A popular destination for international students, Canada offers high-quality education and an opportunity to remain in the country after graduation.
It also offers cheaper tuition fees than other English speaking countries, such as America, Australia and the UK. However, the cost of tuition in Canada is still relatively high in comparison to many other countries around the world.
In this article, we will explore tuition fees for undergraduate and postgraduate study, costs of student’s visas and application fees and the overall cost of living as a student in Canada.
Tuition Fees in Canada
Universities in Canada are allowed to set their own cost for tuition. There is, therefore, a broad range in the fees depending on the institution you wish to study at. The cost also depends on the programme of study that you choose the level of study (undergraduate or postgraduate) and the city and province that the university is located in.
In a recent report, it was stated that tuition fees rose by 6.3% for international students looking to start an undergraduate programme of study in the 2018/19 academic year.
There are also manly financial support options for international students in Canada. The University of British Columbia, for example, provides over 15 million US dollars in financial assistance for international students.
Tuition Fees for Undergraduate Students
The average tuition fee in Canada for an international student in 2018/19 is estimated to be approximately US$20,000 per year. This means a total of US$60,000 for a three-year degree programme and $80,000 for four years of study.
If you are looking to study arts or humanities subject, such as Geography, Philosophy, English or Social Sciences, the tuition fee is likely to be slightly lower. Business courses are also in line with the national average in general, with fees close to US$20,000 per year.
To become a Bachelor of Science, in a subject such as medicine or engineering, is the most expensive tuition fee option. Fees for these subjects are estimated to be approximately US$30,000 per year. Medical programmes are four years long, meaning a total of $120,000 in tuition fees for the full degree. This is something that must be carefully considered in advance of choosing the programme and location of study.
Tuition fees are generally set by universities in the spring term before the new academic year starts. Generally, costs rise minimally year on year, so it is useful to use the previous year’s amounts as a guide.
Undergraduate tuition fees for students in the academic year 2018/19:
- University of Toronto: Tuition fees at the University of Toronto for international students are often in line with or higher than the equivalent course cost for study in the US. In 2018/19, the cost of an Applied Science and Engineering degree tuition fee for an international student was US$41,000 while a Bachelor of Science in Nursing was US$38,900.
- University of British Columbia: Tuition fees for international students in 2018/19 ranged from US$28,600 to US$37,400. The cheapest tuition fee of US$28,600 was for courses in Arts, Fine Arts, Media and Social Work.
- Brandon University: This university has one of the cheapest tuition fees for international students averaged at US$6,800 per year.
Tuition Fees for Postgraduate Students
Postgraduate study tuition fees are generally lower than fees for undergraduate study in Canada. As with undergraduate studies, however, it will depend on the institution at which you are studying and the course on which you are enrolled.
The average tuition fee for postgraduate study is estimated to be approximately US$12,500 for the 2018/19 academic year of study. This is only a 1% increase from the previous year. Tuition fees for the 2019/2020 year of study would be US$12,625 if fees were to again increase by only 1%. However, the University of British Columbia claims that fees for continuing international students rise on average 2-5% per year of study.
The tuition fees for most Master’s programmes are approximately US$23,000. If, however, you are looking to study an MBA program, be prepared to pay a higher fee. This is common in universities across the globe. Tuition fees for international students studying on an MBA programme in Canada are estimated at US$38,000.
Student Visa and Application Fees
International students require a student visa for the duration of their time studying in Canada if the length of the study period is to be six months or more. If the period of study is less than six months, no study permit is required. The visa, or study permit, costs US$115. The same one-off charge applies to all international students on all courses in Canada.
Universities may also charge an application fee. The cost of the application fee will depend on both the university you are applying to and your home country. The University of British Columbia charges a one-off application fee of US$122 for international students. Some universities do not charge this fee for international applicants from developing countries.
Living Costs as a Student in Canada
International students must also carefully consider living costs, in addition to tuition fees. A study has shown that, on average, students in Canada need approximately US$9,000 per year, although it is essential to note that this will vary greatly depending on your location.
Many of Canada’s cities provide a more affordable option than other large cities around the world, such as London and New York. However, the cost of living in small towns and cities in Canada is lower again. It is also important to note that Vancouver ranks as one of the most expensive cities to live in the world.
One consideration for students is the additional cost of study materials. To complete your studies, you will need access to a computer and the required textbooks. If you are moving to Canada from abroad as an international student, you may need to purchase a computer on arrival. Textbooks can be bought or if you want to save some money, join the university library and rent the books for free!
Residence, food and transport costs will differ depending on the type of residence you choose to live in and its distance from the university. Most universities will offer a range of housing options, including on-campus accommodation.
If you wish to live on-campus at the university, you can choose whether to pay for meal plans or buy your food independently. The University of Toronto estimated the total price for on-campus accommodation and food costs to be between US$6,000 and US$11,000. It estimated the cost of living off campus and food costs to be a minimum of US$11,000.
On-campus accommodation, therefore, offers a more affordable living option.