Why Do I Have To Get My Educational Credentials Recognized?

“Does my degree from Beijing University count as a degree from the University of Toronto?”
“Do the courses I took at Delhi University mean anything at a university in Canada?”

If you are applying to a Canadian college or university, you will most likely have to get your academic credentials assessed because Canadian institutions don't always recognize international credentials. Getting your credentials recognized means that someone at your potential college, university, or someone from a professional organization will look at your academic credentials and determine whether or not there is a Canadian equivalent. In some cases, some or all of your credentials will be recognized meaning that you will not have to repeat similar courses or re-do another year; however, in cases where your credentials are not recognized you will be asked to complete a Canadian equivalent.

What exactly are “academic credentials”?

Examples of “academic credentials”, which can be completed or partially-completed, are:

  • Secondary (High) school diploma;
  • College diploma;
  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • Master’s degree;
  • PhD or Doctorate degree;
  • Professional school degree (for example, for law, medicine, teaching)

      As a newcomer to Canada, your credentials refer to the academic education you have received before coming to Canada. If you went to school (for example high school, college or university) outside of Canada, your credentials are often called “international credentials” or “foreign credentials”.

      What is the first step I should take to get my credentials recognized?

      The first thing you should do is to visit the college or university website and/or contact them directly through their Office of Admissions. This way, you can find out their specific requirements as each college and university sets its own criteria for recognizing academic credentials and qualifications. They will be able to tell what you need to do. Some questions you may want to ask are:

      • Do you evaluate my credentials, or do I need an evaluation from another organization?
      • If you do the evaluation, is there a fee?
      • What types of documentation do you require? (transcripts, diplomas, letters)
      • Does the former school have to send you the documents directly? Or can I give you the documents?
      • Can I submit photocopies or do they have to be originals?
      • Do the documents need to be translated into English? If so, what are the school's guidelines for choosing a translator?
      • If I need an evaluation from another organization, which organizations do you accept?

      Some colleges or universities may evaluate your credentials themselves or they may ask you to use a credential evaluation service. They may also ask you to get your credentials translated, if they are not in English or French. For information on these services, go to Where can I get my international credentials evaluated for education?

      You may also want to look:

      “Help! I went to High School outside of Canada”: Find out how to verify and translate your documents, and take a TOEFL test , if you need to.