Why choose Alberta?
Alberta's high standard of living, diverse and welcoming communities, and beautiful landscapes make it a great place to visit and call home.
More than 2,000 international students attend schools in Alberta each year. Arriving from over 70 different countries, these students attend classes alongside local Alberta students. There are approximately 672,000 Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Alberta.
- in-school support networks for international students, such as orientations international clubs
- carefully chosen home-stays
One of Alberta government's top priorities is providing Alberta's students with a high quality education.
- education funding is the second highest expenditure, after health, and is seen as an investment, not cost
- Alberta students consistently score well on international tests such as:
- Alberta's High School diploma is recognized around the world
- standardized curriculum
- highly qualified, government-certified teachers
- modern schools and technology
Success for international students in Alberta:
- English as a Second Language (ESL) programming is available for all international students who need it
- individualized learning experiences and plans
- teachers and other school staff available for help
- schools in Alberta are well equipped for academic achievement
- schools in Alberta offer a wide variety of activities
Take the time to explore all that Alberta has to offer you. Visit Travel Alberta for more travel and tourism information.
Learn more about Alberta
School Authority regions of Alberta
Additional information for international students
How old do I have to be to study in Alberta?
In Alberta, most high school students are between 14 and 18 years old. Students must be less than 20 years old as of September 1 of the school year to study in an Alberta high school.
School authorities may accept younger students in elementary and junior high school.
Please contact school authorities for more information.
What courses can I take?
As an international student you will have three different types of classes:
1. Required classes
To graduate, all students must study the following subjects:
- English or French language arts
- Social studies
- Physical education
- Career and Life Management (CALM).
- Schools with religious affiliation may also require students to participate in religious or moral instruction
2. Optional classes
The availability of optional classes varies from school to school. Optional courses may include the following:
- Second languages
- Fine arts
- Home economics
- Personal and social skills training
- Vocational training
- Computer and technology studies
3. English as a Second Language (ESL) classes
Students who require English language support are generally enrolled in ESL classes, which helps students adjust to English as well as to the cultural values, customs and social expectations that they will encounter while in Alberta. ESL programs vary from school to school and from authority to authority.
Do I get to choose my classes or are they chosen for me?
School administrators will help you in making the best personal and educational choices. They will work with you to arrange your class schedule when you arrive at your school.
To determine which classes would be most appropriate, school administrators consider:
- your interests
- previous school records
- your age
- English language proficiency
Will I receive credit for courses taken in my home country?
School administrators will examine your transcripts. They will identify which courses can be credited in Alberta.
Do international students take the same classes as Canadian students?
Yes. Most of your classes, except for English as a Second Language (ESL), will be with Canadian students. Even in regular classes, teachers understand that you may be an English language learner.
How can I receive an Alberta High School diploma?
To get a basic High School diploma in Alberta you must accumulate 100 credits including the following:
English Language Arts – 30 Level (English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2)
Social Studies – 30 Level (Social Studies 30-1 or 30-2)
Mathematics – 20 Level (Mathematics 20-1, Mathematics 20-2 or Mathematics 20-3)
Science – 20 Level (Science 20, Science 24, Biology 20, Chemistry 20 or Physics 20)
Physical Education 10
Career and Life Management
10 credits in any combination from:
Career and Technology Studies (CTS) courses
Fine Arts courses
Second Languages courses
Physical Education 20 and/or 30
Knowledge and Employability courses
Registered Apprenticeship Program courses
locally developed/acquired and authorized courses in CTS, fine arts, second languages or Knowledge and Employability occupational courses
10 credits in any 30-level course (in addition to a 30-level English Language Arts and a 30-level social studies course as specified above)
30-level locally developed/acquired and authorized courses
Advanced level (3000 series) in Career and Technology Studies courses
30-level Work Experience courses
30-level Knowledge and Employability courses
30-level Registered Apprenticeship Program courses
30-level Green Certificate Specialization courses
Special Projects 30
For further details, please refer to Graduation requirements, credentials and credits.
How long does it take to get an Alberta High School diploma?
It depends on a variety of things, including your level of English when you arrive in Alberta and courses you took in your home country.
In most cases, if you require English as a Second Language (ESL) support, it could take you longer to get the Alberta High School diploma than for a Canadian-born student. Many students take at least four years.
Will an Alberta High School diploma help me get into a good university?
The Alberta High School diploma is a symbol of a high quality education. If you have an Alberta diploma and maintain a good academic standing, you will be able to apply to most post-secondary institutions in Canada and the United States.
If you receive 75% or higher in English 30-1, you will not be required to write the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam to enter Canadian post-secondary institutions.
What do I bring?
Start with any official documents you might need at the border, or when you arrive at your school to begin your studies. It's also important to plan for Alberta's weather.
Alberta has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter:
- Spring can be wet, with some warm days
- Summer is very hot with temperatures reaching 30°C
- Fall can be windy and chilly
- Winter is cold with temperatures reaching -30°C
If you are arriving in fall or winter, you might want to bring the following items:
- hat (in Canada, we call it a tuque)
- warm coat
- warm boots
- mittens or insulated gloves
If you need to buy any clothing items, it is best to wait until you arrive in Canada.
If I already graduated from high school in my home country, can I apply to study in an Alberta high school?
School authorities may accept a student who graduated from high school in his or her home country, and who is still less than 20 years old.
Contact the school authority for more information.
Connect with International Education Services:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]
Main Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard
10044 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 5E6
Was this page helpful?
You will NOT receive a reply on your feedback. Do NOT include personal information. To get answers to questions, use Alberta Connects.
Your submissions are monitored by our web team and are used to help improve the experience on Alberta.ca.