Study in Canada is one of the best choice! It offers excellent opportunities to pursue your academic goals, explore new cultures, and enjoy a high quality of life. As a student in Canada, you will focus both on research and innovation, and hands-on experience. Some of the top universities in Canada include the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia. You will find an open-minded, multicultural society where hundreds of thousands of students from all over the Globe come to study.
Here are the top reasons why Canada is the best place for you to study:
- Canadian universities are listed in reputable worldwide rankings, and 11 are among the world’s top 250. Canada’s top-ranked universities are known for their high-quality teaching, research, and academic excellence.
- Many international students choose Canada to study because the country’s higher education system provides excellent academic programmes with a strong focus on hands-on learning, practical experience, and research opportunities.
- The country has some of the lowest tuition costs among English-speaking nations. Sure, it will cost you more to study in one of the big student hubs, but you will find highly affordable programmes in some other regions.
- Canadian universities excel in various academic disciplines, including technology and engineering, natural sciences, business and economics, social sciences, and humanities.
- Canada has a significant tradition in fields such as engineering, computer science, natural sciences, and healthcare. But what sets its universities apart from the ones in other countries is their focus on interdisciplinary studies and unique programs, such as Indigenous studies, environmental science, and more. Canadian universities are particularly renowned for their research excellence in these fields, as well as in areas such as environmental science, sustainability, and renewable energy.
- Canada is a diverse and welcoming country with a multicultural society celebrating diverse cultures, traditions, and languages. This creates a dynamic and inclusive learning environment for international students.
- If you want to enjoy city life and nightlife, then Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal should be top on your list. These are the country’s biggest student hubs and have a vibrant cultural scene, with plenty of museums, galleries, theatres, and music venues to spend time at. There are also countless restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, and nightclubs.
Culture in Canada
The country is known for its friendly people and welcoming attitude towards foreigners. Canada shares informality, freedom of speech, pioneering spirit, and entrepreneurial creativity with its southern neighbor, the United States of America.
Canadians, however, tend to be more humble, subtle, and thoughtful in expressing their thoughts and beliefs.
In terms of lifestyle, Canada’s largest cities boast a safe environment, welcoming people, thriving arts and culture scenes, and high quality of life, and exciting nightlife.
Official languages in Canada.
You should know that Canada has two official languages, English and French, meaning that you, as an international student, can choose to study either.
Canadian food culture.
Food culture is also truly diverse, with many traditional meals spread throughout the country. If you are curious about some of the most popular ones, look for Poutine (French fries with cheese and gravy), and Saskatoon berry pie (a sweet crusty pie with blueberry filling).
Weather in Canada.
Canada is the second largest country in the world, meaning you’ll find a wide range of climate conditions. The country enjoys all four seasons, with mild weather throughout the year on the Pacific coast, and more extreme weather (hot summers and harsh cold winters) in the Prairie provinces.
How to choose a university in Canada?
Canada is home to some of the world’s top universities, offering students a world-class education and a diverse range of academic programs. Each province and territory in Canada approve which universities can enrol international students. These universities are called Designated Learning Institutions (DLI).
When wondering how to choose a university in Canada that is best for you, know there are over 200 public and private universities and just as many public colleges and institutes. It is worth knowing that universities and colleges are not precisely the same thing in Canada. Differences between them faded a lot in the past decades. For example, colleges traditionally offer Bachelor’s degrees in applied disciplines. Next to polytechnics and institutes, colleges usually focus on shorter, more practical, technical, or occupational programmes.
The most popular student hubs in Canada, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, are also three of the world’s most desirable cities to be a student in. They rank among the top 20 QS Best Student Cities.
Choosing a university checklist
So how do you choose a university in Canada out of the hundreds of available options? Here are some steps to take:
- Check if your country has an agreement with Canada. Such an agreement can make things easier for you, either in terms of how to apply to university, visa requirements and tuition fees. This may apply if you come from the US, UK, other Commonwealth countries etc.
- Check out university rankings. Do this considering that you will find high-quality universities lower than the top 100.
- Have a look over the map. Canada is a huge country. Are large distances inconvenient for you? Is it easy to travel to and from the places of your choice?
- Match your strengths to university admission criteria. Review the application requirements of multiple universities and think about where you might have an extra edge.
- Estimate your expenses. Some Canadian cities are more expensive than others. Same with universities when it comes to tuition fees. How much is too much for you?
- Career perspectives. Is the programme or university well connected to the industry? How will a graduate there help later when choosing a career path?
- City and campus size. Do you enjoy big city life or quieter, smaller communities? How about commuting? Is the campus easily accessible or not?
These are just some things to consider when choosing your Canadian university and study programme. It is important not to treat the process lightly and do some research before applying.
What are the best universities in Canada
Canada boasts some of the world’s top-ranking universities, renowned for their excellence in research, innovation, and academic rigour. Here’s a list of the top 5:
- The University of Toronto is one of the top research-intensive institutions in the world and Canada’s top centre for education, research, and knowledge development.
- University of British Columbia (UBC), one of the most international universities in North America, is consistently acclaimed as one of the top 20 public universities worldwide.
- McGill University is one of Canada’s top-tier colleges, renowned for its diverse international student community, research institutes and centres, and rich history.
- McMaster University It is a public institution in the vibrant city of Hamilton, close to Lake Ontario, famous for its innovation in learning and discovery.
- The University of Montreal is one of Canada’s most cosmopolitan universities, set in an exceptional location combining nature and modern buildings.
What are the top student hubs in Canada
- Toronto is the biggest city in Canada and home to some of the country’s top universities, including the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and York University. It’s known for its diverse culture and bustling city life.
- Vancouver lays on Canada’s west coast and is known for its stunning natural beauty. It’s home to the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
- Montreal is a bilingual city, where both French and English languages are commonly spoken. It’s home to McGill University, Concordia University, and Université de Montréal. The city is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scenes.
- Ottawa is Canada’s capital and home to the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. It’s a great city for students who are interested in politics or government.
Tuition Fees in Canada
Canadian university tuition fees vary depending on several factors. Some provinces are more expensive than others, and fees may also depend on the type of programme or the university you choose. Tuition fees in Canada for international students are higher than the ones domestic students pay. Also, undergraduate (Bachelor’s) programmes can be two or three times more expensive than graduate (Master’s, PhD) programmes.
Specifically, if you are an international student looking to study for a Bachelor’s in Canada, you will pay 36,000 CAD, on average, each year. Among the most expensive are veterinary medicine, dentistry, and medicine undergraduate degrees (up to 68,000 CAD).
Postgraduate students interested in Canadian Master’s programmes will face 21,000 CAN yearly fees, on average. Tuition fees for MBA (Master in Business Administration) programmes are among the highest (up to 76,000 CAD),
You will find the cheapest tuition fees for international students in Newfoundland and Labrador regions, where undergrad programmes cost around 16,000 CAN on average, while postgraduate programmes 5,000 CAD.
While international students in Canada are not eligible for tuition fee waivers, some universities may offer you small deductions or rebates based on proof of financial need or academic merit.
Can I study in Canada for free?
International students don’t have the option of studying for free in Canada. They usually pay higher fees than domestic students do. Of course, there is the option of applying for scholarships, or other types of financial aid, which could eventually cover your tuition fees entirely or partially. Such financial aid would be your ‘Study in Canada for Free’ ticket.
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Canada
Although Canadian universities tend to be more affordable than other English-speaking countries, tuition fees can be a pain for international students, especially since there is no option to study for free. This is where financial aid and scholarships come in.
Although it may be a clever idea to check if any organisations in your home country provide bursaries, scholarships or grants to students accepted at Canadian universities, you also have diverse options to choose from in Canada.
If you’re a student looking for financial assistance to further your education, scholarships can be a great option. But before developing what types of scholarships you can apply for, there are a few more types of financial aid to consider:
- Grants. Grants are offered if you meet certain eligibility requirements. You must repay the grant money if you fail to complete the degree programme (you drop out, etc.). Domestic students can apply for a grant offered by the Canadian Government through the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program.
- Bursaries. They’re given to students in financial need, not based on academic achievements. Bursaries are often given just once and don’t have to be paid back. They are often of smaller value than scholarships or grants.
- Student loans. Unless you are a domestic student, your options to receive a student loan in Canada lie in private providers, such as banks. Like other loans, you will have to return the money in a certain amount of time and pay interest.
- Other financial aid options. If you’re an international student, it’s a good idea to contact universities and colleges directly to learn about additional financial resources and advice they may offer. These institutions can provide you with more information about available options. Other options include graduate-level awards, such as fellowships and travel awards, entrance scholarships (for high school graduates), and bursaries (for students who can demonstrate financial need).
Types of scholarships on offer
Scholarships are given based on various criteria and can range from a few hundred dollars to full tuition coverage. The best scholarships to apply for are the ones that match your profile best: are your academic records good enough to try a merit-based scholarship, or is your financial status the main trigger? How motivated are you to study that specific programme? Although there is no limit on how many scholarships you should apply for, by answering such questions, you can choose what scholarships best fit your profile out of the several existing types:
- University-specific scholarships: Many universities in Canada offer scholarships to international students based on academic merit or financial need.
- Merit scholarships:For students who are either academically gifted, were top sports players in high school or excelled in the community or entrepreneurial work.
- Government-sponsored scholarships: These scholarships are awarded by the Canadian government or government agencies and are available to international students.
- Country-based scholarships: These scholarships are targeted at students from developing countries.
- Private scholarships: There are many private organisations, foundations, and corporations that offer scholarships to international students. These are also more likely to be targeted at developing countries and minority groups or in specific areas of study.
Where you can find scholarships
Our Scholarships Portal is a good place to figure out where to apply for scholarships in Canada. You can find hundreds of options from NGOs, governmental or private institutions, and universities.
A few other places are available if you’re an international student looking for scholarships in Canada. Many universities offer scholarships and bursaries, which you can find on their websites.
You can also check out government agencies like Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Bureau for International Education for scholarship programs. Professional associations like the Canadian Nurses Association offer scholarships in their fields of study.
Other sources where you can apply for scholarships are:
- Studyportals Scholarship – International Distinction Award, open to all international students – see FAQ about the award here.
- International Scholarships Program. Scholarships for international students and for Canadian students who want to study abroad.
- International Development Research Centre. Awards for Canadians, permanent residents of Canada and citizens of developing countries pursuing their doctoral studies at a Canadian university.
- International Business Scholarships. Scholarships for students pursuing a career or furthering their studies in international business or that combine business with environmental or sustainability studies.
- RBC International Student Scholarship: Is awarded by Royal Bank of Canada and is open to international students who are enrolled in full-time studies at a Canadian post-secondary institution.
- The Loran Award: This scholarship is awarded by the Loran Scholars Foundation and is open to international students who have demonstrated strong leadership potential and are committed to making a positive impact in their communities.
- Scotiabank International Student Scholarship: This scholarship is awarded by Scotiabank and is open to international students.
- Global Affairs Canada Scholarships: This scholarship program is funded by the Canadian government and offers scholarships and fellowships to international students from developing countries pursuing studies in Canada.
How to apply for a scholarship in Canada
If you’re an international student looking to study in Canada, scholarships can be a fantastic way to reduce the financial burden of tuition and living expenses. There is no limit on how many scholarships you can apply for, but the process can be time-consuming and there are some steps you need to follow:
- Research: Use the above resources to list scholarships that apply to your field of study and academic level.
- Eligibility: Check the criteria and make sure you meet all the requirements before applying.
- Documents: You’ll need to prepare academic transcripts, language proficiency test scores, a resume, letters of recommendation, and other requested documents before applying.
- Letter of intent: Some scholarships require you to write a letter of intent when applying. Give yourself enough time for this. It is your opportunity to explain why you’re the best candidate for the scholarship. Be sure to highlight your achievements and future goals.
- Apply: Each scholarship provider has its own specific rules for applying, so follow the instructions carefully and submit everything before the deadline.
After submitting your application, you’ll have to wait for the results. This can take a few weeks to a few months, but If you haven’t heard back from the scholarship provider after a few weeks, it’s okay to follow up and ask about the status of your application.
What to include in your application
The exact things to include in your application differ from one provider to another. Most ask you to fill out an online application form to provide personal details, your letter of acceptance to a Canadian university, academic transcripts, proof that you are eligible for their scholarship programme, and other documents. But when preparing your scholarship application, there are a few things you should include in your application to make it stand out:
- Your personal and academic achievements: People need to know they help the right person. That is why they will ask for proof of your success. This includes your GPA, academic awards, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work.
- What motivates you: Explain why you chose the specific study programme where you got accepted, what future career plans you have and how the scholarship will help you achieve your goals.
- Your financial situation: Be honest about your financial needs, mention any financial challenges you face, and how the scholarship will help you overcome them.
- Letters of recommendation: Ask your professors or employers to write letters for you.
A strong scholarship application displays your achievements, aspirations, and financial need. Be authentic and passionate in your writing; don’t forget to proofread for errors.
Interested in scholarships for Canada? Check out our scholarship search page.
Apply to university in Canada
How to apply to university
If you are wondering how to apply for a university in Canada, you should know that each has its own admission rules. Some may be similar, and some may be different from others. Make sure you understand and meet these requirements before applying.
Canadian universities require English language proficiency tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic, but some may also require French proficiency.
You must pay a fee to apply for university in Canada. The cost varies among universities and programmes, but most universities charge an application fee ranging from $50 to $150 CAD. Some universities also require a non-refundable deposit once you have been accepted into the program.
It may also be useful to know that the Canadian higher education system has a lot in common with the ones in the USA and UK.
What’s the structure of the Canadian academic year
Most Canadian universities and colleges follow a two-semester system, where classes occur from September to May, but exact dates can differ between regions or institutions.
- 1st Semester – September to December
- Winter Break – December to January
- 2nd Semester – January to May
- Summer Break – June to August
When to apply for Canadian universities
The deadlines to apply for university in Canada vary, but you should prepare eight to twelve months earlier. International students usually start school in September or January, but some universities also organise spring and summer admissions. So deciding when to apply to Canadian universities depends on when classes start at your school.
For the fall semester, which begins in September, the deadline to apply for university is often set months earlier, in January or February of the same year. For programmes that start in January, deadlines are usually in November or December of the previous year.
Check your university’s deadlines first, and if you apply to several, check each. If you’re an international student, prepare in advance and give yourself enough time to gather the documents and complete the application process.
Documents needed to apply for university
Most universities have an online application process, so you can apply directly through their websites. When applying, you must provide personal information such as your academic history, work experience (if applicable), language proficiency or other documents needed to apply for university. The most common ones are:
- A scan of your diploma (high school or Bachelor’s degree)
- A transcript/record of your previous courses
- A scan of your passport
- Your CV
- Testing scores
- Evidence of scholarship or funding
- Letters of recommendation (between 2-3)
- Portfolio and/or writing samples
If you plan to study at a university in Canada, you must prove your proficiency in English or French, depending on the university and programme that you apply to. Your language certificate must be less than 2 years old, and the Canadian authorities will compare your results to their standards: the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CBL) for English and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, for French. There is no limit on how many times you can take these tests, but the rules say you must wait some time (30-60 days) before giving it another go.
English language requirements for Canadian universities
The most popular English tests are:
- IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Canadian universities usually ask for a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall.
- PTE (Pearson Test of English). Universities usually ask for a minimum PTE score of 60 for Bachelor’s programs, Advanced Diplomas, and Post Graduate Programs.
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Top Canadian universities ask for a TOEFL score above 90, but in general, universities ask for a minimum score of 80 for undergraduate admission, and 90 for Master’s or PhD.
French language requirements for Canadian universities
Two types of French language tests are most popular among universities and colleges in Canada:
1. Test d’Évaluation de Francais (TEF).
Managed by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it is made of four compulsory tests:
- Reading comprehension (50 questions), 60 minutes long,
- Oral comprehension (60 questions), 40 minutes long,
- Written expression (2 subjects to be covered), 60 minutes long,
- Vocabulary and syntax (40 questions), 30 minutes long.
Ask the university or read their application requirements, and they will tell you if besides the compulsory tests they also ask you to take some optional ones.
2. Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF)
The exam is divided into mandatory multiple-choice tests and optional tests and is managed by France Éducation International. You’ll spend between 1 and a half hours minimum and 2 and a half hours maximum, depending on the number of tests you take:
- Listening comprehension: 29 multiple choice questions, 25 minutes;
- Grammar comprehension: 18 multiple choice questions, 15 minutes;
- Reading comprehension: 29 multiple choice questions, 45 minutes;
- Written skills: 3 exercises, 60 minutes;
- Verbal skills: Individual test one-on-one with an examiner, 3 exercises, 12 minutes (2 of which are for preparation)
TCF tests take place throughout the year; you will have to contact the approved TCF centre closest to your home.
Student visas for Canada
If you’re from Pakistan, you’ll need to apply for a visa to study in Canada. The following information is taken from embassy and consulate websites. The student visa that you need to enroll in a complete degree programme in Canada is displayed below.