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Foreign degrees in Canada

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  • Oct 2nd, 2017 10:40 am
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 13, 2016
786 posts
411 upvotes

Foreign degrees in Canada

I'm planning to do a Masters and I'm choosing between a Canadian one and an Irish one. They are both online but the Irish one is cheaper for me (quite a bit) and there is a 20% chance I could move back to Ireland in 4/5 years. They are of similar quality in my eyes. Is there any stigma around foreign degrees in Canada?

This is a field, where you need a portfolio and I will have one. There will also be consistency as my undergrad is also from ireland.
15 replies
Deal Guru
Oct 3, 2006
10406 posts
746 upvotes
Toronto
I think it depends. If it's a world renowned university like Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge, etc, then I don't think there's much stigma against them, despite being foreign.
Jr. Member
Aug 5, 2017
182 posts
89 upvotes
Aznsilvrboy wrote: I think it depends. If it's a world renowned university like Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge, etc, then I don't think there's much stigma against them, despite being foreign.
This is true for top schools in US/UK indeed.
In Europe, it's more complicated, you have INSEAD (MBA so need work experience), but that's it. If you're coming right out of school i think it's gonna be hard. I'd advise you to work in Ireland/UK preferably in a MNC for a bit and then make your transition to Canada.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 13, 2016
786 posts
411 upvotes
dante01 wrote: This is true for top schools in US/UK indeed.
In Europe, it's more complicated, you have INSEAD (MBA so need work experience), but that's it. If you're coming right out of school i think it's gonna be hard. I'd advise you to work in Ireland/UK preferably in a MNC for a bit and then make your transition to Canada.
I'm in Canada right now.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 13, 2016
786 posts
411 upvotes
Aznsilvrboy wrote: I think it depends. If it's a world renowned university like Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge, etc, then I don't think there's much stigma against them, despite being foreign.
I don't know if any Irish unis are world renowned.
Deal Addict
Jan 1, 2017
1495 posts
1350 upvotes
Did you say you are doing your Masters ONLINE? Is it a purely online university without an actual campus? If it is just an online university then it won't matter because your degree won't be worth much. If you are doing distance education course online for an university with an actual campus then it's a different story.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 13, 2016
786 posts
411 upvotes
ProductGuy wrote: Did you say you are doing your Masters ONLINE? Is it a purely online university without an actual campus? If it is just an online university then it won't matter because your degree won't be worth much. If you are doing distance education course online for an university with an actual campus then it's a different story.
yea, its from an actual college in Ireland, Cork Institute of Technology.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 13, 2016
786 posts
411 upvotes
dante01 wrote: Doing what ?
Freelance technical writing. It's going ok but I don't love it or even like it. I also started and will finish canada post training soon. I hope to keep that as I study and as a fallback. The thing I'm interested in pursuing is instructional design.

I have a difficult work history as I spent 10 years teaching in Korea with no intention of ever really leaving before I met my wife (who is Canadian) so I've had quite the shift over the last few years. I feel like instructional design ties into that somewhat.
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
676 posts
251 upvotes
jmomccxx wrote: yea, its from an actual college in Ireland, Cork Institute of Technology.
I think the issue you're likely to have anywhere outside Ireland is that no-one is going to know what an IoT is. Even within Ireland, the IoTs (while they're doing good work) aren't considered to be at the same standard as universities. Cork IoT is ranked 12 in Ireland and 2306 worldwide (http://www.webometrics.info/en/Europe/Ireland%20). Now, it's possible that your specific program may be more highly rated, and within Ireland it may be that employers think highly of it, but outside Ireland that's unlikely to make much difference. That said, get some good work experience in the field of your education and most employers aren't going to care where you studied.

One odd thing to be aware of, though, is the online nature of your program. I had a client once who completed an online MSc from the University of Liverpool in the UK. I know the UK higher education system very well. All degree programs go through external quality audits, and all work counting towards the qualification is subject to external examination. An online program has to meet exactly the same quality standards as an in-class program. Yet this client had his degree evaluated by a Canadian university for entrance into a PhD program and was told that because it was an online MSc it didn't meet their standards for a Masters degree.

Edit: I just noticed that you said you plan to study instructional design. If you want to work in that area in Canada, I think it would be better to have your education in that field in Canada. It's not the easiest area to find employment, so aside from wider recognition of your qualification, by studying in Canada you can build connections with your professors, who (if you're lucky) may have networks that could help you get employment.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 13, 2016
786 posts
411 upvotes
EmpCouns wrote: I think the issue you're likely to have anywhere outside Ireland is that no-one is going to know what an IoT is. Even within Ireland, the IoTs (while they're doing good work) aren't considered to be at the same standard as universities. Cork IoT is ranked 12 in Ireland and 2306 worldwide (http://www.webometrics.info/en/Europe/Ireland%20). Now, it's possible that your specific program may be more highly rated, and within Ireland it may be that employers think highly of it, but outside Ireland that's unlikely to make much difference. That said, get some good work experience in the field of your education and most employers aren't going to care where you studied.

One odd thing to be aware of, though, is the online nature of your program. I had a client once who completed an online MSc from the University of Liverpool in the UK. I know the UK higher education system very well. All degree programs go through external quality audits, and all work counting towards the qualification is subject to external examination. An online program has to meet exactly the same quality standards as an in-class program. Yet this client had his degree evaluated by a Canadian university for entrance into a PhD program and was told that because it was an online MSc it didn't meet their standards for a Masters degree.
Institute's of Technologies are basically technical colleges. That's what they used to be called, even. They are used in much the same way they are used in ontario. To get certs, diplomas, and often as stepping stones towards university (you can transfer to university programs from tech programs).

In this case, however it is a real MA. I don't see any reason why it would be evaluated as anything other than that. It has the correct amount of credits to be a masters under the european system. It's just unusual for techs to offers MAs.

It also seems in the case you mentioned that they didn't evaluate his degree. They screen online degrees out.
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
676 posts
251 upvotes
I know exactly what IoTs are - I am Irish and completed - and taught in - university in Ireland before working in the British university system and then immigrating to Canada. Yes, I know that IoTs are about the same as community colleges in Ontario, but my point isn't that the qualification wouldn't be 'a real MA', but that virtually no-one outside Ireland would know anything about Cork IoT and wouldn't therefore know how to judge the qualification. Yes, if you went to WES or ICAS and evaluated the MA, it should be assessed as equivalent to a Masters degree from a Canadian institute (Irish educational standards are the same or even higher), but that doesn't mean an employer in Canada would necessarily rate it because they won't have heard of the awarding body.

In the case I mentioned, yes: the university disregarded the online MSc without taking the time to understand what an online MSc from the UK means - that the content and quality is identical to an in-class MSc. And the degree was from the University of Liverpool, which is one of the top-ranked universities in the UK. So if an online qualification from a university of that standing can be considered worthless in Canada, how might an online qualification from an institute most people in Canada have ever heard of be viewed? Just something to think about.
jmomccxx wrote: Institute's of Technologies are basically technical colleges. That's what they used to be called, even. They are used in much the same way they are used in ontario. To get certs, diplomas, and often as stepping stones towards university (you can transfer to university programs from tech programs).

In this case, however it is a real MA. I don't see any reason why it would be evaluated as anything other than that. It has the correct amount of credits to be a masters under the european system. It's just unusual for techs to offers MAs.

It also seems in the case you mentioned that they didn't evaluate his degree. They screen online degrees out.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 13, 2016
786 posts
411 upvotes
EmpCouns wrote: I know exactly what IoTs are - I am Irish and completed - and taught in - university in Ireland before working in the British university system and then immigrating to Canada. Yes, I know that IoTs are about the same as community colleges in Ontario, but my point isn't that the qualification wouldn't be 'a real MA', but that virtually no-one outside Ireland would know anything about Cork IoT and wouldn't therefore know how to judge the qualification. Yes, if you went to WES or ICAS and evaluated the MA, it should be assessed as equivalent to a Masters degree from a Canadian institute (Irish educational standards are the same or even higher), but that doesn't mean an employer in Canada would necessarily rate it because they won't have heard of the awarding body.

In the case I mentioned, yes: the university disregarded the online MSc without taking the time to understand what an online MSc from the UK means - that the content and quality is identical to an in-class MSc. And the degree was from the University of Liverpool, which is one of the top-ranked universities in the UK. So if an online qualification from a university of that standing can be considered worthless in Canada, how might an online qualification from an institute most people in Canada have ever heard of be viewed? Just something to think about.
I don't really expect anyone from outside Ireland to have heard of any institution from there, except for maybe UCD or Trinity as mentioned above. I don't want to rule out programs that look good (in terms of what is taught in the program and the stress on portfolio over academics). Especially, in something so portfolio driven as Instructional Design. Also, one of the best Instructional Design masters in Canada is online, which should be known to employers. In saying that, of course you could be right and I value your opinion.

One thing is I can't study full time in a brick and mortar uni as I just don't have the money or inclination to stop working while I complete this.

I wasn't saying your example was a bad example by the way but I do wonder if the world of academia might be more stuffy than employers. I also feel really bad for your friend, as he basically got screwed by closeminded idiots who could have simply googled the university of liverpool.
Deal Addict
Oct 18, 2014
1971 posts
858 upvotes
HK
Go with the Canadian one, from Ivey or Queens.

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