If you are planning to study abroad, the first and foremost question is where. Now, If you look up the top countries to study abroad, Canada, US and Australia will be in the top 5 for most of the lists. Here, we have put them against each other by different parameters, and see which is the ultimate study abroad destination among Canada vs USA vs Australia:

Where to Study Abroad? Canada vs USA vs Australia

Canada vs USA vs Australia:

Study in USA has been one of the most preferred, among the international students for decades now. In recent years, Australia and Canada have been making strides, and longer strides at that, when it comes to the number of international students aspiring to enrol in the countries. The chart below shows the number of international students in each country for last year, however, the numbers are not the only parameter, and we will get to that in a while.

Number of International Students Canada vs USA vs Australia:

Where Canada sits at 5,72,000+ students in the year of 2018, Australia has a close number of 6,90,000+. USA leads the chart with the record-breaking number for 2018, 1.09 Million.

However, the numbers may be misleading, as these are the students already enrolled in the universities. The numbers are high for USA, and still, they have increased by just about 1.5% from the previous year, Trump’s policies, stricter visa rules and trade wars with Asian countries like China isn’t helping USA much. Whereas for Australia, the number of international students increased by 12%. The most notable figure here is for Canada. With liberal visa rules, fast application processing, and possibilities of Permanent Residency, the students are preferring Canada more and more. How much? There was a 16.25% increase in the number of international students in Canada compared to the previous year. Here is the comparison:


Comparison Between USA, Canada and Australia as a Study Destination:

As we have already mentioned, all three of the destinations are some of the best in the world. If we were to see QS world rankings for the Universities, 156 of the US University, 26 from Canada and 35 of Australian Universities are among the top 1000 universities. Universities in USA are known for their quality of education, research facilities and the curriculums that are celebrated all over the world. Universities like MIT, Stanford and Harvard are pioneers for the quality of the education.

On the other hand, Universities in Canada might not be that famous, but they still provide quality education with an added advantage of affordability. The comparatively lower costs of study are lucrative to many, as the costs of studying abroad are already high for many. However, we will get back to that later. 

Out of 35 ranked universities in Australia, 26 are in top 500. That speaks volumes about the quality of Education in Australia. Most of them are public universities and are state-funded by the government. Though Australia is not exactly known for the affordability either, the country boasts of excellent ROI (Return on Investment). Here, all three are heavyweights, and the quality of education is uncompromised wherever you go.

USA vs Canada vs Australia for Indian Students:

For Indian students, USA and Canada have been the most preferred destinations over the years. However, Australia is steadily catching up to them and USA has been a little less preferred in recent time due to red taping. Australia and Canada also provide better after study stay backs, and there are chances to permanent residency if the student wants to permanently move to the country. 

Eligibility Criteria:

There are some requirements one needs to fulfil to apply for the universities in these countries. For Canada, The Masters will require 16 years of prior education, all of them require some level of English language proficiency, and a seamless academic record. US Universities have programs that take into account the extra-curricular activities and Sports like Ivey Leagues. Canadian Universities, on the other hand, concentrate on academic records more than that. Here are detailed requirements for the countries:

Eligibility Criteria to Study in USA

Eligibility Criteria to Study in Australia

Admission Requirements for UG, PG & Diploma course in Canada

MS in US vs Canada vs Australia

Now, one of the courses international students apply for the most is the Master of Science. It is a degree offered by all three of them, and there is a number of reasons to pursue them. The education system for all of them is more or less the same. The courses available for all these countries have wide ranges, too. While there is a significant difference between the tuition fees for these countries, however. 

Average Tuition Fees for MS:

USA: 10000$ to 80000$

Australia: 17300$ to 27700$

Canada: 12000$ to 17000$

Top Universities to Study MS in US vs Canada vs Australia:




Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

University of Toronto

Australian National University

Stanford University

McGill University

University of Melbourne

Harvard University

University of British Columbia

University of Sydney

California Institute of Technology

University of Alberta

University of New South Wales

University of Chicago

University of Montreal

University of Queensland


Here are the full lists of Universities in the respective countries:

Universities in USA for International Students 2019-20

Universities in Canada for International Students 2019-20

Universities in Australia for International Students 2019-20

Cost of Studying in Canada vs USA vs Australia:

Coming to the costs, Canada is one of the most affordable options from the three. USA and Australia provide the best of the education, however, cannot be considered affordable by any distance. Even for the living expenses excluding the tuition fees, Canada is the best bet for you. Keep in mind that the cost of study and living depend highly on the location you decide to study at, and your lifestyle. A metropolitan would cost more than staying in the suburbs. Therefore, It is tough to estimate the exact amount. Comparisons are also tough between countries.

Here are the breakdowns of the cost of studying and living in Canada, USA and Australia:

Cost of Living and Studying in Canada for International Students

Cost of Living and Studying in USA for International Students

Cost of Living and Studying in Australia for International Students

Work While Studying in Canada vs USA vs Australia:

For Australia and Canada, the working conditions are almost the same. Students can work at part-time jobs (20 hours a week) in Canada and Australia, while their semesters are going on, and during the spring breaks, or semester breaks, students are allowed to work at full-time jobs. Working in the field of study is preferred, however, not compulsory. In USA, international students are allowed to work at part-time jobs after one year of study, for 20 hours a week. International students are allowed to work on university campuses for the first year of their studies. 

Work Opportunities After Study:

Canada, hands down is the best option for the students who are willing to stay back in the country they are going to study in once their program is over. Depending on the length of the programs, international students can stay back in Canada for up to three years, and look for the jobs to extend their stay. For Australia, once the program is over, students can stay back and look for permanent employment for up to 18 months. USA is different here, and far more strict. OPT (Optional Practical Training) is a way to stay back in USA once the program is over. The STEM students (from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) can opt for an OPT which is 12 months long. Here’s more on that:

Stay Back and Work Options After Study in USA

Work Permit and Stay Back Options after Study in Canada

Stay Back options In Australia after your Graduation

Student Visa for Canada, USA and Australia:

The Visa process, as you might have guessed till now, is different for every country. There are some general documents required for the student visa. That would include a valid passport, which should be valid through your program, your previous transcripts, mark sheets, degrees and certificates. All the documents should be translated into English, as all three of them are English speaking countries. The other requirements are SOP (statement of Purpose) and LOR (Letters of Recommendation). Last but not least, students need to prove they are able to sustain themselves financially for the length of the course, or one year. Here are the requirements:

(USA does not have a fixed amount for the monetary requirements, it is normally mentioned on I20 form for the student visa in USA)

Canada: 10,000 CAD (7660 USD)

Australia: 18,000 AUD (12560 USD)

Here is all the information you will need on Student visa for Canada, USA and Australia:

 Student Visa in Canada

Student Visa in USA 

Student Visa in Australia 

Canada vs USA vs Australia: Conclusion







Universities in QS Top Ranked Universities 2020







A Happening Student Life


Scholarships Available


Work While Studying

After 1 Year


Cost of Living





Work After Study



Chances to Permanent Residency


So what is best, if you are an international student? If you are looking at the quality of education, you just need to pick the course and University, and all three of them are good for you. USA has the best of all. If you are looking for an affordable option to study abroad, Canada is the best bet of all three. If you are looking for a country, where you can stay back and look for employment, Canada and Australia is the place if you are not a STEM student. Here are our country guides for all three of them if you decide onto one:

Study in USA

Study in Canada

Study in Australia

If you are still confused about what destination suits you the best, you can take our quiz: Quiz: Find Out Which Study Abroad Destination Suits You the Best!

About the Author:

Dhruv is Content Creator at He 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 the information and helping others in the process.

Categories: Study Abroad

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