Home » Cost of Study in Canada – Tuition Fees, Affordable Universities and Scholarships

Cost of Study in Canada – Tuition Fees, Affordable Universities and Scholarships

by Dushyant Patni
Cost of Study in Canada

The Great White North or Americas upstairs neighbor (as they call it) is blessed with a landscape full of forests, lakes and the frozen Tundra further north. Canada is quickly becoming a favored destination for international students due to its multi-cultural environment and excellent academic institutions, with over 30 Canadian universities ranking among the best institutions in the world according to the Times Higher Education rankings. International students who wish to pursue their education in Canada may be daunted by the foreign living and fee costs. This article seeks to provide the information needed to study in Canada without putting yourself in dire financial straits.

Cost of Study in Canada Tuition Fees

Tuition fees in Canadian universities are slightly higher than what you would expect, but are generally lower when compared to countries like the UK, USA or Australia. Some universities vary their tuition fee yearly depending upon the number of students enrolled in various programmes. As is commonly known, International student fees vary from domestic students, so does the fees for undergraduate students from postgraduates. You may also notice that areas like Newfoundland have considerably lower tuition fees when compared to provinces like Ontario.Study Abroad

According to Statistics Canada, average tuition fees for the year 2019-20 for international students were CAD 29,714 per year, with humanities courses trending towards the cheaper side of the equation while engineering and medicine take the top spot as being the most expensive.


Course Fee Range
Bachelors in Business & Management 550 CAD 56,000 CAD per year
Bachelors in Computer Science & IT 1,535 CAD 55,000 CAD per year
Bachelors in Engineering & Technology 1,350 55,00 CAD per year
Bachelors in Social Sciences 1,025 CAD 56,00 CAD per year
Bachelors in Natural Sciences 1,780 CAD 53,000 CAD per year


Course Fee Range
Masters in Business & Management 2,150 CAD 52,700 CAD per year
Masters in Computer Science & IT 2,150 CAD 52,000 CAD per year
Masters in Engineering & Technology 2,150 CAD 52,500 CAD per year
Masters in Medicine & Health 2,150 CAD 58,300 CAD per year
Masters in Social Science 2,150 37,000 CAD per year

Note: These figures are given in average ranges due to there being a large variation in the price of courses among different universities. You can use this as a guide to choose which university fits better within your budget range. You dont always have to go for the most expensive programmes as higher costs do not equate to a better quality education or classroom instruction. You should be trying to find a balance between your budget, tuition fees and the returns you get from your study program.

Cost of Study in Canada Affordable Universities

Given below is a list of Canadian universities which offer budget-friendly programmes and tuition fees to international students:

1. Memorial University of Newfoundland

Memorial University started off as a teachers training school 100 years ago in St. John’s, and has since grown into a respected and comprehensive institution that offers more than 100 degree programmes to its students. The university prides itself on being accessible to international students. According to the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, 2,700+ international students from more than 110 countries attend the university currently.

Average tuition fee range for international students -

Program Total Programme Fees
Graduate Diploma $6,390
Master’s programs (2 years) $9,666
Master’s programs (1 year)* $6,654
Master of Science in Medicine

(Applied Health Services Research)

Doctoral programs $17,988


1. The above mentioned fees are for international applicants without Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status in Canada.

2. Graduate students are also responsible for ancillary fees (including but not exclusive to student union fees, recreation fee, student services fee, campus renewal fee, health insurance, and dental insurance) listed in the Minimum Expense form.

3. Graduate students who do not complete their programmes in the number of semesters listed above will be required to pay a continuance fee for each additional semester required. If you finish your graduate program in fewer semesters than the payment plan, you must pay the remaining program fee in a lump sum. Study Abroad

2. University of Regina

The University of Regina was originally founded as Regina College by the Methodist Church in 1911 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The college slowly but steadily grew in size and relevance, ultimately becoming an independent degree granting university in 1974. They offer prospective students more than 120 undergraduate programmes and 78 graduate programmes. The university is also attracting a lot more foreign students with 2,097 international students attending programmes at all levels in 2019. For detailed information regarding the fee structure, visit this link.

3. Royal Roads University

Established in 1940 as a military college, Royal Roads University evolved into its current form in 1995 and seeks to offer high-quality, applied and relevant programmes which are designed to not just provide classroom instruction, but to enable students to use the knowledge gathered in their professional careers. With its main campus in Colwood, British Columbia, they currently have students from over 60 countries enrolled in the various programmes they have to offer; exact enrollment data is not available at the moment. You can browse the exact fee structure for all courses here.

4. University of Saskatchewan

The University of Saskatchewan is a public research university founded in 1907 and is located on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It is one of the top research-intensive, medical doctoral universities in Canada and is also home to some of the most cutting-edge and innovative research in areas like water and food security. They welcome students from all over the world with 3,403 registered international students enrolled in the various degree programmes offered by the university in 2019. Their alumni include 44 Olympians and 2 Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry. Details about the tuition fee structure can be found here.

5. Athabasca University

Established in 1970 as a traditional campus based institution, AU later adopted the open-learning, distance university concept to increase accessibility for students who could not physically be present in Canada. They offer 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, diplomas and certificate programmes, with 700+ university courses as well in the fields of science, social sciences, humanities and commerce. The university provides a course cost calculator for undergraduate courses on their website. For information about graduate degree programs, follow this link.

Note: Even though these universities have relatively low tuition fees, you will still find that they offer programmes that can cost over 30,000 CAD per year. Usually these degrees are at the Masters level in Business, Law, Dentistry or MBAs. An MBA is particularly expensive with tuition fees in some colleges exceeding 50,000 CAD per year.

Cost of Study in Canada Scholarships

International students looking to study in Canada on a budget have a number of scholarships, grants and bursaries they can avail to ease some of their financial pressure. Many universities in Canada also offer proprietary scholarships (scholarships directly dispensed by providers themselves) which you can avail when you are applying for an admission. Its important to know that you should apply for the scholarship programmes as early as possible because funding is limited and the competition is fierce. International applicants should also research on study abroad scholarship opportunities offered by organizations in their home country. Given below is a list of some of the scholarships available for international students looking to study in Canada:


Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship

This program is offered at the University of Toronto and is aimed at recognizing international students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and creativity and those who take on leadership roles within their student community. The scholarship covers tuition, books, incidental fees and full residence support for 4 years. To be eligible to apply for this scholarship you must be:

  1. An international student holding a valid study permit
  2. Currently in your final year of secondary school
  3. Beginning you studies at the University of Toronto in the September semester

Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award

This need and merit based award is offered by the University of British Columbia to international undergraduate students who demonstrate superior academic achievement, leadership skills, involvement in the student body and community service. The value of the scholarship is determined based on your financial need which is calculated by determining the total tuition fee and living cost and subtracting it by the financial contribution your family can provide each year. To be eligible for this award:

  1. You must be an international student with a valid study permit.
  2. You must be entering UBC from a recognized secondary school, college or other university.
  3. You must be applying for your first undergraduate degree.
  4. You must meet UBCs admission requirements including all the language proficiency tests.
  5. You must demonstrate a superior academic record.
  6. You must demonstrate a level of financial need that would otherwise prevent you from attending UBC.


University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship

The Faculty of Graduate Studies offers more than USD 2 million in University Graduate Fellowships each year to full-time students at the masters and PhD levels. The fellowship is awarded to students who have shown superior intellectual abilities and achieved a high-standard of academic accomplishment. Any graduate degree programme offered by the University except medicine and MBA, is covered under the fellowship program. Students must have a minimum admission GPA of 3.0 to be considered for the award and must have been admitted as a full-time student without provision or have cleared provisional admission as a masters or Ph.D. student in a graduate program at the University of Manitoba.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships

Each year, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation awards up to 15 doctoral scholarships to Canadian and foreign doctoral candidates that are involved in research in fields related to humanities and social sciences. The foundation provides USD 40,000 per year for three years; up to USD 20,000 per year (research and travel allowance) along with exclusive access to a community made of other scholars, mentors and fellows all of whom are leaders in their respective disciplines. The eligibility criteria for the program are:

Doctoral students already accepted into or in year one, two, or three of a full-time program in the humanities or social sciences whose work relates to one of the Foundations four themes:

  1. Human Rights and Dignity;
  2. Responsible Citizenship;
  3. Canada and the World; and
  4. People and their Natural Environment

Canadian citizens, whether at a Canadian or an international institution

Up to 25% of scholars in a given year may be non-Canadians (permanent residents or foreign nationals) enrolled in a doctoral program at a Canadian institution.


Cost of Study in Canada – FAQs

Q. Is Canada cheaper than the UK for international students?

A. Yes, compared to the UK, Canada has lower tuition fees. Average fees in Canada are broader and offer both cheaper and more expensive options than the UK, depending on your program of study and choice of institution. The bottom end of the average in Canada is lower than the UK, with average undergraduate fees starting at USD 7,500.

Q. Is there a difference in the tuition fee for domestic vs international students?

A. Yes, there is a significant difference in the tuition fees between the two. Domestic students generally pay less than international students enrolled in the same course. If youre a Canadian citizen studying in Canada, you can expect to pay an average of CAD 6,463 per year for an undergraduate degree, and CAD 7,056 per year for a graduate degree. Whereas foreign students on average have to pay CAD 9,000 per year for an undergraduate degree and CAD 12-13,000 per year for a graduate degree.

Q. What are some of the most expensive courses in Canada?

A. According to the information provided by Statistics Canada, executive MBA degrees and medicine degrees are the most expensive courses to study in Canada. In some colleges, MBA degrees can cost CAD 50,000 and above per year while medicine degrees can cost somewhere in the same ballpark.

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