Now that you have made the choice to study in Canada, what are the next steps?
Choosing a university
The first thing you need to do is to decide what you want to study and where. To do this, you can start by consulting this Directory of Canadian Universities. It contains university profiles and a list of available programs of study. You can also check out the universities’ websites, which are easily accessible from the Universities Canada website (universityeducation.ca), which also provides a database of the programs of study listed in this Directory of Canadian Universities.
It is important to get as much information as possible about the institutions you are considering, and the communities in which they are located, in order to make an informed choice. Do not hesitate to contact the international student services representatives at the universities you are interested in and ask them questions. Also, allow enough time to apply for and obtain a study permit (see below).
Preparing and submitting an application
Once you’ve identified the universities you’re interested in, check their websites for the applicable admission requirements and process, which vary from institution to institution. You will also need to consider the following:
In Canada, each university has its own admission criteria and evaluates applicants one by one. However, undergraduate admission usually requires a high school diploma and a good academic record.
You may be required to provide a variety of official documents, such as transcripts from high school or post-secondary institutions. You may also be required to have these documents evaluated and translated into English or French. For more information on credential recognition, consult your country’s educational authorities or the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.
International students who wish to study in Canada must demonstrate proficiency in English or French, depending on the university they wish to attend. Many English-language universities require applicants to achieve a minimum score on a standardized language test. French-language universities usually assess applicants’ language skills on a case-by-case basis.
If your language skills are insufficient, there are many Canadian programs that you can enroll in before applying to a Canadian university; these programs are offered by universities, colleges and private institutions. For more information, visit the Languages Canada website.
Admission procedures vary from province to province. In some provinces, applicants can submit their application to a centralized service. In other provinces, applicants must submit their applications directly to the university concerned. Do not hesitate to apply to more than one program and university in case you are denied admission to your first choice program.
As a general rule, applications should be submitted at least eight to 12 months before the start of classes. International students usually begin their studies in September (beginning of the fall term) or January (beginning of the winter term). Please note, however, that some universities allow international students to apply throughout the year.
Obtaining a Study Permit
If you wish to study in Canada for six months or more, you must apply for a Study Permit as soon as you receive a letter from a Canadian university confirming your admission. You must apply for a Study Permit before entering Canada.
You can apply for a Study Permit on the Internet, or by going to the Canadian visa office in your country to fill out a paper application. For more information about study and work permits for foreign students, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website (cic.gc.ca/english/study).
To study in Quebec, you must also obtain a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) for studies issued by that province. More information on this subject is available on the Internet (immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/immigrer-installer/students).
To obtain a study permit, you must apply for one of the following