Canada is one of the world’s most popular destinations for international students, offering a diverse variety of experiences and opportunities in a country known for its vast expanses, multicultural cities and natural beauty. If you want to study in Canada, the good news is that tuition fees are generally less expensive than in other major Anglophone destinations (the US, UK and Australia), although they are still quite high in comparison to other countries.
Tuition fees in Canada
Universities in Canada set their own fees, and these vary depending on several factors: what program you’re studying, whether you are an international or home student, and whether you’re studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Tuition fees are currently most expensive in the province of Ontario, according to a recent report from Stats Canada. If you’re a Canadian citizen studying in Canada, you can expect to pay an average of CA$6,000 (~US$4,534) per year for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Undergraduate tuition fees in Canada Average tuition fees in Canada for international undergraduate students start at about CA$14,000 (~US$10,730) per year. Arts and humanities courses tend to be cheaper, while subjects such as engineering and medicine are among the more expensive. Postgraduate tuition fees in Canada If you want to study at postgraduate level, the tuition fees are generally higher, and again vary depending on your program. As is the case worldwide, executive MBA programs are generally the most expensive, averaging around CA$42,000 (~US$32,000).
To find out more, get your free online copy of the QS Top Grad School Guide, including a dedicated section about postgraduate study in Canada.
Cost of living in Canada
Your average costs of living per month are likely to be around CA$600-800 (~US$450-600) for food and other expenses, not including accommodation, which will be your largest expenditure after tuition fees. Living expenses including accommodation in Canada are likely to be approximately CA$10,000-15,000 per year (~US$7,550-11,300). Living costs are generally more expensive in the biggest cities. Typically you will be spending about CA$3,000-$6,000 (~US$2,240-4,500) each year on accommodation, which is likely to be towards the more expensive end if you live on campus in student accommodation. If you would like a cheaper option, you may consider living off-campus, but remember to take into account any extra costs of travelling to and from your university. Sharing off-campus housing with other students can also make accommodation more affordable. If you’re under 18 (or 19 in the provinces of British Columbia, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories) you must live with a host family in a home stay, which may be arranged by your university. At approximately CA$650-800 (~US$490-600) a month, this could be another fairly affordable option, particularly as your host family is likely to provide you with meals at no extra cost. Here are some examples of average living costs in Canada:
• Eating out at a restaurant: CA$10-15 per person (~US$8-11)
• One-way ticket on local public transport: CA$3 (~US$2)
• Loaf of bread: CA$2.80 (~US$2)
• Cinema ticket: CA $12.25 (~US$9)
Student visa and application Fees In order to study in Canada, you will need to obtain a Canadian study permit, which serves as a Canadian student visa for the duration of your stay. You do not need a Canadian study permit if your course or program lasts six months or less. Applying for a study permit costs CA$150 (~US$110). Click here to read more about how to get a Canadian student visa. Fees to apply to universities in Canada will vary depending on the university and your country of origin. For example, the University of British Columbia charges Canadian students (and permanent residents, refugees and diplomats) CA$98.25 (~US$75) and international students CA$159 (~US$120). You may be able to get this fee waived if you are an international student from a developing country. You should also remember that it is compulsory to purchase health insurance while studying in Canada.
This will cost approximately CA$600 (~US$450) per year. Financial aid to study in Canada Scholarships, grants and bursaries are available for international students wishing to study in Canada, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These include specific scholarships for sporting and academic achievement, and subject-specific scholarships. Many universities in Canada offer their own scholarships, so you might also be able to apply for a scholarship offered exclusively by the university at which you plan to study. In all cases, it’s important to apply as early as possible as scholarship funding is limited and highly competitive.
International applicants are also advised to research study abroad scholarship opportunities offered by organizations in their home country. One notable source of scholarships to study in Canada is the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to students of other Commonwealth countries. You might also find the financial assistance information on the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials website useful. Student jobs in Canada If you’d like to get a part-time job to help support yourself while studying in Canada, you can now qualify to work on or off-campus for up to 20 hours during university semesters and full-time during breaks such as the winter or summer holidays, without the need for a work permit. To qualify, you must:
• Have a valid study permit
• Be a full-time student
• Be enrolled at a designated learning institution at post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at secondary level
• Be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration. You will also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs.