Studying in Canada

Why study in Canada?

Canada is an increasingly popular alternative to the United States for UK students who want the quality of a North American university education.

  • Canada is a truly multicultural nation with – away from the prairies – a very different culture in comparison with the US.
  • Canadian universities are far more like their counterparts in the UK than across the border and standards are uniformly high.
  • Quebec is proudly bilingual and, although McGill University is English language, a good knowledge of French or a willingness to learn will be an asset in the vibrant city of Montreal. 

Applications can be made online to a chosen university.

  • UK A-levels are recognised.
  • An application for international study can take up to seven weeks to be processed, assuming all the correct information is provided.

Entry and visa regulations

  • A study permit (student visa) is required, after acceptance on to a programme of study.
  • Entry to Canada is dependent on sufficient funds to pay for tuition fees, living expenses and a return ticket home.
  • Character and health checks are also made and may involve a police check or a medical examination, or both.
  • A study permit is issued on arrival against a written notification of acceptance on a course.

Canada is made up of ten provinces and three territories and each one runs its own education system.

  • It is important to complete the study permit application carefully as there are differences not only between universities but provinces.

Funding your study

Tuition fees for international students are higher than for domestic students.

  • The cost of study will depend on the course but most international fees start at about CA$15,000 (£9,300) per year.
  • The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) has a useful website illustrating the costs at different universities across the country.
  • Scholarships are available for international students at undergraduate level and there are also specific scholarships for sporting and academic achievements. Find out more from the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Programme.
  • The Canadian government and other organisations also offer scholarships for postgraduate and doctoral study.

What about a part-time job?

  • International students with a valid study permit who find a job on campus do not need an extra work permit.
  • However, these jobs are in short supply and part-time work off campus requires a permit allowing the holder to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations.

Some typical prices in Canada (GBP, March 2015):

  • Apartment rent, 1 bedroom: £436 - £539 per month
  • Meal, inexpensive restaurant: £7.15
  • Meal at McDonalds: £4.50
  • Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught): £2.65
  • Imported beer (0.33 litre bottle): £3.18
  • Cappuccino: £1.98
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle): £1.01
  • Water (0.33 litre bottle): £0.89
  • Loaf of bread: £1.44
  • Cigarettes: £5.83
  • One-way ticket local transport: £1.59
  • Cinema ticket: £6.36

Staying on after study

  • The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows graduates who have been studying in Canada for more than eight months to stay on to work after graduation.

Health and safety

Medical insurance is essential while studying in Canada.

  • Canada is a generally very safe country where people treat each other with respect – cars will stop to allow pedestrians to cross the road (just don’t count on that in Montreal however).

Helpful links