Learn the facts about studying in Canada

 

Canada has long been a welcoming destination for international students seeking the North American university experience. This vast country has some of the world’s most respected universities and they’re situated in lively cities and towns spread across a great natural environment. Today, around 10 per cent of Canada’s university population comes from abroad.

Making the right choice

You’ll find degree level courses at more than 250 public and private institutions. These include universities, colleges, institutes of technology and specialised institutes and will vary in type from province to province. When it comes to the range of courses, there are more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate degree programmes on offer and Canadian universities are well known for interdisciplinary study. Ontario and Quebec are the country’s two most populated provinces and are home to the majority of Canadian universities. These range from small liberal arts campuses for undergraduate study to large universities with both undergraduate and graduate courses.

Narrowing down the options

There’s plenty of information available to help you with your search for the right course in the right setting. Starting online is your best bet. The Canadian government’s online portal for international students (www.educationau-incanada.ca) will guide you through the application process and much more. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) provides a database of Canadian university programmes at both undergraduate and graduate level and the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials lists all recognised institutions, with links to their websites.

What qualifications are available?

Canada offers the traditional types of degree: Bachelors (including the arts, social science, science and so on), Masters (MA, MSc, MBA etc) and Doctoral degrees (usually PhD). A Bachelors normally requires four years full-time to complete, depending on the province, with a few three year options.

What exam results will I need?
Canadian universities each set their own admission requirements for foreign students and these will vary widely. Generally speaking, overseas qualifications, including GCSEs, AS- and A-levels and the

International Baccalaureate, which qualify students for a place at a university in their own country, will count in Canada. Don’t exclude universities in French-speaking Canada if you have some of the language and are keen to learn more. Canada also has non-degree awarding colleges, which specialise in vocationally oriented programmes in a wide range of professional and technical fields.

Will I need a visa or student permit?

If you will be studying in Canada for over six months, UK citizens will need a study permit, but not a visa. Before you apply, you must have an offer of admission at a university or other higher education institution. Quebec-bound students will also need a Quebec acceptance certificate known as the CAQ. You’ll find a useful guide to applying for your study permit at www.cic.gc.ca.

How much will it cost?

Fees vary widely according to province, institution and programme and international students will pay considerably more than domestic students, but Canadian fees are affordable by international standards. You can check the costs at different universities across Canada at www.educationau-incanada.ca. Living costs can be pretty reasonable, but do your research carefully as prices can vary considerably from area to area and are higher in the larger cities. A home-stay – living with a Canadian family while you study – is an economic way of finding out about Canadian life at first hand. For help with tuition costs, some universities offer scholarships for undergraduate study and there are also specific scholarships for sporting and academic achievements. You can find out more at www.scholarships.gc.ca. The Canadian government and other organisations also offer scholarships for postgraduate and doctoral study.

Working while you study

Among the key benefits of going to university in Canada is the opportunity to earn while you are studying. As an international student, you can work on campus to help with your costs or find a job off-campus in the wider community. After you graduate, you could be eligible for a post-graduation work permit. See www.cic.gc.ca for more information on working in Canada.

Timescales

It’s best to apply to three universities with varying entry qualifications. Overseas applications usually take up to six months to process. If you’ve set your sights on studying in Canada, you should ideally start the application process at least 12 months in advance. Deadlines for applying for a September start are typically between December and February.

Profile: Asha Katz

Asha Katz, 20, from London is in her second year of studying informatics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “I had fallen for the country having spent many summers with my Canadian relatives so it was an easy decision to study here. The high quality of the education system, the friendly atmosphere and the beauty of the landscape were all attractions. Also, I was able to gain a place on the course I wanted with my AS-levels. This is because Canadian degrees are spread over four years and you cover a wide range of elective subjects in your first year and narrow it down to your major subject in your second year. I was doing astronomy and Mandarin in my first year.

“If you keep your grades up you may be able to qualify for financial help. I was awarded scholarships by Dalhousie, which has made studying here very affordable.

“I’m living in a rented house off campus with a great group of girls which is very moderately priced compared with student accommodation in the UK. Campus life itself is very involving. There is an excellent gym and good facilities for socialising. In my spare time, I’ve been writing for the university newspaper and am helping out at the Women’s Centre. As an international student, you find that everyone you meet is keen to make your life easier – that’s a very Canadian attitude.  

“I also really like the extreme seasons, including the snowy winters. If you are coming, my advice is to buy a good winter coat!”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: 1st Line IT Support - Surrey - £24,000

£20000 - £24000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support Helpd...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Audit Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Audit Graduate Opportunities ar...

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing Exec (SEO / PPC)

£18 - 24k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect