Canada is one of the most popular destinations for international students seeking higher education. According to a recent survey by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, over 642,000 international students are currently enrolled in Canadian universities, making up almost 16% of the total student population.
This figure is expected to continue growing as Canada maintains its reputation for offering high-quality education and welcoming international students with open arms.
In this article, we will explore the best Canadian universities for international students. We will cover various factors that international students should consider when choosing a Canadian university, and highlight the top universities that excel in each area.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Canadian University
Before we dive into our list of top universities for international students, it’s important to understand the factors that should be considered when making this decision.
Affordability and Scholarships
Cost is a major factor for most international students. Tuition fees can be quite high, and living expenses can quickly add up. It’s important to research the cost of living in different Canadian cities and compare the tuition fees of various universities.
However, there are many scholarships and bursaries available to international students, which can significantly reduce the cost of studying in Canada. International students should research these opportunities and apply for as many as they can.
Location and Transportation
Canada is a large country with a diverse range of cities and regions. International students should consider the location of their university and whether it is easily accessible by public transportation. They should also consider the climate and cultural amenities of the city or region.
Program and Degree Options
International students should consider the programs and degrees offered by a university and whether they align with their interests and career goals. They should also consider the quality of the faculty and research opportunities available.
Campus Life and Extracurricular Activities
The social and cultural experience of studying abroad is just as important as the academic experience. International students should consider the campus culture, student organizations, and other extracurricular activities that are available.
Diversity and Inclusivity
Finally, international students should consider the level of diversity and inclusivity at a university. Canada is known for its multiculturalism, and international students should look for universities that prioritize diversity and inclusivity.
Top Canadian Universities for International Students
Based on the factors we’ve discussed, here are our top picks for the best Canadian universities for international students:
1. University of Toronto
The University of Toronto, ranked as Canada’s top university and consistently within the top 20 universities worldwide, boasts three campuses situated in downtown Toronto, offering a diverse range of over 700 undergraduate programs and over 280 graduate programs.
As part of its commitment to supporting international students, the University of Toronto provides an array of scholarships and bursaries, including the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship, which covers tuition, books, and living expenses for four years.
Conveniently located near multiple subway stations and major bus routes, the University of Toronto is surrounded by Toronto, the largest city in Canada, renowned for its cultural vibrancy. The University is renowned for its strong programs in fields such as business, engineering, computer science, and life sciences, with several research institutes and centers under its wing.
Students at the University of Toronto have access to over 1,000 student organizations, ranging from cultural and ethnic clubs to political and social clubs, as well as academic and professional organizations. The University of Toronto is committed to fostering diversity and inclusivity and provides numerous programs and services to support underrepresented groups.
2. University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia (UBC), situated in the scenic city of Vancouver, British Columbia, is a consistently top-ranked university within the top 40 universities globally. UBC offers an extensive range of over 200 undergraduate programs and over 100 graduate programs.
As part of its commitment to supporting international students, UBC offers a variety of scholarships and bursaries, including the International Leader of Tomorrow Award, covering full tuition and living expenses for four years.
Vancouver, known for its mild climate and bustling city life, offers easy access to transportation, including UBC’s own bus loop and several bus and subway stations in close proximity. UBC is renowned for its strong programs in fields such as forestry, engineering, business, and computer science, among others, with several research centers and institutes under its auspices.
Students at UBC have access to over 400 student organizations, ranging from sports teams to cultural and ethnic clubs, as well as academic and professional organizations. UBC’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is reflected in the various programs and services it provides to support underrepresented groups.
3. McGill University
McGill University, situated in the dynamic city of Montreal, Quebec, has a consistent ranking among the top 50 universities globally. It provides over 300 undergraduate programs and more than 250 graduate programs.
In terms of affordability and scholarships, international students can avail of a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries, including the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, which takes care of tuition, books, and living expenses for four years.
Montreal, a city with a multicultural environment and a rich history, provides easy access to transportation, and McGill has convenient access to several subway and bus stations. The University is known for its strong programs in law, medicine, engineering, business, and other fields. Additionally, several research centers and institutes call McGill home.
With over 700 student organizations, including cultural and ethnic clubs, political and social clubs, and academic and professional organizations, students can benefit from rich campus life and extracurricular activities. Moreover, the University is committed to diversity and inclusivity and offers various programs and services to support underrepresented groups.
4. University of Alberta
The University of Alberta, situated in Edmonton, Alberta, has consistently ranked among the top 150 universities worldwide. The institution boasts over 400 undergraduate programs and over 500 graduate programs.
International students can take advantage of the various scholarships and bursaries offered by the University of Alberta, including the International Country Scholarship, which awards up to $32,000 CAD in funding.
Edmonton is a lively city with a rich cultural scene and convenient transportation options. The university is located in close proximity to several bus and subway stations.
The University of Alberta is recognized for its robust programs in engineering, business, science, health sciences, and other fields. It also houses various research centers and institutes.
Students at the University of Alberta can choose from over 450 student organizations, comprising cultural and ethnic clubs, political and social clubs, and academic and professional organizations. The University of Alberta is devoted to diversity and inclusivity, and it provides an array of programs and services to support underrepresented groups.
5. University of Waterloo
The University of Waterloo is a highly-ranked institution located in Waterloo, Ontario, offering a wide range of academic programs, including over 100 undergraduate programs and over 190 graduate programs.
The university provides several scholarships and bursaries to international students, including the President’s Scholarship of Distinction, which awards up to $10,000 CAD.
Situated in a small city near Toronto, Waterloo is recognized for its tech industry and is easily accessible via multiple bus and subway stations located near the university.
The University of Waterloo is well-known for its strong programs in engineering, computer science, mathematics, and other disciplines, and houses several research centers and institutes.
The university supports over 200 student organizations, including sports teams, cultural and ethnic clubs, and academic and professional organizations, among others, providing a vibrant campus life and extracurricular activities. Moreover, the University of Waterloo is committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity and offers numerous programs and services that cater to underrepresented groups.
Tips for International Students Applying to Canadian Universities
Start Early: Begin researching universities and programs at least a year in advance to ensure you have enough time to prepare and apply.
Understand the Application Process: Each university may have different application requirements, so make sure to thoroughly read and understand the application process for each school you are interested in.
Prepare for Language Requirements: If English or French is not your first language, you may need to take a language proficiency test, such as TOEFL or IELTS.
Apply for Scholarships and Financial Aid: Many Canadian universities offer scholarships and bursaries for international students, so make sure to research and apply for them.
Consider Location and Culture: Think about the city and culture of the university you are interested in and consider whether it is a good fit for you.
Connect with Other International Students: Many universities have international student organizations or programs, which can help you connect with other students and adjust to life in Canada.
Canadian universities offer a variety of programs, resources, and opportunities for international students. When deciding where to apply, it’s important to consider factors such as affordability, location, program options, and campus life.
By following the tips outlined above, international students can navigate the application process and find the best fit for their academic and personal goals.