Canada is a popular choice for international students wanting to study in a different country. Universities in Canada offer world-class education with affordable tuition fees. Known for its kind nature, Canada is endlessly welcoming to international students. You will find high standards of research and teaching, as well as a great study experience in a beautiful and diverse country.
With high measurements in quality of life and education, Canada has been ranked by the UN as one of the best places to live in the world. It is a developed country with a high-income economy and successful government, making it a fantastic place to live and study in!
You will find 17 of Canada’s universities in the 2023 QS World University ranking top 500, the highest ranked being McGill University, placed 31st. Three of these institutions are ranked within the top 50, including the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. This shows that Canada would be providing you with a brilliant education as well as a cultural experience.
There are more than 350,000 international students choosing to study in Canada each year, adding to the diversity of the higher education institutions. You will be able to study degrees at the traditional three levels. These are bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. The duration of your course will depend on your institution of choice.
Canada is a huge and diverse country, home to over 37 million people. Due to its size, Canada is the second largest country in the world. Sharing its southern border with the USA and its north-western border with Alaska, the country has a widely ranging climate with four distinct seasons. The majority of Canada is dominated by forests, with urbanised cities. The country boasts many tourist attractions, including Niagara Falls, Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies. There is plenty to do for anyone wishing to make the most of their downtime!
Canada was inhabited for thousands of years before it was colonised by Europe. The country’s independence was a gradual process, beginning on the 1st of July 1867. Although Canada is independent and ruled by their own government, they still share the British Monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. The country is officially bilingual, but is home to many other languages – the product of large-scale immigration.
In Canada, there is no centralised system for international students to apply to institutions. This means that you will need to apply to each of your chosen institutions individually. As an international student, you must make sure that the institution(s) you are applying for is registered as a designated learning institution, as this is what permits them to accept international students.
Once you have confirmed that your institution can accept international students, you can start the application process, which will differ depending on where you are choosing to apply, as well as where you are coming from.
Part of your application will likely include having to prove that you have sufficient funds, can speak the tuition language to a required level, and have acquired health insurance. Your institution will be able to provide you with more information, contact their international office if you require assistance.
Want to study abroad but not sure on how to begin? Take a look at our advice article on Deciding to study abroad: The first steps.
Canada uses the Canadian Dollar (CAD/$) as its currency.
Whilst Canada is known for its affordable tuition fees, the price you pay will vary depending on where you choose to study. On average, an international student can expect to pay from $17,500 per year for an undergraduate degree. A postgraduate degree will cost, on average, around $16,500 per year, with prices ranging up to $50,000 per year for the most expensive courses.
There will be other costs that you need to consider when budgeting. These include administration fees ($150-$500), health insurance (around $600) and application fees (not always applicable, but around $250 if required).
It is required that you have at least $10,000 available for living costs in order for you to get a visa. However, it is recommended that you budget much more to make your living comfortable. Most universities suggest that you have at least $15,000 available when you study in Canada. As is the case in many countries, university accommodation is cheaper than private rented accommodation, so make sure you choose a living arrangement that suits your budget. It is always better to have more funds available than you think you might need, just in case!
If you wish to work part-time during your studies, this may be possible, but there will be limitations. International students can work both on campus and off campus without a work permit, as long as you have a study permit (which you need to study in Canada). You will be able to work up to 20 hours per week during term time. Part-time work should not be relied on to fund your studies.
If you are an international student, you will need to apply for a study permit before you come to Canada. This acts in the place of a visa and can be applied for through the online system or at the Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country. A study permit will allow you to stay in Canada for the duration of your course, plus 90 days. Within these 90 days, you will need to either apply to extend your stay, or make plans to leave the country. If you cannot finish your studies before the date on your permit for whatever reason, you will need to apply to extend your stay as a student. If you finish your studies early, your permit will stop being valid 90 days after you complete your studies, and this might be different than the original expiry date.
As well as the study permit, you may also be required to apply for a temporary resident visa or an electronic travel authorisation (eTA). You can find out if you need one of these at the Canadian embassy in your home country.
For more information about getting a Canadian student visa, see our Canada Student Visa Guide article.
Canada has two official languages; English and French. However, over 7.3 million Canadians registered their native language as one that is non-official in the 2016 Census. These languages included Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog and Arabic, with many others being spoken by large populations. You will have a fantastic opportunity to pick up more than one new language throughout your studies in Canada, a skill that looks great on your CV/resume!
Most Canadian universities offer courses in English, with institutions in Quebec offering French taught courses. Regardless of which language you choose to study in, you may have to prove your proficiency if it is not your native language. If you cannot meet the required language standards, your institution might offer short language courses to help you improve.
The capital city of Canada, Ottawa is home to just under 1 million people. It sits on the south bank of the Ottawa River, in southern Ontario. Founded in 1826, the city has evolved into the political centre of Canada, and is host to 130 country embassies. Ottawa has the most educated population of all of Canada, with many higher education, research and cultural institutions found in the city.
The largest city in Canada, more than 2.73 million people call Toronto home. It is thought that Toronto has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years, although it has been known as York in the past. Toronto is extremely diverse, and more than 50% of residents belong to minority groups. The majority of residents in Toronto speak English, but there are over 160 other languages spoken in the city.
Find out more about Universities in Toronto.
The most populous city in British Columbia, Vancouver is home to around 2.6 million people. The city is extremely ethnically and linguistically diverse, as well as being regarded as one of the most liveable cities in the world.
Find out more about Universities in Vancouver.
New York Institute of Technology, Vancouver Campus CanadaFind out more
UTP Stage II: Recreation Management and Community Development - Mixed Entry Foundation for Undergraduate
International College of Manitoba (ICM) CanadaFind out more
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