Studying at a University in Canada for International Students

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Studying at a University in Canada for International Students | An Overview

12 May, 2024 Canada Study Center
University in Canada for international students

Studying at a university in Canada for international students offers a wealth of post-graduation opportunities, including the ability to apply for a PGWP, pursue PR pathways, and access internships, and job opportunities support provided by the university.

If you are an international student wanting to study in Canada, you might have researched various Universities or colleges to find your best fit. Finding the best University in Canada for international students is important before you start applying.

Canadian universities are reputed as a top destination for international students looking for world-class education and enriching experiences. With a reputation for academic excellence, a multicultural environment, and welcoming policies, studying at a Canadian University can be a life-changing opportunity.

Here is a comprehensive guide that will provide you with valuable insights and information regarding the journey of studying at a university in Canada as an international student.

From factors to consider when choosing the right University, types of Universities, application process, financing as an international student, and student life experiences to post-graduation opportunities, we have discussed everything you need to know about studying at a University in Canada for international students.

Choosing a University in Canada for International Students

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a University in Canada as an international student. It can shape your academic and professional future by making an informed and crucial decision.

a) Academic programs and reputation

When you research a university, make sure it offers your desired program of study. It also should have a strong reputation in that program. Also research thoroughly about the faculty members, curriculum, and other things to check whether it aligns with your interests and academic goal.

b) University rankings

The ranking of the University is not the sole deciding factor, however, the high-ranked Universities convey their overall quality and performance. Some reputable sources like QS World University Rankings, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Maclean’s University Rankings provide reliable information and comparative insights. Furthermore, as an international student, you should also understand the importance of University accreditation, research opportunities, and faculty’s expertise in their particular subjects. 

c) Location and campus life 

The location of the University can be an important factor when considering a University in Canada as an international student. The area is one of the major determinants of the total cost of studying in Canada. You should also consider the climate, weather, and proximity to other major cities. While researching about the University’s location, you can also explore the campus facilities, student organizations, and extracurricular activities that might interest you.

d) Tuition fees and living expenses

Tuition fee is one of the major factor to consider while choosing a University. Canadian Universities may charge different tuition fees for international students than the citizens. This fee can vary significantly from Universities to Universities. From total cost of attendance, tuition, and accommodation, to living expenses, everything should be considered in order to ensure that you have a proper financial plan.

e) Student support services

Some of the Universities have dedicated team of student support services especially for international students. This support system may include academic advising, career counseling, language assistance, and cultural integration programs. Evaluate these things at your potential University too as these resources can greatly enhance your overall experience and educational success.

f) Post-study opportunities

Another important factor to consider can also be the opportunities after you graduate from there. If the University have better connections and networking with reputed potential employers, you will have better opportunities like internships, co-op placements, and job prospects after graduation.

Types of Universities in Canada for international students

Before you start searching for the best University in Canada for international students, you should first know the different types of Universities in Canada. Canada has a diverse range of universities, each offering unique academic programs and experiences. Here are the five main types of universities in Canada:

I) Public Universities

Public Universities are government-funded institutions that offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. They are widely recognized and have a well-established reputation. They often have large campuses with diverse student populations. Examples include the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia.

II) Private Universities

Private Universities in Canada are less common than public Universities. Private Unis operate independently and receive minimal or no government funding. The best part is their small class sizes, personalized attention, and innovative teaching methods. They often have a focus on specific areas of study. Some examples are Quest University in British Columbia known for its approach to liberal arts education, and University in Vancouver with a focus on business and technology programs. 

III) Research-intensive Universities

The research-intensive universities in Canada strongly emphasize cutting-edge research and innovation across various specializations including science, engineering, medicine, social sciences, and humanities.

They have interdisciplinary collaboration and graduate programs. They often have state-of-the-art research facilities and have renowned scholars and scientists. Notable examples include The University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, etc.

IV) Specialized Universities

Some universities in Canada have concentrated expertise in specific fields or disciplines, industry-focused curricula, and hands-on learning experiences. 

Such specialized Universities may focus on areas like arts, design, technology, agriculture, or health sciences. Examples include the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U), the University of Guelph, etc.

V) Colleges and Institutes

In addition to universities, Canada has a network of colleges and institutes that offer diploma, certificate, and degree programs. They provide practical and career-oriented education in various fields, including trades, applied sciences, and vocational training. Mostly, they have strong ties with industry partners.

Seneca College in Toronto is known for its programs in aviation, fashion, and business. Similarly, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary excels in areas like construction, petroleum engineering, and hospitality management.

Best University in Canada for International Students

Canada is home to several world-renowned universities that attract international students from Nepal, India, Nigeria, and around the globe. If you are a recent graduate then there are plenty of options for you to choose from. You can also contact some of the best consultancies in Nepal for Canada like the Canadian Study Center. Some of the best Universities in Canada for international students are:

1. University of British Columbia

UBC is consistently ranked among the top universities in Canada for international students. It is located in Vancouver and offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across its two main campuses. The most reputed areas of study at UBC are engineering, business, computer science, and life sciences. The university has a vast and diverse community of international students with students from over 160 countries. Many students choose the University of British Columbia to study in Canada from Nepal.

2. University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Canada. It is a leading research-intensive institution with three campuses across the Greater Toronto Area. It is highly regarded for its programs in fields like business, engineering, medicine, and humanities. U of T is located in downtown Toronto. This provides international students with a vibrant and multicultural environment.

3. McGill University

McGill University is situated in Montreal. It is a world-class university with a strong reputation for excellence in teaching and research. It offers a bilingual (English and French) environment. They are particularly well-known for graduate and undergraduate programs in areas like medicine, law, engineering, and management.

McGill has a diverse international community, with students from over 150 countries.

4. University of Winnipeg

Another best university for international students is the University of Winnipeg. Located in Manitoba’s capital city, the University of Winnipeg is a mid-sized institution known for its commitment to academic excellence, sustainability, and Indigenous education.

It offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in areas like business, arts, science, and education.

5. Kwantlen Polytechnic University

The Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is a modern, teaching-focused institution located in the Metro Vancouver region.

The University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in fields like business, design, health, science, and trades. KPU is known for its hands-on learning approach and strong industry connections, so it is a popular University among international students.

6. Lakehead University

The Lakehead University is a comprehensive university that offers a range of programs in areas like engineering, education, business, and social sciences.

It is also based in Ontario with campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia. It has a strong focus on experiential learning and research opportunities for students.

7. Mount Saint Vincent University

Mount Saint Vincent University is the best university for international students looking for undergraduate programs. It is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The university has a strong emphasis on liberal arts and professional programs. It is known for its small class sizes, personalized learning environment, and programs in areas like education, applied human nutrition, and public relations.

8. University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo is another leading comprehensive university for international students with a strong reputation in fields like engineering, computer science, mathematics, and business.

It is situated in Ontario and is particularly well-known for its co-op program, which offers students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience during their studies.

9. Western University

Also known as the University of Western Ontario, Western University is a research-intensive university located in London, Ontario

 It offers a wide range of programs across various disciplines, including business, engineering, health sciences, and social sciences. Western is known for its strong student experience and vibrant campus life.

10. University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is a popular University for international students looking for research-based programs. Located in Calgary, Alberta, this research-intensive university is renowned for its programs in areas like energy, environment, health sciences, and entrepreneurship.

The University of Calgary offers a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as opportunities for hands-on learning and research experiences.

11. University of Saskatchewan

Another top research-intensive university popular among international students is the University of Saskatchewan, located in Saskatoon. 

Popular University of Saskatchewan graduate programs include Agriculture and Bioresources, Engineering, Kinesiology, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Nutrition, and Veterinary Medicine. It has a strong focus on innovation and interdisciplinary learning.

12. York University

Similarly, York University is also one of the most popular comprehensive universities in Canada for international students. It offers a wide range of programs across liberal arts, professional, and STEM fields. It is located in Toronto and is known for its diverse community, innovative teaching approaches, and research strengths.

13. University of Canada West

The University of Canada West (UCW) is a private, teaching-focused university located in the vibrant city of Vancouver, British Columbia. University Canada West programs for international students are business, technology, and communication. Their career-oriented programs have a strong emphasis on developing practical, job-ready skills.

The university’s small class sizes and personalized attention from faculty create an engaging learning environment that caters to the needs of international students.

With its focus on practical education and a supportive campus community, UCW is an attractive choice for international students seeking a specialized, career-focused university experience in Canada.

14. University of Windsor

Situated in the border city of Windsor, Ontario, the University of Windsor is a comprehensive university that excels in providing experiential learning opportunities for its students.

The university is well-known for its strong programs in engineering, business, law, and liberal arts, offering students the chance to apply their classroom knowledge through co-op placements, internships, and community engagement projects.

The diverse campus community and extensive support services for international students create a welcoming environment that fosters personal and academic growth.

15. Crandall University

Crandall University is a small, private liberal arts university located in Moncton, New Brunswick. The university emphasizes a Christian worldview and offers undergraduate programs in arts, business, education, and science.

Crandall’s close-knit community and supportive environment provide international students with a nurturing setting to develop their academic and personal skills. The university’s focus on cultivating well-rounded individuals with a strong ethical foundation sets it apart, offering international students the opportunity to gain a holistic education grounded in Christian principles.

16. University of Victoria

Situated in the capital city of British Columbia, the University of Victoria (UVic) is a leading research university known for its strengths in areas such as Earth and ocean sciences, engineering, business, and humanities.

The university’s beautiful campus, surrounded by natural wonders, offers international students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in both academic excellence and the vibrant outdoor lifestyle of Victoria.

UVic’s wide range of student services and support for international students, combined with its commitment to sustainability and environmental initiatives, make it an attractive choice for those seeking a well-rounded university experience in Canada.

17. McMaster University

McMaster University is a research-intensive institution with a reputation for excellence in health sciences, engineering, business, and social sciences. It is located in Hamilton, Ontario, near the Greater Toronto Area.

The university’s state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities for undergraduate research provide international students with the resources to excel academically. The university’s well-known co-op programs and experiential learning opportunities further enhance the educational experience for international students, preparing them for successful careers in their fields of study.

18. University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa is a bilingual university situated in the nation’s capital, Ottawa. The university offers a wide range of programs in both English and French, with particular strengths in STEM fields, social sciences, and public affairs.

The vibrant, multicultural campus environment and access to government and industry connections make the University of Ottawa an attractive destination for international students. The university’s support for international students, including language learning resources and cultural adaptation programs, ensures a smooth transition and successful academic journey for those choosing to study at this prestigious institution.

19. University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba is based in Winnipeg, the province’s largest city. It is a comprehensive research university popular for its programs in health sciences, engineering, business, and Indigenous studies.

The university’s commitment to sustainability and environmental research further enhances its appeal for international students seeking a well-rounded educational experience in Canada.

20. Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University is a leading research university situated in the historic city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s picturesque East Coast. The university offers a diverse range of programs, including prestigious fields such as medicine, law, engineering, management, and computer science.

Dalhousie’s vibrant campus life provides international students with access to a thriving cultural scene and ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Dalhousie’s reputation for research excellence and global impact further enhances its appeal for international students seeking a world-class education in Canada.

Top 10 Colleges in Canada for International Students

While universities are often the primary focus for international students, Canada also boasts several excellent colleges that offer high-quality education and practical training.

Besides the Canada University for International Students, the Canadian colleges offer quicker course completion and career-oriented degrees. Here are the top 10 colleges in Canada for international students:

1. Seneca College

2. Centennial College

3. Humber College

4. George Brown College

5. Conestoga College

6. Fanshawe College

7. Sheridan College

8. Algonquin College

9. Georgian College

10. Olds College

Best Universities in Canada for international students with scholarship

Studying in Canada can be expensive for international students, but many universities offer scholarships and financial aid opportunities. Here are some of the best universities in Canada for international students with scholarships:

1. University of Toronto

2. University of British Columbia

3. McGill University

4. University of Alberta

5. University of Waterloo

6. University of Calgary

7. Queen’s University

8. Western University

9. University of Ottawa

10. York University

Application process at University of Canada for international students

Here is an overview of the application process for international students applying to a Canadian university:

1) Research and Choose Universities

The first step is to research and identify Canadian universities that offer programs aligned with your academic and career goals. Consider factors such as program offerings, tuition fees, campus life, and the level of support provided to international students. Canada is home to a diverse range of public and private universities, each with its unique strengths and specializations.

2) Review Admission Requirements

Once you have shortlisted the universities you wish to apply to, carefully review the admission requirements for your program of interest. These typically include submitting an online application form, providing official academic transcripts, demonstrating English proficiency through standardized test scores (e.g., IELTS, TOEFL, PTE), and preparing a personal statement or statement of purpose. Additional requirements may vary by university and program.

3) Prepare Application Materials

Gather and organize all the necessary documents for your university applications. This includes requesting official transcripts from your previous educational institutions, drafting a compelling personal statement, and identifying referees for letters of recommendation. Make sure that you have all the required materials ready before submitting your applications.

4) Submit the Applications

Most Canadian universities utilize online application portals or centralized application systems, such as the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) or the ApplyAlberta website. Complete the application forms, upload or send the required supporting documents, and pay the non-refundable application fees, which can range from 100 to 300 CAD or more.

5) Wait for Admission Decisions

After submitting your applications, the universities will review your materials and provide admission decisions. These decisions may include an offer of admission, a waitlist, or a rejection. Be patient during this process, as it can take several weeks or months to receive a response.

6) Accept the Offer and Secure Admission

If you receive an offer of admission, follow the instructions provided by the university to accept the offer and secure your spot. This may involve paying a tuition deposit or completing additional enrollment steps.

7) Apply for a Study Permit

As an international student, you must apply for a Canadian study permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to study in the country. Gather the required documents, such as the letter of acceptance, proof of financial support, and any other necessary documentation, and submit the study permit application.

It can take several months to complete all the steps, so make sure you start your application process well ahead of your expected intake time.

Financing To Study at a University in Canada for International Students

If you are considering to study at a University in Canada for international students, it’s important to understand the financial implications. Tuition fees for international students in Canada can vary significantly, ranging from around 20,000 to 60,000 CAD per year, depending on the university and program you choose.

In addition to tuition, international students need to budget for living expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, and other personal costs, which can add another 10,000 to 20,000 CAD per year to the overall financial burden.

Understanding the total cost of studying in Canada is crucial for international students to plan their finances effectively.

To cover these substantial educational and living expenses, international students have several funding sources to explore. Some Canadian universities offer scholarships and grants specifically for international students, based on factors such as academic merit, financial need, or other criteria.

These scholarships can range from partial tuition coverage to full tuition and living expenses, and students should research these opportunities on university websites and apply well in advance.

Additionally, as per the recent IRCC update on April 29, 2024, international students in Canada are allowed to work up to 24 hours per week during the academic term and full-time during breaks, providing them with the opportunity to earn a steady income through on-campus jobs or off-campus work, subject to certain restrictions.

Student Life at a University in Canada for International Students

University in Canada for international students strives to create a welcoming environment for its international student population. On campus, international students can expect to find a diverse community of learners from around the world.

Universities typically offer a range of support services, such as orientation programs, dedicated international student offices, and a variety of clubs and organizations to help students acclimate and get involved.

Accommodation and dining options cater to the diverse needs of international students, while comprehensive health and wellness services promote overall well-being.

To assist with cultural adaptation, universities provide intercultural programs, peer mentorship, and language support. They also encourage international students to engage with the broader community through volunteer opportunities and local events.

By leveraging these campus resources, as an international student, you can thrive in the inclusive environment of Canadian universities, enriching your academic journey and personal growth.

Post-graduation opportunity at a University in Canada for international students

One of the key advantages of studying at a University in Canada for international students is the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and receive permanent residency after graduation. Some of the key post-graduation options include:

1. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

As an international student, you can apply for a PGWP after completing your studies, allowing you to work in Canada for up to 3 years.

2. Permanent Residency Pathways

After you graduate from a University in Canada, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through programs like the Federal Skilled Worker Program or Provincial Nominee Programs.

3. Internships and Co-op Programs

Many universities offer internship and co-op opportunities, providing you with practical work experience during your studies.

4. Career Services and Job Fairs

Universities have career centers to assist you with job search, resume writing, and networking.

5. Alumni Networks

Extensive university alumni networks can be valuable for finding job opportunities and making professional connections for you as an international student.

By taking advantage of these post-graduation options, you can enhance your employability and explore pathways to long-term careers or permanent residence in Canada.


Studying at a university in Canada offers international students a wealth of post-graduation opportunities, including the ability to apply for a PGWP, pursue permanent residency, and access career support.

When choosing a university, key factors to consider are academic programs, rankings, location, costs, student services, and post-study options. Canada has diverse university types, from public to specialized, each with unique offerings.

Funding is available through scholarships, grants, and part-time work. Universities also provide a vibrant campus life and comprehensive support for international students.

Ultimately, studying at a university in Canada can be a transformative and enriching experience for international students, offering academic excellence, cultural diversity, and valuable post-graduation opportunities to launch their careers or pursue further education.

University in Canada for international students: FAQs

1. Which Canadian university is the cheapest for international students?

Simon Fraser University, Brandon University, Dalhousie University, Cape Breton University, and Canadian Mennonite University are among the top 10 cheapest universities in Canada for international students.

2. Which university in Canada accepts most international students?

The University of Toronto accepts a significant number of international students, with over 23,000 students from abroad comprising around a quarter of its total enrollment.

3. Which university has the highest visa success rate in Canada?

According to the latest data, the University of Waterloo has consistently maintained a visa approval rate of over 90% for its international student applicants.

4. Which university in Canada is easiest to get into for international students?

The University of Windsor is considered the easiest to get into for international students. They have relatively lower grade and test score requirements, a flexible rolling admissions process, a variety of pathway programs to help students meet entry requirements, high acceptance rates for international applicants, and more affordable tuition compared to many other Canadian universities.

University in Canada for international students


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