Study in Canada - How to Apply, Dates and Requirements

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    Canada is becoming a popular study destination for international students. With over 642,000 international student population, Canada makes it to the top 5 study destinations in the world. Universities in Canada offer students with world class education facilities and teaching excellence.

    You can choose undergraduate courses, postgraduate degrees and short term courses to study in Canada. To get admission in Canada or their top universities it is important to ensure that you apply for them on time and send in your complete application packages.

    To get admission in Canada you will need tests scores like GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL, etc. Additionally, you will need SOPs, LORs and other statements supporting your application and helping you through the admission process. A detailed discussion on the same is done in sections ahead

    Timeline for Admission in Canada

    Universities in Canada usually have intakes for the Fall semester, but some of them also take in students for Winter and Spring sessions. Here’s what you need to do and when to get admission for higher education in Canada.

    Month Details
    September/October Fill in online application form
    January/February Submit all the required documents
    March - May Response is sent by the university
    May - July Apply for and obtain a student visa to Canada
    September Orientation session, program commences

    The timeline given above is a general one for Fall sessions, and the dates may vary for different colleges/programs.

    How to get Admission in Canada

    There is no centralized application process for universities in Canada. You have to apply online on the individual universities’ websites, and the application process also varies in different provinces. The general process of admission to Canadian universities is as follows:

    1. Decide which program and university you want to study in. You will have to choose between
      1. French-taught or English-taught program.
      2. Level of study, i.e Bachelors, Masters or PhD program.
      3. Fall, Winter, or Spring intake, in case of programs that have multiple admission cycles.
      4. Different provinces in Canada, if location is an important factor to you.
    2. Once you have narrowed down your preferences, you must visit the college/university website and learn about the application process, deadlines, seat availability, admission requirements, scholarship options, etc.
    3. Register on the particular university portal and fill in the application form with your personal details, then pay the application fee. Make sure to submit your application before the deadline.
    4. Upload the required documents before the document submission deadline.
    5. Apply for any scholarships in Canada if you meet the respective eligibility criteria.
    6. Afterwards, the university will contact you with an admission offer, most likely via email. You must then confirm your acceptance in order to be admitted to the university.
    7. The next step is to apply for a study permit in Canada, if the program you have enrolled in has a duration longer than 6 months. You will be issued a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) along with the permit.

    Note that you need the acceptance letter from the university (which must be a Designated Learning Institution) in order to apply for the study permit.

    While nearly all Canadian higher education institutions have individual application portals, if you are planning to apply to a university in Ontario, you must apply via the common portal You must pay CAD 156 plus an International Service Fee of CAD 10 to apply for the 3 programs that make up your base application. Any additional program will cost you CAD 50 (per program).

    Deadlines for Admission in Canada – UG Programs

    The top Canadian universities’ application deadlines 2021 for undergraduate programs is given below.

    University Intake Program Application deadline Application fee
    University of Toronto Fall Most programs
    *Medical and Health Sciences programs may have different deadlines.
    15 January CAD 180
    McGill University Fall Most programs 15 January CAD 114
    University of British Columbia Fall All programs 15 January CAD 118.5
    University of Montreal Fall All programs 1 February CAD 105.5
    University of Alberta Fall Most programs 1 March CAD 125
    McMaster University Fall Most programs 1 February CAD 110
    University of Waterloo Fall Most programs 1 February CAD 125
    Western University Fall All programs 1 June CAD 156
    Queen’s University N/A Most programs 1 August CAD 150
    University of Calgary Fall Most programs 1 March CAD 125

    Deadlines for Admission in Canada- MS Courses

    The application deadlines 2021 for MS programs in Canadian universities is given below.

    University Intake Application Period Application Fee
    University of Toronto Fall September-March CAD 180
    McGill University Fall August-March CAD 121
    University of British Columbia May November-January CAD 143
    July January-March
    September January-July
    University of Montreal Fall 1 February CAD 105.5
    Winter 1 September
    Summer 1 February
    University of Alberta Fall January-June CAD 100
    Winter September-November
    McMaster University September October-January CAD 110
    University of Waterloo September 1 February CAD 125
    January 1 June
    May 1 October
    Western University Fall November-July CAD 120
    Queen’s University Fall September-March CAD 150
    University of Calgary N/A January-May CAD 125

    Requirements for Admission in Canada

    Each university website will contain information about the admission requirements to different programs. These may include documents with personal information as well as academic proficiency. The general documents that have to be submitted are:

    • Scanned copy of passport
    • Academic transcripts from your previous institution, that is
      • School-leaving certificate, if applying for a Bachelors course
      • Bachelor's degree certificate, if applying to a Masters course
      • Any other relevant certificates of merit
    • Proof of language proficiency
    • Letter of recommendation, if needed
    • Statement of purpose for Canada
    • Resume or CV, if needed

    The university admission documents are similar to the ones required to apply for a Canadian student visa, but you will need to submit the Letter of Acceptance and your financial statements in addition to those mentioned in the list.

    Language Requirements for Admission in Canada

    It is very important to be aware of the different exams required to study in Canada. All Canadian universities require proof of language proficiency, whether it be French or English. The French proficiency exams are TEF and TEFAQ, for which 400 is a good enough score. However, international students generally opt for English-taught programs, so you will need to take exams like IELTS, TOEFL, PTE and CAEL. The average cutoffs to the top universities in Canada are tabulated below.

    University IELTS score TOEFL iBT score PTE score CAEL score
    University of Toronto 6.5 100 N/A 70
    McGill University 6.5 86 65 70
    University of British Columbia 6.5 90 65 70
    University of Alberta 6.5 90 59 70
    McMaster University 6.5 86 60 70

    Other than language tests, for some courses you are also required to take subject-specific tests. For example:

    • In order to do an MBA in Canada, you will need a GMAT score of around 660.
    • In order to study Medicine or related courses in Canada, you will need an MCAT score of 490-500.

    Higher education programs in Canada are not very difficult to get into, if you follow the steps and meet the basic requirements. You must only start the application once you are clear about the entire process. Canadian universities sometimes set different deadlines for scholarship application and regular application, and many programs like medicine also have separate deadlines. When you receive an admission offer, you can start figuring out what to pack when you leave for Canada.