Provincial Program Standards and Program Descriptions

Provincial program standards and program descriptions are an essential point of reference in the development of new programs and the modification of existing programs.

Provincial Program Standards

Program standards are developed and reviewed through extensive province-wide consultation as part of the Ministry’s commitment to ensure they remain appropriate and relevant to student and employer needs.

Each program standard includes the following elements:

  • Vocational Learning Outcomes (the vocationally specific learning outcomes which apply to a program)
  • Essential Employability Skills (the essential employability skills learning outcomes which apply to all programs)
  • General Education Requirement (the requirement for general education in postsecondary programs)

Collectively, these elements outline the essential skills, knowledge and attitudes that a student must reliably demonstrate in order to graduate from a program.

When a college chooses to deliver a program for which a provincial program standard exists, the program must meet all requirements of the program standard, including the program title. The vocational learning outcomes specified in the program standard have to be adopted word for word.

Individual colleges are able to highlight a program specialization identifying the uniqueness of that program by using a title modifier connected to the title specified in the program standard. This is indicated through a dash, showcased as "Program Title – ​Modifier". The title modifier along with vocational learning outcomes supporting the modifier can be added for the program following validation by the Credentials Validation Service (CVS).

Updates to program standards are communicated by the Ministry to the colleges delivering the program, along with the timelines for implementation and notification of implementation response. A program standard update can include a program title update, in which instance colleges have to adopt the new title; colleges may also add a title modifier along with pertaining vocational learning outcomes following revalidation by CVS.

More details on Provincial Program Standards


Program Descriptions

In instances where a program standard is not in existence, programs can be developed based on a program description.

Program descriptions allow for more flexibility around the vocational learning outcomes component while keeping within the guidelines of the program description. When using a program description, developing and updating vocational learning outcomes takes place in consultation with the Credentials Validation Service.

Please contact the Academic Quality team at academic.quality [at] (subject: Academic%20Quality%20Inquiry) if you have any questions or require information on the usage of program descriptions.


Academic Quality Standards, Policies, and Procedures Resources


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