International students choose Canadian polytechnic institutions for a variety of in-demand, career-oriented professional programs. Most international students on our campuses are enrolled in our Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree programs, and as well as the growing number of graduate certificates available for those with a prior post-secondary credential. Our graduate programs give international degree holders practical hands-on skills, as well as Canadian work experience

Quick facts:

  • In 2015-16, over 46,200 international students attended one of  member institutions, and these enrollment numbers are growing fast.
  • All of our members report a significant number of students from China, India and South Korea. Other top source countries include: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Mexico, Nigeria and the USA.

In-demand programs

Polytechnic education is attractive for international students who seek to launch their careers in high-demand professions. The following list highlights the types of in-demand programs international students pursue at our member institutions:

Algonquin: Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technician-Robotics Diploma 

BCIT: Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Diploma

Conestoga: Mobile Solutions Development Graduate Certificate

Fanshawe: Practical Elements of Mechanical Engineering (PEME) Graduate Certificate 

George Brown: Hotel Management Diploma

Humber: Global Business Management Graduate Certificate

NAIT: Petroleum Engineering Technology Diploma

Red River College: Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic One-year Certificate

SAIT: Civil Engineering Technology Diploma

Saskatchewan Polytechnic: Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing

Seneca: Social Media Graduate Certificate

Sheridan: Bachelor of Animation

International Partnerships, Development, and Agreements

Polytechnics Canada members are leaders in international partnerships, development, and agreements. The following is a selection of the hundreds of active international linkages forged by our members, highlighting the depth and breadth of international links and collaboration:


Algonquin College Kuwait opened its doors in fall 2015 with an estimated 300 students enrolled in the English and Academic Foundations program. Over the next two years, additional programming will be added in business, computer programming and computer systems. The project will help the College achieve its vision of becoming a global leader in the delivery of digitally connected applied education and training. At the same time, Algonquin College - Kuwait will give its enrolled students the opportunity to attain Algonquin credentials for a world-class education.

Algonquin College Jazan (Saudi Arabia) is entering its third year of operation with an estimated 1000 students enrolled various programming, such as Electrical Engineering  Technician (2 years) and Mechanical Technician-Industrial Millwright (2 years). Algonquin College Jazan continues to diversify its programming to meet the needs the of the Jazan community with a particular focus on the construction industry.


BCIT’s international program was first developed in 2001 to build and enhance the capacity of the partner institutes that deliver sustainable and high quality education. It was designed under a unique education model that provides a BCIT international credential in a technology or vocational program, accompanied by a credential from the foreign partner institution where the program is delivered.  The dual credential program features integrated curricula from both institutions, that focuses on applied skills, incorporates competency based methodology, and support the economic development of the emerging countries.

Through implementation of the programs, partner institutes are able to build on their international programming experience with BCIT to establish themselves as leaders in post-secondary education in their countries. It also provides needed solutions to meet the global challenges for high skilled, job ready graduates. Since the inception of the program, approximately 5,000 students enrolled in 21 international programs delivered in Brazil, China, South Korea and Vietnam, with about 3,000 graduates successfully entering into their local labour market.


An agreement between Conestoga and the Continental Institute for International Studies (CIIS) will allow students from India to complete the final two years of study in Conestoga’s Electronics Engineering Technology - Telecommunications Systems program after an initial year of study in their home country. The three-year Electronics Engineering Technology - Telecommunications Advanced Diploma program provides students with the skills and knowledge to design, build, test and repair complex electronic equipment and systems. Graduates of the program are prepared for many roles in industry as a result of their in-depth understanding of electronics, particularly in such areas as digital signal processing and circuits operating at microwave frequencies.

A new partnership agreement between Conestoga and IT Carlow, one of Ireland’s leading institutes of technology, will provide business degree students at both institutions with opportunities to obtain dual credentials and gain international experience as part of their studies. Students who participate in the exchange program will spend one year of their program at the partner institution. Conestoga students will complete three years of study here, then complete their final year in Ireland. IT Carlow students will complete their third year of studies at Conestoga, then return to Ireland for their final year. Up to five students from each institution can participate each year. Those who successfully complete the program will receive dual credentials, with business degrees conferred both by Conestoga and IT Carlow. The first student exchange will take place in Fall 2015.


On the global stage, Fanshawe College is recognized through the I-Graduate International Student Barometer (ISB) survey, as ranking among the world’s education leaders for student satisfaction. According to the 2016 ISB results, Fanshawe is second in the world for student satisfaction within its overall learning experience. 
Through a demonstrated commitment to student satisfaction and graduate employment, the College offers more than 200 post-secondary certificate, diploma, graduate and bachelor degree programs at six campuses in southwestern Ontario. Its diverse, international student population of 4,000+ full-time students includes representation from more than 75 countries. And, through worldwide collaboration, Fanshawe has 29 academic exchange agreements with post-secondary institutions in 16 countries across Europe, Asia, South America and the Caribbean. 
Depending on their programs, students may also have an opportunity to participate in field study programs abroad in Brazil, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica and India. Fanshawe also has International Education Advisors living or travelling to other parts of the world, including China, India, Korea, Russia, Vietnam, Turkey, Philippines, Jamaica, and beyond. And, the College supports 600+ pathways involving 70 partners across 10 countries. This significant and ever-expanding activity exemplifies Fanshawe’s strong reputation within the international community. 

George Brown

George Brown College is committed to producing graduates who are prepared for the international workplace and faculty who advance an intercultural perspective. That’s why the College has built partnerships with institutions from around the world. For example, there is an inbound articulation for students from Manipal University, India, into George Brown’s Culinary Management Diploma.

In China, students from the Shanghai Institute of Tourism (SIT) can undertake an exchange semester at George Brown. In exchange, students from George Brown can complete field placements with SIT’s industry partners. Faculty exchanges also take place between George Brown and SIT.


Humber has developed several new international partnerships and collaborations in 2014/15. The partnerships focus on high-level academic exchanges and provide opportunities for student and faculty exchanges and research collaborations. Some of these new partnerships include Amsterdam School of Arts (The Netherlands), KEA-Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (Denmark), Umea University (Sweden) and University of Gloucestershire (UK).

The Sulawesi Economic Development Strategy Project (SEDS) is a project through Humber’s International Development Institute. In 2014, Humber sent 12 facilitators to Sulawesi, Indonesia to support partners in setting up business support centres to provide training, counselling, and consulting services to small and medium enterprises, as well as students’ business start-ups.


For more than 40 years, NAIT has successfully partnered with industries, businesses and governments in over 60 countries to train and develop a skilled workforce relevant to emerging economies’ needs.

This fall, NAIT is celebrating 15 years of working with the Cuban Government to provide essential trades training and certification to that country’s workforce. The Centro Nacional Para La Certificacion Industrial (CNCI, or the National Centre for Industrial Certification) opened in September 2000. Initially, CNCI offered electrical and instrumentation courses to about 80 students. Over the years, it expanded to offer certification to supervisors, welding inspectors and inspectors of high-risk equipment, including pressure vessels, boilers, valves and piping. These certifications meet internationally-recognized standards. In Cuba, post-secondary education has been concentrated in universities. But, with NAIT's assistance, CNCI has helped catalyze a vital shift, raising the profile and reputation of technical training. Overall, more than 16,400 students have graduated from CNCI over the last decade, with roughly 1,200 achieving international certification based on NAIT and Alberta curriculum.

Red River College

For the next 20 years, Red River College will be able to offer joint diplomas with the Shenyang Institute of Engineering (SIE) in China, one of RRC’s oldest international post-secondary partners. As part of the new agreement, RRC and SIE will offer joint diplomas in Electrical Engineering Technology, Power Engineering Technology, and Hospitality and Tourism Management, giving students and instructors from both institutions the opportunity to participate in exchanges and study abroad.

Red River College launched its first international pathway program in India last spring. The new initiative will allow students at the Xplora Design Skool (XDS) in Ahmedabad, India to receive an International Diploma in Digital Media Design. Students will take their first year of studies at XDS and will be granted direct admission to Red River College following the successful completion of Year One.


SAIT received an Alberta Export Award in 2014 for its efforts in developing and executing Workforce Nationalization training programs. SAIT's Workforce Nationalization training programs have been offered to oil and gas industries in many different countries, including Angola. Last year, 44 Chevron trainees arrived in Calgary from Angola for a 30-week training program. After graduation, Chevron employees began working on the Mafumeira Sul project located offshore from the African country. The project involves the design, fabrication, and installation of five new platform structures.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has reached a major milestone with its Skills for Employment Project in Ukraine with the publication of 14 new industry-driven business administration textbooks and new learning resources. With the guidance of seven Saskatchewan Polytechnic faculty members and external experts, business administration programs developed by the three partner schools are building and leveraging employer relationships to improve practical training and employability of students.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is also working in partnership with Colombia’s National Training Service (SENA) to revise and introduce new and relevant curriculum in the areas of prospecting, exploration and mining of gold and minerals. The project is transferring Canadian know-how and experience in development relevant training programs in Colombia for the mining sector and tailoring them to the needs of the participating communities in order to provide better services to those communities.


Seneca has a wide variety of international partnerships and has been very active in China for more than 20 years. At the moment, some of Seneca’s outstanding partner organizations are SIT (Shanghai Institute of Technology), Southern China University of Technology (SCUT) and Beijing Language and Culture University (BCLU).

Seneca has become increasingly active in India during the past few years with partnerships in the State of Gujarat and in the south of the country. With the College of Engineering in Pune and with the City of Markham, Seneca is developing innovative activities in entrepreneurship for products in the health sector. Seneca is developing new partnerships in the Russian speaking countries as well as in the Arabic region.


Sheridan has seen a two-year increase of close to 100% in its international student population. In Fall 2015, Sheridan expects over 2000 international students, an increase of over 600 new students from September 2014. Pre-departure orientations for students were expanded in 2014 to include six cities in India (Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Jalandhar) and China (Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen). 

In July 2015, Sheridan International launched a mobile app called iCent designed to assist students and their families with transition and orientation to Sheridan.  It was built by a company started by one of Sheridan’s former international students.  To date, over 2500 people have downloaded the app.


Polytechnics Canada International engagement

Polytechnics Canada actively supports and participates in activities related to:

All Polytechnics Canada members, as well as the association itself, carry the Imagine Education au/in Canada brand and approval.