So you have decided you want to study abroad, but can’t decide between the UK and Canada. Both are great options for international students, with world-class universities, beautiful scenery, and opportunities to immerse yourself in a new culture. But which country is right for you? Let’s compare the two so you can determine which place will give you the best experience.
Cost of living, universities, education, admission and visa requirements – there are many factors to weigh up. Ready to dive in and explore what each country has to offer for international students like yourself? The battle of the UK versus Canada is on. Let’s see which country comes out on top for you!
Student Visa in the UK vs. Canada
Student visa procedure is one of the most crucial factors students should consider when deciding which country is better for them. Below, we will share the detailed process of both the countries:
Student Visa for UK
Student Visa for Canada
Top Universities in the UK vs. Canada
You can compare the quality of education by comparing the university rankings in both countries. This can help you decide between the two study destinations. Below in the table, you will find the top 10 universities in the UK and Canada according to the QS World University Rankings 2024:
|University of Cambridge
|University of Toronto
|University of Oxford
|Imperial College London
|University of British Columbia
|University of Alberta
|The University of Edinburgh
|University of Waterloo
|The University of Manchester
|King’s College London
|University of Montreal
|The London School of Economics and Political Science
|University of Calgary
|University of Bristol
|The University of Warwick
|University of Ottawa
Higher Education Institute in UK vs. Canada
In the Canadian education system, in colleges, you will be enrolled to earn diplomas and certificates and to earn a degree you will enrol in a university. In simpler words, if you are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree, you will seek admission to universities instead of colleges.
In the UK, the definition of college is very different from Canada. Students pursue two-year degrees after completing the necessary schooling in college. Later to pursue a bachelor’s degree students seek admission in UK universities.
Quality of Education
The quality of education is one of the most important factors for international students to consider. Both the UK and Canada offer world-class universities with outstanding academics, but there are some differences in their education systems to keep in mind.
In the UK, undergraduate degrees typically take 3 years to complete, while in Canada they are usually 4 years. The UK also offers intensive 1-year master’s programs, allowing you to earn your degree efficiently. That is because students there specialise from the beginning.
The teaching style in the UK tends to be more theoretical and lecture-based. Professors are viewed as subject matter experts. In contrast, Canadian universities promote an interactive learning environment with a focus on developing practical skills. Professors act more as mentors.
In the end, think about what kind of learning experience you want and what specialisation or subject areas interest you most.
Admission Requirements to Study in UK vs. Canada
To choose between the UK and Canada, another factor you should consider is the eligibility criteria you need to fulfil in order to get admission to the university. You will find the general admission requirements for both countries below:
- Accredited basic education degree
- Application form
- Statement of Purpose
- GMAT and GRE scores
- Recommendation letters
- English language test
- In the case of business courses, you should have a few years of prior work experience.
Note: University admission requirements vary by university, subject and level of study, so check thoroughly before applying.
In Canada, international students can request to bring their spouse, partner or children with them to Canada during their study program. However, including family members in a study permit application may influence the decision of the visa officer. As for bringing a dependent to the UK, we would like to inform you that the UK government has decided to prevent international students from bringing dependents beginning January 2024 unless students are in postgraduate programs with a research focus.
Cost of Living Comparison
Cost is a major factor for any student deciding which country to study in. Both the UK and Canada offer world-class universities at varying price points, but you’ll typically pay less overall in Canada.
Tuition and fees
As an international student aiming to study in either of the countries, you will pay an average of:
In Canada, most schools charge lower tuition for PhD programs compared to Master’s degrees. Many UK schools charge the same or higher tuition for PhD and Master’s programs.
Living costs in Canada and the UK can vary significantly depending on where you choose to study. In general:
- On-campus accommodation in the UK costs around £3600 to £4000 while in Canada it costs around CA$3000 to CA$ 8000 per year.
- Private accommodation in the UK costs around £4000 to £6000 while in Canada it costs around CA$7000 to CA$ 9000 per year.
- Public Transport: In the UK you will likely spend around £1500 to £1800 on transport and in Canada transport will cost you around CA$900 to CA$1200.
Note: All the costs/figures mentioned above are tentative and depend on one’s lifestyle and other factors like city, course duration, etc.
Work Opportunities While Studying in the UK
Studying in another country is exciting, but paying for it all can be challenging. Both the UK and Canada offer opportunities for international students to work part-time while studying to help fund their education and gain valuable experience.
In the UK, international students can work up to 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during breaks. Most students find jobs in hospitality, retail, education or healthcare. However, jobs can be competitive, especially in popular cities like London. The good news is wages are generally higher in the UK compared to other countries.
In Canada, students can work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during breaks. Some universities allow students to work off-campus as well. So, this is another thing you should confirm before applying to a university. Canada’s job market is strong in areas like technology, business, natural resources and healthcare. Major cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal have plenty of part-time job openings for students. Wages are also attractive.
Immigration Policies After Graduation
Canada has several post-graduation immigration programs that make it easy for international students to stay in the country after earning their degree. After you graduate, you can apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). The PGWP allows you to gain valuable Canadian work experience, which can help you qualify for permanent residence. The permit is valid for up to 3 years. During that time, you can work for any employer in Canada in any field. The experience gained through the PGWP may earn you extra points in Express Entry. Express Entry is Canada’s main immigration application system. Students who have graduated from a Canadian university or college can earn extra points for “Canadian study experience.” The points boost your score in the Express Entry pool, helping you qualify for permanent residence.
The British government has recently introduced a new graduate route. International students graduating with an undergraduate degree or higher can stay in the UK for 24 months after completing their studies. Another option you have is to get a Skilled Worker visa which allows you to stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.
You really can’t go wrong with either the UK or Canada as a study-abroad destination. Both offer world-class universities, exciting cities, and the chance to get an international education that will set you up for success in your career. At the end of the day, you need to go with what feels right for you and aligns with your priorities.