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Study in Canada

Canada is the second biggest country in the world and is renowned for its academic excellence making it the first choice of thousands of international students each year. Canada is consistently voted as one of the safest places to live and its multicultural society is known to be warm and welcoming.

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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 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.

Degree courses in Canada

Available in a range of subjects Bachelor’s or undergraduate degrees typically last three or four years depending on your course and institution.

A Canadian bachelor’s degree is globally recognised and equivalent to undergraduate programmes in countries such as the USA and UK.

Each university in Canada has its own criteria for admissions so check that you have what you need with your preferred institutions before applying.

Masters degrees

Otherwise known as ‘grad’ programmes, Masters degrees typically involve one to three years of full-time study, although course length will vary considerably depending on the discipline.

Alongside traditional lectures and assignments, you’ll take part in interactive learning, which is likely to involve site visits, placements and group work. The majority of Masters’s programmes also include a heavily weighted dissertation.

For admission, onto a programme, you’ll usually need a degree in a relevant subject at the undergraduate level.

Course fees

Studying in Canada is generally cheaper than it would be in other English-speaking countries such as the USA, UK or Australia; however, fees vary between courses and institutions.

The undergraduate fees in Canada range from CAD$1,500 (£869) to CAD$20,000 (£11,590) while a Master’s will set you back between CAD$2,500 (£1,448) and CAD$18,000 (£10,431). A PhD can cost between CAD$2,500 and CAD$17,000 (£9,851). Canada estimates that you’ll need CAD$12,000 (£6,954) a year for living expenses.

You also need to factor in additional study costs such as administration fees from CAD$150 to $500 (£86 to £289), health insurance of roughly CAD$600 (£347) and international student application fees not required by all institutions, but around CAD$250 (£144) for those that do.

Student visas

British students who wish to study in Canada need to:

  • qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller
  • obtain a study permit.

Before you apply for your study permit you’ll need a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution and a valid passport. You can apply for a permit online or from the Canadian embassy in your home country. It can take up to three months to get a permit so apply as soon as you have your letter of acceptance from your university. Paper applications are accepted; however, these will take much longer to process.

In order to qualify for a permit, you must present:

  • a letter of unconditional acceptance from your institution
  • proof of sufficient funds, including a purchased ticket home
  • proof that you are a law-abiding citizen and are in good health.

You may also need to give your fingerprints and photographs (biometrics) when applying for a study permit.

Your study permit isn’t a visa. If your permit is approved you’ll be issued with either a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorisation – this is what allows you to enter Canada.

Learn more about study permits at the Government of Canada – Prepare to study in Canada.

Language requirements

Canada is officially a bilingual country, comprising English and French speakers. You won’t need to be fluent in both languages to study in Canada, as Quebec is the only French-speaking province. Fluency in English will be enough to navigate your way around all other provinces, although in many you will hear both languages and most have at least one French-speaking institution.

Upon entering the country you may be required to take an accredited language test to demonstrate your proficiency in English. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an approved test for all Canadian institutions.

For more information on French language testing and testing for those with additional needs, visit Languages Canada.

How to apply

There is no centralised application system in Canada meaning you’ll need to apply to each institution directly. You need to make sure that your chosen institution is a Designated Learning Institute, as these are the only ones approved to take international students.

In addition to proving you speak the language, you’ll also need to provide evidence of sufficient funds.

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Nexus Visas assists international clients in obtaining UK visas, residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Contact us to arrange an initial private consultation.

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