Choose to study in Canada, and you’ll have the opportunity to encounter vastly different cultural and natural experiences – from the ski slopes of British Columbia to the prairie province of Manitoba, with cities such as Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Quebec famously friendly, tolerant and multicultural.
Occupying the northern half of the North American continent, Canada is known for its natural beauty – few nations in the world can boast anything close to its wealth of forests, lakes and mountains – and for its multicultural diversity. The country has official bilingual status, with English and French used concurrently in government and official documents.
It’s also known for its sparse population (despite being the world’s second-largest country, it has a population smaller than that of just one US state, California) and for its harsh winters. In some parts of Canada, snow covers the ground for almost half the year – but you’re unlikely to find any Canadian universities in those regions!
Click on the tabs below to find out more about top universities in Canada, popular student cities, and practical information on applications, costs and visas.
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Top universities in Canada
Canada has a well-established position among the world’s leading study destinations. The most popular Canadian provinces for international students are Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, which between them are home to many of the top universities in Canada.
For those looking to study at an elite university in one of the world’s most developed nations, applying to study in Canada can be an attractive option. A total of 26 universities in Canada feature in the QS World University Rankings 2019, of which three are in the world’s top 50, with 11 more making the world’s top 300 – a feat matched only by a handful of other nations.
The two highest Canadian entries are the University of Toronto (28th) and McGill University (33rd), located in Toronto and Montréal respectively (the two largest cities in Canada). Also ranked within the global top 220 are the University of Alberta, McMaster University, Université de Montréal, the University of Waterloo, and Western University.
Higher education in Canada
Undergraduate degrees in Canada can take either three or four years to complete, depending on the university. Postgraduate degrees last between one and three years to complete, depending on the type of degree. Different types of higher education providers in Canada include: universities (which carry out research and provide both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees), community colleges and technical, applied arts or applied science schools (which grant certificates, diplomas, associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees).
As universities in Canada are managed by provincial governments, you’ll find there will be slight differences in how education is carried out. Quebec, in particular, is markedly different to the rest of Canada, with different term times and length of study. For instance, students finish secondary school a year early and must take a mandatory pre-university General and Vocational College (CEGEP) course, essentially eliminating the freshman year of university. Check with your chosen institutions for specific details
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