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Humber offers a polytechnic style of learning. What's a polytechnic?

Here's the short version.

Being a polytechnic means that our programs are career-focused and responsive to changes in competitive global job markets. Humber professors bring a wealth of relevant industry experience to the classroom. Class sizes are small, and simulation labs and work placements bridge the gap between classroom and industry. We put theory into practice from day one, which is important because work-integrated learning means you will have experience working in your industry before you graduate! When you leave Humber you will be a professional, poised and ready to make your mark.

The Polytechnic Teaching Model

Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning subscribes to the polytechnic model of education.

The polytechnic model of education is made up of four tenets: technology related education, experiential teaching methods evaluated on competency based outcomes, strong ties with industry, and applied research that aim to solve problems faced by industry and provide students with work integrated learning (WIL).

Humber’s programs are skills-intensive and technology-based. The most prominent differentiators between our programs when compared with universities, is how employment-connected our credentials are. To fulfil our mandate to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development as a conduit for meeting emerging labour market needs our programs undergo annual consultations with a Program Advisory Committee (PAC), whose purpose is to advise Humber on its programs’ curriculum. These annual consultations assure Humber students that their curriculum is regularly updated to reflect the developments in their industry and that they are gaining competency in the skills required for gainful employment.

Program Advisory Committee (PAC)

A Program Advisory Committee (PAC) meets at least twice annually to ensure all Humber programs are relevant and align with industry needs. Each PAC is voluntary and compromised of eight to 12 members external to the college (e.g. employers, graduates, business and industry leaders, representatives from professional and accrediting bodies, and agencies) who review every postsecondary degree, diploma, and certificate program offered by Humber. The mandate is to provide advice on a number of key indicators including field placements and co-ops, employment prospects, student awards and scholarships, curriculum, technology, and public relations. Program Advisory Committees play an integral role in maintaining the integrity and strategic direction of programming at Humber.

Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is the process where students learn from experience in educational and practice settings such as apprenticeships, field placements, co-ops, internships, and applied research projects. WIL addresses young graduates’ lack of work experience when entering labour markets by providing relevant industry experience that they can leverage for future employment opportunities. Students exposed to WIL gain a competitive advantage in understanding how to articulate what they can do for a company and how they can do it.

Types of WIL

Apprenticeship: Combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction.
Field Placement: Practical experience in a real work setting.
Mandatory Professional Practice: Specified work hours required for licence or professional designation.
Co-op: Combination of academic and paid work experience developed or approved by the college.
Internship: Relevant industry experience in professional work setting.
Applied Research Projects: Student projects that solve real problems in industry.
Service Learning: Student projects that address community or global needs.  

Sattler, Peggy and Julie Peters. Work-Integrated Learning in Ontario’s Postsecondary Sector: The Experience of Ontario Graduates. Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. 2013.

Employment-Connected Credentials  

Employment-connected credentials refers to the contemporary teaching model that focuses on fostering competencies (skills) that can be applied in industry. The connection between curriculum and industry allows students to develop the specific skills that employers expect them to bring to the job. Faculty works closely with industry to clearly define the competencies students should be able to demonstrate when they graduate and establishes reliable assessments for measuring progress. This approach diverges from the traditional education model as it underpins the importance of mastering skills that align with industry using a variety of methods to help students synthesize and apply knowledge. Competency-based education challenges the one-size-fits-all method of teaching and learning, and works to develop competencies at the student's pace over time.

Teaching Method & Faculty

Faculty is focused on leveraging industry experience to develop a comprehensive curriculum that aligns with evolving employer needs. Shaping students' understanding of key concepts and learning outcomes, and facilitating an ideal learning environment that bridges the gap between classroom and industry is the institutional teaching model. Faculty works directly with students to foster learning using a variety of methods including group discussions and team work, applied research projects, exposure to industry, and active learning initiatives. It is critical that faculty build a foundation for students that connects learning outcomes to the specific needs of industry by way of application and experimentation.

It starts with the in-class experience

group of people talking

We are focused on your future

With technology rapidly advancing, a Humber education will help you chart a sure path to your career and keep you in the know about changing trends in the professional world. Our programs blend theory and hands-on learning, giving you the opportunity to gain practical experience in-class and on-the-job. You’ll learn from professors with industry experience who know what skills are in demand.

You’ll have the option to select from a wide range of credentials including certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, degrees and Ontario graduate certificates. You’ll be able to get the credit you deserve and further your education through many pathways and transfer opportunities. With our diverse experiential learning opportunities ranging from placements, internships, applied research projects and more, you’ll be even closer to your dream career by the time you graduate.

student in a graduation gown

You'll be supported from day one to graduation

Don't be worried about making new friends at Humber. The First Year Experience is a peer mentoring program in which you are matched with other first-year students and an upper-year mentor from your program. Get the inside track on your classes, get connected to campus and make new friends. At Humber, you'll have all of the services you need and lots of opportunities to get involved in and outside of the classroom. Check out the list of services you will have access to as a Humber student.

centre of innovation

We have the laid the groundwork for academic excellence

Humber, is made up of six faculties, each with a reputation and extensive industry and community partnerships. Our programs are delivered in state-of-the-art facilities and creative spaces by professors with extensive real-world experience. Humber's Centres of Innovation offer students the opportunity to join interdisciplinary teams with faculty and our partners to solve complex, real-world problems and gain valuable experience while making a contribution.

Humber's numbers are truly impressive

We have the programs, professors and services that impress! From sports to student-run clubs, there is always something to be involved in at Humber. But more than that, being a polytechnic means that we have laid the groundwork for your success. Take a look at everything we have to offer, then apply for your dream program.


  • 31,200 full-time students
  • 6,000+ international students
  • 1,400 students in residence
  • 1,800 apprenticeship students
  • 265,000 Humber alumni with 10,000 graduates annually
  • 19 varsity sports teams
  • 200+ full-time programs
  • 110,000 program applications annually
  • 100+ diploma to degree pathway opportunities
  • 60+ pathways with partners in Ontario, Canada and abroad
  • 85% of Humber graduates are employed within 6 months of completing studies
  • Humber gives away $10M worth of scholarships & bursaries
  • 333,000 sq.ft. recent campus expansion
  • 93,000 sq.ft. Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation
  • Humber is the 1st public college in Canada to adopt the Okanagan Charter setting an ambitious goal to be the healthiest campus in the country
  • Humber achieves First Zero Carbon Certification in Canada for a Retrofit (North Campus building will be one of the most energy efficient in North America)
  • 1st Ontario College to achieve Silver Rating for Sustainability Tracking Assessment Rating SystemTM
  • Humber leads the overall medal count for both the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA)