Canada is always among the top choices for students in terms of study abroad options due to its relatively small population and size. It is an ideal destination for learning with high-quality offerings for both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In fact, Canada is considered the World’s Most Educated Country with most of its citizens obtaining a college degree.
There are over 250 educational institutions in Canada. Such institutions are home to both local and international students seeking quality education. It was reported that almost 10% of university populations in the country consist of foreign students. Ontario, British Columbia, Toronto, and Quebec are the top choices for international students, housing some of the best universities in Canada.
With 5.4% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on education, there is no doubt that Canada provides excellent instruction for all its program offerings. The quality of education among Canadian schools and universities in Canada is constantly checked and regulated by provincial and federal institutions. Spearheading the quality assurance measurements is an organization called “Universities Canada” (formerly known as the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada or AUCC), which comprises of the top universities in the country.
There are two classifications of post-secondary institutions in Canada from which international students may choose to enrol in. Universities are for those students who wish to get a degree – bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph D. Colleges, on the other hand, offer certification or a diploma on a certain field of specialization.
1. Facts about Universities in Canada
2. What is education like in Canada?
3. Which are the Top Canadian Cities for Foreign Students?
4. How to Apply for a University in Canada
5. How to Get a Canadian Student Visa
6. How to Apply for a Scholarship in Canada
7. Quick Facts about Canada
Education in Canada follows the general format as with other countries worldwide: primary, secondary, and postsecondary. Primary education or elementary level starts at the first grade (age 6 or 7) until Grade 8 (age 13 or 14). Secondary education is Canada’s secondary school system that starts at Grade 9 (age 14 or 15) to Grade 12 (age 17 or 18).
In Canada, graduating high school students must maintain specific entering averages ranging from 65-85%. Schools in Canada are publicly funded and provincially managed, each province has a mandated age when students are expected to attend school. Canadian schools and universities receive their share of funding from the local, provincial, and federal governments.
Below is a table showing the compulsory age of education for all students in Canadian provinces:
|Alberta||6 - 16|
|British Columbia||6 - 16|
|Manitoba||7 - 18|
|New Brunswick||5 - 18|
|Newfoundland||6 - 16|
|Northwest Territories||5 -18|
|Nova Scotia||5 -16|
|Prince Edward Island||5 -16|
In Quebec, students ought to attend school until they are aged 16. After which, they can take the CEGEP – a two-year college program wherein students may choose to continue a university preparation diploma or a vocational diploma.
Likewise, children in Ontario and Quebec may enter kindergarten schools when they turn 4. In other provinces, they are admitted to kindergarten at age 5.
The academic year in Canada typically starts in August or September (after Labor Day) and ends in June of the following year. Usually, a school year has 190 days in the calendar including breaks for Christmas and summer. Meanwhile, a university year runs from September to May of the following year with some universities operating on a semester or a trimester system.
Most universities are considered non-religious. However, there are also privately funded institutions that are religious-based which provide equally excellent programs and are considered non-religious. However, there are also privately funded institutions that are religious-based excellent and high-quality education. Besides universities and colleges, there are also technical, applied arts and applied science schools that offer certificate, associate degree, and diploma programs. Undergraduate degrees take about 3 to 4 years to complete depending on the university while a postgraduate degree may be completed in 1 to 3 years.
Schools in Canada are classified into an English language or a French-language institution as Canada is a bilingual country. Some institutions offer instructions in both English and French languages, too. Schools and universities in Canada are regulated by provincial governments. Among the provinces, Quebec offers a different term time and length of study because of the CEGEP and its school calendar with a ten-day difference (180 days) from all other provinces (190 days).
The education system in Canada is unique as there are assessed and non-assessed subjects such as Language, Mathematics, and Sciences, which focus on the general curriculum. Non-assessed subjects such as Physical Education, Visual Arts, and Music, receive less importance.
Canada definitely has a lot to offer prospective students. Each state has its unique trait which makes it a great study abroad destination. Here are some of the best cities for international students in Canada:
Study in Montreal
The second largest city in Canada, Montreal has been a consistent A-lister in the top cities list in the world – an undeniable evidence of the city’s positive landscape that pushed it up in the coveted listing. One reason that could justify Montreal’s position as a top choice for international students is its populace of high-ranking educational institutions, especially the McGill University. Of course, students would flock to a university that is highly recognized worldwide or one that is situated alongside the prestigious university. In fact, there is 27% enrollment of international students in universities in Montreal.
Montreal is noted to be a culturally diversified city accepting immigrants from different cultures. Because of the high percentage of foreign students, the city promotes cultural respect and friendliness. Montreal also boasts an efficient transportation system which makes it attractive for international students. Its public transit system is powered by a bus system with over 200 bus routes, the metro, and the train service.
This highly integrated transportation ticketing system makes it easier for foreign students to go to and from a certain place without passing through complicated thoroughfares. Furthermore, in terms of safety, health care assistance, and quality of life, Montreal would never disappoint in assuring these factors.
Study in Toronto
Named as the most livable city in the world, Toronto is another ideal city for international students in Canada. As with Montreal, Toronto is a city that can be considered a cultural hub with its concentration of food and art spaces catering to an international audience. It also houses the University of Toronto famous for the high-quality education it provides its students. Additionally, it boasts of a business hub that could offer international students easy opportunities for internship or part-time jobs.
Study in Vancouver
Probably the most picturesque city in Canada is Vancouver -- with its natural landscape ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities. In this city (as with other cities in Canada) international students do not have the problem of linguistic differences as it is an English-speaking country. It also is a conducive environment for learning especially for those who want to explore the arts as this city is affluent in cultural expressions. The University of British Columbia and the Simon Fraser University, two highly recognized universities worldwide, are situated in Vancouver.
Study in Ottawa
Ottawa, a highly-urbanized and culturally-diverse city, is the capital of Canada. It is where the University of Ottawa is located. Being a cosmopolitan area, Ottawa houses most consulates and embassies that international students can refer to. Major technology companies in the world also have offices in this city, hence, providing opportunities for students in business, marketing, and technology for internship and jobs.
Study in Quebec
Quebec follows a relatively different education system than the rest of Canada. Nonetheless, this city is another ideal place for studying as it is home to three world-recognized universities. It speaks both English and French which is a testament to its culturally diverse population. Moreover, Quebec is rich in history and culture that could offer a serene break for tired minds.
Students interested to study in any Canadian university have a list of procedures to follow and requirements to meet before being admitted to their selected university. Below is a list of general requirements for prospective undergraduate and graduate international students as per Canadian university guidelines:
The main requirement for specialized programs is a completion of up to four years of study in a university. This applies to those students who wish to study health sciences, law, and architecture programs in any Canadian university.
If you have made up your mind about finally taking that leap and getting a Canadian high-quality education, it is time to prepare your entry requirements to the country. As with any other country, Canada requires all foreign visitors to have a visa upon entry to their territory. For prospective students, the first on the list is a student visa. However, for those students who would be taking a program lasting for six months or less, a student visa is not necessary. Otherwise, they would need to process a Canadian student permit.
A Canadian student visa is renewable whenever one wants to continue a certain educational program within the country’s provinces. The same visa also provides an opportunity for full-time university students to get a part-time job on the campus. After graduation, there are also opportunities waiting for Canadian visa holders to be employed in a Canadian firm and even apply for a permanent resident status. The list below sums up the steps a foreign student need to undergo in acquiring a Canadian student permit or visa:
Depending on your country of origin, a Canadian student visa application may demand other requirements that are as follows:
Students who want to pursue their studies in Canada but are somehow hesitant because of tuition costs and living expenses need not worry because universities in Canada offer several scholarship programs. Each scholarship program has their own terms of applications and qualifications. Submitting a scholarship application at least 6 months before the term starts is advisable.
To know more about scholarship opportunities in Canada, below is a list of several scholarship programs you may want to apply for simultaneous with your university admission application in Canada:
This scholarship applies to both local and international graduate and postgraduate students from all disciplines of study. Funded by the provincial government of Ontario, the OGS is valued at $15,000 per academic year. Applications for this scholarship usually close on the first week of October. Grantees are selected according to academic excellence (as shown in academic transcripts, awards, honors, competitive scholarships), research ability and potential in the chosen field of study (as shown in previous publications, conferences, and presentations), and communication and leadership ability (as shown in previous voluntary works as well as leadership and academic work experiences).
This scholarship can be applied for by both local and foreign postgraduate students pursuing degrees in the humanities and social sciences. The Trudeau Foundation Scholarship is estimated to be at $60,000 per scholar for a maximum of three years of study. Applicants should be enrolled or in the process of enrolling in a program under the humanities and social sciences as a first year or a second year postgraduate students. Up to fifteen scholarships are awarded by the foundation each year.
This scholarship applies to local and foreign postgraduate students who are able to demonstrate leadership skills and excellent academic achievement in the fields of engineering, natural sciences, health, social sciences or humanities. Valued at about $50,000 per year, the Vanier Canada graduate scholarship is awarded to 167 successful applicants annually. Also, for this scholarship, a candidate should be nominated by the institution that he/she wants to enrol in. The criteria for selecting successful grantees are as follows: academic excellence, research potential, and leadership skill.
This scholarship is applicable for international postgraduate students in the University of Waterloo. The Ontario Trillium Scholarship is valued at $40,000 per year and is renewable for an additional three years.
This is a scholarship open for graduate and postgraduate students in the University of Manitoba. All students from all available degree programs in the university, except Medicine or Master of Business Administration, can apply. The UMGF is estimated at $18,000 per year granted to academically excellent applicants.
This scholarship is funded by the Canadian government and can be applied for by international students who are enrolled in postgraduate degrees in natural sciences, health, social sciences, or health research. A total of 70 fellowships are granted annually with an estimated value of $70,000 per scholar per year. This scholarship can cover two years of study. Usually, the deadline for submission of applications is in the third week of September.
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Below is a comprehensive list of all universities in Canada (Alberta, Airdrie, Beaumont, Brooks, Calgary, Camrose, Chestermere, Cold Lake, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Lacombe, Leduc, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Wetaskiwin, British Columbia, Abbotsford, Armstrong, Burnaby, Campbell River, Castlegar, Chilliwack, Colwood, Coquitlam, Courtenay, Cranbrook, Dawson Creek, Delta, Duncan, Enderby, Fernie, Fort St. John, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Kamloops, Kelowna, Kimberley, Langford, Langley, Maple Ridge, Merritt, Nanaimo, Nelson, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Parksville, Penticton, Pitt Meadows, Port Alberni, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Powell River, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, Revelstoke, Richmond, Rossland, Salmon Arm, Surrey, Terrace, Trail, Vancouver, Vernon, Victoria, West Kelowna, White Rock, Williams Lake, Manitoba, Brandon, Dauphin, Flin Flon, Morden, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, Steinbach, Thompson, Winkler, Winnipeg, New Brunswick, Bathurst, Campbellton, Dieppe, Edmundston, Fredericton, Miramichi, Moncton, Saint John, Newfoundland and Labrador, Corner Brook, Mount Pearl, St. John's, Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, Nunavut, Iqaluit, Ontario, Barrie, Belleville, Brampton, Brant, Brantford, Brockville, Burlington, Cambridge, Clarence-Rockland, Cornwall, Dryden, Elliot Lake, Greater Sudbury, Guelph, Haldimand County, Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, Kenora, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Markham, Mississauga, Niagara Falls, Norfolk County, North Bay, Orillia, Oshawa, Ottawa, Owen Sound, Pembroke, Peterborough, Pickering, Port Colborne, Prince Edward County, Quinte West, Richmond Hill, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Catharines, St. Thomas, Stratford, Temiskaming Shores, Thorold, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Toronto, Vaughan, Waterloo, Welland, Windsor, Woodstock, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Summerside, Quebec, Acton Vale, Alma, Amos, Amqui, Asbestos, Baie-Comeau, Baie-D'Urfe, Baie-Saint-Paul, Barkmere, Beaconsfield, Beauceville, Beauharnois, Beaupre, Becancour, Bedford, Belleterre, Beloeil, Berthierville, Blainville, Boisbriand, Bois-des-Filion, Bonaventure, Boucherville, Brome Lake, Bromont, Brossard, Brownsburg-Chatham, Candiac, Cap-Chat, Cap-Sante, Carignan, Carleton-sur-Mer, Causapscal, Chambly, Chandler, Chapais, Charlemagne, Chateauguay, Chateau-Richer, Chibougamau, Clermont, Coaticook, Contrecoeur, Cookshire-Eaton, Cote Saint-Luc, Coteau-du-Lac, Cowansville, Danville, Daveluyville, Degelis, DelsonDesbiens, Deux-Montagnes, Disraeli, Dolbeau-Mistassini, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Donnacona, Dorval, Drummondville, Dunham, Duparquet, East Angus, Esterel, Farnham, Fermont, Forestville, Fossambault-sur-le-Lac, Gaspe, Gatineau, Gracefield, Granby, Grande-Riviere, Hampstead, Hudson, Huntingdon, Joliette, Kingsey Falls, Kirkland, La Malbaie, La Pocatiere, La Prairie, La Sarre, La Tuque, Lac-Delage, Lachute, Lac-Megantic, Lac-Saint-Joseph, Lac-Sergent, L'Ancienne-Lorette, L'Assomption, Laval, Lavaltrie, Lebel-sur-Quevillon, L'Epiphanie, Lery, Levis, L'lle-Cadieux, L'lle-Dorval, L'lle-Perrot, Longueuil, Lorraine, Louiseville, Macamic, Magog, Malartic, Maniwaki, Marieville, Mascouche, Matagami, Matane, Mercier, Metabetchouan–Lac-a-la-Croix, Metis-sur-Mer, Mirabel, Mont-Joli, Mont-Laurier, Montmagny, Montreal, Montreal West, Montreal-Est, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Mont-Tremblant, Mount Royal, Murdochville, Neuville, New Richmond, Nicolet, Normandin, Notre-Dame-de-l'lle-Perrot, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Otterburn Park, Paspebiac, Perce, Pincourt, Plessisville, Pohenegamook, Pointe-Claire, Pont-Rouge, Port-Cartier, Portneuf, Prevost, Princeville, Quebec, Repentigny, Richelieu, Richmond, Rimouski, Riviere-du-Loup, Riviere-Rouge, Roberval, Rosemere, Rouyn-Noranda, Saguenay, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Saint-Basile, Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Saint, Bruno-de-Montarville, Saint-Cesaire, Saint-Colomban, Saint-Constant, Sainte-Adele, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Sainte-Catherine, Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, Sainte-Julie, Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson, Sainte-Marie, Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Sainte-Therese, Saint-Eustache, Saint-Felicien, Saint-Gabriel, Saint-Georges, Saint-Hyacinthe, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Saint-Jerome, Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, Saint-Joseph-de-Sorel, Saint-Lambert, Saint-Lazare, Saint-Lin-Laurentides, Saint-Marc-des-Carrieres, Saint-Ours, Saint-Pamphile, Saint-Pascal, Saint-Pie, Saint-Raymond, Saint-Remi, Saint-Sauveur, Saint-Tite, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Schefferville, Scotstown, Senneterre, Sept-lles, Shawinigan, Sherbrooke, Sorel-Tracy, Stanstead, Sutton, Temiscaming, Temiscouata-sur-le-Lac, Terrebonne, Thetford Mines, Thurso, Trois-Pistoles, Trois-Rivieres, Valcourt, Val-d'Or, Varennes, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Victoriaville, Ville-Marie, Warwick, Waterloo, Waterville, Westmount, Windsor). 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