High-quality teaching and research, quality of life and affordable costs, bilingualism and multiculturalism make Canada a competitive destination for studying abroad. Canada is known for its high quality of life and for one of the most competitive economies in the world, thanks to its solid banking system. Canada has about 35 million inhabitants distributed in 10 provinces and 3 territories, where two official languages are spoken, English and French.
The Reasons for studying in Canada
Canada is among the 10 best countries in the world to live. Among the elements that determine the high quality of life is:
widespread access to education
low presence of crimes, violence and corruption
stability of the economy
Canada is a multi-ethnic and multicultural environment that, in addition to making the country more welcoming, it increases the possibilities of those who live here in terms of integration. Just think that in Canada there are over 200 languages spoken. Another strong point is the culture of research. University research constitutes more than a third of the research carried out in Canada – the highest proportion among the G7 countries – with 2000 research chairs available, extensive technology clusters and many centers of excellence in universities across the country. Elements that make Canada the world leader in post-secondary research. The sectors in which Canadian research has a high level of specialization and a high reputation are:
Information and communication technologies / ICT;
Agriculture, fisheries and forestry sciences;
Earth and Environmental Sciences;
Economics and Business.
Studying in Canada means being able to access an education system of excellence: 8 of its universities are ranked among the top 200 in the world, 5 Canadian MBA schools are among the top 100 and public spending per capita for education is higher. All in a bilingual country considered among the best for language training (in French and English), at competitive costs. The education system also maintains the same quality standards in all provinces and territories. In Canada, you can experience life on Campus with full immersion between studio environments equipped with the best technologies as well as opportunities for sports and cultural entertainment. You can live in contact with unspoiled nature (with 39 huge national parks and thousands of provincial parks) or in large ultra-modern cities. Characterized by dynamism and practicality and by the constant availability of teachers and professors, the teaching system allows students to acquire knowledge and skills in analysis and communication and to express their creativity and personality. Last but not least, it is useful to know that those who have studied in Canada can access a facilitated immigration system to live permanently in the country.
Primary and secondary education
The system of primary and secondary education is divided into public and private schools. Public schools provide student family accommodation for international students. Private schools provide both family housing and school accommodation. Living in a student family house allows international students a full immersion in Canadian culture, in a welcoming and protected environment, as well as the opportunity to practice English or French.
For students engaged in the upper secondary education cycle, there is the possibility of participating in study programs abroad that allow them to spend from one quarter to one full school year in a Canadian public or private school. The Secondary School in Canada is focused on the needs of students who can compose and personalize their curriculum, constantly followed by tutors. Graduates excel in science, reading, and mathematics.
Post-secondary education: University and College
The university education in Canada includes a wide range of high-quality programs: more than 15,000 first and second level courses in over 100 universities, from the largest ones, with intensive research, to small campuses. There are also courses with internship and internship options (co-op).
The cycle of studies is divided into three levels corresponding to three successive qualifications:
Bachelor’s (undergraduate): generally 3 or 4 years of studies (first level degree)
Master’s: after the bachelor’s degree, for a duration of 1 or 2 years of study, including the thesis or a research paper (master’s degree)
Doctoral or Ph.D.: generally after the Master’s degree, 3 to 5 years of study, including the thesis (PhD).
Other options are professional diplomas and short programs that provide professional qualifications. Among the sectors that represent the excellence of the system are:
Business schools (MBA) – for the quantity and quality of management training courses offered
Business administration – due to the high presence of research spin-offs
Engineering and technology – with the expanding ICT sector (30,000 ICT companies generating 105 million euros in revenues each year) and research on new technologies in nuclear, oil, gas, hydrogen fuel cells
Life Sciences – Canada is ranked 5 in the world in the biotechnology sector, thanks to its excellent academic institutions
Agriculture, fisheries, and forestry
Sciences of the Earth and the Environment.
The system of the Colleges, Institutes, and CÉGEP
As an alternative to university training, students can opt for more practical courses directly linked to the world of work, attending one of more than 8 thousand courses offered by post-secondary technical institutes, which issue university degrees. These courses are characterized by integrated learning at work through internships and work experience, cutting-edge technology, and flexible programs.
Colleges also take the name of Institutes of technology, Community colleges, Polytechnics, University colleges, Colleges of applied arts and technology or, in the Province of Québec, Collèges d’enseignement général et professionnel (CÉGEPS).
The duration of the programs varies from a few months to 4 years, including training periods. Colleges, institutes, and polytechnics perform applied research in collaboration with small and medium-sized enterprises to create, refine or adapt products, services, technologies, and production processes. International students can participate in these applied research opportunities and gain relevant practical experience.
Student-entrepreneurs have access to research laboratories, incubators, and accelerators for entrepreneurship.
At the end of the courses, around 95% of College graduates find employment. There are also plans to switch from University to College and vice versa.
Studying in Canada: access for international students
Canadian universities and colleges are funded and regulated at a provincial level; each individual institution establishes its own admission criteria independently.
Studying in Canada; there are two options:
Participate in a mobility program on the basis of agreements between your country’s and Canadian institutions (in this case, contact the offices of your university to check if this possibility exists);
Apply for an international student study program at a Canadian university/college as an independent student.
To log in as an independent student, you must submit your application at least 8 months before the start of the course.
In general, to access first level undergraduate courses it is necessary to have completed a curriculum equivalent to the Canadian high school and to have a good knowledge of English or French (depending on the language of instruction). It is, therefore, necessary to present the official translations of the qualifications and certification of knowledge of English or French.
It is advisable to contact the selected university/college directly and in good time, who will evaluate the application and decide whether to accept it or not based on the candidate’s academic merits. If accepted, the Institute may request the student to attend a preparatory course for university access (which is normally provided for Canadian students).
How to choose the course of study
The EduCanada.ca site offers the most complete information to make the choice of a study program, in three simple steps:
select the program or institution of interest;
study costs are displayed according to the selected program;
the documents required to send the application are displayed.
Accommodation and enrollment fees for international students vary according to location, institution, and program, but are generally lower than in other English-speaking countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Canadian university fees are among the lowest among the English-speaking countries.
Scholarships and research
Most government scholarship programs cover postgraduate studies. Between these:
Vanier Scholarships: scholarships for Canadian and international students to follow Ph.D. programs at Canadian universities. Info Vanier.gc.ca
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships: is the federal program of research grants promoted by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering also open to foreign students. Info Banting.fellowships-bourses.gc.ca
Sauvé Scholars Program (in Montréal): these are scholarships for young graduates, aged between 25 and 30, with an excellent knowledge of English and three years of professional experience. The scholarships are aimed at young leaders with a strong commitment to change the world. Info Sauvescholars.org For more information and to check open opportunities, visit Scholarships.gc.ca
It is also advisable to verify the presence of other scholarship opportunities for foreign students on provincial and university/college sites.
Canada is a bilingual country with a strong tradition of language teaching. The personalized programs provide access paths to post-secondary studies. Language courses can be held (general, academic, business, technical) or you can choose summer and winter stays, language training programs (CELTA, TESL, TESOL), test preparation.
Languages Canada / Langues Canada brings together about 210 English and French language programs from accredited schools across Canada that meet the stringent standards of the association. Once you have completed a language program in Canada you can directly access high schools, colleges, and universities.
All courses and information are available on the Languagescanada.ca website
Work while studying in Canada
Foreign students in possession of a valid study permit, enrolled full-time in a university or professional training program to obtain a diploma or certification, are allowed to work on campus and off campus without a work permit , up to a maximum of 20 hours per week, during the regular, full-time session, during the period of suspension of classes (eg summer or winter holidays). In the case in which the study program includes a period of internship (in any case not more than 50% of the total duration of the course), once in possession of a study permit, you must also request a work permit.
Easy immigration for those who studied in Canada
For information about the possibility of immigration to Canada after completing the course of study, visit the Canada.ca site on the pages dedicated to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada service.
Studying in Québec
Québec is a province of Canada, the largest in terms of area and the second most populous in the Confederation after Ontario. Here the official language is French. The economy of the area is based on sectors such as: aerospace/transport, life sciences, information and communication technologies and the development of artificial intelligence, green technologies, agri-food, and Nordic and maritime development.
Other top assets include tourism and culture: Québec is home to major international events (cultural, sporting, scientific and technological) throughout the year and most of the Canadian productions exported abroad come from here. It gives space to the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions and social inclusion. It stands out for its ability to integrate cutting-edge scientific content and technology, through exhibitions, multimedia projects or in the video game industry.
Among the most attractive cities is Montréal, a commercial crossroads and a global center for new technologies that hosts 120 different communities and the City of Québec, the cradle of French America, declared World Heritage by the UNESCO, boasts a high concentration of research and technology transfer centers.
University system and colleges in Québec
There are 15 French-speaking and 3 English-speaking universities in Québec, including McGill, known for its MBA program.
The university system in Québec has the same characteristics as the confederal system, both from a qualitative and infrastructural point of view, for the efficiency of services for students and the accessibility of costs. There is a wide choice for studying in Canada in programs in French and English, to be enjoyed in a cosmopolitan environment, characterized by openness on the world, by joie de vivre, by a dynamic economy and a high quality of life, not far away from evocative natural environments.
The criteria for admission to a university/college also follow similar rules and the applications for admission are assessed by the individual institutions on the basis of the merits and academic performance of the candidates. Among the specific needs, it should be noted that to apply for a university/college in Quebec you must have attended a year of university in the country of origin or follow a preparatory year in a university in Quebec. To access the study programs there are four basic steps:
choice of the study program and university institution;
admission (checking conditions and timing);
certificate of acceptance of Québec (CAQ-MIDI);
obtaining the study permit (IRCC).
The website of the Canadian Embassy offers information on study opportunities and other programs for students, on how to apply for a study permit and other visas www.canadainternational.gc.ca
The EduCanada site is the most complete source of information for international students and researchers
The website of the Canadian Information Center for International Diplomas (CICIC) provides information on the evaluation and recognition of academic certifications obtained abroad www.cicic.ca
The site of the Canadian Association of Public Schools – International (CAPS-I), a non-profit association composed of 128 districts/school councils financed with public funds www.caps-i.ca
Information on Canadian Government Grants www.scholarships.gc.ca
The Citizenship and Immigration Canada service for all information on study/work/stay permits www.canada.ca/en/services/immigration-citizenship
French / English language courses in Canada www.languagescanada.ca
The official Canadian Tourism Commission website Caen-keepexploring.canada.travel
Information on the university life of Québec www.international.gouv.qc.ca
The site of foreign students in Montréal www.etudionsaletranger.fr
Scholarships and research (Nature and Technology) of the Government of Québec www.fqrnet.gouv.qc.ca
For information on immigration in Québec www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca