Ministry of Advanced Education

Private Post-secondary Education

Private post-secondary institutions have a long history of offering educational programs in British Columbia. Recently, there have been changes to the way private institutions are regulated in the province. Under the Degree Authorization Act, which was brought into force in November 2003, private post-secondary institutions may now apply for ministerial consent to offer and advertise degree programs, grant degrees, and use the word "university" in the province.

A further development in the private post-secondary sector is the replacement of the Private Post-secondary Education Commission with the new Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA). The Private Career Training Institutions Act establishes the PCTIA as a self-regulating agency governed by a board composed of three Minister appointed public interest representatives and up to seven industry-elected members. The PCTIA is responsible for:

  • providing consumer protection to the students of registered institutions
  • establishing standards of quality that must be met by accredited institutions.

Private Institutions*
Private and out-of-province public institutions must be authorized to deliver degree programs under the Degree Authorization Act.  There are currently 19 private and out-of-province public institutions offering degree programs in B.C.

Private career training institutions are self-regulated under the Private Career Training Institutions Act. There are approximately 340 private career training institutions registered with the Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA) – a crown agency established by government . Private language training institutions can voluntarily register with PCTIA.

Presently there are 16 theological institutions established in British Columbia with statutory authority under a Private Act to grant theological degrees only. 

* Included under this section are non-B.C. public degree granting institutions as they are governed by the same legislation as private institutions in BC.

For more information about private post-secondary education in British Columbia, please visit the following web pages:

Degree Granting Authorization
This site provides information about the Degree Quality Assessment Board and the degree granting authorization process for public, private and out-of-province institutions that wish to offer degree programs in British Columbia.

Non-Degree Granting Private Institutions
This site provides information about the Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA), private career training institutions, and private institutions providing language programming such as English as a second language (ESL).

Being an Informed Student:
Information for prospective students of Private Institutions

This site provides information to help prospective students to find the programs and institutions that best suit their educational goals.