I want to apply for a PhD in Canada. The webpage of the university says that I have to submit "transcripts for all current and previous post-secondary study". Does that include high school transcripts?

  • 8
    Isn't "secondary" equivalent to "high school"? Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 21:36
  • 1
    @RobbieGoodwin No, secondary also includes grades 6 through 8. Grades 7 and 8 and sometimes 9 are junior high. Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 13:50
  • 2
    Education in Canada: Post-secondary. Research is a skill you will need to be successful in a PhD. Don't miss an opportunity to practice.
    – J...
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 16:30
  • Where do you live in Canada. In Quebec, high schools are obviously "secondary" (the grades are secondaire 1 through secondaire 5). My sister when to SomethingOrOther Secondary School when she was in high school near Toronto. Post Secondary always meant after high school everywhere I've lived (Quebec, Nova Scotia, Rhode Island and Texas)
    – Flydog57
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 2:34
  • @NicoleHamilton Thanks and "… secondary also includes grades 6 through 8. Grades 7 and 8… are junior high…" reads as clear as mud, here thickened by the unstated implication that "high school" means only "senior…" and not "junior high." Sorry to point this out, and your Answer below is equally dependant on prior knowledge, particularly in the strange claim that "Canada should be similar…" which, why? Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 21:09

3 Answers 3


No. Secondary refers to grades 7 through 12 in the US; Canada should be similar. It's called secondary because it comes after the primary grades K through 6. Junior high is usually grades 7 and 8. High school is typically grades 9 through 12, so post-secondary is after high school, meaning college and graduate school and any vocational or certification training.

  • 22
    Also trade schools, IT certification courses, etc. "Post-secondary education" covers more things than just university.
    – nick012000
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 6:43
  • 2
    Though I doubt that a school would be interested in most kinds of vocational or certification training. I certainly never had to submit a copy of my pilot's or commercial driver's licenses, for instance.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:26
  • 1
    @jamesqf Agree. But you might put them on your CV, where you can do whatever you like. I mention I've been an bicycle rider all my life and have a ham license I haven't used in years on mine. I don't think it ever got me a job but it might help readers get a better picture of who I am. Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 17:31
  • 2
    @user71659 That's very unlikely. Prior to the recent times it was actually much more common to finish your education with a sort of high school. And not just a general one like grammar schools/gymnasiums but also those oriented at acounting, agriculture, forestry and many other areas of economy. Then there was the very important vocational training. A MUCH more important section of education thatn it is now, And then unskilled workers who only had the elementary/primary school. University education was only available to a small part of the population. Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 10:17
  • 1
    @VladimirF I don't know about Europe, but in the rural US it was unusual to attend any sort of secondary school until the 20th century. Vocational training was primarily at home. Both high-school and post-secondary education were rare.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 21:42

No. Post secondary is undergraduate and beyond

  • 5
    It can be less than undergraduate as well. Quebec (a province in Canada (where the OP is asking about)) has a system of post-secondary colleges (CEGEPs) that provide either pre-university or technical diplomas. They are considered post-secondary institutions. US community colleges are similar (though they describe their diplomas as "Associate Degrees". I've never heard of either types of colleges referred to as undergraduate education
    – Flydog57
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 2:38

While your high school studies count as secondary study, if you did AP classes (especially if you used them towards your degree) or vocational classes that gave some kind of trade certificate (especially higher level ones) they are "post-secondary" even though you did them before finishing secondary study, so the university probably wants them officially documented.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .