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Australia vs Canada – Which country to choose to study abroad?

by Anup chowdhury
Australia vs Canada Study Abroad 2020

Australia vs Canada – Australia and Canada are considered the top study abroad destinations of our times, where lakhs of students apply every year to study and make a dream career. Both of these nations are on two different sides of the globe. One the one hand, Canada is in the northern part of North America. There are ten provinces and three territories extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. On the other hand, Australia is the largest country in the oceanic region in the world.

As per the Australian Government (Department of Education), total international student enrollments in November, 2019 in Australia were 9,48,658, out of which, 15% were Indian students and 28% were from China. 47% of these students fall in the higher education category and 15% in English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) category.

Many international students seeking quality education and a brighter future are choosing Canada as a study abroad destination. According to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada), by 2019, 7,00,000 international students were studying in Canada. Another important point that came up from recent studies was that international students in Canada are growing at 15% rate compared to 2% rate growth for domestic students.

With both of these countries being a hit amongst overseas students, one should ask Which one is a better destination FOR ME to study abroad? instead of simply asking Which one is better? In this article, we have made an attempt to compare these two top study abroad destinations in terms of top courses, colleges, scholarships to study, cost of living, post-study visas, jobs and permanent residency options.

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Australia vs Canada – Top Colleges and Courses

Both nations have a long standing for being top places to pursue higher education. The University of Toronto and Australian National University are the top universities of Canada and Australia respectively. Based on QS 2020 World University rankings, there are two Canadian and 5 Australian universities ranking in the top 50 universities in the world. 9 of the worlds 50 most internationally diverse universities are now Australian. In Canada, the most ethnically and linguistically diverse nationalities stay together, with over 50% of the population not speaking English as their first language.


Canadian Colleges

Global Rankings 2020 (QS)

Australian Colleges

Global Rankings 2020(QS)

University of Toronto


Australian National University


McGill University


University of Melbourne


University of British Columbia


University of Sydney


University of Alberta


University of New South Wales


University of Montreal


University of Queensland


Top courses students opt to study in Australia:

  1. Business and Management
  2. Accounting
  3. Medicine
  4. Dentistry
  5. Creative Arts and Design
  6. Education
  7. Engineering
  8. Computer Science
  9. Law
  10. Environmental Sciences

Top courses students opt to study in Canada:

  1. MBA
  2. Computer Science & IT
  3. Business & Finance
  4. Core Engineering & Engineering Management
  5. Physical & Earth Sciences and Renewable Energy
  6. Agricultural Science & Forestry
  7. Biosciences, Medicine & Healthcare
  8. Media & Journalism

Australia vs Canada – Entry Requirements for Colleges


Entrance requirements at the undergraduate level in Canada are as follows:

  1. Students applying for admission post high school must show that they have successfully completed five academic subjects. The academic subjects vary by program and faculty. For e.g.- Mathematics-related subjects are required for engineering, business, and most science programs.
  2. Applicants are evaluated for early admission on presentation of the following:
    1. Class Xth board results
    2. Predicted Class XIIth grades
  3. Students in CBSE or ICSE schools who have scored 75%+ in their final Class XIIth exams generally meet English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirements at a few Canadian universities like the University of Alberta.

Note: Students should enquire about the university where they are applying for any query related to their individual entrance requirements.

Most of the Canadian educational institutions require a Bachelor’s degree which means a completion of 10+2+3, or more commonly 10+2+4 pattern of formal education for PG level studies. Students whose first language is not English, shall be asked to appear for an English proficiency exam, generally IELTS or TOEFL.


For entry into undergraduate courses (eg. bachelors degree) requires you to have completed a secondary school qualification equivalent to an Australian Year 12 certificate. Applicants must check their qualification and see if it meets the international academic entry requirements for a particular course.

Australian universities accept the 3-year graduation system for entry into most postgraduate courses. You need to provide the following documents while applying for a postgraduate degree in Australia:

  1. Standard Xth mark sheet
  2. Standard XIIth mark sheet
  3. Bachelors degree / Provisional certificate with mark sheet

Top universities might ask international students to provide English proficiency test scores for PG admission or GMAT for an MBA course admission.

Australia vs Canada Infographics

Australia vs Canada Infographics

Do you know that you can study in Australia without IELTS? Read here.

Australia vs Canada – Scholarships

International students can apply for various scholarships for studying at UG or PG level in Canada or Australia. We have listed out the popular international scholarships that one can apply for reducing the tuition fee burden. Scholarships can be obtained at Government or university level.

More details on Australian Scholarships can be read here.



Shastri Indo Canadian Institute

Australia Awards Scholarships

Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan

Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship Awards

Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program

International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS)

National Research Council of Canada (NRCC)

University of Sydney International Research Scholarships

Quebec Provincial Government Scholarship

Macquarie University International Scholarships

Australia vs Canada – Tuition and Living Costs

Tuition fee expenditure depends on the course and university you opt for studying in Canada and Australia.


In Canada:

  1. An approx. of 7000 – 29,000 CAD is required to cover study costs.
  2. Cost for on-campus accommodation ranges between CAD 8,000 to CAD 10,000 annually.
  3. Living in a shared apartment can cost you around CAD 400 to CAD 700 per month, depending upon your location and time of the year.

Based on various expenses and living costs, a single student budget in Canada could be approx. CAD 15,000. An average annual cost for medical insurance ranges between CAD 300- CAD 800 a year.

Full details on Cost of Living in Canada can be found here.


The average tuition fees for studying in Australian institutions ranges between AUD 20,000 and AUD 30,000 a year. A single international student budget in Australia can take upto approx. AUD 200-400 per week.

Australia vs Canada – Post-study work permit


One of the most immigration friendly countries in the world, Canada pulls a large number of international students from across the world. You will need to apply for PGWP (Post graduate work permit) after you finish your studies in Canada. PGWP allows international students graduating from a participating college or university to gain Canadian work experience. Canadian work experience gained through PGWP helps international graduates qualify for PR (permanent residence) in Canada. To be eligible for the visa, you must have studied full time in Canada and your course duration should be at least eight months. You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of completing your course.


In Australia, you can obtain a post study work permit of 2-4 years depending on the qualification you acquire. The visa application costs up to 1,650 AUD. The application processing time takes up to 4 months.The visa helps the students to live, study and work in Australia temporarily after they have finished their studies. You even have a provision to bring your immediate family members to stay with you.

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Australia vs Canada – Employment opportunities


Canada has a thriving and vibrant economy with plenty of room for growth and many opportunities for residents. For individuals who are interested in applying for Permanent Residency (PR) through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), a permanent full-time job offer from a Canadian employer can reduce the application processing time. You can apply for a temporary work permit if you are looking for a job for a short term period. Apply for jobs in Canada here.


Australia provides a number of jobs in different categories like Airlines, Banking, Construction, Insurance, Mining, and Technology, etc. There are lots of online job sites that will help you to get a relevant job. Popular job portal of Australia can be browsed here.


Read – Jobs in Australia article to know about top job sectors and number of jobs available for international students.

Australia VS Canada – Part-time Job Opportunities


International students are allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during semesters and full-time during breaks. You can work in cafes, restaurants and coffee shops, bookstores, libraries or at retail stores like clothing or sports goods stores. Students also work part time as lifeguards or swimming instructors at college swimming pools or beaches. If you are multilingual, you can even work as a translator. As Canada is a multicultural society, the services of a translator are widely required.


In Australia, the minimum legal hourly rate for a basic job with no specific skills is AUD 18.93. Students with better skills can earn up to AUD 50-80 per hour. International students in Australia on a student visa can work for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and there is no limit on the number of hours a student can work during school vacations. Many Australian universities have on-campus part time job opportunities for international students.

Australia vs Canada – PR opportunities


PR grants someone who is not a Canadian citizen the right to live and work in Canada without a time limit on their stay. A foreign national has to apply to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) for PR under one of several programs. A person can become a Permanent Resident either by applying online from outside or inside the territory of Canada.

If you are applying for a PR for Canada as an outland application, then you will need to apply through Express Entry. In 2015, Canadian Government launched a new electronic immigration system that offers express entry to Canada for skilled and qualified immigrants.Those applicants are selected who can fill jobs where there is a lack of available skilled Canadian personnel.


Many students wish to stay back and look for jobs in Australia, apply for a visa through SkillSelect portal, a portal that allows potential applicants to submit considerations for a skilled visa through EOI or Expression of Interest. The first step to sending your EOI is to nominate occupation on the skilled occupation list. Skilled Independent visa is a visa for applicants who have not been sponsored by an employer or a family member who is a PR of Australia. The visa allows applicants to live and work permanently in Australia and has provisions to bring family members in the application process. Employer Nomination Scheme is a visa that allows Australian employers to sponsor international applicants by providing jobs and a chance and chance to live and work in Australia permanently in Australia.

Full details on PR in Australia can be found here.

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