Study in Canada– Why study in Canada?

Choosing to study in Canada is becoming increasingly popular for international students attracted by its highly-ranked universities – seven of which are in the Times Higher Education Top 200 – and its staggering natural beauty and high standard of living. 

When looking at where to study in Canada the enormous size of the country becomes apparent. Canada is divided into ten provinces and has two official languages – English and French. With a landmass bigger than that of the US, it is the world’s second-largest country. Apart from Ottawa, the capital, there are three large metropolitan areas, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, where you could choose to study in Canada.

Sprawling between the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans, Canada is the global leader in technological and scientific research. Studying in Canada offers a vast selection of courses, and a streamlined route to getting a post-graduation work permit and eventually permanent residency.

Another reason to choose to study in Canada is that it is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet. It is highly ranked for its government transparency, economic freedom, and education system. The Canadian economy is the eighth largest, globally, and you will therefore find it easy to secure part-time work in its cities and larger towns.

Canada is not all frozen north and amazing winter sports. It has hundreds of kilometres of prairies in the southwest, the largest forest on earth, and the famous Banff National Park with its glaciers and mountainous landscapes. Add to this the British Columbian coastline then it is easy to see why studying in Canada has it all.

Study in Canada– choosing a university

Study in Canada– popular university rankings

The table, below, sets out the most up to date global rankings of some popular Canadian universities.

University in Canada Location QS Global Rankings, 2024
University of Toronto Toronto 21
McGill University Montreal 30
University of British Columbia Vancouver 34
University of Montreal Montreal 141
University of Alberta Edmonton 111
McMaster University Hamilton 189
University of Waterloo Waterloo 112
Western University London(Ontario) 114
University of Ottawa Ottawa 203
University of Calgary Calgary 182

Study in Canada– choosing a course

If you decide to study in Canada you can choose from 15,000 programs for your undergraduate degree. Like in the US, you will be able to take one or more majors and minors, namely your main and subsidiary areas of study.

Unlike British universities, where you study for a named degree, when studying in Canada, you can combine unrelated programs, for example, science and history, within your bachelor’s timetable, so you are essentially creating your own course. However, certain faculties, for example, engineering, ask you to commit to your choice of major as soon as you have accepted a place.

Other universities in Canada prefer you to take several core modules and decide on your major, either at the end of the first or even the second year. You need to check this on the university website if you feel torn and undecided and want to take the time to commit to a major. 

Remember, it is also possible to take a double major or joint honors – and this will be noted on your degree certificate. 

Study in Canada– the application process


Submitting your Applications 

Once you have chosen a course and university to study in Canada, you  may need to apply online to each individual institution, since Canada does not have a national centralised application system like the USUK, and many European countries. However, both Ontario and British Columbia do have their own centralised application systems, OUAC and EducationPlannerBC, respectively. British Columbia accepts applications to individual universities as well as through their hub. Contact Elab for further information.

Each university has its own requirements, application pack and fee and you should budget between 70 and 190 euros per application. Fees also vary between programs and multiple applications can be quite expensive and certainly time-consuming to fill in.

Elab can help you prepare your application for studying in Canada and make sure that you are maximising your chance of being offered a place.

Study in Canada – Deadlines 

For students wanting to apply to study in Canada, universities have three intakes, in September, January and a few in April.  While deadlines differ, as a rule of thumb December-March are the deadlines for September starts, while you need to have uploaded your documents between September and November for the January intake.

The September intake is the most popular and therefore the most competitive.

Bear in mind that deadlines also vary according to province, territory, and course – so you are well-advised to check precise dates for the year and intake you wish to start your studies in Canada

Entry requirements to study in Canada

To apply to study in Canada you will be asked for some, or all the following, depending on the university:

  • Proof of completion of secondary education/diploma
  • TOEFL or IELTS certificate for English-taught courses
  • DALF or DELF, or equivalent proof of proficiency for French-taught courses 
  • Financial documents which establish that you can support yourself through your studies.
  • Transcripts of your secondary education content and grades
  • A well written letter of motivation
  • One or more good references
  • Possibly a portfolio – depending on the subject you intend to study etc.

When submitting your application to study in Canada remember to ensure that all your documents are transcribed into either English or French, and notarised.

Canadian universities have a GPA cut-off point, which depends on the status, prestige, and popularity of the institution, and ranges from 65-to 90, so your grade transcripts are important for the application process.

You may be asked to take part in an online interview.

After submitting your application to study in Canada, you should receive a reply within eight weeks, although this can be longer if you are applying for the very busy September intake.

 Since Canadian universities operate on a first-come, first-served basis, try to get all your papers in as soon as possible. 

Study in Canada and study permits

EU students do not need a visa to study in Canada, but will need to apply for a study permit, which includes an electronic travel authorization, or eTA, which is valid for five years. The study permit requires an unconditional offer of a place to be processed, so it is never too early to begin applying.

The study permit lasts for the length of your studies plus 90 days. and costs approximately 100 euros, whereas the eTA is free since it forms part of the application.

Contact Elab for help with your application process to study in Canada and to get your study permit.

Studying in Quebec 

NB: If you are applying to study in Quebec, you will also have to get a CAQ, or Quebec Acceptance Certificate, which will ask you for general information about yourself, your address in Quebec, etc. You cannot apply for the study permit until you have the CAQ.

Study in Canada– Costs

Tuition fees

Tuition fees to study in Canada for international undergraduate students vary from course to course and university to university, averaging out at 18,000 euros. Subjects such as dentistry, medicine, and engineering are more expensive than business and management courses. 

Prestigious universities in Canada are significantly more expensive than lower-ranking institutions The University of Toronto’s undergraduate fees range from 26,000-to 46,000 euros a year, whereas the University of Calgary charges foreign undergraduate students approximately 16,000 euros. The University of Guelph charges upwards of 7,000 euros.


When it comes to accommodation during your studies in Canada, British Columbia is almost twice as expensive as Alberta and Quebec. Toronto tops the list of most expensive Canadian cities, followed by Ottawa, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Cost of living while you study in Canada

It has been estimated that students at Canadian universities need around 900 euros a month to cover their food, accommodation, groceries, spending money, books, mobile phone, and internet contracts. 

This is an affordable sum when compared with the US, and part-time work can cover a large percentage of your monthly expenses. You are entitled to work up to 20 hours a week during term-time and full-time during the vacation periods.

 Popular jobs for students in Canada include:

  • Barista
  • Waiter/Waitress
  • Tutor
  • Teacher’s assistant
  • Nanny/babysitter
  • Uber driver
  • Dog walker
  • Translator

Study in Canada–other useful information

  • Many international students love Canada and decide to stay on after they have their bachelor’s and take the postgraduation work permit route to Canadian citizenship. Thirty per cent of international students who came to study in Canada after 2000 chose to become permanent residents.
  • Canadian universities offer a range of scholarships for international students. At undergraduate level, these are awarded automatically based on academic achievements once a student has been accepted. 
  • Canada’s VIA Rail network gives students substantial discounts and provides a cheaper way to see this vast country than domestic flights.
  • Canada’s police hand out “positive tickets” if they see you picking up litter, wearing a helmet on your bike etc.
  • Canada is a law-abiding country…There is even a polar bear jail in Churchill, Canada, for polar bears who misbehave by raiding bins or barging into shops!
  • Introduction
  • Diagnostics
  • Personal Profile Map
  • Research
  • University Report
  • Final application choices
  • Application process plan
  • Mentor Program
  • Exam and Interview prep
  • Document completion
  • Application portal setup
  • Submission
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-departure procedures
  • Finances
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