Study in Australia vs Canada

International students are often in a dilemma when it comes to which country they should choose to study abroad. This decision must be made according to their personal preference, courses chosen, career path, end goal, countries’ climate, culture, security, tuition fees, living costs and if the end goal is getting permanent residence, the immigration program in that country.

We have put together a comparison of Australia and Canada for international students to consider depending on their ultimate goals.

Key points of comparison

This table highlights some key features of the two countries, and details will be discussed further later in this post.

  Australia Canada
Quality of Education 43 universities and hundreds of education institutes 97 universities, offering education in English and French
Popular Courses Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Architecture, Agriculture, Law, Accounting, MBA, Health Care, Information Technology, Computer Science, Media, Education, Commercial Cookery and Hotel Management Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Computer Science, Pharmacy, Business, Nursing and Midwifery, Human Resource Management, Architecture, Dental Studies
Cost of Education From AUD 7,800 to AUD 42,000 (from school to higher education) From CAD 13,000 to CAD 40,000 (from school to higher education)
Living Expenses At least AUD 21,041/ year Around CAD 15,000 / year
Student Visas Can include spouse and dependants.

Students can work 40 hours per fortnight, and unlimited hours in semester break

Can include spouse and dependants.

Students can work 20 hours/ week, and unlimited hours in semester breaks.

After Graduate visas Can apply for post graduate visa for up to 6 years, depending on the course of study Can apply for Post study work permit for up to 3 years
PR Pathway Various visa pathway for students, long occupation lists There are a wide range of visas for international students to apply for after their graduation.

Quality of education


Higher education courses can be taken to earn an advanced degree and continue your studies in Australia. There are three main types of higher education which lead to Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Degrees.

In Australia it is quite common for students to enrol in a double or combined Bachelor’s Degree program which leads to the award of two Bachelor Degrees. This is most common in the fields of arts, commerce, law, and science.

There are 43 universities in Australia (40 Australian universities, two international universities, and one private specialty university). Along with our universities, many other institutions offer higher education courses. You can search for institutions and courses using the Institution and Course Search on this website.

World top Australian Universities (Ranking 2021):

  • The Australian National University (Canberra) – Rank 31
  • The University of Sydney (New South Wales) – Rank 40
  • The University of Melbourne (Victoria) – Rank 41
  • The University of New South Wales (NSW) – Rank 44
  • The University of Queensland (Queensland) – Rank 46
  • Monash University (Victoria) – Rank 55
  • The University of Western Australia (Western Australia) – Rank 92

As of 2021, there are 97 universities across this nation, 26 of which are featured in world top universities. Unsurprisingly, Canadian universities offer more 2000 different courses, from professional to trade. Therefore, study options in Canada are greater than that in Australia.

The most popular provinces in Canada for international students are Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. It must be noted that to study in Quebec, knowing French is a huge advantage.

World top Canadian Universities (Ranking 2021):

  • University of Toronto (Toronto) – Rank 25
  • McGill University (Montreal) – Rank 32
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) – Rank 45

Cost of Education and Living Expense


Cost of Study (see the funds calculator here)

School Fees $7,800 to $30,000
Diplomas/ Certificates From around $4,000 to $22,000per year
Bachelor’s Degree Fees range from about $20,000 to $45,000, with higher fees for subjects such as medicine and veterinary science
Postgraduate degree Fees range from about $22,000 to $50,000, with higher fees for subjects such as medicine and veterinary science.
PhDs $18,000 to $42,000 per year
English Language courses Around $300 per week depending on course length


Living Expense

As of October 2019, the 12-month living costs are:

  • For students or guardians – AUD$21,041
  • For partners coming with you – AUD$7,362
  • For a child coming with you – AUD$3,152

Cost of Study

School Fees CAD 8,000 – CAD 14,000 per year
Diplomas/ Certificates From around CAD 2,000 – CAD 18,000 per year
Bachelor’s Degree Fees range from about CAD 13,000 to CAD 20,000, with higher fees for subjects such as medicine and veterinary science
Postgraduate degree Fees range from about CAD 17,000 to CAD 25,000, with higher fees for subjects such as medicine and veterinary science.
PhDs CAD 7,000 to CAD 15,000 per year.
English Language courses From CAD 3,500 to CAD 4,100 for a 12-week course

Living Expense

Living costs tend to be approximately CAD 12,000 to CAD 15,000 per year for students.

Student Visa


You can apply for a student visa to study in Australia and include your spouse and dependent children with your application. With a student visa, you are allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during your semesters, and unlimited hours during semester breaks. If you are a Master by Research or PhD students, you are allowed to work unlimited hours.

Your spouse can also work up to 40 hours per fortnight. If you are studying a Master’s degree and above, your spouse might be allowed to work full-time in Australia.

In some states and territories, your dependent child may be waived the school fees.


With a student visa, you can work up to 20 hours per week, and unlimited hours during semester breaks.

You can include your spouse and dependent child in your student visa application. Your spouse can work full-time while he/she is in Canada accompanying you, and your child can study for free.

After graduate visas

This is an important factor that international students should look into when deciding which country they should study in. A visa after graduation is a good opportunity for students to look for jobs and obtain work experience in that country. This is also a good time for students to earn more money, and travel to the areas that they were too busy to visit during their study period.


In Australia, international students have the opportunity to apply for a post graduate visa and stay in Australia up to 6 years. The period of this visa will depend on a number of factors, including what courses the students take, where the students live during their study.

There are two streams of post graduate visas:


You may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) if you graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) and want to stay in Canada temporarily to work. You can be granted a work permit for up to 3 years, depending on your course length, to stay and work in Canada after your graduation.

Please note that if you course length is less than 8 months, you are not eligible to apply for the post-graduation work permit.

Permanent Residence pathway


Australia has various visa schemes enabling international students to apply for a permanent residence visa after they study and earn experience. International students who study in Australia for at least 2 years will have more advantages to apply for a wide range of visas.

To find out more about PR pathway you graduate, click here .


International students who study in Canada and earn work experience in Canada have a better chance to apply for permanent residence in this country. The skilled visa programs are designed to award more points for those who have studied and worked in Canada.

To explore Canada skilled visa programs, click here.

Phu Vu Minh

Bachelor of Law
Master of Human Resources Management – Curtin University, Perth

Phu is our Education Consultant (QEAC: O761) and Migration Agent Assistant at VisaEnvoy. She was practising as a lawyer in Vietnam prior to migrating to Australia. She is currently assisting potential overseas students to obtain educational placements. Phu deals with Universities, TAFE and vocational colleges, and English Language schools as well as a range of private schools for primary and secondary students.

With her knowledge in human resource management and experience working in multinational companies, Phu helps international students to develop study plans in Australia to acquire knowledge and skills that meet their needs and objectives. Phu is also fluent in Vietnamese.

To speak with Phu about your study options please book a time here.

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