Top Six Universities for International Students in Ontario

Top Six Universities for International Students in Ontario

September is a busy month for universities and colleges in Ontario. They open their doors for both Canadian as well as international students as part of their regular intake. This applies especially to the universities accepting a large number of students from overseas. This is also because September is a great month weather wise compared to experiencing not so friendly winters of Canada. The Fall season is the busiest of all; followed by Winter (January) and then Summer (May) has rare intakes.

Ryerson Study Centre

Scores of foreign students choose to study in Canada especially in Ontario as well as British Columbia because of their internationally renowned education, better job opportunities, and high standard of living. What ever the reason, the number of overseas students has been increasing by leaps and bounds in major cities of both these provinces. 

According to the Council of Ontario Universities, over the last 10 years the number of international students has grown by 96 per cent. The number of international students attending the Ontario universities in 2014-15 was 48,608. There are 215 countries representing Ontario’s international student body and China tops the list for the largest number of overseas students in Ontario universities followed by Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, South Korea and India. Another fact to notice is that during the year 2010 the international students added $6.9 billion to the Canadian economy.

There are a large number of factors foreign students take into consideration when selecting a university, but these three dominate:

  • The course of their choice and its demand in Canada as majority of international students apply for permanent residence. 
  • The course fee is equally important while easy availability of jobs while pursuing studies, nominal accommodation cost, etc. are also calculated. 
  • How vibrant is the city or educational institute that includes nightlife, attractions, sports, cultural festivals, events, etc. 

These norms are very important for providing a complete international experience to potential students though this issue might not be in the priority list of the parents of the students who are in most cases funding their education.

U of T graduates

The requirement for international students to be accepted in Canadian universities differs according to their countries of origin. However the prerequisites are that applicants are selected on the basis of their previous academic achievement and/or demonstrated experience:

  • There is an application form with a non-refundable fee that has to be filled and submitted with the applicant’s qualifications and transcripts. 
  • If prospective students are from non-English speaking countries than they have to show proof of proficiency in English. These students have to give International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam and 6.5 is the minimum score accepted by most of the universities. 
  • In addition to this every university would also require letters of recommendation from previous professors or lecturers and if you have previous experience then you are required to submit a résumé.
  • Sometimes students are required to submit an essay explaining why they want to study in Canada, and what makes them a good candidate for doing so. 


Foreign students may have to pay an International Credential Evaluation fee to validate their qualifications. When accepted, students can apply for a visa or study permit, and later are also eligible for applying for scholarships and other funding opportunities. Many countries have educational organizations mostly funded by universities who assist international students in applying for admissions and submitting their documents.

york uni panam
York University During Pan Am Games 2015

Work permission 

An international student is allowed to work on campus if they are enrolled full time in the university or college. But as of June 2014, full time international students without work permit were allowed to work off campus too. However this permission came with some rules and regulations like they can work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions but during winter and summer holidays or spring break they could work full time.

Most of the international students after finishing their universities or colleges studies apply for work permit. However it is important to know that the length of the work permit can never be longer than length of their studies. But if the study period is for two years or more than the students are granted three years of work permit. Students need to apply within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that have successfully completed their academic program.

  • international students are allowed to work on and off campus, up to 20 hrs/week during school year and full time during holidays
  • international students can apply for a work permit after finishing their studies
    • the length of the work permit can’t be longer than the period of studies (if the study period is for two years or more, the students are granted a three-year work permit

York University



  • Undergraduate tuition fees: $12,780 – $13,571
  • Graduate tuition fees: $7,516 – $13,178
  • Residence housing: $5,356 to $7,958 (+ $80 residence fee)

The price is equal for both domestic and international students. In addition to this, The Village is an affordable residential area adjacent to York University’s Keele Campus where a large number of York University students live.

(Source: Statistics Canada; Fees for general programs in arts and humanities, 2015-16).

York University was founded in 1959 in Toronto and has two city campuses – Keele and Glendon. The second largest university in Ontario and third largest in Canada, the university is home to more than 52000 students out of which 11,802 are international students from 178 countries.

The educational institute is known for its top-ranking Schulich School of Business, internationally renowned Osgoode Hall Law School and the new Lassonde School of Engineering. The university boasts of Canada’s largest liberal arts program and is the only University that has Space Engineering and undergraduate Global Health programs in the country. 

University of Toronto 



  • Undergraduate tuition fees: $27,240 – $35,280
  • Graduate tuition fees:$19,550 – $28,260
  • Residential housing: $12,258- $15,467.95

(Source: Statistics Canada; Fees for general programs in arts and humanities, 2015-16).

One of the most well known and influential university with three campuses in Greater Toronto Area, University of Toronto has been highly popular among international students. They are inclined to invest in the university renowned for its strength in all academic as well as sports disciplines. Established in 1827, the university currently caters to 15,931 international students both graduates as well undergraduates in varied disciplines.  The foreign students are from 165 countries and the top five countries are China, India, United States, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Regarding the accommodation, all the three campuses have varied style of residential units. The St. George campus residents live in one of the seven colleges, in Chestnut Residence, or in student family housing. In Mississauga campus there are more than 1,500 students living in residence halls, townhouses or apartments. The Scarborough residents live less than a distance of a two-minute walk from academic buildings, which are townhouses and apartment suites. 

Ryerson University



  • Undergraduate tuition fees: $19,721 – $20,509
  • Graduate tuition fees: $18,352 – $25,636
  • Residential housing: single room $10,958.33 – $11,679.86 (8 months), single room $14,031.33 – $14,752.86 (11 months)

(Source: Statistics Canada; Fees for general programs in arts and humanities, 2015-16).

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ryerson University has become one of most popular universities for international students in Ontario. The University caters to more than 38,000 culturally diverse student population from 146 countries. Offering more than 100 undergraduate, Masters and PhD programs, the Ryerson’s The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education’ provides 1,400 courses and 80 certificate programs. This gives the university distinction of running the largest number of programs offered by any university in Canada. 


The university has on campus residences for students that include $400 application fees with accommodation available for 11 as well as eight months, the latter supposed to be more common: single room $10,958.33 – $11,679.86 (8 months), single room $14,031.33 – $14,752.86 (11 months)

Carleton University



  • Undergraduate tuition fees: $20,012 – $22,976
  • Graduate tuition fees: $13,060 – $14,042
  • Residential housing: $10,544 – $12,869 (including meals)

(Source: Statistics Canada; Fees for general programs in arts and humanities, 2015-16).

Located in Ottawa, the capital of Ontario, Carleton University is a vibrant, research focused educational institute. Over the past 10 years, the international students number at the University has increased by 43 per cent from more than 120 countries. For the overseas students who dread Canadian winters, there is a sense of relief as the institute has five kilometers of underground tunnels conveniently linked to the university’s buildings. The university also offers a wide variety of both undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, business, high technology, industrial design public affairs, architecture, math and science, journalism, arts and social sciences. 


The residential fee including meals varies from $10,544 to $12,869.

University of Waterloo



  • Undergraduate tuition fees: $20,860 – $22,156
  • Graduate tuition fees: $12,392 – $12,516
  • Residential housing: $2,214 – $3,701

(Source: Statistics Canada; Fees for general programs in arts and humanities, 2015-16).

Well known for its advance research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences, the University of Waterloo is located in Canada’s technology hub. Each year, Waterloo welcomes nearly 5,000 students from more than 120 countries. In 2016, Maclean magazine ranked the University of Waterloo number one, adjudging the most innovative educational institute among Canadian universities.


There is on campus accommodation available, which requires a $500 non-refundable fee and the residential cost varies from $2,214 to $3,701.

University of Windsor



  • Undergraduate tuition fees: $17,700 – $19,000
  • Graduate tuition fees: $19,650 – $19,695
  • Residential housing: $5,788 – $7,500

(Source: Statistics Canada; Fees for general programs in arts and humanities, 2015-16)

With 17 per cent of students’ body from nearly 100 countries and with average of 1006 overseas enrolment, University of Windsor is widely popular among international students.

The university’s recently completed Centre for Engineering Innovation is home to cutting-edge laboratories and facilities to students and researchers exploring areas such as environmental sustainability, alternative energy, nanostructures, efficient manufacturing systems and lightweight materials. 


The university has on campus accommodation and the residential fee varies from $5,788 to $7,500.

Personal experience story by our team member Vanessa Li

vanessa 165

Vanessa Li, Client Care Assistant, Specialist in Asia at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada hails from China. She was an international student first enrolling at Carleton studying economics and later in Seneca. She chose Carleton because it is known for its discipline in engineering. However she moved to economics after two years in order to graduate faster:

There are a large number of international students in Carleton but not many from China. That in a way worked in my favor. One of my reasons to study in Canada was to enhance my English speaking skills. This would not have been possible if there were many Chinese students.

Li states compared to other Chinese students, her language skills as well as understanding of Canadian culture were better than many:

This is because in China, I had studied in international school where the medium of communication was English and we mingled with fellow students from different countries including Canada. In addition, my parents are fluent in English and they infused in me immense confidence to move abroad out of the country and study.

Li feels that international education is a great way to understand a country’s culture and we should truly immerse ourselves in major social affairs and happenings in the nation:

As a foreign student you learn about the city’s way of life from scratch and one should be open  to different experiences in order to broaden one’s horizon. This way you are gaining much more than a degree. You achieve ultimate international exposure and knowledge as studying in a foreign land provides you an opportunity to  share your experiences with fellow international students and vice versa. This helps provide you a wider platform to learn more and become worldly-wise.

A university right for you may not be ideal for the next person. In order to select correct educational institute, students should also research if the university they have selected is known for the program they would like to specialize. In addition to this, financing the university fee is not for everyone therefore perspective international students should be also open to the option of studying in colleges. In Ontario, colleges like Seneca, Humber, Centennial, Algonquin, etc. attract a large number of international students.


46 Replies to “Top Six Universities for International Students in Ontario”

  1. Hi

    I’m a Phd in Psychology from an Indian university. I want to pursue a study related to the subject in Toronto. Suggest some universities where I can enroll myself.

  2. I would be moving to Ontario in 2018 as a permanent resident.
    Would like to enroll in an affordable university for a masters in information technology or information systems. It has to be located in Ontario.
    Kindly advise.

    1. Hi!
      I know that Carleton University, University of Toronto, University of Windsor and University of Waterloo have information technology masters.
      Out of those not featured in the article, you could also check the University of Ontario and its faculty of Business and Information Technology:
      It depends on your desired specialization, of course. I think this list might be helpful for you:
      Wishing you success for your application!

  3. Hi! I am student of Bs Information Technology.I want to get the scholarship for Master in Information Technology in any University of Canada.
    please guide me.

  4. Please Is there full funding for master’s or PhD degree in mechanical engineering for international applicant from Nigeria? And is mechanical engineering jobs in demand in Canada? If yes ; what specialization?

    Which universities are good in mechanical engineering interms of funding, students-lecturers relationship and jobs?

    lastly, can a someone work to fund his study while in Canada?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Utomi,

      there are several scholarships available across Canada. You can check which of these would be the most suitable for your situation here:
      There’s still demand for engineers around Canada, depends on the city. As for the best universities, University of Toronto, McGill University and University of British Colombia have great engineering programs

      As for working during your study in Canada, you are allowed to work on-campus on your student visa. For working off-campus you may need an additional work permit.

      Hope this helps and good luck with your application!

  5. I’m a Bsc. Industrial mathematics holder.. I need a cheap school in TORONTO to study my MSC in TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT, LOGISTICS $ SUPPLY CHAIN or INDUSTRIAL MATHEMATICS.. Pls sir help me out with options
    Thank you.

  6. Hi!
    I am a graduate student of English and would like to apply for Master of Education in Ontario. Can you suggest some affordable universities? I have been told that since I have a master, I cannot apply for a second one! Is this true? Would you introduce somone who can give counselling for international students?
    Thank you!

  7. Hey, I am looking for a good and affordable university near Mississauga I want to pursue electrical engineering.

  8. Hey, me and my sister want to go for a diploma course in public health and critical care nursing respectively, probably in the same university.

    1. Hi Sushma,

      you should try checking out some of the universities listed in this article. I’m sure some of them have public health and critical care programs.


  9. I am from dubai…i studied intermediate(pre-medical) in pakistan …i got A grade i want to study CFA(Chatered Financial Analyst)..for this i need to do graduation so that i can do CFA further… now i want to study abroad…we are planning to study in canada….
    I want to ask which university is better in canada for me or which othet country you suggest me to go

  10. Hi.
    I want to study in Canada precisely Toronto, for a masters prog in Electrical electronics engineering. Which will you recommend and that the tuition is affordable for a mid class family.

  11. Hi, I’m a registered midwife in my country, please I need information on very affordable universities in Canada to enrol for a Bsc Nursing program. Thanks.

  12. I am an international student who wants to join a high school in Mississauga. It is midterm right now and most schools are saying that they do not accept students during midterm. Could you suggest a school (and how to contact them) where I should go?

    1. Hi,

      it’s on individual consultation with the high school if they will allow students joining midterm. Try contacting the institution and explaining your situation.

      All best wishes,

  13. I am looking for an affordable university in canada.
    I completed my postgraduate in computer applications (MCA) In 2012.
    My ielts score is L 7.5 R, S 6.5 WELL 5.5

  14. Hi
    I am a achieved an undergraduate degree in Accounting and Finance at Anglia Ruskin University in UK and am currently working on getting my MSc in the same course in the same university.
    As I plan to relocate to Canada to study and potentially work, I want to know if there are cheap universities in Ontario I can apply too

    Thank you

  15. I have got my College studies done in Pakistan and now planning to move to Canada for higher education as an Undergraduate student for Bachelor in Civil Engineering. Which University would be a better choice for me to pursue my Engineering studies as a bachelor student ?

    1. Hi Umair,

      thanks for stopping by! I recommend you try visiting the websites of the universities listed in this article and you also might want to contact them. They should be able to provide information about engineering studies.


  16. i am a Kenyan citizen ,i want to study masters in Business or IT and work at the same time,
    are there opportunities for scholarship in Canada?
    how can i apply for citizenship?

  17. Hi, I just want to ask which university in ontario offer a post-degree diploma on human resouce management for international students.

    Thank you.

  18. hi am from Kenya looking for a cheap university degree in computer science
    have finished my diploma in computer science
    suggest me a few university please


  19. Hello Sir, I am a second class upper graduate in Primary education studies and presently running a masters in early childhood education. I will like to pursue a masters in teaching in Canada. Can you please advise me on the affordable universities I could apply to for international students.
    Thank you.

  20. Hello Sir, my name is Carlson thus a Ghanaian national by birth. I hold a bachelors degree in Business Administration HRM option with second class upper honors upper division. I have an interest in pursuing a masters degree course in management information systems and would therefore want to find out from your end a full funded university in Canada which you can recommend for me to apply and whether I do qualify for the management information systems course with my background being Human Resource Management. Hope to read from you soon, thanks.

  21. Hello Sir, I am faisal from Bangladesh. I have completed Bachelor of Pharmacy from a reputed University of Bangladesh. If I do Masters in Industrial pharmacy in Germany, is there any possibility of getting job in Canadian Pharmaceutical industry? Hope to get best response.

  22. HI there is there any schools in Canada for international students with total cost tuition accommodation everything added from 15,000 to 20,000 usd any major please and suggestions

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