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How Much Does it Cost to Study in Canada?

How Much Does it Cost to Study in Canada? main image

Canada is one of the world’s most popular destinations for international students, offering a diverse variety of experiences and opportunities in a country known for its vast expanses, multicultural cities and natural beauty. If you want to study in Canada, the good news is that tuition fees are generally less expensive than in other major Anglophone destinations (the US, UK and Australia), although they are still quite high in comparison to other countries.

The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) offers a useful  which allows prospective international students to quickly calculate the costs of studying at different universities in Canada, as well as providing guidance on the documents needed to apply.

Tuition fees in Canada 

Universities in Canada set their own fees, and these vary depending on several factors: what program you’re studying, whether you are an international or home student, and whether you’re studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level. According to the latest report from , tuition fees in Canada rose by an average of 3.1% for undergraduate domestic students in 2017/18. Tuition fees in the province of Ontario, where domestic undergraduate students pay an average of CA$8,454 per year.

If you’re a Canadian citizen studying in Canada, you can expect to pay an average of CA$6,571 per year for an undergraduate degree, and CA$6,907 per year for a graduate degree.

Undergraduate tuition fees in Canada

According to Statistics Canada, the average tuition fees for international students in 2017/18 are CA$25,180 (~US$20,540) per year. Arts and humanities courses tend to be cheaper, while subjects such as engineering and medicine are among the more expensive (an average of CA$28,625 (~US$23,340) per year). Fees for business and management courses are lower than the national average, at CA$24,683 (~US$20,120) per year.

Postgraduate tuition fees in Canada

If you want to study at postgraduate level, the tuition fees are generally lower, and again vary depending on your program. Statistics Canada puts the average postgraduate tuition fee at CA$16,252 in 2017/18, which is approximately US$13,250.

As is the case worldwide, executive MBA programs are generally the most expensive, averaging around CA$51,891 (~US$42,440), while regular MBAs cost CA$29,293 (~US$23,900) on average.

To find out more, get your free online copy of the QS Top Grad School Guide, including a dedicated section about postgraduate study in Canada.

Cost of living in Canada 

Although Canadian student visa requirements say you must have at least CA$10,000 (~US$8,100) (or CA$11,000/~US$8,900 if studying in Quebec) on top of your tuition fees, you’ll likely need to budget much more than this for your living expenses. Your living costs will vary considerably depending on your location and spending habits, with large cities generally more expensive to live in.

The estimates students will need a total of CA$15,050 per year including housing, food, accommodation, books and course supplies, phone costs and miscellaneous expenses. Similarly, the , located in Vancouver, estimates living costs of CA$15,500 per year, not including mandatory health insurance, which is CA$864 per year under the BC Health Plan. (Vancouver has been , particularly in terms of rent.) It’s also a good idea to budget for extra costs, such as warm winter clothing if you don’t already have any.

The three main types of student accommodation (homestay, university accommodation and private accommodation) vary considerably in costs, with students paying around CA$6,000 (~US$4,850) for accommodation each year. Private shared accommodation can cost up to CA$8,400 per year. University accommodation is often cheaper, with some universities offering meal plans to allow you to purchase food from the university’s food outlets.

Here are some examples of average living costs in Canada:

  • Eating out at a restaurant: CA$15 per person (~US$12)
  • One-way ticket on local public transport: CA$3.10 (~US$2.50)
  • Loaf of bread: CA$2.76 (~US$2.20)
  • Cinema ticket: CA$12.99 (~US$10.50)
  • Monthly gym fee: CA$48.42 (~US$40)

You should also remember to purchase compulsory health insurance while studying in Canada. This will cost approximately CA$600 (~US$485) per year.

Student visa and application fees

To study in Canada, you will need to obtain a Canadian study permit, which serves as a student visa for the duration of your stay. You do not need a Canadian study permit if your course or program lasts six months or less. Applying for a study permit costs CA$150 (~US$120). Click here to read more about how to get a Canadian student visa.

Fees to apply to universities in Canada will vary depending on the university and your country of origin. For example, the  charges undergraduate Canadian students (and permanent residents, refugees and diplomats) CA$68 (~US$55) and international students CA$114 (~US$90). You may be able to get this fee waived if you are an international student from a developing country.

Financial aid to study in Canada

Scholarships, grants and bursaries are available for international students wishing to study in Canada, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These include specific scholarships for sporting and academic achievement, and subject-specific scholarships.

Many universities in Canada offer their own scholarships, so you might also be able to apply for a scholarship offered exclusively by the university at which you plan to study. In all cases, it’s important to apply as early as possible as scholarship funding is limited and highly competitive. International applicants are also advised to research study abroad scholarship opportunities offered by organizations in their home country.

One notable source of scholarships to study in Canada is the , which provides scholarships to students of other Commonwealth countries. You might also find the financial assistance information on the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials  useful. More scholarships to study in Canada can be found here.

Student jobs in Canada 

If you’d like to get a part-time job to help support yourself while studying in Canada, you can work on or off-campus for up to 20 hours during university semesters and full-time during breaks such as the winter or summer holidays, without the need for a work permit.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Be a full-time student
  • Be enrolled at a designated learning institution at post-secondary level
  • Be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration

You will also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs. You can find out more about how to work during or after studying in Canada here.

This article was originally published in October 2015. It was updated in September 2017.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
Sabrina is a content writer for, providing guidance on a wide range of topics. A graduate of Aberystwyth University, Sabrina is originally from the West Midlands but now lives in London. 

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Hey , Sabrina.. i just want to know how a student going to find a part time job if he don't know anyone already, please sugges something about this?For being an international student how har it will be to find a job from where i can save my
next semester fees.

Hi Sabrina, I am applying for uottawa and I was confused how to calculate the fees from their website given below:

How do I calculate the total expense for studying masters for 2 years?

Hi Ahmed,do you know any other university I can I apply?


Hi Sabrina my name is fisehaye from Ethiopia. thank you very much for your nice article I am looking for several some university for studying could you help me which university is good for studying in applied research fields you know I am international student so I am looking for cheaper cities and university it would be better to help me .
And can I get governmental full tuition fees & living costs transport fee coverage thank you.

Hi Sabrina
Do you know what is refusal percentage for Russian citizens?

Hi Sabrina,
Good Day
i have done BE (CSE) i have nearly 2year work experience, now i am looking to do an MBA in Canada, i have 78% CGP in BE and no backlogs,89% in 12th, 88% in 10th.Can you please suggest me some good colleges where i can get scholarships, please sugget me the needed qualification i required,And is there any mandatory exams do i need to take up like TOEFL, IELTS,...etc.Please advice.

Hi Sabrina. It's Vinod from India. I completed my Engineering degree in Computer Science. I wish to settle in Canada. I think my degree won't be enough to get a job because I don't have enough experience. So I think it's better to study. So after my searching I found that MBA is a better option. So doing PG diploma in MBA is my primary intention. I'm afraid that I get a job after my course completion. I've heard that Canada promotes international students for staying and increasing the man power. Basically I'm from a low class family. My family can't afford the expenses. I'm planning to take education loan from India. So can you please refer me some colleges/ University for my studies. Also let me know the approximate total expenditure needed for my course completion. I'm planning to work as a part time worker to meet my living cost. Thanks in advance. Hoping for your reply.

hi.. iam also in same position as you..if you find any solution please inform me.vinod.

Hi, Sabrina
I have done (pass) 2 years program now I want to do MBA from Canada can I get admission.

Hello. I'm Oyindamola, from Nigeria. Is it possible for me to come along with my child and what special arrangements are made for international students with kid(s)?

hi Sabrina, i am David from Nigeria i want to enroll for a one year certificate or diploma course in any university in Canada, do i get my 10000 dollars back after completion of my course?

Hi David, I'm not sure what you mean. Could you please clarify?

hello sabriina am abdalla want education to go Canada as student I need ur help thank you

Hi Abdalla, our complete guide on how to study abroad in Canada should help to get you started. :)

Hi Sabrina, I am applying to a medical school in Quebec as a US citizen, which would last 4 years. I will also have my spouse with me in the application process. Would I be correct that the application fee would be $150CA/person for all 4 years or is it more complicated than that? Thank you!

Hi, I'd like to understand clearly. Take for instance I'd like to study a 2 year masters degree, do I need to have my tuition fee for the 2year 10000 Canadian dollars to get a visa or just the tuition for the first year and 10000 ? Cos here in the UK 50% of tuition fee upkeep money is all that is required. Please advise thanks.

Hi Kelvin, you would need to prove you have enough money to pay for your tuition fees as well as your living expenses to get a Canadian student visa. You can find out more about getting a visa here.

Hi Sabrina. I'm from Poland and I'm currently studying in the Uk. I'm thinking about study abroad scheme that allows me to study for a year in Canada. Am I eligible for any scholarships or bursaries? I am working on my own maintenance and my parents don't support. Where can I find some extra funding?

thanks a lot from your beautiful information.

Hello Sabrina, I am currently employed at a reputed company. My company wants to sponsor my MBA in Canada. Can my employer sponsor my study in Canada? If yes, what are the required documents?

hi. I m Wafa from Pakistan and living in Kuwait. I want to do masters from Canadian universities. Please refer me some low fee university in programs of M.COM, MA arts or MBA. How can I apply and get study permit? Please suggest and guide me. Regards,

I'm Ravi from India, i have completed civil engineering i would to go Canada. can i get a job there with this degree, or shall i pursue pg diploma or masters in Canada.. if studying in the right path, how much money should i require (for studying,room etc.,) and how much i can earn there while i'm in study

Hi Sabrina, here is Lynda from Nigeria.I have obtained diploma in community health nursing I want to upgrade to Bsc nursing in Canada. Pls which university would be better and cheaper.?

Hi Lynda, I'm not sure which university would be cheaper, but you can see how Canadian universities performed for nursing with our latest subject ranking, and we've listed a range of nursing scholarships here, including options to study in Canada. Hope this helps!


Hi Sabrina my name is Vahid from Iran.thank you very much for your nice article I am looking for several some university for studying could you help me which university is good for studying English you know I am international student so I am looking for cheaper cities and university it would be better to help me . thank you have a good day

Hi Sabrina, here is Raider. I have read your article and that really interested me. Well I will like to study computer science in Canada for undergraduate degree. But I really don't know how I have to proceed please could you help me?

Hi Jolie, to help you get started, please take a look at our complete guide on how to study abroad in Canada, which includes advice on how to apply. And to help you to choose a university, you could check our latest rankings by subject for computer science (and narrow the results down to show only Canadian universities). Hope this helps! 

Hello Sabrina. My name is Reynalyn and Im currently on my 11th grade here in the Philippines . I want to take up my college studies abroad with a scholarship and financial assistance. Iam planning to take BS accountacy in college and be a working student. I dont know where to start actually. I kindly need some help.

Hi Reynalyn, if you'd like to study in Canada, our guide can help to get you started - it includes advice on how to apply and how you can work during your studies. We also have a list of scholarships to study in Canada here. You might also like to view our latest rankings by subject for accounting (you can narrow the results down to show only universities in Canada, or any other country/region you're interested in). 

Hello. My name is Ubaydullo. I'll be over medical institute this year I need to masters of degree in Canada. Do you have masters of degree for child neurologist?. How much does it cost?

I have done (pass) 2 years program now I want to do MBA from Canada can I get admission.

I am Reshma from India. I have completed my BBA this year.I prefer going to Canada and do my studies there. I would like to know what kind of course I would be able to do in Canada and also its expense. I want to know which field can help me to get a job faster.

hi Reshma, i'm Ravi.. i'm also planning to Canada, my intention is also to get a job faster., if u know any information would u like to share that to me..

I wish to know universities locatd at these three provinces manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta names to enable me enroll for degree course..thanks

what is the total cost for attending canadian university to study computer science as an undergrad student? I want to know the amount including tuition fees and board and room.

Hi Czan, you can determine an estimate of your total costs of studying in Canada in this . :)

I would like to do mba in canda
Is gmat compulsory??

i would like to study financial accounting or management studies/science at Canada.
what are the requirements?

I want apply for bba in Canada.
What is the requirment for applying bba program in Canada????

Hi Akibur, you'll need a high school diploma or equivalent, with good grades in mathematics and science. 

is pte accepted in canada?

Hi Addu, I don't think the PTE is accepeted when applying for your student visa, but it may be accepted by Canadiajn universities - it's worth checking with the ones you're interested in, to see if they do accept the PTE. 

I did my in computer science and wanted to do MS in computet science from canada.. is gre is important? MS is of 3 yrs in canada?

Hey surbhi it is not mandatory to give GRE...but some unversity like Toronto State university,WaterLoo,McGill etc are asking for GRE Score and IELTS Score...and MS in Computer Science is only for 2 year.

hello there
this is Abood

just a quick one is there any funding plan or is it just a ploy please let me know


Hi Mark, I'm not sure what funding plan you're referring to, please could you clarify?

Currently I'm a software engineer in Sri Lanka since 2016. I have an uncle who is permanent resident in ontario, canada. So he ask me to come to Canada because it will be good for my future. I do have a degree but it not from a government university, it sort of like a diploma. But that professional qualification helped me to get my software engineering job.

So I would like to know can you suggest me better way to come to canada, as a student or as a professional. If i come as a student what are the universities or institutes that have low cost and better options to part time work.

can a family member go with a foreign student to canada what are his/her rights and how long thet can stay .


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