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Universities in Canada and study in Canada - International Student Country Guide

Find universities in Canada and study in Canada, our guide for international students to study abroad. Ever considered studying in a country famed for its epic scenery, exceptional quality of life – and world class universities? Canada is an extremely popular choice for international students – almost 100,000 choose to study in the country each year, making it a lively and diverse place to attend university.Study a degree in Canada

If you choose to study a degree in Canada your education will be in good hands. Twelve Canadian universities rank in the Times Higher Education Supplement top 200 universities.

How can you study a degree in Canada?

In Canada higher education is administrated by individual provinces and territories, which are responsible for their own universities through membership to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). There are currently 92 universities that are members of the AUCC.
Undergraduate degrees in Canada (as in the USA) generally last four years, and there are various options:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS/BSc)
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
  • Bachelor of Commerce (BCom)
In all the majority of cases you will choose the subject you want to study, known as your ‘major’. You may be able to take a ‘minor’, which is a related subject that you will study alongside your major for less time.
The admissions process to study a degree in Canada is lengthy, so you should start your application up to a year in advance. You should apply directly to the university itself.

Tuition fees

Average tuition fees for international undergraduates in the 2012/13 academic year were $18,641 – dentistry, medicine and pharmacy were the most expensive degrees.

The amount of funding that universities receive varies widely. Universities in Quebec receive the most funding and have the lowest tuition fees, while institutions in Atlantic Canada generally have the least funding.

Immigration and visas

Most international students will need a study permit to study a degree in Canada and others may need to apply for temporary residence in Canada.
Everyone must demonstrate:

  • Acceptance from a university or educational institution in Canada.
  • Ability to pay tuition fees, living expenses and return fares to their home country.
  • Satisfy health requirements.
Students from a specified 29 countries and one territory need to appear in person to have their fingerprints taken when applying for their temporary residence visa or study permit. The full list can be found on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

It is normally also necessary to demonstrate that you have adequate study abroad travel insurance, which you must buy before you travel.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation in Canada varies depending on where you choose to study your degree course.
There are three main types of accommodation:
  • Homestay – a stay with a Canadian family
  • University accommodation – such as halls of residence, dormitories
  • Private accommodation – house and flat rentals
The cost of student accommodation varies from province to province and city to city, but costs in Canada are considered reasonable. In homestays you can expect to pay an initial placement fee of up to $200 CDN and then pay between $400 and $800 CDN a month.
The average cost of residence/dormitory rooms in Canada is between $3,000 and $7,500 CDN per academic year – this is the cheapest and most popular option for international students. Dorms will have shared bathroom, laundry and kitchen facilities, and will usually be separated by gender.

Living costs: The cost of living in Canada is considered cheaper than places such as the UK and many other western countries. The cost of living varies between different regions, but you can find estimates of costs on the Education in Canada website.
Rent: Residence/dormitory rooms cost $3,000-$7,500 CDN per year. Private rented accommodation usually costs $250-$700 CDN.

For Parents

How safe is Canada?
Canada is an extremely liberal and safe country with low crime rates, and has been judged one of the world’s best places to live.
Despite this, students should always take precautions to make sure they stay safe. They should take care to:
  • Avoid walking alone at night
  • Always carry a charged phone
  • Avoid potentially quiet/ dark shortcuts
  • Avoid carrying a lot of cash
  • Let friends know where they are going
  • Always keep a close eye on personal belongings whilst out
  • Never accept things from strangers – whether this is a lift home or a drink
Most Canadian universities have support and safety networks set up especially for international students, where they can go for advice.
Staying in touch
Staying in touch when your child is studying on the other side of the world might seem daunting – but there are ways you can talk regularly that don’t have to involve long distance phone calls and a nasty bill at the end of the month. Here are a few tips:
  • Skype – the free video calling service can be downloaded within seconds, and will allow you to talk face to face anywhere you have an internet connection
  • Blogging – maybe encourage your child to keep a blog of their adventures overseas, so that other families members (such as grandparents) can keep up to date
  • Local sim cards – it is also a good idea for your child to buy a phone with a local pay as you go sim card when they arrive so that they can text and call home without running up a bill

What to do next

Thinking of studying in another country and not confident in about where? Then take a look at our country guide. Otherwise, if you would like more information about studying in Canada, please fill out our Free Application Service and one of our advisors will be in touch with you promptly.