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How Much Does it Cost to Study in Canada?

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Canada is one of the world’s most popular destinations for international students, offering a diverse variety of experiences and opportunities in a country known for its vast expanses, multicultural cities and natural beauty. If you want to study in Canada, the good news is that tuition fees are generally less expensive than in other major Anglophone destinations (the US, UK and Australia), although they are still quite high in comparison to other countries.

The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) offers a useful online tool which allows prospective international students to quickly calculate the costs of studying at different universities in Canada, as well as providing guidance on the documents needed to apply.

Tuition fees in Canada 

Universities in Canada set their own fees, and these vary depending on several factors: what program you’re studying, whether you are an international or home student, and whether you’re studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level. According to the latest report from Statistics Canada, tuition fees in Canada fell by an average of 5.3 percent for undergraduate domestic students and rose by 7.6 percent for international undergraduates in 2019/2020.

If you’re a Canadian citizen studying in Canada, you can expect to pay an average of CA$6,463 per year for an undergraduate degree, and CA$7,056 per year for a graduate degree.

Undergraduate tuition fees in Canada

According to Statistics Canada, the average tuition fees for undergraduate international students in 2019/20 are CA$29714 (~US$22,500) per year. humanities courses tend to be cheaper(averaging $5,542), while subjects such as engineering and medicine are among the more expensive (an average of CA$21,717 (~US$16,446) for dentistry and $14,162 (~US$10,724) for Medicine . Fees for business and management courses are lower than the national average, at CA$6,827 (~US$5,170) per year.

Postgraduate tuition fees in Canada

If you want to study at postgraduate level, the tuition fees are generally lower, and again vary depending on your program. Statistics Canada puts the average postgraduate tuition fee for international students at CA$17,744 in 2019/20, which is approximately US$13,437; a four percent increase from the previous year.

As is the case worldwide, executive MBA programs are generally the most expensive, averaging around CA$56,328 (~US$42,657), while regular MBAs cost CA$27,397 (~US$20,747) on average. (You can read more about studying an MBA in Canada here).

To find out more, get your free online copy of the QS Top Grad School Guide, including a dedicated section about postgraduate study in Canada.

Cost of living in Canada 

Although Canadian student visa requirements say you must have at least CA$10,000 (~US$7,570) (or CA$11,000/~US$8,300 if studying in Quebec) on top of your tuition fees, you’ll likely need to budget much more than this for your living expenses. Your living costs will vary considerably depending on your location and spending habits, with large cities generally more expensive to live in.

The Université de Montréal estimates students will need a total of CA$14,700 per year including housing, food, accommodation, books and course supplies, phone costs and miscellaneous expenses. Similarly, the University of British Columbia, located in Vancouver, estimates living costs of CA$15,500 per year, not including mandatory health insurance, which is CA$864 per year under the BC Health Plan. According to the 2019 Mercer Cost of Living Survey,  Toronto was the most expensive Canadian city to live in, closely followed by Vancouver, with rent particularly high in both cities.

The three main types of student accommodation (homestay, university accommodation and private accommodation) vary considerably in costs, with students paying around CA$3,000-7,500 (~US$2,271 – 5,680) for on-campus accommodation each year. Private shared accommodation can cost around CA$8,400 (~US$6,361) per year plus bills. University accommodation is often cheaper, with some universities offering meal plans to allow you to purchase food from the university’s food outlets.

Here are some examples of average living costs in Canada, taken from Numbeo in October 2019:

  • Eating out at a restaurant: CA$16 per person (~US$12)
  • One-way ticket on local public transport: CA$3 (~US$2.27)
  • Loaf of bread: CA$2.86 (~US$2.17)
  • Cinema ticket: CA$13.50 (~US$10.22)
  • Monthly gym fee: CA$48.25 (~US$36.54)

You will need to purchase compulsory health insurance while studying in Canada. This will cost approximately CA$600-800 (~US$455-607) per year. You should also budget for extra costs, such as warm winter clothing if you don’t already have any.

Student visa and application fees

To study in Canada, you will need to obtain a Canadian study permit, which serves as a student visa for the duration of your stay. You do not need a Canadian study permit if your course or program lasts six months or less. Applying for a study permit costs CA$150 (~US$114). Click here to read more about how to get a Canadian student visa.

Fees to apply to universities in Canada will vary depending on the university and your country of origin. For example, the University of British Columbia charges undergraduate Canadian students CA$70.50 (~US$53.40) and international students CA$118.50 (~US$89.70). You may be able to get this fee waived if you are an international student from a developing country.

Financial aid to study in Canada

Scholarships, grants and bursaries are available for international students wishing to study in Canada, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These include specific scholarships for sporting and academic achievement, and subject-specific scholarships.

Many universities in Canada offer their own scholarships, so you might also be able to apply for a scholarship offered exclusively by the university at which you plan to study. In all cases, it’s important to apply as early as possible as scholarship funding is limited and highly competitive. International applicants are also advised to research study abroad scholarship opportunities offered by organizations in their home country.

One notable source of scholarships to study in Canada is the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to students of other Commonwealth countries. You might also find the financial assistance information on the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials website useful. More scholarships to study in Canada can be found here.

Student jobs in Canada 

If you’d like to get a part-time job to help support yourself while studying in Canada, you can work on or off-campus for up to 20 hours during university semesters and full-time during breaks such as the winter or summer holidays, without the need for a work permit.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Be a full-time student
  • Be enrolled at a designated learning institution at post-secondary level
  • Be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration

You will also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs. You can find out more about how to work during or after studying in Canada here.

This article was originally published in October 2015. It was last updated in October 2019

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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Hi, I'm from Mexico.

I am studying a career in sports science I am a high performance athlete participating in world competitions I would like a scholarship or information to study and represent the university or the country of Canada

This is an excellent post on student finance. The cost of studying in canada has been explained in detail. Thank you very much.

Hi Sabrina. It's Lokesh from India. I completed my Graduation BBA in Accounting & Finance. I wish to settle in Canada. And also i have 2 years work experience. So I think it's better to study. So after my searching I found that MBA is a better option. So doing PG diploma in MBA is my primary intention. I'm afraid that I get a job after my course completion. I've heard that Canada promotes international students for staying and increasing the man power. Basically I'm from a low class family. My family can't afford the expenses. I'm planning to take education loan from India. So can you please refer me some colleges/ University for my studies. Also let me know the approximate total expenditure needed for my course completion. I'm planning to work as a part time worker to meet my living cost. Thanks in advance. Hoping for your reply.

Hi Lokeshwar, You can find out about the scholarships available in Canada here. Discover which universities are the best in Canada for accounting and finance in the subject rankings here. If you're looking to work part time during your studies, take a look at our guide to student jobs here.  

Hello Sabrina, I'm sure this article is a very helpful piece of writing for many, Thank you very much for this.

I'm planning to get admission in the University of Manitoba in a PART-TIME post-graduate program. Will I be eligible for any work or job during my course?
Thanks again.

hey sabrina i'm edmond from lebanon
i have lots of questions to ask
is there any way to contact you private (by mail or any app...)
please i need your help

Hi Edmond, I'm afraid we're unable to respond to individual inquiries via email, but if you'd like to leave your questions here, we'll do our best to help :)

Hi Sabrina mam,I am Koushik from India.I am studying first year bachelor degree in electronics and telecommunication engineering.I would like to go for higher studies in Canada Universities for course MS.What is procedure to apply for that.Is GRE exam is important for that.Please help me Man

I’m Abiba Bance from italy
I would like to be a Flight attendant in Canada can you please help me to fine the best way to start?

I’m Saima from Pakistan I do fsc now I want to study mbbs in Canada may u help me about universities?

Hi Saima, here's a link to our latest rankings by subject for medicine - the results can be narrowed down to show only Canadian universities. Hope this helps! 

Hey Sabrina,
Akshay here,From India.
wanted to pursue my post graduation in Canada.
can you please help me out.
All details & process ..
Thank You

Hi Akshay, you can find detailed information on how to apply to Canadian universities in our guide, available to download for free here

Hi Sabrina. I'm from Argentina, 19 years.
Can I study if I go as a temporary worker? I had planned to go as a car painter and meanwhile to study, I do not know if it is possible.

Hello Sabrina,
For Undergraduate Design course in Canada , is it necessary to take GRE / TOFEL for admission ?

Hello Sabrina,
This is for my daughter who wants to take undergraduate course in Designs/ Product Design etc.
Please suggest best universities, admission procedure and fee & fund requirement.

I don't think so

Hi Arya. With any undergraduate degree, not all Canadian universities will ask applicants (from non-English speaking backgrounds) for GRE/TOEFL scores, so this will depend on the university your daughter is interested in applying to. You may find more useful information about applying to Canadian universities in our study abroad guide, here.

To answer your previous question about the best universities for Art & Design, we have a new ranking of the top schools for that subject, which you can find here - you can narrow down schools by selecting Canada from the 'By location' dropdown list on the table. Admissions and fees/funding will vary depending on the university your daughter will be applying to and could change from year to year, so it's best you check on your preferred universities' official websites for that sort of information. All the best of luck!

Hello ma'am I'm from India.I want to do MS in Canada.How much expense will I able to spend for doing MS.Will I able to get scholarship.

Hi.. mam
I'm from sri Lanka
My son istifaa he wants to be a aeronautical engineer pl let me know what are the good universities in Canada cost and the scholarship available

hello sabrina ma'am i m khushi from india i want to do undergraduate studies in Canada. i m thinking mass media and communication or language studies could you tell me the estimated expense for a good college?

Hi,am Margaret from Cameroon a grade1 holder.pls can I get a scholarship to study science of education for a degree program and in a less affordable university?

Hello dear I'm looking for a suitable place in Canada for my masters, I'm from Nigeria

Hi Franklin, I'd recommend starting your search by checking our latest rankings by subject to find out which Canadian universities are excelling in your chosen subject. 

Hi Sabrina Ma'am, I really liked the amount of information you have provided in your blogs. I have done my Bachelor's in Engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications. I am planning to do MIS from Canada's top universities. So my question is whether GRE is required to get an admit from one of them? I would be really grateful if you'll share some details regarding the same. Thanks!

Hi Mukesh, I don't think you need the GRE, but I'd recommend checking the official websites of the universities you're interested in, as they should list whether or not a test result is required for admission.

Hello. I studied Electrical Electronics at undergraduate level and would like to go do my Masters in Business Administration in Canada. What schools are the cheapest to apply to for this?

Hi sabrina i wanna study nursing in the univ. of Toronto I educated in the Philippines but currently living in the United states. How to apply the program and how to obtain student visa?

hello, i am a pharmacist from Nigeria, can i get a suitable scholarship for my masters in canada...mycgpa is 85%

Hi Izu, you can find a range of scholarships to study abroad in Canada here.

Hi maam
I sadakat malek want to know that weather there is some scholarship for internationals????

Hi....! I m chandana from India
I want to do aeronautical engineering in Canada so can u say me which university is best for ungraduate and can younalso say me How much does it cost for all facility in Canada..?

Hi Sabrina,
I am Deepak Baral from Nepal. I want to study masters in civil engineering. Can you say in which is it easy to get full scholarship, either australia or canada.

Hi Deepak, I'm not sure which country would be easier to get a full scholarship for - full scholarships tend to be quite hard to come by for any country, unfortunately! We have listings for scholarships to study in both Canada and Australia, and you could improve your chances of finding a full scholarship by following the advice in our complete guide on how to find scholarships to study abroad

Hi Sabrina.
I am from India and i'm planning to apply for a PG Diploma, can I expect an application fee waiver?

Hlo mam i need a help!!

Hi Mulugu, what do you need help with? :)

Hey Sabrina, this is a really good article. Loved it!!!
I'm planning to study Masters in Environmental Sciences in Canada. What is the admission procedure and job prospects for this subject?
And what would be the average cost for two years of study?

Hi Ajwal, glad it was helpful. :) 

For entry to a Masters in Environmental Sciences you'll need a good degree in a relevant subject such as geography or physics. You may also need to attend an interview or fulfil other requirements, depending on the university - the universities' official websites will have full info on entry requirements and costs. 

Hey , Sabrina.. i just want to know how a student going to find a part time job if he don't know anyone already, please sugges something about this?For being an international student how har it will be to find a job from where i can save my
next semester fees.

Hi Sabrina, I am applying for uottawa and I was confused how to calculate the fees from their website given below:


How do I calculate the total expense for studying masters for 2 years?

Hi Ahmed,do you know any other university I can I apply?


Hi Sabrina my name is fisehaye from Ethiopia. thank you very much for your nice article I am looking for several some university for studying could you help me which university is good for studying in applied research fields you know I am international student so I am looking for cheaper cities and university it would be better to help me .
And can I get governmental full tuition fees & living costs transport fee coverage thank you.

Hi Sabrina
Do you know what is refusal percentage for Russian citizens?

Hi Sabrina,
Good Day
i have done BE (CSE) i have nearly 2year work experience, now i am looking to do an MBA in Canada, i have 78% CGP in BE and no backlogs,89% in 12th, 88% in 10th.Can you please suggest me some good colleges where i can get scholarships, please sugget me the needed qualification i required,And is there any mandatory exams do i need to take up like TOEFL, IELTS,...etc.Please advice.

Hi Sabrina. It's Vinod from India. I completed my Engineering degree in Computer Science. I wish to settle in Canada. I think my degree won't be enough to get a job because I don't have enough experience. So I think it's better to study. So after my searching I found that MBA is a better option. So doing PG diploma in MBA is my primary intention. I'm afraid that I get a job after my course completion. I've heard that Canada promotes international students for staying and increasing the man power. Basically I'm from a low class family. My family can't afford the expenses. I'm planning to take education loan from India. So can you please refer me some colleges/ University for my studies. Also let me know the approximate total expenditure needed for my course completion. I'm planning to work as a part time worker to meet my living cost. Thanks in advance. Hoping for your reply.

hi.. iam also in same position as you..if you find any solution please inform me.vinod.

obviously you can work as part-time worker over there but remember you can even work under the professor ...like probably research assistant or teaching assistant where you can earn a some decent money to fade out your living expenses and according to rule only 20hrs an international student can work and you will have lot of opportunities once you go there and best of luck and have faith in your selves..cheer up..

Hi, Sabrina
I have done b.com (pass) 2 years program now I want to do MBA from Canada can I get admission.