Jun 13, 2019

Canada vs USA Comparison: Where to Study Abroad?

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The continent of North America might be the place where most of the world’s international students reside, or aspire to go. Canada vs USA in education is a dilemma many of them face, and today, we have tried to weigh out the factors to be considered, to make it as clear as possible for the students. Study in USA? Or to study in Canada? If these are the questions that occupy your mind, these might help to answer them:

Comparison of Canadian and American Universities

When it comes to the quality of the education and the courses on offer, both the country has plenty to offer and there is no drastic difference in the education system, and they offer a plethora of options for all the streams. The universities in USA are known for their excellent teaching and world-leading research, such as Ivy League Universities, on the other hand, the Canadian Universities are not as behind. They offer the equal quality of education and research there is a little different as far as the education and the reputation are concerned for colleges in Canada vs USA:

Here are the top 5 universities for Canada and USA:

Top Universities in Canada



Top Universities in USA



University of Toronto


Massachusetts Institute of Technology


McGill University


Stanford University


University of British Columbia


Harvard University


University of Alberta


California Institute of Technology


McMaster University


University of Chicago



MBA in USA vs Canada


A course for which is both these countries are most sought after, is Master of Business Administration. MBA in USA is by far one of the most sought after program in the world. It is accepted all over the world and one of the most prestigious MBA one can have. In fact, the MBA was first introduced in Harvard, USA.

MBA in Canada:

On the other hand, the first MBA course outside USA was introduced in the University of Western Ontario. While as not renowned as the US, MBA in Canada offers just as opportunities and prospectus all over the world. In fact, for the same prestige and acceptability, you will face less competition and tuition fees for MBA in Canada.

Canada or USA which is better for MS?

Both the countries follow the same education system for the MS in any field and stream, and as we have been saying, apart from the US being more famous, MS from Canada is catching up both in terms of the research facilities and the teaching process. Students can go for either of the options and not worry about the quality of education. Again, the competition will be more intense in the case of USA just because of the number of application top American universities receive. Other major difference can be the tuition fees, which are slightly more affordable at the universities in Canada. Here are top MS courses for both the countries:

Top MS in USA

Top MS in Canada

MS in Mechanical Engineering, MIT

MS in Management, University of Manitoba

MS in Information Systems, University of Washington

MS in Civil Engineering, McGill University

MS in Sports Management, Baker University

MS in Public Health, University of Saskatchewan

MS in Computer Science, Stanford University

MS in Computer Science, McGill University

MS in Biomedical Engineering, New York University

MS in Data Science & Analytics, Ryerson University


Eligibility and Requirements

There are some general conditions and requirements to study in USA and Canada. The most important one, is to have 16 years of education for the Masters or Postgraduate programs. There are English language requirements for both countries. The US universities have no specific cutoffs for the admission, however, they assess the applications for extra-curricular activities such as sports along with academic performance. The Canadian Universities on the other hands, rely entirely on the academic scores for the admission. You can have all the information on the admission process and Eligibility requirements here:

Cost of Education in Canada vs USA

If there is a clear line for the difference between the education systems for USA and Canada, that would be for the cost of studying and living in both countries. USA is known for its higher costs of studies, and the costlier living costs. Canada on the other hand, is a comparatively cheaper option for the students. However, the costs will differ largely for both the countries, depending on the universities and courses, as well as the location of the study. For example, the cost of living in suburban US vicinity will be much less than living in a city centre in Canada like Toronto. Therefore, there is no single conclusion on the costs. Here are the average costs of studies in both countries:


Level of Study

Costs / Year

Average Tuition Fees


Cost of Living















Keep in mind that these are average costs for all the courses and universities across countries, so individually it will vary a lot for a particular course. For example, as a general rule, MBA courses are expensive than the average suggest, and there are courses which are affordable than the average suggests. Here is the more detailed breakup of costs for both countries:

Canada Student Visa vs US Student Visa:

The Visa process vary widely for the countries. For Canada, students have to opt for the SDS Visa program, or the Canada Study Permit. For USA, F1 student visa is commonly required.

The Visa fees for the Canadian Student Permit is 112 USD or 150 Canadian Dollars, where the cost of application for the student visa in USA, is 160 USD.

The other prominent difference in the Visa Process is the personal interview. US student visa process includes a personal interview, while the Canadian Visa does not. Both the visa process consist of biometrics, which includes the fingerprints and photographs of the applicants. Depending on the applicants and visa rules at the time of application, students might go through the medical examination. Here are the detailed visa guides for both the countries:

Work after Study

Post Graduate Work Permit in Canada:

Working in the same country once the studies are over is a matter of preference, however, a large number of students prefer to gain work experience in the country they are studying. If you are one of them, then Canada should be your choice. With the student visa, students can stay back in Canada from one to three years after graduation. The stay back period varies with the duration of the course. Here is all you need to know: Work Permit and Stay Back Options after Study in Canada

Stay back in USA after Masters:

In USA, the stay back option is for the OPT, called optional practical training. The students have to apply for the OPT separately, and it should be compulsory in the field of their study. Also, the OPT does not mean the permission to employment, and there is a separate Employment Authorization Document for that. Here is all you need to know about OPT: Stay Back and Work Options After Study in USA

Permanent Residency

PR in USA:

For the students willing to stay back and apply for permanent residency, Canada seems like a better option nowadays. However, the doors to USA are not completely closed contrary to popular belief. The process to get the Permanent residency in the US is a long and slow process, and students often find it complicated. The most prominent condition to US Permanent Residency is being in the country for the 5 years on the basis of employment.

PR in Canada after Study:

Canada, on the other hand, is welcoming students in the last few decades, and the Permanent Residency can be applied to when the student is in the Post Graduate Work Permit. Canada is looking for the workforce, and therefore, the Permanent Residency is granted to the skilled immigrants rather easily.


Both countries offer a number of Scholarships for students who want to study abroad. For the visa process to conclude successfully for both the countries, students are required to show some form of monetary proof, showing they can survive in the country for a year/duration of the course. If the monetary requirements are too steep for you, study abroad scholarships are a great way to fund your expenses and tuition fees abroad. The scholarships can be from the universities you have applied to, or from the private organizations, or from the country you are applying from. Here are the lists of the scholarships for both the countries:

Canada vs USA for Indian Students

When it comes to Indian students, they have long been preferring USA as their study abroad destination, and there is a large number of them, who still does. In the past few years, there has been a shift to Canada. The primary reason for that being the easy visa process and streamlined the PR process. However, if we just look at the quality of education, both countries offer more or less the same. For masters, Indian students are required to appear for a bridge course, or anyone year course, as both countries require 16 years of prior education before Masters. Other than that, the countries offer the same bright opportunities and education to the Indian students.

About the Author:

Dhruv is fond of words and everything related to them. Writing about different things from around the world gives him immense pleasure, and a very healthy by-product is sharing of the information and helping others in the process.

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