The second largest country in the world, with pristine wilderness, more maple syrup than you can stomach, two national languages (English and French), and dozens of reputable universities, Canada is unsurprisingly ranked highly among top places to live in the world. So, how about getting a degree in Canada? From coast to coast, this land of rugged mountains and graceful glaciers features elite universities with a wide array of degree programs for those from all backgrounds. If you’re a fan of the outdoors, yet still want an urban environment (and can handle some harsh winters), then earning a degree abroad in Canada is likely right for you. Ay?!
One of the greatest things about earning a degree in Canada is that there are a large number of both small and large cities, offering students a bunch of choices no matter what their preferences. If you’re looking for a big campus experience, look into Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. The universities in these larger cities typically offer more course options and are perfect for students interested in non-traditional degrees (like underwater basket weaving). However, if you’re looking to study on a small campus in a small town in the middle of the Canadian wilderness, then there are likewise no shortage of degree program options for you too (and they are all great, adventurous, moose-filled options).
Vancouver is easily one of the most recognizable cities in Canada, with a mild climate, a beautiful coastline, and the former Winter Olympics site at Whistler only a short drive away. Home to a wide variety of neighborhoods and considered the culinary capital of Canada, this western city has a great nightlife and plenty of outdoors activities nearby. While Vancouver is a pretty expensive city to live in, if you avoid going out to eat a lot and live like a local, it’s easy to live at an affordable place. From the Vancouver Film School to the University of British Columbia, Vancouver is a wonderful place to call home while you earn your degree in a fantastic, bustling city.
On the opposite side of Canada is Toronto, which is home to some equally fine places of higher education, such as Seneca College and the University of Toronto, this city considered one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet (home to more than 140 spoken languages by residents!). Pair that cultural smorgasbord with their amazingly temperate fall and spring seasons and you’re in for the degree program of a lifetime. With an estimated 50 percent of the population of Toronto born outside of Canada, international students will feel right at home in this multicultural city. During the summer, Toronto turns into a humid city with a great array of outside restaurants and bars to relax at.
In the north, a great example of old and new inhabiting the same place exists in the Quebec city of Montreal. From the more than 90 festivals per year to bohemian neighborhoods to native French speakers to the Arctic char, Montreal is a place of wonder. Wandering on a short walk from the modern downtown area of shops and restaurants can lead you to buildings that were built over 200 years ago. Home to Université du Montreal and several other prominent institutions, this city of the north is an ideal place to earn your degree abroad in Canada
Degree Programs in Canada
As we’ve mentioned just a couple of times, Canada is home to a wide variety of universities and degree programs. However it’s good to have a clear idea of what degree you want to earn before you start researching which university you’d like to apply to in Canada. For example, Vancouver has an excellent film program, while Toronto has a university that specializes in computer technology. Just keep in mind what your preferences are as you peruse all of Canada’s fantastic degree program options. All of the following options are open to students from all backgrounds:
Popular Canadian universities for international students include the University of Toronto, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Alberta. In terms of degree focus, the big Canuck sky's the limit. Degrees in Canada range from technical programs, like business, engineering, and chemistry, all the way to liberal artsy-fartsy degrees, such as design, philosophy, and English literature.
If you already have your undergraduate degree, then earning a master’s degree in Canada can be a great option. There are several places across the nation’s more than 5,000 miles to get a master’s degree in Canada. Most master’s degree programs in Canada only take a year, but it always depends on the specific degree and university (so make sure to do your due diligence, lest you’re force-fed pancakes for longer than you intended).
Both undergraduate and master’s degrees can be earned in Canada, depending on your academic background. For those looking to get an undergraduate degree, there is usually no required experience except for a high school education and fluency in the English language, or French if you’re studying in Montreal. Those seeking to earn a master’s degree in Canada will have to prove their undergraduate degree to the Canadian institution and follow any other application requirements that may be specific to that university, along with a strong fluency in English or French.
Benefits & Challenges
With a variety of universities offering a ton of options for degrees from coast to coast, Canada is an ideal place to earn your degree abroad. Many degree programs in Canada offer full degrees in one academic year and most applications can be done online. Canadian universities can stand up to the likes of top U.S. and English universities, with a strong penchant for accepting international students too.
That being said, earning a degree in Canada directly at a Canadian university in one year won’t be a (pan)cakewalk. Their standards are very high and degree programs can be intense. Not to mention it might be difficult to stay focused when some of the best outdoors activities that Earth has to offer are within arms reach.
All that hard work will be worth it in the end when you can say that not only did you survive a Canadian winter, but that you also have an envied Canadian degree.