Cost of Studying & Living in Canada
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.
Funding to Study in Canada
If you are an international student, you will not have access to the same funding assistance as Canadian students. There are however other funding options available to you.
Individual institutions will offer a different variety of funding and scholarship options. In order to understand what you are eligible for, and how to apply for it, you should contact your chosen institution, who will be able to provide you with more information and assistance.
Find out more about funding your studies in our Funding and Scholarships for International Students advice article.
How to Apply
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.
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 Government of Canada website 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 by answering the questions on this web page, or at the Canadian embassy in your home country.
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.