with the diploma credential.

“Degree holders enjoy more opportunities in our global manufacturing world,” said Guido Benvenuto, the vice president of engineering at Flex-N-Gate, a supplier to the global automotive sector. “This will make a significant difference in our sector.”

“The expansion of the degree programs at colleges will be a tremendous benefit to students, employers and the strength of our province,” stated Dr. Audrey J. Penner, Northern College President & CEO. “Minister Dunlop’s historic announcement today marks a major improvement to higher education in Ontario that will help power Ontario’s economic renewal. We are very pleased with the support we received from our industry partners during this process. It is a well-recognized need.”