Canada Vs UK: Which is the Best Choice for Indian Students in 2024?

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Is pursuing higher education in the United Kingdom (UK) or Canada wise for international students? The answer is yes, according to recent reports. 

The Global Vision Immigration report states that Canada expects to welcome approximately 753,000 international students by 2023, while The Pie News reports that the UK saw a rise in international student numbers to 680,000 in 2021/22. These statistics indicate that both countries are excellent choices for pursuing higher education. 

However, it is essential for prospective international students to carefully consider various factors before enrolling in a foreign university. These factors include university fees, cost of living, post-study work visa options, opportunities for permanent residence, and other important considerations. To better understand these factors, continue reading the article below.

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Canada Vs UK: An Overview

The table below compares important factors concerning study opportunities for Indian students in the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada.

Important FactorUKCANADA
Courses OfferedEngineering, Medicine, Law, Business ManagementEngineering, Medicine, Business Management, Hospitality & Tourism
Course DurationU.G. – 3 to 4 yearsP.G. – 1 to 2 yearsPhD- 3 to 4 yearsU.G. – 3 to 4 yearsP.G. – 1 to 2 yearsPhD- 6 years
Admission IntakeSeptember & JanuarySeptember & January
Test Score RequirementDET: 105-120IELTS: 6.5-7.0GMAT: 650+GRE: 310-315TOEFL: 90+DET: 105+IELTS: 6.0+GMAT: 600+GRE: 300+TOEFL: 90+
Student Visa Fees~ 36,000 (INR)~ 16,000 (INR)
Source: Canada vs UK: Which Country is Better for Indian Students

Canada Vs UK: Education

Let’s look at the differences between Canada Vs UK Education:

  1. Type of Education System
  • In Canada, parents and the community are allowed more involvement in a student’s education.
  • Whereas in the UK, education is a highly bureaucratic system.
  1. Study Framework
  • According to research, students studying in Canada are relatively stress-free due to the educational system.
  • The UK educational system focuses on the performance of students.
  1. Grading Approach
  • Rather than focusing on grades, the Canadian Education system seeks to provide a more holistic education. 
  • In the UK, grades are highly valued, and the class system is highly stratified.
  1. Extracurricular Activities
  • In Canada, extracurricular activities are prioritised for all students, resulting in holistic growth.
  • In the UK, extracurricular activities are only for students who demonstrate high excellence in the activity or sport.
  1. Infrastructure
  • Canadian universities are not as old as British universities. They provide an excellent infrastructure and teaching faculty, slowly gaining global recognition.
  • The UK education system is home to some of the world’s most excellent universities, which provide world-class higher education with the best infrastructure.
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Canada Vs UK: Which is the Best Choice for Indian Students in 2024?

Canada Vs UK: Top Courses and Universities

Let’s look at Canada Vs UK: top universities and courses.

Top Universities in Canada:

Canadian universities are not ranked as highly as UK universities in the World QS Ranking 2023, but the QS rankings of top Canadian universities are getting better each year.

The table below displays the ranking of top universities in Canada according to QS in 2023.

Universities in CanadaQS World University Rankings 2023
McGill University31
University of Toronto34
University of British Columbia47
University of Alberta110
Universite de Montreal116
McMaster University152
University of Waterloo154
Western University172
University of Ottawa237
University of Calgary242
Source: Leap Scholar

Top Universities in the UK:

Regarding the QS World University Rankings, UK Universities tend to rank higher on the list than Canadian universities.

The table below displays the ranking of top universities in the UK according to QS in 2023.

UK UniversitiesQS World University Rankings 2023
University of Cambridge2
University of Oxford4
Imperial College London6
University College London8
University of Edinburgh15
University of Manchester28
King’s College London37
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)56
University of Bristol61
The University of Warwick64
Source: Leap Scholar

Top Courses to Study in the UK and Canada:

The following table displays the most popular courses in Canada and the UK in 2023.

Popular courses in the UKPopular courses in Canada
NursingAgricultural science and forestry
PsychologyBusiness management
Computer scienceIT and computer science
LawBioscience, health, and medicine
Design studiesFinance
Subjects allied to medicineGeosciences
Preclinical medicineEngineering
Business and administration studiesHospitality management
Bioscience, health, and medicinePsychology
Sports and Exercise ScienceHuman Resources
Business ManagementMedia & Journalism
Source: Canada vs UK: Which Country is Better for Indian Students

Canada vs UK: Tuition and Lifestyle Expenses

Let’s look at the expense differences between Canada and the UK.

1. Tuition fees

  • In Canada, tuition fees are generally lower than in the UK, making it more affordable for Indian students.
  • It is generally higher in the UK, making it a more expensive option for Indian students.

2. Cost of living

  • The cost of living in Canada is relatively lower than in the UK, especially in smaller cities, making it more manageable for students.
  • In the UK, living costs are higher than in Canada, especially in major cities like London, resulting in a higher overall expense.

3. Healthcare

  • International students may be eligible for provincial healthcare coverage in some Canadian provinces, reducing healthcare expenses.
  • In the UK, international students pay for private health insurance, which can be a significant additional expense.

4. Accommodation

  • In Canada, affordable housing options include on-campus residences or off-campus shared apartments.
  • In the UK, accommodation is more expensive, especially in major cities, with limited affordable options.

5. Food and groceries

  • The cost may vary in Canada, but food and groceries are generally reasonable compared to the UK.
  • The cost of food and groceries in the UK is higher than in Canada.

6. Transportation

  • Affordable public transportation options in most Canadian cities make it easier to move around.
  • There are generally more expensive public transportation options in the UK, especially in cities like London.

7. Recreation and entertainment

  • Numerous affordable recreational activities and entertainment options are available in Canada, from parks to cultural events.
  • The UK offers many entertainment options, but they can be costlier than Canada.
Type of ExpenseUKCanada
U.G. Tuition Fees (INR/ per-annum)~ 8,00,000 to 15,00,000~ 8,00,000 to 24,00,000
P.G. Tuition Fees (INR/ per-annum)~ 10,00,000 to 20,00,000~ 12,00,000 to 29,00,000 
Accommodation (INR/ per-annum)~ 12,00,000 to 15,00,000 ~ 8,00,000 to 10,00,000
Source: Cost of Living in the UK and Canada: What You Need to Know

Canada vs UK: Application Requirements

An essential factor in deciding between Canada Vs UK is eligibility criteria. Students in both countries must follow strict rules imposed by their respective universities.

Canada:

  • Original copies of students’ previous qualifications are required.
  • GRE or GMAT scores are required for MBA and master’s programmes.
  • Statement of Purpose and Letter of Recommendation (SOP).
  • English proficiency test results: C1 Advanced, IELTS, and TOEFL. Students pursuing any French language course must have scores on one of the following French proficiency tests: DALF, DELF, TCF, and TEF.
  • Legal proof that students have sufficient funds to study and live in Canada.
  • Updated Resume or CV.
  • Students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree must provide employment letters and two academic references.

The UK:

  • Students must obtain their 10+2 diploma from a recognised board or institution.
  • Candidates may be required to submit their GMAT or GRE scores for specific courses. Several universities also have their entrance exams and interview rounds.
  • The English language proficiency exams UK universities accept are IELTS, PTE, and TOEFL. Most UK universities will take an IELTS score of 6.5 overall, with 6 in each band.
  • Evidence of funds
  • Medical Protection
  • A Current Passport
  • A Purpose Statement (SOP)
  • A Recommendation Letter (LOR)
  • Letter of Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)

Canada vs UK: Intake and Eligibility

Let’s look at the eligibility requirements of Canada Vs UK universities.

Canada:

  • A minimum of 12 years of pre-university education is required for admission to Canadian universities for UG courses. Undergraduate programmes are typically four years long, while diploma programmes are two to three years long. The SAT exam results are required to complete the process.
  • Students applying to Canadian universities from countries where English is not the primary language of communication must take the IELTS or TOEFL exam, which are English proficiency tests used to determine an applicant’s capacity to communicate in English. These exams are required for admission to those colleges, but they must first obtain a Visa.
  • Canadian colleges do not use cutoffs but provide average scores required for admission into specific courses.
  • Aside from the abovementioned criteria, Canadian universities require a statement of purpose (SOP) and at least two letters of recommendation (LORs).
  • Applicants for master’s or PhD programmes must submit at least two academic reference letters. It includes letters from previous employers.
  • If you have yet to study in Canada previously, you must also provide an ECA (Educational Credential Assessment) to verify whether your degree is equivalent to the Canadian standards required.

The UK:

  • For graduation programmes, UK universities previously required 13 years of pre-university education, which has now been changed. The 13-year pre-university education is still in effect for ISC students. For graduation courses, a CBSE plus two certificates will suffice.
  • The GMAT is usually an eligibility criterion for postgraduate management programmes, but it entirely depends on which university you are applying to. Around a few universities in the UK provide management degrees without the GMAT.
  • Students applying for art or science courses such as MA or MS are usually required to take the GRE. Again, this is unnecessary for all universities; some do not require GRE scores for admission.
  • Although the IELTS or TOEFL exams are not required for the course, they will be required when applying for a Visa. A minimum IELTS band score of 6.5 is required, whereas a TOEFL score of 100 or higher is required to obtain a Visa or admission.
  • A minimum of 75% aggregate, equivalent to first-class, is required for a three-year bachelor’s degree.

Canada vs UK: Visa Requirements and Process

Let’s explore the differences between the Canada Vs UK Visa process and requirements.

Canada:

A Canadian Student Visa is subject to the following rules and regulations:

  • A post-study work permit application will be submitted within 90 days of course completion.
  • All Indian and international students are required to take a medical exam.
  • The Visa fee is approximately 16,000 (INR).
  • You can only work 20 hours per week while enrolled in an academic programme.
  • It can increase to 40 hours per week during holidays and summer sessions.
  • If the Visa lasts more than a year, spouses can work full-time.
  • While applying for a Visa in Canada, you must have IELTS or TOEFL.
  • Personal interviews are typically required as part of the Visa application process.

The UK:

The UK universities issue Tier 4 student visas for full-time students. Aside from this Visa, the UK government has begun to offer UK Post-Study Work Visas to international students.

Some rules and regulations apply to the Visa application:

  • Only full-time student programmes will be eligible for a Visa.
  • A university degree entitles you to a four-year Visa.
  • Visas can be issued for a maximum of three years for diploma courses.
  • The Tier 4 Visa costs ~ 35,000 (INR), with an additional ~ 35,000 (INR) required for the dependent Visa (in case a family member is to accompany you). The international health fee of ~71,000 (INR) will also be paid to obtain the student Visa.
  • Tier 4 Visas allow international students to work up to 20 hours per week part-time and full-time on weekends and holidays. The course requirements determine full-time job placements.
canada vs uk
There is a considerable difference between tuition fees in Canada vs UK.

Canada vs UK: Scholarships

There are various scholarships Indian students can avail of for Canadian and UK Institutions.

Canada Scholarships

Scholarships in Canada can be categorised into

  • Government scholarships,
  • Non-Government scholarships,
  • Institutional scholarships.

Government Scholarships

International scholarship programmes sponsored by the Canadian Government enable international students to study in Canada inexpensively. These awards also cover travel and other expenses in Canada. 

Here are some scholarships offered by the Canadian Government:

  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship: Indian students must be accepted to their chosen institution in Canada to be considered for this two-year scholarship. The awardees will keep their fellowships and have their applications approved by the appropriate university authority.
  • Vanier Graduate Scholarships: Vanier graduate scholarships are available to Canadian students studying natural sciences courses, engineering research, health research, or social science and humanities research.
  • Canada – ASEAN SEED: The Canada ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development programme provides students from ASEAN member countries with short-term exchange opportunities to study and research at a Canadian post-secondary institution at the college for both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Non-Government Scholarships

Non-government organisations in Canada provide scholarships to Indian students who want to study a specific subject. These scholarships cover tuition, travel, health insurance, housing, and monthly allowances. The following are the non-government scholarships:

  • Canada Memorial Scholarship: This fully funded scholarship is available to Indian students pursuing higher education in Canada. Students applying for courses that last more than a year may be required to provide declarations demonstrating that they have additional funding to complete the course.
  • Anne Vallee Ecological Fund: Students securing a master’s or doctoral degree in courses regarding animal research at the University of Quebec or the University of British Columbia are eligible for the Anne Vallee Ecological Fund award. The funds will support field research in animal ecology and the environmental impact of human activities such as agriculture, forestry, industry, and fishing.
  • Trudeau Scholarships and Fellowships: These scholarships and fellowships are available to international doctoral students at certain Canadian institutions. Doctoral candidates studying and conducting research in one or more of the Foundation’s four themes are eligible to apply: human rights and dignity, people and their natural environment, responsible citizenship, and Canada and the World.

Institutional Scholarships

Securing an institutional scholarship to study in Canada involves several factors, and international students must ensure they are eligible and meet the deadline before applying for any award. The following are examples of institutional scholarships:

  • York University International Student Scholarship: The award amount is Rs 8,253,434; however, students must ensure a minimum cumulative grade point average of 7.80 to qualify for this scholarship.
  • The University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowships: Regarding the amount awarded for this scholarship, a master’s degree is worth 8,25,343 (INR), and a doctorate is worth 10,61,155 (INR). To be eligible for this scholarship, students must have a minimum admission GPA 3.0.
  • Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship: Students can apply for 37 scholarships. It covers the cost of attending classes and living in Canada and other expenses like books and incidentals.

UK Scholarships

Scholarships to study in the UK are classified into three types based on the source of funding:

  • Government-funded UK Scholarships
  • UK University Scholarships
  • Other Scholarships

Government-funded UK Scholarships

  • Scotland’s Saltire Scholarship: In the UK, the Scottish Government, in collaboration with Scottish universities, offers master’s scholarships. This scholarship is available to citizens of India, Japan, Canada, the United States, China, and Pakistan.
  • Chevening Scholarships: This is one of the top master’s scholarships in the UK for Indian students. The UK government provides these fully funded scholarships to outstanding students from Chevening-eligible countries worldwide.

UK University Scholarships

  • Edinburgh Global Research Scholarship: There are only 30 scholarships available to international students wishing to pursue a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. This scholarship only pays for a portion of your tuition.
  • Kingston University London Scholarship: The scholarship is available to all international undergraduate and postgraduate students at Kingston University. This 5,00,000 (INR) scholarship is open to students beginning their first year in September or January.

Other Scholarships

  • Castle Smart Scholarship: Castle Smart Estate provides undergraduate scholarships to international students studying in the UK. It covers approximately 6,00,000 (INR) in tuition fees. This scholarship is accessible via video rather than an essay. Students must prepare a video covering all the required points for their chosen course to apply.
  • Royal Society Grants: The Royal Society, the World’s oldest and most independent scientific academy, provides several scholarships. Undergraduate and graduate students can use these. The nature of this grant determines the eligibility and benefits of these scholarships.

Finding the best scholarships based on your interests and skills is a challenge. Start your scholarship search by choosing your preferred country and degree with Leap Scholar’s scholarship finder, which provides a free, up-to-date, comprehensive list of scholarships, grants and other awards available to international students worldwide.

Canada vs UK: Other Important Factors

The following factors are additional considerations when choosing between Canada and the UK.

Canada Vs UK: Study While Learning

Let’s look at the “Study while learning” differences between Canada vs UK.

Canada:

When it comes to Canadian universities, they typically require a Canadian student permit, which allows you to work on campus. You may only work during your academic programme, not before or after. If your course requires you to work as an intern or participate in a co-op, you must apply for a separate permit.

The UK:

International students with a Tier-4 student Visa may work up to 20 hours per week and full-time on holidays during their academic programmes. The work usually entails a part-time job on campus, such as working in the cafeteria or working part-time for a university-affiliated employer, such as assisting with research or teaching. Your chosen course will determine the work you get from corporate sector employers.

Canada Vs UK: Post-Study Work

Let’s look at the Post-study work differences between Canada Vs UK.

Canada:

Canada has always welcomed students who wish to return after graduation to seek employment or pursue postgraduate studies. Indians and other international students can apply for a three-year post-graduation work permit, which allows them to stay in the country and work in any field or industry. 

A work permit can eventually help students qualify for permanent residency.

The UK:

Before 2020, the UK had a stringent policy regarding post-study work opportunities for international students. International students could return to the UK for four months to look for and obtain employment. A further limit was imposed on the number of students who could receive this Visa to look for work after graduation.

Students who want to work after their studies must apply for a Skilled Worker Visa for highly skilled workers with an annual income of over INR 20,44,014.52 approx. This Visa is only valid for a maximum of 5 years. In 2020, the rule was changed to allow graduate and postgraduate students to return to the UK for two years to seek preferential employment.

Canada vs UK: Benefits

Let’s look at the study benefits between Canada Vs UK.

Why study in the UK?

  • The National Health Service aims to provide healthcare to all citizens.
  • Fantastic transportation system
  • Natural beauty and beautiful landscapes
  • Access to art galleries and museums is free.
  • A global financial centre
  • Excellent labour laws and benefits for employees.

Why study in Canada?

  • Everyone has access to free healthcare.
  • The crime rate is low.
  • Locals and immigrants can both find work.
  • Education is reasonably priced.
  • A vast and lovely landscape.
  • The cost of living is relatively low.
  • People who are welcoming and friendly.

Wrapping Up

We can conclude that both countries offer excellent educational opportunities to Indian and international students. It is entirely up to the student to choose between Canada Vs UK for higher education. We know all of the above information may be a bit overwhelming. Still unsure about which is better between Canada Vs UK? Want further guidance on studying in Canada Vs UK as an international student? LeapScholar is proud to have a highly qualified team of counsellors with 50+ years of combined experience in helping students study abroad. Ready to take the Leap? Book a free counselling session right now!

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Can I find good job opportunities after my studies?

    A. Both Canada and the UK offer excellent job opportunities for international students. Canada provides work permits, allowing you to gain valuable work experience during and after your studies, making it easier to find employment. Similarly, the UK offers a post-study work visa, allowing you to work for up to 2 years after graduation. Researching the job market and specific industries in both countries is essential to understand where your skills and qualifications might be in demand.

  • Q. Will I be able to afford living expenses in these countries?

    A. Living expenses vary depending on the city and your lifestyle. Still, the cost of living in Canada is generally lower than in the UK. However, it’s crucial to consider tuition fees, which can be higher in Canada. Both countries offer scholarships and part-time job opportunities to support students financially. You should create a budget plan and explore available scholarships and grants to estimate your ability to cover living expenses.

  • Q. What is the healthcare system like in Canada and the UK?

    A. Both Canada and the UK have well-established healthcare systems. In Canada, you can access publicly funded healthcare, known as Medicare. While in the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) offers free medical services to residents, including international students. It’s important to have medical insurance coverage to ensure additional protection and access to specialised treatments.

  • Q. How culturally diverse are these countries?

    A. Both Canada and the UK are known for their diverse cultural landscapes. However, Canada is often celebrated for its multiculturalism and welcoming attitude toward immigrants. With a significant Indian population, you will likely find a close-knit community and cultural events in many cities. The UK also offers cultural diversity, especially in London, renowned for its international communities and diverse experiences.

  • Q. Can I work part-time while studying?

    A. Yes, as an international student, you can work part-time in Canada and the UK. In Canada, you can work up to 20 hours per week during academic terms and full-time during scheduled breaks. The UK also permits international students to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations. These opportunities allow you to gain practical experience, earn income, and supplement your finances.

  • Q. Will I be eligible for scholarships or financial aid?

    A. Both Canada and the UK offer scholarships and financial aid for international students. Canadian universities provide numerous merit-based and need-based scholarships. Similarly, UK institutions offer international students various scholarships, grants, and bursaries. Check the eligibility criteria, application deadlines, and requirements to increase your chances of securing financial support.

  • Q. Can I extend my stay in these countries after graduation?

    A. Both Canada and the UK provide opportunities to extend your stay after graduation. In Canada, you can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, allowing you to work for up to three years, depending on the duration of your program. The UK introduced the Graduate Route in 2021, which offers two years of post-study work visas for international students completing their degrees in the UK. These visa options allow you to gain further work experience and potentially settle permanently.

  • Q. Are there support services available for international students?

    A. Yes, Canada and the UK have dedicated support services for international students. Universities provide orientation programs, academic support, counselling services, and immigration advice to help you navigate student life effectively. Student associations often organise cultural events and social activities, providing opportunities to network and make friends from diverse backgrounds.

  • Q. How safe are these countries for international students?

    A. Both Canada and the UK are considered safe for international students. However, taking necessary precautions and being aware of your surroundings is always essential. Universities in both countries have campus security measures, providing a safe learning environment. It’s advisable to research the specific city and university you plan to study in to gather information about safety measures and local crime rates.

  • Q. Can I bring my family members with me as a student?

    A. Yes, under certain conditions, you may be able to bring your family members as a student. In Canada, you can apply for a study permit that allows your spouse/common-law partner to obtain an open work permit, and your dependent children can accompany you. Similarly, in the UK, your spouse/partner and dependent children can join you if you are studying a full-time postgraduate course for over 12 months. Proper documentation and financial requirements must be fulfilled for family members to accompany you.

  • Q. Will language be a barrier for an Indian student in these countries?

    A. English is the primary language of instruction in Canada and the UK, making it easier for Indian students to adapt. However, minor differences in accents and vocabulary might take some time to adjust to. Universities often provide English language support programs to enhance your skills if required. Engaging with local communities and participating in language exchange programs can also help improve your language proficiency.

  • Q. How can I stay connected with the Indian community in these countries?

    A. Canada and the UK have vibrant Indian communities, allowing you to stay connected with your cultural roots. You can find Indian cultural associations, community centres, and student organisations within universities that organise events, festivals, and social gatherings. Social media platforms and online forums can also serve as a means to connect with fellow Indian students or professionals in your chosen field.


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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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