This content is also available in: Vietnamese

Admission requirements vary from school to school, but the following should be considered when preparing an application.

Language Requirement

English and French are Canada’s two official languages. To qualify for an academic program, many English-speaking schools may request foreign students for whom English is not their first language to pass an English assessment test, such as Teaching of English as a Foreign Language test (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian Academic English Language test (CAEL), or to enroll in the institution’s own language program, or at an ESL partner school. French-speaking schools may request completion of a recognized French test, or the institution may have its own language assessment.

Entrance Requirements

Canada does not have a nationwide entrance test for post-secondary study programs. Admission requirements vary between institutions and programs. In most cases, they require graduation from a university-preparatory program at a secondary school and admission average expectations are met. Program or degree-specific requirements may include meeting pre-requisites for specific courses (i.e., for a biology program, you may be required to have taken biology in Grade 11 and Grade 12). Other special prerequisites may include essays, medical forms or testing. Prospective students must verify that he or she meets the admission requirements before applying.

Applying for a Study Permit

Once you’ve obtained your acceptance letter from a Canadian college, you need to apply for a study permit. A study permit is a document issued by the Government of Canada that permits foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLI) in Canada. A DLI is a school approved by the provincial or territorial government to host international students. You must apply for the study permit before you travel and ensure you have all the documents the government needs before you apply. You may apply online or obtain a paper application from your nearest Visa Application Centre. Documents needed to apply for a study permit include:

  • Proof of acceptance: original acceptance letter from your school
  • Proof of identity: you and any family members who will accompany you to Canada must have a valid passport or travel document and two recent passport-size photos with the name and date of birth of the person written on the back of each photo
  • Proof of financial support: you must prove that you can support yourself, and any family members who come with you, while you are in Canada. You can prove your funds with:
    • proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if you have transferred money to Canada
    • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution
    • proof of a student/education loan from a bank
    • your bank statements for the past four months
    • a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
    • proof you paid tuition and housing fees
    • a letter from the person or school giving you money or
    • proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program.

Depending on your case you may also need:

  • letter of explanation
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ)
  • Custodian declaration (minors only)
  • other documents

You also must:

  • be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • be in good health. You may need to complete a medical exam.
  • convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your studies.

Tuition for Foreign Students

Compared to other countries, studying in Canada is quite affordable. You will likely need $20,000 to $30,000 (all fees listed in Canadian dollars) annually to cover your tuition and living expenses. This range is only an average as costs will vary depending on institution and program, your location and your living expenses.


Tuition fees for international students vary across provinces and programs. According to Statistics Canada, the 2016-2017 tuition fees for university full-time undergraduate study for international students ranges from $17,337 for Education to $58,629 for Veterinary Medicine. For graduate studies, it ranges from $8,640 for Veterinary Medicine to $20,565 for Dentistry.

In addition to tuition, there are also fees for books, living expenses and housing. Most schools offer on-campus housing for $3,000 to $7,500 per school year. Meal plans will cost you more. Renting an apartment in Canada can cost from $500 to $1,500 per month depending on the city and neighbourhood. You may also need to pay additional monthly costs for utilities.

Cost Calculator

The Step 1-2-3 tool by is a great way to come to an estimate about how much your institution and program costs. Simply go to the website and select the “Study in Canada” option, then “Education costs.

For more information, go to