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Cost of Studying in Canada for International Students

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Canada is a top choice for international students seeking quality education and attractive post-graduation opportunities. While it offers more affordable tuition fees compared to countries like the US, Australia, and the UK, it’s essential to understand the overall costs involved in studying in Canada.

In this article, we will break down tuition fees for undergraduate and postgraduate studies, student visa and application fees, and the cost of living as an international student in Canada.

Tuition Fees in Canada:

Tuition fees in Canada vary widely depending on the university, program of study, and location. Universities have the autonomy to set their tuition costs. For international undergraduate students starting their studies in the 2018/19 academic year, tuition fees increased by 6.3%. However, there are numerous financial support options available, with some institutions, like the University of British Columbia, offering over $15 million in assistance for international students.

Tuition Fees for Undergraduate Students:

On average, undergraduate international students in Canada can expect to pay around $20,000 per year. For a three-year degree program, the total cost would be approximately $60,000, and for four years of study, it would be around $80,000. Tuition fees for arts, humanities, and business courses generally align with the national average. However, pursuing subjects like medicine or engineering could be more expensive, with estimated yearly fees of around $30,000, leading to a total of $120,000 for a full degree.

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Cost of Studying in Canada for International Students:

Tuition fees are typically set by universities in the spring term before the new academic year begins. They tend to rise modestly each year. Here are some examples of undergraduate tuition fees for international students in the 2018/19 academic year at specific Canadian universities:

  • University of Toronto: Tuition fees ranged from $38,900 for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to $41,000 for an Applied Science and Engineering degree.
  • University of British Columbia: Tuition fees varied from $28,600 to $37,400, with the lowest fees for courses in Arts, Fine Arts, Media, and Social Work.
  • Brandon University: This university offered one of the most affordable tuition fees for international students, averaging $6,800 per year.
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Tuition Fees for Postgraduate Students:

Postgraduate study generally incurs lower tuition fees than undergraduate programs. The average cost for postgraduate study in the 2018/19 academic year was around $12,500, with a 1% increase from the previous year. Master’s programs often have fees of approximately $23,000, while MBA programs tend to be more expensive, with estimated fees of $38,000 for international students.

Student Visa and Application Fees:

International students studying in Canada for six months or more require a student visa, also known as a study permit, which costs $115. Additionally, universities may charge application fees, which vary based on the institution and the applicant’s home country. For instance, the University of British Columbia charges a one-off application fee of $122 for international students, while some institutions waive this fee for applicants from developing countries.

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Living Costs as a Student in Canada:

In addition to tuition fees, international students must consider living expenses while studying in Canada. On average, students need around $9,000 per year for living costs, though this amount can vary depending on the location. Cities in Canada generally offer more affordable living options than major cities like London and New York, with smaller towns being even more cost-effective. However, it’s essential to note that Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities to live in globally.


Studying in Canada provides a great opportunity for international students to receive quality education and experience a diverse and welcoming environment. While tuition fees are comparatively lower than in some other English-speaking countries, it’s crucial to carefully budget for living costs and other expenses. With the right planning and financial support options, pursuing education in Canada can be a rewarding and enriching experience.

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