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How Much Does it Cost to Study in Canada?

How much does it cost to study in Canada main image

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.

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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 Canadian dollars

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. Tuition fees are currently most expensive in the province of Ontario, according to a recent report from Stats Canada. If you’re a Canadian citizen studying in Canada, you can expect to pay an average of CA$6,000 (~US$4,534) per year for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Undergraduate tuition fees in Canada

Average tuition fees in Canada for international undergraduate students start at about CA$14,000 (~US$10,730) per year. Arts and humanities courses tend to be cheaper, while subjects such as engineering and medicine are among the more expensive.

Postgraduate tuition fees in Canada

If you want to study at postgraduate level, the tuition fees are generally higher, and again vary depending on your program. As is the case worldwide, executive MBA programs are generally the most expensive, averaging around CA$42,000 (~US$32,000).

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 Costs of living

Your average costs of living per month are likely to be around CA$600-800 (~US$450-600) for food and other expenses, not including accommodation, which will be your largest expenditure after tuition fees. Living expenses including accommodation in Canada are likely to be approximately CA$10,000-15,000 per year (~US$7,550-11,300). Living costs are generally more expensive in the biggest cities.

Typically you will be spending about CA$3,000-$6,000 (~US$2,240-4,500) each year on accommodation, which is likely to be towards the more expensive end if you live on campus in student accommodation. If you would like a cheaper option, you may consider living off-campus, but remember to take into account any extra costs of travelling to and from your university. Sharing off-campus housing with other students can also make accommodation more affordable.

If you’re under 18 (or 19 in the provinces of British Columbia, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories) you must live with a host family in a homestay, which may be arranged by your university. At approximately CA$650-800 (~US$490-600) a month, this could be another fairly affordable option, particularly as your host family is likely to provide you with meals at no extra cost.

Here are some examples of average living costs in Canada:

  • Eating out at a restaurant: CA$10-15 per person (~US$8-11)
  • One-way ticket on local public transport: CA$3 (~US$2)
  • Loaf of bread: CA$2.80 (~US$2)
  • Cinema ticket: CA $12.25 (~US$9)

Student visa and application fees Canadian student visa 

In order to study in Canada, you will need to obtain a Canadian study permit, which serves as a Canadian 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$110). 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 Canadian students (and permanent residents, refugees and diplomats) CA$98.25 (~US$75) and international students CA$159 (~US$120). You may be able to get this fee waived if you are an international student from a developing country.

You should also remember that it is compulsory to purchase health insurance while studying in Canada. This will cost approximately CA$600 (~US$450) per year.

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.

Student jobs in Canada Student jobs in Canada

If you’d like to get a part-time job to help support yourself while studying in Canada, you can now qualify to 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 or, in Quebec, a vocational program at 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.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
Sabrina is a content writer for TopUniversities.com, providing guidance on a wide range of topics. A graduate of Aberystwyth University, Sabrina is originally from the West Midlands but now lives in London. 

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53 Comments

is pte accepted in canada?

Hi Addu, I don't think the PTE is accepeted when applying for your student visa, but it may be accepted by Canadiajn universities - it's worth checking with the ones you're interested in, to see if they do accept the PTE. 

Hii..
I did my b.tech in computer science and wanted to do MS in computet science from canada.. is gre is important? MS is of 3 yrs in canada?

Hey surbhi it is not mandatory to give GRE...but some unversity like Toronto State university,WaterLoo,McGill etc are asking for GRE Score and IELTS Score...and MS in Computer Science is only for 2 year.

hello there
this is Abood

just a quick one is there any funding plan or is it just a ploy please let me know

thanks

Hi Mark, I'm not sure what funding plan you're referring to, please could you clarify?

Hi
Currently I'm a software engineer in Sri Lanka since 2016. I have an uncle who is permanent resident in ontario, canada. So he ask me to come to Canada because it will be good for my future. I do have a degree but it not from a government university, it sort of like a diploma. But that professional qualification helped me to get my software engineering job.

So I would like to know can you suggest me better way to come to canada, as a student or as a professional. If i come as a student what are the universities or institutes that have low cost and better options to part time work.

can a family member go with a foreign student to canada what are his/her rights and how long thet can stay .

Hello, yes, you can bring family mebers with you when you study in Canada - you'll need to provide proof of funds for their living expenses as well as your own when applying for your student visa. You can find out more on the Government of Canada's website.

For international students what is the average college tuition fees for a bachelor of architecture??

Hello, I have a question that I have for some time. What university offers languages course together with Interpreting and translations courses? I would like to know if there is in particular a uni who offers three languages as one course. Thanks

Annual Tutions fees of dental school, irt. International students

Hi, what will happen after graduation? Do we need to leave canada and apply for working visa? Or we can just look for a job and apply for work visa if we got hired?

Hi Ella, if you'd like to stay in Canada to work, you can apply for a work visa under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) within 90 days of graduating. You can read the requirements for this, and other advice on working in Canada, here. Hope this helps!

Hi Sabrina,This is sakib from Bangladesh.I want to study undergraduation of Hotel Management in Canada.But i don't have any idea about which university will best for me to study Hotel Managment.And how much it will cost to complete my study there including food and accomodation.Kindly inform me all the details please!

Hi Nazmus, here's a link to our new ranking of the world's best hospitality and leisure management schools, which can be narrowed down to show only Canadian universities. In terms of costs, you could use a site such as Numbeo to get an idea of costs of living for food items and rent in different Canadian cities. Hope this helps!

hi, i got 6 bands in ielts and planning for study in canada in international business mangmnt an post graduate course.. could u pls suggest me tha am i eligible for this course or not with ielts 6 bands......l 5.5, r6, w6 and s6.

Hi Sandeep, I'd recommend checking this with the Canadian university/universities you're interested in to check if your score matches the entry requirements for your course.

hwy sabrina .... i am thinking about studying university in canada ..... and i still dont know what is the best uni to go with or how much is it gonna cost me .... i live in UAE now ... so please can you give me some informations ????

Hi Omar, you might like to start by checking our latest rankings by subject to see how Canadian institutions perform for your subject, which can help you choose a university. Our complete guide on how to study abroad in Canada should also help to get you started. :)

Hey.. !! I want know for MASTER in CANADA , AND I want to know about best clg/uni , clg/uni fees and how to get scolership , how many living cost please give me more info. about that as soon as possible .

Thank you.

Hi Gaurav, you might like to start by viewing the highest ranked Canadian universities for your subject with our latest subject rankings. You can find out more about studying in Canada at graduate level here, and we've listed a range of scholarships to study in Canada here. Hope this helps!

Hey Sabrina, I'm an Indian student of 12th grad. Want to get information that should I be going in for UG or PG program men in Canada. I'm interested in law

Hi Urmil. Our complete guide to studying abroad in Canada should help you get started! Hope this helps.

Dear sabrina ., thanks for your replies to various persons here It is very useful to every one .
I have had this doubt for some time Hence chose to post this question .Would like to know about the weather in canada.
There is a general perception among a section of students (not all students but a section of students ) that canadian weather gets very cold (much more than US and that unlike US where there are more or less tropical weather regions like florida /california etc there are no tropical climate regions in canada where well known universities are located . dont know if it is an exaggerated imagination of some people about a place unknown based on some feed backs.
but If the weather is very cold for most of the days in an year for real in canada then would like to know if the weather manageble for some one who has not had any previous experiences of minus degree temperatures and all along lived in hot tropical climate regions .
(of course i know that it depends on the individuals as to how they handle extreme cold weather equipping themselves properly ).
..but in short would like to have a general picture of how campus life would be weather wise if one from tropical climate chooses to study in canada.
Thanks a lot .

Hi Ramya, I haven't been to Canada myself so I can only go by what others have reported about the weather in Canada - for example, our guest bloggers Holly and Summer studied an exchange program in Canada and said that they'd definitely recommend packing plenty of warm clothes (of course, if you have little to no warm winter clothes, it might be a good idea to wait till you arrive in Canada to buy them, so you can save on luggage space!) The winters can indeed get very cold and this may take some getting used to as an international student from a tropical country! However, Canada is very well prepared and the roads and pavements will be cleared to make them safer. You can read more advice on keeping warm in the winter on the University of Toronto's website, here. Hope this helps! 

Hey Sabrina

Hey Sabrina,
I am going to take my IELTS on september 24th. I'm want to pursue Masters in the field computer science in Canada. Is there any chance of applying for universities for Jan 2017 intake.If yes, can you please provide me the list of universities that are accepting still for jan2017 intake.

Hey sanketh i am also planning to do the same there, would u like to share your preparations. That would be much grateful of you

Hi!!!!
Even I am looking for Canada University in September 2017 intake. Can u suggest me some which you have applied.

Hey Sabrina,
i am a current student of computer science and engineering in North south University,Dhaka,Bangladesh. I have completed 58 credits here. If i want study in Canada,can i transfer my credits and which university is good for that ? as i m preferring low cost and also good education which can help my future career. suggest me some universities to apply for undergraduate

Hi Sabrina,

I'm a dual Australian-Canadian citizen but i have never lived in Canada before so i haven't got any Canadian high school documentation, how would i go about applying to study in Toronto?

Cheers!

Hi Dan, in this case I think you would be counted as an international student, and would submit your Australian high school documents, which should show that you're eligible for university-level study. You could always double check this by getting in touch with your chosen university. Hope this helps!

Hey Sabrina,

I am a student from India. After a year, I would like to pursue my masters in Canada or U.S. I wanted to know whether IELTS or TOEFL certificate is necessary for applying.

Hi Malavika, I am fairly sure you will not need IELTS or TOEFL as English is an official language of India (and you may have studied in English for your bachelor's degree). However, you might like to contact the US or Canadian universities you're interested in to make sure. Hope this helps!

hi Sabrina,
I have completed my graduate and post graduate in criminology and police science. Now i want to study in Canada of any European country for masters level. pls say the easiest way for abroad study.

Hi sabrina , it's ebrahim from egypt , which university is the cheapest in canada , how can i apply and what are the requairments , am planning the physics and astonumy
Thank you .

Hi Ebrahim, I'm not sure which university is the cheapest, but you can find scholarships to study in Canada here. Our complete guide on studying in Canada includes information on how to apply and what the typical requirements are, but you can find exact details on these on the official website of each Canadian university. To help you to choose a university, you might like to view our rankings by subject for physics and astronomy, with the results narrowed down to show only Canadian universities. Hope this helps! 

Hello Sabrina,
I have done my undergraduate course from India in mechanical engg.
I also have a diploma in the same field.
Generally after high school ppl opt for 11th and 12th standard or PUC ( pre university course) but i opted to take up diploma course in mechanical field.
Diploma is a 3 year course [6 semesters] and for students who did their diploma can directly enter grad school in the 2nd year i.e [3rd semester] because 1st year would be only science subjects like physics, chemistry and ......
So my question is, will this be a problem for my admission in Canadian universities. I also read on the internet that we need to show 4 full years of grad school, but i only have 3 years.
Please guide me in the right path.
Thank you

Hello Sabrina,
I am Sani Usman I plan Computer Science how will apply and which university must cheaper in Canada, thanks.

Hi Sani, I've responded to your question here. :)

Dear Sabrina am a Nigerian and wish to study at University of Toronto in Canada . I have a good result and wish to join this academic season . please how to you help me?

Hi Chika, our complete guide on how to study abroad in Canada should help get you started, and I'd also advise reading the application guidelines on the University of Toronto's official website. Good luck!

Hello Sabrina. I am a Btech holder, do I qualify to apply directly for Masters in Canada?
2ndly , my Btech is still under processx, what I have at hand is HND (Higher National Diploma) in Electrical Engineering in Cameroon. Now should I apply using Btech status or HND?
Thanks

Dear Sabrina,
I am from India having two year of work experience, having bachelor of engineering degree in computer science. I am planned to study Master of business admission in USA or Canada but it is totally depend on full Scholarship. Is there a any possibility of the universities mentioned above awarding me fully financial aid?

Dear Sabrina,
I am from India, i plan to study Bachelor of Electrical engineering, as i have the education gap of over 15 years,is it possible to get admission in full time course in the university or college in Canada.
Thanks and regards
SMAQ

Hi Syed, I don't see why not, as long as you can fulfil the admission requirements. You can find out more about these, and how to apply to study in Canada, in our complete guide. To help you decide where to study, you might like to browse our rankings by subject for electrical engineering, with the results narrowed down to see only Canadian universities. Hope this helps!

Dear Sabrina,
I am from Vietnam. I plan to study either "Business Economics" or "Urban and regional planning" at University of Saskatchewan but don't know which study program leads to a stable, high-demanded career in Canada so that I can quickly obtain Permanent residency (PR). To save time and money, what would you advise me to do: Work in Saskatchewan after obtaining Bachelor's to get a PR and move to Ontario to do a Master's; or move to Ontario immediately and do a Master's there to get PR (I heard that Master's graduates can apply for PR without work experience in Ontario, right?)
Thanks for your help.

dear sabrina
i am iranian that have bachelor with 17 degree in the field of mechanical eng and i like to apply for master program in this field or energy.whats your openion that i find better university that i apply for it and i like to know form where i have to start my program.thank you

Hi Mehran, here are the rankings by subject for Mechanical Engineering - you can narrow this down by country if you'd like to study in Canada.