An educational haven for students from around the world to flock to – hockey, maple syrup, and denim tuxedos aside, there are many charms to be found for those who decide to study in Canada.
Why Study in Canada
Canada – the second largest country in the world by land mass, only behind Russia, with a population density that runs at about 4 inhabitants per square kilometer (compared to India, with a whopping 416/km²!).
Canada boasts 96 universities scattered across its urban and regional areas, most of which are very welcoming to international students. One special aspect of Canada is that there are two national languages – that’s right, you probably already know: English in most of the western side and French in the eastern province of Quebec. If you want to broaden your horizons as either an ESL or FSL student, Canada is the place!
That is, if you don’t mind mortifying winters. As with anywhere on the globe, the people are reflections of their environment. From rugged mountain ranges of British Columbia to vast underground malls connected to subway stations, Canadians and international students alike embrace what is a burden on some as a source for purity, benevolence, and outstanding standards for higher education.
The Canadian people are known to be a very friendly bunch. Moreover, along with a plethora of incentives to study in Canada as an international, the country is constantly on the brink of social systems and technology, making it very accommodating to the open-minded nature of students studying abroad.
Canada’s main cities – Vancouver, Toronto, and Montréal – are where you may first be aiming the darts if you are looking to study abroad in Canada. According to QS Best Student Cities 2018, Montréal is the 4th best student city in the world, with Toronto at 13th and Vancouver at 17th!
However, some of the country’s most internationally respected universities can be found in the regions in between. So depending on your field of study, your favored geography, and your level of tolerance to the cold, you may find it more pleasing to study outside of the three main cities.
QS World University Rankings 2021 places 26 out of Canada’s 96 universities on the list!
Here are the top 10:
University of Calgary
University of Waterloo
Université de Montréal
University of Alberta
University of British Columbia
University of Toronto
Canada wouldn’t be host to some 572,000 international students every year, if there wasn’t a wide range of courses to study – from Computer Science & IT to Media & Journalism, Agricultural Science & Forestry to Business & Finance. You are sure to find the right degree for you!
Canada is also home to over 150 colleges that offer short courses and diplomas. You may find one that works perfectly for your aspirations. While you would have to go through the same process of obtaining a student visa, you may save some money on overall tuition.
The Canadian school year generally commences in September, though some postgraduate programs begin sooner or later. Be sure to check!
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Popular Courses in Canada
Attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Canada will give you the knowledge and qualifications necessary to pursue a career in your chosen field, or continue your studies for a Master’s/PhD.
The degree structure for undergraduate programs takes a more liberal approach in regards to the classes you are able to choose within your field of study. A certain amount of credits are given upon completion of each course.
The student has the option to choose from a number of courses offered in the department that he or she is studying in. This is different from, say, the degree structure in France, in which the institute decides which courses need to be taken each semester.
Competition is high to be accepted into most universities. If English is not your first language, you will need to take a proficiency test. Any evidence of secondary school achievements (GPA, volunteering, student clubs, etc.) will heighten your chances of acceptance!
Up until the last few years, Canada (and the US.) only accepted students with a 4 year Bachelor’s degree into their Master’s programs, while most countries offer Bachelor’s programs that can be completed within 3 years. But the demand of international students wishing to study in Canada has increased dramatically (11% since 2017), along with it universities now accepting 3 year Bachelor’s degrees as prerequisite for Master’s programs.
Most Master’s programs take 1-2 years to complete, and come in the form of a Master of Science (MSc) or a Master of Arts (MA). If you’d like to whittle down your postgraduate degree even more, you can also choose between a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Engineering (MEng), or Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
You’ll be looking at around CA$13,000-20,500 per year for a Master’s degree.
Canada has a wonderful Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) in place to further incentivize international students to obtain jobs after finishing grad school. 90% of those that stick around Canada after completing a postgraduate course are in the workforce within 6 months!
Want to take your postgraduate studies another step forward? Whether you have already completed your Master’s degree elsewhere, or you are currently chipping away, finding the right PhD program in Canada will come with a wealth of benefits.
Again, Canada’s tuition fees for international students pursuing a Doctorate is more attractive than its North American neighbor to the south, as well as Australia and the UK. Some Canadian universities are reducing or even obliterating extra fees for internationals in their Doctoral programs.
There are currently close to 200,000 international students taking on their PhDs in Canada, which can take anywhere from three to six years to complete.
Upon completion of your PhD, you are entitled to a 3 year work permit, which could eventually lead to permanent residence or citizenship.
Postdoctoral fellows (PDFs), otherwise known as postdoctoral researchers, are those that choose to remain in academia after completing their PhDs. Most universities have their own internal fellowships, but there are also many outside agencies that can help place PDFs with organizations or institutions.