Undergraduate Studies in Canada

Dominating the northern half of the North American Continent, Canada is a massive country with vibrant urban centers and wide-open wilderness spaces. Stretching from the Arctic Ocean in the north to its lengthy border with the United States in the south, Canada is the second largest country in the world by total area. This federal parliamentary democracy recognizes both English and French as its official languages, reflecting its colonization by both England and France. It is ethnically diverse and multicultural, the result of a large number of indigenous peoples and large-scale immigration. It is one of the wealthiest, most developed countries in the world, with high rankings in many measures of human development, including education, quality of life and civil liberties.

Education in Canada is administered by the individual provinces, creating great diversity in the types of institutions and programs available. Programs often reflect regional history and interests. Students may study at vocational or technical schools, public or private colleges or universities, theological colleges or post-secondary institutions, which specialize in training for a specific career. Many universities emphasize research as a key component in education, and many programs include the opportunity to participate in meaningful research. Only colleges and universities offer accredited degrees.

Students who study undergraduate studies in Canada might pursue various bachelors’ degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering. Depending on the program requirements, it may take three to four years of full-time study to earn a bachelor's degree in Canada. The cost of the degree will vary depending on the institution and program chosen. The cost of living can also vary greatly.

Most universities and colleges in Canada split the academic year into two semesters, beginning in September and completing the year at the end of April or early in May. The semester break usually lasts several weeks and coincides with the Christmas and New Year holidays. A limited selection of classes may be offered between May and August for students who wish to continue their studies over the summer. Several universities run on a trimester system, with a full course list offered each term.

Canada offers more than 10,000 degree programs at over 100 universities around the country. These programs are recognized internationally and can give students the opportunity to learn from professionals in their field and to study alongside a diverse local and international student body. They may have the opportunity to complete resume-building internships or work while they study. As a nation Canada is welcoming to outsiders and boasts some of the safest urban areas in the world.


In order to study in Canada for longer than 6 months, most foreign nationals need to obtain a Canadian study permit. This study permit serves as a Canadian student visa and allows you to study in Canada at an approved institute for the duration of your study program.

In some cases, you do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada:

  • If the course or program you intend to study is less than 6 months in duration.
  • If you are a family member or staff of a foreign representative to Canada.
  • If you are a member of a foreign armed force.

However, you will still need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to Canada.

You can apply for a Canadian study permit either online or through a paper application, which can be obtained from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website:

In order to submit your application, you will first need to:

1. Obtain a standardized letter of acceptance from a recognized higher education provider in Canada.
2. Get a Canadian student visa application package, either from the CIC website (, by contacting your local visa office, or from the Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country.
3. In order to get your application package, you will need to answer a few questions about yourself on the CIC website. These questions will determine whether you are eligible to apply online for a Canadian student permit, and what documents you will need to provide. You will also receive an application guide and guidelines for your next steps.

Processing times for a Canadian study permit vary. Paper applications typically take about twice as long as online applications. In order to check the processing times, visit:

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