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Cheap Universities in Canada

cheap universities in canada (1)
A Complete Guide To

Cheap Universities in Canada

Chapter 1


Canada is one among the top 3 countries in the world for pursuing higher education. With a multicultural, immigration-friendly environment, Canada has welcomed international students and refugees with wide arms. A popular study destination among Indian students, the Great North is also known for its world class system of education, reasonably affordable tuition rates, and immigration-friendly policies. It ranks high in the list of top countries with a high quality of life, and is among the safest countries to live in. 

Canada’s economy (the 10th largest economy in the world) has witnessed steady growth over the years, with the latest output being $1.4 trillion. Job prospects are quite high in this democratic, friendly country, and emphasis is placed upon a healthy work-life balance. The Great North is geographically diverse, beautiful, and breath-taking! If all of this isn’t enough, ponder upon this: They have universal healthcare! 

For more detailed answers and reasons to live in Canada, click here. The linked article elaborates upon the Canadian economy, education system, political system (highly inclusive), and other facets of the country. Already excited? Head on to our Express Entry page, which explains the process of obtaining Canadian Permanent Residence. : ) 

Apart from the aforementioned reasons, what are the other benefits of studying in the Great North? Let us briefly look at them now. 

Advantages of Studying in Canada

World-class System of Education:

 Canada is the world’s most education country, and its public education system is considered one of the best in the world. To put things into perspective, a certificate, qualification, degree, or accreditation, issued by organisations or universities in Canada, are considered on par with the same accreditations issued in the USA or the UK. 

The country also hosts some of the world’s best universities, such as McGill University, The University of British Columbia, The University of Toronto, and The University of Alberta. These universities offer myriad courses, and are excellent pathways to working and living in Canada.  

Financial Aid for Education and Affordable Tuition Rates:

 Most of the scholarships are based on your academic excellence, requirements of financial aid, your proficiency in either English or French, your extracurricular activities, and reservations and aid for marginalized groups. These scholarships are offered by the government, NGOs, universities, and other organisations.

Most of the courses offered and taught at Canadian universities are highly affordable and taught by some of the world’s best faculty. Its affordability does not negate the top-class education offered at these universities. We will elaborate upon this as we go further into the article. 

Part-time Job Opportunities while Studying in Canada:

 Your VISA will allow you to work for upto 20 hours per week during your semester. The minimum wage in Canada is around $13.5 per hour, which is around INR 1000. An additional advantage that your Canadian VISA provides is that you are allowed to work full-time during your holidays or semester breaks. Working part-time is one of the best opportunities to experience Canadian culture and interact with tons of people. Mainly, working part-time also covers much of your cost of living, which is a massive advantage. 

Excellent Job Prospects and Post-Study Work VISA opportunities:

 Canada offers a 3-year Post-Study Work VISA. This will allow you to repay any education loans you might have taken, and gain significant work experience in your field. You can be on your way to Permanent Residence in no-time! Around 90% of Canadian Graduate secure jobs within the first 6 months after the completion of their degree. 

Let us now look at some of the most popular UG and PG courses in Canada, before moving onto the list of affordable and cheap universities in Canada.

Can I study for free in Canada?

Let us be absolutely clear on one thing – Canada does not offer free education at all. The only viable ways that can make your education in Canada pocket-friendly, are those that involve scholarships, reducing your expenditure, or enrolling in a low-tuition university. Let us cover some of these ways in a little more detail. 

Build your profile and academics before applications:

 If you’re reading this when it is too late to change your previous academic scores, do not fret too much. What you can focus on, is build your profile at your current academic level. Participate in extracurricular activities, show initiative, focus on maximising your grades and GPA as much as you can, and opt for plenty of internships. 

If you’re someone who is already working, ensure that the nature of your work is somewhat relevant to your chosen field of study. Have an excellent work record, and opt for lots of relevant certificate courses. These will add a lot of weight to your profile and will significantly contribute to your level of knowledge as well. 

The reason this step is important is because it shows your targe university your capabilities, and your potential as an investment from their side (to put it crudely). Will you be an asset to the university? 

Another reason this step is so vital, is because it paves the way for scholarships. Your excellence in academics, or your potential as an individual can grant you access to plenty of scholarships.

Apply for scholarships :

 Compared to the UK or the USA, there aren’t a lot of scholarships available in Canada. However, it is always worth checking the website of your target universities for the list of scholarships that they offer. Some scholarships can even pay for half your education in Canada! Canada certainly wants to attract students of certain qualities they are looking for, so a lot of universities and private institutions fund the education of these students. Definitely research this beforehand.

Apply to cheap universities in Canada:

 Now, cheap does not necessarily mean that the quality of education is poor. Canada remains one of the best places to study in, and there are plenty of opportunities in each university. The trick is to select that university, which is the highly ranked but also affordable. On the other hand, if you do not care much about rank, and just wish to study in the country, and then live in Canada as a citizen, then you can apply to many of the universities that we have covered in this article (there are 20 universities that you can apply to, and that is just a start!). Whatever you select, do ensure that the university you choose has good courses for your chosen field of study. 

Limit your expenditure:

 This one is a no-brainer. Anything that is extravagant or unnecessary during the time of your education in Canada is a strict no-no. You can always spend more and live the life you want to live after you have secured a job post your degree. Until then, maintain a strict budget. (Do try and live a little and have some fun! Just don’t waste your money on unnecessary things.) 

Work in a part-time job:

 The minimum wage in Canada is around INR1k per hour. You can work for upto 20 hours per week part-time in Canada during your semester, and indefinitely during the holiday breaks. This will ensure that you cover your cost of living adequately. 

So, there we have it. We wish to reiterate once again that there is no such thing as free education in Canada. There are only ways to reduce your total cost through the aforementioned ways.

Chapter 2

Popular UG and PG Courses in Canada

The IELTS or TOEFL is required to be taken by applicants to prove their proficiency in the English Language. Apart from these, certain perquisites are required by the university, such as other standardized test scores from exams such as the GRE or GMAT, stipulated number of years of work experience, Letters of Recommendation, and Statement of Purpose. Students will need to keep these in mind, while applying for their desired UG or PG program. 

Most UG and PG programs follow the GPA system, and the most popular intakes for Canadian Universities are either the Fall Intake or the Winter Intake. To know more about intakes in Canada, click here! Like we mentioned before, scholarships are available to students, and most universities list the details of their scholarships on the university website. Do check them out.

Popular UG Courses in Canada

Most UG Courses in Canada last for around 4 years and are usually full-time courses. Let us quickly look at some of the most popular UG courses in Canada: 

  1. Information Technology
  2. Finance and Banking
  3. Engineering
  4. Medicine and Healthcare

The prospects after the completion of these courses are highly favourable for UG students in Canada. Post the completion of the degree, students can utilise the post-study work VISA, or apply for a Master’s program. Many of these programs appear on our list of popular PG courses as well, so we will cover them in more detail down below.  

Popular PG Courses in Canada

Canada is known more for its PG Courses than its UG Courses in the international arena. There are a multitude of courses offered by Canadian Universities that open up avenues to various ‘career pathways’ desired by students. You will be taught by some of the world’s best faculty at top Canadian universities (this is also the case for UG courses).  

Business Management/MBA:

 A Master of Business Administration has, and always will have a lot of scope. It branches out into many specializations, including: Finance, Marketing, Operations, Consulting, and HR. An MBA is a viable option for those looking to climb up the ranks, and it is one of the most sought-after and useful master’s degrees in the world. Their skill sets have wide applications, and their leadership, analytical capabilities, problem-solving, management, and networking are highly valued by corporations world-wide. They are typically involved in management and administrative roles. Average Salary: $80,000/year ~INR 60 lakhs. 

The Great North is one of the top study destinations for an MBA in the world. We have devoted an entire article to a B-schools and MBA in Canada. Click here to read this highly informative article.

Engineering and Sciences :

The nuances that come under this category are too vast to be discussed, for they encompass not only Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering, Biotechnology Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, but also pure Science programs such as Physics, Marine Biology, Chemistry, and Geosciences. Canada is one of the best destinations in the world for Engineering and Pure Sciences, and the prospects vary widely depending on which degree is in question. Regardless, opportunities are numerous and viable.

Average Salary: Varies widely.  

Information Technology:

 One of the most relevant degrees in today’s world, IT is crucial to the functioning and success of every organization. It involves the transmission, storage and subsequent analysis of information that is required. IT also involves information systems programming, coding languages, network architecture, security, and software development. IT Managers stay up-to-date with the latest trends of tech, fulfil and determine their client’s computer needs, and oversee software development projects.

Average Salary: $76,000/year ~INR 56 lakhs.

Finance and Banking:

 At its core, the study of finance involves the study, oversight, management, and creation of banking, money, investments, capital, assets, liabilities, and financial systems. Plenty of financial concepts have their roots in economic theories. You could also go into the equity market, and become a trader. The applications of this field are vast and Finance is one of the top job sectors in Canada.

Average Salary: $65,000/year ~INR 48 lakhs.  

Medicine and Healthcare:

 Last but not least, we have Medicine and Healthcare. Once again, the degrees in question are varied, including an M.D programs, MSc in Dentistry, MBA in Healthcare Administration, and Masters in Nursing. Most PG courses are challenging, yet rewarding. Imagine where we would be without healthcare! You could specialise in neurology, gynaecology, surgery, nephrology, orthopaedics, medical research, or any other field of medicine. There are never going to be enough doctors and nurses in this world, and both fields are undeniably crucial to humankind.

Average Salary: $165,000/year ~INR 1 cr.

As you can see, there are many overlaps within the UG Courses list and the PG Courses list. Time and again, these programs have proven to be more popular with thousands of students, and the career prospects after these programs are excellent as well. Now, this does not mean that other courses aren’t taught well in the Great North. Courses such as Design, History, Economics, English, Psychology is also quite popular in Canada, with excellent prospects as well. Depending on what you wish to do, do your research and figure out the best universities for your courses, and rank them in order of affordability (which is what this article is all about in essence). 

Let us now look at the Top 10 most affordable and cheap universities in Canada. 

Chapter 3

Affordable and Cheap Universities in Canada

Onto the essence of the article – affordable and cheap universities in Canada. Almost all students looking to study in Canada do so in order to obtain a higher quality of education, a higher quality of life, and an easier path to citizenship. It is far easier to obtain Permanent Residence, and it is far simpler to go through immigration in the Great North, as compared to other countries. In the midst of all of this, factors such as affordability and quality of education cannot, well…afford to take a step back! So let us take a look at some of the most affordable and cheap universities in Canada for UG and PG courses. We’ll go from the order of highest to lowest. 

Top 15 Cheap Universities in Canada

Note: Do keep in mind that the following universities are amongst those universities in Canada with the lowest fees. Within these , we will sort these universities from the order of highest fees to lowest fees. We will be mentioning the university’s rank in Canada as an overall institute (QS World Rankings), the minimum IELTS score required, certain points about the university, and most importantly, the tuition fees. 

We are providing the ranks and tuition fees of the universities, so that you do not sacrifice the quality of education for low tuition fees. Do your own research, and make your decision accordingly. Best of luck! 

1 - University of British Columbia

UBC is Canada’s 3rd best university. It is known worldwide for its STEM courses, with particular emphasis on Medicine, Computer Science, and Mathematics. Business Management is also one of the best programs offered. It is one of the world’s best universities. 

Location: UBC has 2 campuses, with one being in Vancouver, and the other in Kelowna (British Columbia). 

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5 

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 27,160/year ~INR 15.84 lakhs

Website :

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2 - University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is ranked as Canada’s 9th best university. It is a research-oriented university, and is a member of U15, which is a group of research-intensive universities in the Great North. 

Location: The University of Calgary is located in Calgary, Alberta, and had 5 campuses currently.  

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5 

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 25,300/year ~INR 14.76 lakhs


3 - McGill University

McGill is Canada’s 2nd best university according to the QS World Rankings List. It is known for its world class faculty, quality of education, and research. Programs vary vastly, similar to most universities on this list. Science, Engineering, Medicine, Business Management, and Arts are some of the best departments in this University. McGill is also one of the world’s best universities.

Location: Montreal, Quebec. It has 3 campuses currently.   

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5 

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 25,230/year ~INR 14.72 lakhs

Website :

4 - University of Toronto

Ranked the best University in Canada (1st) and the 29th best university in the world, the University of Toronto is one of the best places to study in the world. With high academic reputations, world-class education, employment indicators, and the variety of the courses offered, the University of Toronto combines quality with affordability. Programs vary widely, and are simply some of the best in the world, ranging from Business Management to STEM courses. 

Location: Toronto, Ontario. It has 3 campuses, each focussing on multiple disciplines.  

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 7

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 24,900/year ~INR 14.53 lakhs.


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5 – University of Guelph

Ranked the 20th best university in Canada, the University of Guelph is a research-oriented public university, with its top programs being hospitality and tourism management, biological sciences, vet medicine, social sciences, business, and economics. 

Location: Guelph, Ontario.  

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 20,110/year ~INR 11.74 lakhs

Website :

6 - Concordia University

Ranked 17th in Canada, Concordia University. It is a public university offering programs in the Arts, Fine Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. They also offer programs for Graduate Studies. 

Location: Montreal, Quebec. It has 2 campuses currently.    

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 7

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 18,920/year ~INR 11.04 lakhs

Website :

7 - McMaster University

McMaster University is Canada’s 6th best university, and it is well-known for its highly prestigious medical school. It is also a member of U15, and it provides programs in various fields such as health sciences, engineering, social sciences, business, humanities, and sciences.  

Location: Hamilton, Ontario. It has 4 regional campuses currently.    

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 17,100/year ~INR 9.98 lakhs.  

Website :

8 - University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa is ranked 12th in Canada in terms of the QS Rankings for Canadian Universities, and is also part of the aforementioned U15 for being a research-oriented university. The University offers programs in various fields such as Natural Sciences, Engineering and Tech, Medicine, Arts and Humanities, Business, and Social Sciences. 

Location: Ottawa, Ontario. It has 2 campuses currently.    

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 15,500/year ~INR 9.05 lakhs.  

Website :

9 - Queen’s University at Kingston

Queen’s University is one of the oldest universities in Canada, founded before the inception of ‘Canada’ itself. It ranks 10th in Canada in terms of the top universities in the country, and is known for guaranteeing employment opportunities for its students after graduation. Their top programs include Geology, Business, Engineering, Psychology, Nursing, and Computer Science. 

Location: Kingston, Ontario. It has 2 campuses.

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 14,748/year ~INR 8.6 lakhs.  

Website :

10 – University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba is Canada’s 21st best university. It is one of Canada’s most affordable universities as well, and is known for being research-oriented. They offer programs and conduct research in medicine, engineering, law, civil infrastructure, material sciences, and Canadian history. It is ‘Western Canada’s first University’. 

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba. It has 2 main campuses.

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 10,520/year ~INR 6.14 lakhs.  

Website :

11 - University of Alberta

The University of Alberta is ranked 4th in Canada and is one of the most affordable, yet best universities in the Great North. The University has an international academic repute for its programs in humanities, creative arts, sciences, engineering, health sciences, and business. In particular, its Arts and Humanities programs are known for being taught by some of the world’s best faculty, and it’s English Lit and Language programs also enjoy a glowing international reputation. 

Location: Edmonton, Alberta. It has 5 campuses currently, with 4 campuses in Edmonton. 

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 10,260/year ~INR 5.99 lakhs.  

Website :

12 - Memorial University of Newfoundland

Memorial University is ranked 25th in Canada, and is known for its training programs and its research. The university offers various programs in Management, Social Sciences, Natural and Life Sciences, Medicine, Engineering and Tech, and Arts and Humanities. 

Location: St. John’s, Labrador and Newfoundland. 

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 9,666/year ~INR 5.64 lakhs.   


13 - Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University is Canada’s 11th best university, and is widely known for its world-class faculty, teaching, educational opportunities offered, and research opportunities available. They offer highly ranked programs in fields similar to those mentioned above: Medicine, Life Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Arts and Humanities, Management, and Social Sciences. 

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia. It has 3 campuses.

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 7

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 9,192/year ~INR 5.37 lakhs.   

Website :

14 - University of Saskatchewan

The 16th best university in Canada, the University of Saskatchewan is also one of the most affordable and cheap universities in Canada. It is also part of U15 for being research-intensive. They offer plenty of scholarships to international students, and are known for their programs in fields and subjects such as Engineering, Agriculture, Environmental Sciences, Medical Fields, STEM Courses, and Biotechnology. 

Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It has 3 campuses currently.  

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 6,537/year ~INR 3.82 lakhs.   

Website :

15 - Simon Fraser University

Last but certainly not the least, we have Simon Fraser University, the most affordable and cheap (in terms of tuition rates) universities in Canada! This university is also known for being the only Canadian University to receive accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. They are known for their programs in Sciences, Technology, Arts and Humanities, Business, Communication, Health Sciences, Computer Sciences, and Engineering. 

Location: Burnaby, British Columbia. It has 3 campuses currently.  

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 7

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 5,300/year ~INR 3.09 lakhs.   

Website :

Another 4 Cheap but Viable Universities in Canada

The list of 15 universities that we covered on top were focussed on both quality and affordability. Let us now look at some other universities that are extremely affordable as well. 

University of Regina

The University of Regina is a public research university. It offers plenty of UG and PG degrees in over 15 disciplines, the likes of which include engineering, business administration, media and more. The University also places importance on experiential learning in the form of projects, internships, and work experience. 

Location: Regina, Saskatchewan. 

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 13,000/year ~INR 7.64 lakhs.

University of Regina Website

Acadia University

Acadia University is ranked 1st in Nova Scotia, a province of Canada. It is a highly ranked university that offers programs such as pure sciences, arts, business, education, gender studies, history, economics, and theatre. Acadia University also has a strong research environment. 

Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 17,540/year ~INR 10.30 lakhs.

Acadia University Website 

Carleton University

Carleton University is a public university ranked 19th in Canada according to the US News & World Report Best Global University Rankings. Like those universities in our previous list, Carleton University is incredibly affordable but also one of the best universities in Canada, offering programs in Social Sciences, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics, and Physical Sciences. 

Location: Ottawa, Ontario.

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 6.5

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 7,400/year ~INR 4.35 lakhs.

Carleton University Website 

University of Prince Edward Island

The University of Prince Edward Island is a public research university that is ranked among the top 50 research universities in Canada. It offers a lot of scholarships and is known for its programs in Business Administration, Nursing, Computational and Mathematical Sciences, Vet Sciences, Island Studies, Molecular Sciences, and Environmental Studies. 

Location: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Minimum IELTS Score Required: 7

Avg. Tuition Fees: CAD 7,180/year ~INR 4.22 lakhs.

University of Prince Edward Island 

Cheap and Affordable Places to Study in Canada

While we are on the subject of affordability, we figured it would be best if we covered the cost of living in Canada, along with a list of some of the most affordable places to study within the various provinces of Canada. 

Cost of Living in Canada

Obviously, the cost of living will vary according to the city you are studying in, and the university in which you are studying, but there are some basic living expenses that can be generalised, in order to get an idea of what the cost of living will be like. Let us look at that now. 

  • Internet – 3k to 5k INR per month. 
  • Utilities – 12k to 24k INR per month. 
  • Accommodation’s – 25k to 60k per month. (These will vary depending on whether you choose a university homestay or a private, shared apartment.)
  • Clothing – Around 2k per month (Varies widely). 
  • Basic Entertainment – Around 10k per month. 
  • Food and Drinks – Around 25 – 30k per month. 

Right off the bat, it becomes quite obvious that you need to get a part-time job, so definitely go for one. The minimum wage in Canada is around 1k per hour. If you work part-time, you can definitely cover your cost of living. If you’re worried about your Cost of Living, go for shared spaces and don’t worry, for you will be able to pay everything back after your degree. 

Quality of living and life is high in Canada, and there’s a lot to explore and do. Enjoy the Great North! 

Affordable Places to Study in Canada

Apart from your tuition fees, your cost of living can also burn a hole in your pocket if it isn’t sustainable. The cities that you pick need to be affordable in nature, so that your cost of living automatically comes down. In order to be affordable, these cities need to have – 

  • An efficient public transport system
  • Entertainment and activities that are budget-friendly 
  • Most importantly, affordable housing or accommodation 

These are the factors that make cities affordable. Let us look at a list of some affordable cities in Canada. 

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Kingston. Ontario
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Laval, Quebec 
  • St. Catherines, Ontario
  • Abbotsford, British Columbia 
  • Sherbrook, Quebec 

There we have it. These are some of the most affordable places to study in Canada. Remember, you must keep in mind the university you choose as well. If your university happens to be within such affordable locations, then your expenditure reduces even further. 


So, there we have it. These are the top 15 most affordable and cheap universities in Canada. We have kept in mind the quality of teaching in these universities, while making this list of affordable universities. Do your own research, like we mentioned before, look out for scholarship opportunities, and pick the programs that are suited for your own goals. Good luck! 

For details about the cost of living in Canada, click here! 

Written by Saahil R Bhatt

Guided by Pavitra Srinivasan and the Galvanize In-house Experts

Cheers and Best Wishes by Galvanize. 


1. Are there any free universities for study in Canada?
Ans: No. There are Low cost universities but not free.
2.Which Is the Cheap College In Canada For International Students?
3. What is the cost to study in Canada For International Students?
Ans: It may cost $25,000 to $35,000 for International Students.
4. What Bank Balance Is Required For Canadian Student Visa?
Ans: The minimum bank balance for Canada student visas mandatory to have is 6,00,000 to stay every year.
5.What is the age requirement for a student visa in Canada?
Ans: The candidate applying for Student Visa should be at least 18 yrs of age.

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