Canada is the world’s second largest country in land-area, boasting vibrant cities and outdoors full of wildlife. The country has yielded vast amounts of oil, timber and other natural resources, which in turn have propelled Canada to a very enviable standard of living, demonstrated through the high value the Canadian Government places on their education system.
Study Canada provides relevant information for international students wishing to study in Canada.
Individual provinces and territories provide the majority of funding to their public post-secondary institutions, with the remainder of funding coming from the federal government, tuition fees and research grants. There is no federal ministry of education or formal accreditation system.
In western provinces, a bachelor’s degree usually consists of four years of study. Alternatively, Ontario and the Eastern provinces students can obtain a bachelor’s degree within three years and can earn “honours” or a double degree within four years of study.
Professional subjects such as law and medicine are studied at the postgraduate level. Master’s degrees typically take two years to complete and PhD’s take between four and seven years to complete. The academic year runs from August/September to April/May.
View an extensive summary of the Canadian educational system and curriculum at the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) website.
The Study in Canada website allows you to search nearly all forms of educational opportunities including: elementary and secondary schools, undergraduate school, graduate/professional schools, language schools and online-distance learning courses.
Work and internships
Check the Citizenship and Immigration website for details. International student work regulations can be found at Studying in Canada.
Living costs depend on the type of housing you choose. Some typical cost could include:
- Home stays CAD$400-800/month
- On-campus dormitories CAD$3000-7500/year
- Room in private apartments CAD$250-700/month
- Own private apartment CAD$400-1500/month
In addition, you will need to budget for:
- Books – CAD$990/year
- Food/groceries – CAD$2460/year
- Public transportation – CAD$804/year
- Miscellaneous expenses – CAD$2664/year
The average annual price of tuition in Canada for a resident undergraduate attending a public university is CAD$4,724 and substantially higher for private institutions. Tuition for international students independently enrolling at Canadian institutions varies by university and program of study and can cost between CAD$5,500 to CAD$17,000.
In Canada international students can open accounts in any of the big five national banks: Royal Bank of Canada; Toronto Dominion Bank; Bank of Nova Scotia; Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Bank of Montreal. University credit unions and local banks will also accommodate you with necessary bank accounts. Virtually all Canadian cities have ATM’s so money can be withdrawn from an account from your home country. Major cities also have currency exchange booths. Popular credit cards include Visa, MasterCard, & American Express. There are also reliable and secure internet facilities for your online banking needs. A thorough source from The University of British Columbia providing tips on how to acquire a bank account.
Scholarships and support
The Canadian High Commission's webpage provides some information on scholarships for international students. See also the Money matters on this site for general information about scholarships and support.
Visas and insurance
Visas and entry
Your nearest Canadian Embassy or High Commission is the best place to seek up-to-date visa advice. Study in Canada provides an overview of visas. See Quebec’s immigration website for information about applying to study in the province.
Healthcare and insurance
If you are studying in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan you are covered under their provincial health care plans. Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec do not cover international students under their provincial health care plans. If you are intending to study in one of these provinces you must organise medical coverage through a private insurance provider. If you are intending to study at a university in Ontario (excluding the University of Windsor) you are obligated to enrol in the University Health Insurance Plan.
The majority of international students studying in Canada live on campus. Your host institution’s international student services department will likely provide you with several options of living accommodations.