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Study in Canada: Costs, Visa Process, Top Universities, Application & Interview, Job Opportunities

Vaishnavi Agrawal Vaishnavi Agrawal
Study Abroad Expert

Over the past decade, foreign students have been flocking to Canada, especially from Asian countries like India and China. International student population in Canada is booming over the years, now exceeding over 642,000 in 2019. The latest data released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) indicates 404,000 new study permits approved to study in Canada, 2019.

Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia are the largest beneficiaries of foreign students in Canada. The number of students holding Canadian study permits is nearly 500,000. Countries like India, China, and Korea contribute to a major part of this population.

Study Permit Holders in Canada 2010-2019

What drives a large international student population to study in Canada?

The reasons are manifold:

  • Easy visa policy
  • Cost-effective quality education.
  • Plenty of similar job opportunities for natives and immigrants.
  • Declining international acceptance rates in the US.
  • Canada’s International Education Strategy (2019-2024) aiming to promote global ties and diversify the education sector.
Student Population to study in Canada

With burgeoning middle-income aspirants in the developing countries, reduced costs of education and living expenses have played a vital role in the rising demand for study in Canada. Canadian universities are expected to see a large part of incoming foreign students in the future due to the uncertainties surrounding the visa approval in the US.

Pardon us if we forgot to warn you about the Canadian weather. Despite all the pros of studying in Canada, adjusting to extreme cold weather can be a little overwhelming for international students, especially those coming from tropical areas.

What to study in Canada?

Education in Canada is cheaper and recognized globally. The flexibility and variety of programs offered by the education system in Canada is the foremost reason why the number of international students studying in Canada has grown by nearly 90% since 2008.

Education system of Canada is divided into three levels: -

  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Post-secondary Education

The Hierarchy: After completing their elementary and secondary education for upto the age of 16-18, students move on to their Post-secondary Education. Listed are the post-secondary programs and their duration in Canadian education system.

Post-Secondary ProgramsDuration
Certificate1 year
Diploma1 to 2 years
Advanced Diploma2 to 3 years
Bachelor’s Degree4 years full-time study
Post-Graduate Diploma or Certificates1 or 2 years
Master’s Degree1 to 2 years
Doctorate or Ph.D.4 to 7 years

Bachelor’s and Master’s in Canada are offered by Higher Education Institutions and Universities. Certificates, Diplomas, and Associate degrees are also offered by these institutes. After completing a master’s degree, a student either works or goes for a doctoral program.

Language Requirements: Out of the two official languages of Canada i.e. English and French, students need to be well acquainted with anyone of these languages compulsorily. One can also opt for language courses offered at some of the Canadian universities.

Popular Programs and Courses in Canada: The most popular courses opted by international students in Canada are in the field of:

  • Business and Finance
  • Health & Medicine
  • Computer Science and IT
  • Engineering
  • Media & Journalism

Three Canadian universities - University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and McGill University are ranked among the top 100s according to QS World Rankings, Times Higher Education Rankings and ARWU (Shanghai) Rankings.

Canada Student Visa

International students must obtain a study permit to study in Canada for a duration of more than 6 months or continue ongoing education in Canada. A student visa in Canada is known as a study permit.

When should you apply for the study permit?

Planning is the most important part when deciding to study abroad. Students aspiring to study in Canada are advised to apply for their study permit 4 to 6 months prior to the beginning of their classes.

What documents are required to apply for the student permit?

  • A letter of acceptance from the designated learning institution (DLI) is mandatory to apply for a student visa.
  • Valid passport or travel document
  • Identity proof, authorized by the resident’s government.
  • A financial statement in support of the candidate’s eligibility to meet living costs and fees is also required.
  • Medical information
  • A letter defining your statement of purpose to study in Canada and how will you add to the pool of resources there.

Apply: Application for Canada Student Permit can be made online and offline via:

  • Government of Canada Key, log in at GCKey
  • Visit the nearest VAC (Visa Application Centre) or apply at the entry port

You can restore your status as a student if you are planning to extend your stay in Canada by renewing the study permit for 350 CAD (Restoring status - 200 CAD & new study permit - 150 CAD)

How should you prepare for the visa interview?

After the visa application process, students are called for an interview. This process is a bit strenuous and requires a lot of preparation. Students are advised to go through a student guide for tips to crack visa interviews.

Visa Interview

If you are accepted at a Quebec based institution, produce the following documents additionally:

  • Letter of explanation/ Statement of Purpose of visit
  • Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ)

Canada study permit takes 6 weeks’ time for processing. However, with the introduction of the SDS Program, students from China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines can get their visas within 45 days.

Rise in indian students holding Canadian Visa

How can the students immigrate to Canada?

Migrating to Canada becomes easy after obtaining a degree from a Canadian university. The Canadian government has many programs dedicated to the transition of an international student into a permanent resident.

For recent graduates, Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) is open to gain some working experience within the Canadian industry.

Some of the other offers for international students include:

  • Canadian Experience Class: For students who have completed 2 years of education and have work experience of 1 year.
  • Quebec Experience Class: Students must have proficiency in French language and completion of the CEGEP program from an institution in Quebec.
  • Provincial Nomination Program: Eligible candidates apply via paper-based process or express entry after getting nominated by the province officials.

Cost of Studying in Canada

When planning to study abroad, the tuition costs and budget planning are the first things crossing our minds.

You need not worry much about Canada Study costs. It stands out to be the most student-friendly country among others due to its affordable study options.

Studying and living in Canada may cost up to $38,000- $39,000 per year for an international student. The tuition fee for an undergraduate degree varies from 1,800 CAD per year to 20,000 CAD per year.

Cost of accommodation, food, books, and supplies, as well as transportation, add to your budget. Estimated annual expense average around 12,000 CAD.

The average tuition fee for students enrolled in MBA, MS or medicine courses is as follows:

  • MBA- $29,971- $63,354
  • MS- $23,891- $29,901
  • Medicine- $25,628- $38,578

Overall tuition cost in Canada is comparatively lower than that in the USA and UK.

CANADAUndergraduate$7,700 - $23,200 CAD
Graduate$11,600 - $27,000 CAD

Undergraduate$7,700 - $27,000 CAD
Graduate$15,500 - $46,500 CAD

Undergraduate$11,000 - $20,000 CAD
Graduate$13,600 - $27,800 CAD

Scholarships for International Students in Canada

To reduce the financial burden, students can apply to scholarship programs for international students initiated by the Government of Canada.

Banting Postdoctoral FellowshipsCanadian and Foreign citizens$54,219 per year (taxable)Registration at Canadian Common CV and ResearchNet AccountApril- September
Canada-CARICOM Leadership Scholarships ProgramStudents from Caribbean Countries pursuing undergraduate and graduate programs4 months: $5,576; 
5-6 months: $7,513;
8 months: $11,386
Canadian institutes register at ‘International Scholarships Canada Application Tool’ for eligible studentsApril
Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED)students from ASEAN countries5-6 months: $8,675;
8 months: $11,153
Scholarships Canada Application Tool’ for eligible students-
Queen’s University International ScholarshipsFor international students with higher academic grades$6,969No application Required-

Jobs in Canada

Jobs in Canada are available for students of all levels, graduates and professionals alike.

Plenty of work-study in Canada options are available for international students. You can work either on-campus or off-campus, you can work as a co-op student or as an intern. You also have the option to stay and work in Canada after your graduation.

You will need a work permit (PGWP) to work in Canada. Application for Post-graduation Work Permit costs $255 CAD.

Following are the job opportunities available for graduates from the high-demanding fields of Management, Engineering and Medicine:

FieldsJob ProfileExpected Average Package
ManagementRecruitment Professional Specialized$62,932
Statistician and Actuaries$69,404
Senior Business Manager$75,241
EngineeringChemical Engineer$65840
Mechanical Engineer$61,967
Environmental Engineer$80348

The Canadian universities with the highest employability rate are:

  • Concordia University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Waterloo

Studying in Canada is high in demand, especially for Indian aspirants. It is what comes to the mind first when deciding to study abroad.