Study in Canada from the UK: visas, universities and costs

Gert Svaiko
11.11.22
5 minute read

Love the idea of studying in Canada? It’s easy to see why, as Canada is a beautiful country known for its excellent quality of life, jaw-dropping landscapes and vibrant multicultural cities. And of course, Canada is recognised worldwide for its outstanding quality of education.

But how easy is it to go study in Canada from the UK? We’ll cover everything you need to know here in this handy guide. This includes visas, universities, scholarships and much more. We’ll even throw in a bit of useful info about cost of living, which is bound to be of interest if you’re thinking of studying abroad.

With this in mind, it could be worth checking out the Wise card ahead of your move to Canada. Wise card automatically converts your GBP to CAD at a fair exchange rate when you spend. It’s ideal for spending and withdrawing cash wherever you are in the world.

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Can I study in Canada coming from the UK?

You can go study in Canada as a UK citizen, but there are a few requirements you’ll need to meet. The first is to get a study permit. This isn’t a visa, but once your study permit is approved, you’ll be issued with the appropriate visa so you can enter Canada.¹

You’ll also need to meet certain language requirements, depending on where you plan to study. Canada is a bilingual country, with both French and English speakers.

You won’t need to be fluent in both languages to study there, but you may need to take a French language test if you’re planning to study at a French-speaking institution in a province like Québec. Everywhere else, it may be necessary to take an accredited language test to prove that you’re proficient in the English language.¹

Other important requirements to note:¹

  • The college or university you’ll be studying at needs to be a Designated Learning Institute. These are the only institutions authorised to accept international students
  • You will need to provide evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself during your time in Canada
  • Proof of Covid-19 vaccination may be required before you can enter Canada

How to get a Canadian study visa from the UK?

To apply for your Canadian study permit and get a visa, you’ll need to provide the following:¹

  • A letter of unconditional acceptance from a Designated Learning Institute in Canada
  • Your valid UK passport as proof of identity
  • Proof of financial support (such as bank statements) - you’ll need to show you have a minimum of $10,000 CAD per year.² You may also be asked to show you have a return ticket home booked
  • A letter of explanation - covering why you want to study in Canada²
  • A Québec Acceptance Certificate² - if you want to study in Québec for longer than 6 months

You might also be asked for proof that you are a law-abiding citizen and that you’re in good health. The last step is to provide biometrics, such as fingerprints and a recent photo.

You can apply online for your study permit at the Government of Canada website. The fee for the application is $150 CAD,² and average processing times for applications from outside Canada is around 13 weeks

Universities in Canada for UK students

While it all depends on what you want to study and where you want to live, here are a few of the most popular universities in Canada for international students:⁴

  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • McGill University
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Windsor
  • Dalhousie University
  • York University
  • University of Regina
  • Concordia University Montreal

Which universities in Canada are offering scholarships for international students?

Tuition fees can be expensive, especially when you add them on top of the cost of moving to a new country. One potential option is to get a scholarship, which can pay all or part of your tuition fees if you meet the eligibility criteria.

If you’re researching Canadian scholarships for international students, here are some good starting points:⁵

Scholarship nameUniversityEligibility
Ontario Graduate Scholarship 2022Multiple - including University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, York University and University of Western OntarioOpen to Canadian and international applicants
Merit-Based International Student Scholarships 2022Concordia UniversityOpen to all nationals except US
University Of Windsor Graduate Entrance Scholarships 2022University of WindsorOpen to Canadian and international applicants
Trent University Entrance Scholarships in Canada 2022Trent UniversityOpen to Canadian and international applicants
UBC Future Forests Fellowship 2022University of British ColumbiaOpen to Canadian and international applicants
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships 2022Multiple Canadian institutionsOpen to Canadian and international applicants
Amelia Earhart Fellowships For Women 2023Any institution offering an accredited courseOpen to women from Canada and abroad
Banting International Postdoctoral Fellowships 2022Participating Canadian research institutionsOpen to Canadian and international applicants

Can I study medicine in Canada coming from the UK?

You can study medicine in Canada as an international student, and there are a wide range of different courses to choose from. Some of the top universities for medicine programmes include the University of Toronto, McMaster University, McGill University and the University of British Columbia.⁶

To apply for medical school in Canada, you’ll usually need to take and pass a Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). You may also need to take other tests to prove English language proficiency, and submit letters of recommendation, essays and other documentation.

What master’s degree options are available in Canada?

Master’s degrees in Canada are known as ‘grad’ programmes, and are available at a range of respected universities across the country.

They generally come in the form of either a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS). And like in the UK, there are specialist Master degrees such as Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Engineering (MEng).⁷

Grad programmes in Canada generally last around 1-2 years. However, they can take longer if your course involves any additional placements or internships.

Is it cheaper to study in Canada or the UK?

Tuition fees can vary between educational institutions, both in the UK and in Canada. But generally speaking, it is a little cheaper to study in Canada compared to the UK.

Here’s a look at some average tuition fees for both countries:⁸

Type of courseAnnual UK tuition feesAnnual Canadian tuition fees
Bachelor's degree£8,000 to £14,000£3,200 to £12,700
Postgraduate degree£10,000 to £20,000£5,100 to £16,000

Is living in Canada cheaper than UK for international students?

Along with slightly cheaper tuition fees, the cost of living in Canada is also a little lower compared to the UK. This is one of the main advantages of moving to Canada. However, it does depend on whereabouts in the country you go, as some cities are more expensive than others.

On average, though, rent and consumer prices in Canada are around 11-12% lower than in the UK, while groceries are a whopping 28% cheaper.⁹

Money is always tight when you’re a student. Remember that if you’re looking for a cheaper way to spend in CAD while studying in Canada, the Wise card could be the perfect solution. This contactless international card lets you start spending in CAD from the moment you land, for just a low currency conversion fee. So, you don’t need to worry about changing currency or even opening a Canadian bank account.

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After reading this guide, you should have all the info you need to decide whether studying in Canada could be the right option for you.

We’ve looked at top universities for international students, tuition fees and even a few pointers for scholarships. So, you’ve got plenty of places to start your research - good luck!


Sources used:

  1. Prospects - Study in Canada
  2. Government of Canada - Study Permit
  3. Government of Canada - Application Processing Times
  4. Masters Portal - Top 10 International Universities in Canada 2022
  5. We Make Scholars - Scholarships for British Students to Study in Canada
  6. AECC Global - Can International Students Study Medicine in Canada?
  7. FindAMasters - Study in Canada
  8. Yocket - Cost of Studying in UK vs Canada
  9. Numbeo - Cost of Living Comparison Between Canada and UK

Sources last checked on date: 01-Nov-2022


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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