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Studying in Canada: Universities, Programs & Rankings

Studying in Canada has become an increasingly popular choice for Hong Kong students. With world-class universities to select from, a simple student visa process and affordable tuition fees, universities in Canada seem like the perfect avenue for further study. The progressive and inclusive environment that Canada is known for, high quality of life, and the fact that students are able to study and work at the same time are just some extra benefits that solidify the decision for Hongkongers looking to study abroad. A convenient post-graduate work permit means that after students complete their studies, they can continue living in Canada to develop their skills.

Enjoy life in some of the top student-friendly cities in the world when studying in Canada. If you cannot decide which university to apply for, here is a quick snapshot of the top 3 universities in Canada


1. University of Toronto

The University of Toronto, or U of T, has established itself as one of Canada’s leading institutions of learning and discovery. It has three campuses: St. George, Mississauga, and Scarborough. Ranked 23rd in the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities and 25th in the QS World Universities Rankings 2021, the University of Toronto boasts not only high-quality education as one of the world’s most research-intensive universities but also a welcoming and enjoyable student life environment. Hongkongers may have an easier transition with its high international population; out of the 90,077 students enrolled in Fall 2019 – 2020, there were 23,019 international students from 159 countries and regions. 

With over 700 undergraduate and 200 graduate programs at the University of Toronto, you can easily choose and excel in a program that fits your interest and career path. For those interested in the medical field, you might be impressed to know that the University of Toronto placed 4th for Medical Technology, 12th for Public Health, 13th for Pharmaceutical Sciences, and 15th for Clinical Medicine in the Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020. Other global rankings to note include placing 9th for Computer Science and Engineering, 4th for Automation and Control, 10th for Statistics, 8th for Psychology, and 18th for Finance. With these rankings, it is obvious that the University of Toronto is a global leader in research and teaching. 


2. University of British Columbia 

As a global centre for teaching, learning, and research, the University of British Columbia (UBC) has consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. Some programs like Telecommunication Engineering, Geography, Ecology, and Transportation Science and Technology, were all placed within the top 20 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020. Choose from over 250 undergraduate and 300 graduate degree options. With over 2,000 research supervisors, graduate students can even design their own program. 

The University of British Columbia has two campuses, one in Vancouver and another in the Okanagan Valley. Hong Kong students can rest assured with their move to Canada when studying at the University of British Columbia because of its highly inclusive and intercultural environment. It was most recently recognized as North American’s most international university by Times Higher Education. Out of the 66,512 students enrolled, 18,283 were international students from 166 countries around the world. The academic excellence, student-centred learning environment, modern facilities and fantastic location attracts students from around the world every year. 


3. McGill University

McGill University prides itself as a competitive and research-intensive university. Since its founding in 1821, McGill University has become well-known for its teaching, innovation and research. It was rated number one among medical-doctoral universities in Canada for 16 consecutive years, according to Maclean’s University Rankings 2021. The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University is the oldest and best-known medical school in Canada. Its various engineering programs are also rated high in global subject ratings. Combined with the university’s international network, students can thrive beyond the years of study. 

Compared to the other two universities, McGill University is much smaller. A total of 39,736 students were enrolled last academic year, of which 32% of students were international. Because of the significant percentage of international students, McGill University offers a range of advising and services specifically for international students to help them feel more at ease and at home. Located in the stunning city of Montreal, McGill University provides a beautiful and relaxing backdrop to quality education. 


Application Overview

Requirements to enter universities in Canada depend on the specific school and program you choose to study. The most basic requirement that all universities are likely to have included a certain level of English proficiency, evidence that you can support yourself financially, and an up-to-date passport. 


Canada’s New Study Permit Immigration Program

Before starting your semester and studying in Canada, Hong Kong students must apply for a study permit. Canada has also just made an announcement for HKSAR and BNO passport holders looking to apply for a study permit at the beginning of 2021. With the new scheme, priority processing will be given to all study permit applications received from HKSAR and BNO passport holders. They will also be visa-exempt and can apply for an electronic travel authorization should they wish to come to Canada. This announcement was made in conjunction with other immigration initiatives for Hongkongers, like the new Open Work Permit Program, which provides students with a dedicated pathway to permanent residency upon finishing their studies. 


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