2022-06-13T09:04:55-04:00November 26th, 2021|

Best Canadian universities for finance, economics, and accounting programs

As an international student, a degree in economics, finance, or accounting from a Canadian university can help you uncover new career paths, fast-track your professional career in finance, or lay the foundation for higher education in your chosen field.

While you’ll need an undergraduate or Bachelor’s degree to qualify for master’s programs in economics, finance, or accounting, you can be admitted to undergraduate programs in these fields as soon as you finish high school. Many Canadian universities accept international students who’ve completed their high school or undergraduate education in other countries, but the fees and eligibility criteria for international students are usually different from those for domestic students.

If you’re in the process of identifying universities you hope to attend, this resource showcases some of the best Canadian post-secondary schools for finance, economics, and accounting programs. This article will also provide an overview of graduate and undergraduate programs offered in these fields, tuition fees for international students, and general admission requirements for these programs.

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Eligibility criteria for admission into finance, economics, and accounting programs

Undergraduate programs in finance, economics, and accounting

For admission into undergraduate programs in Canada, and in order to obtain a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics or accounting, you’ll typically require a high-school equivalent diploma from your home country with a good score or grade point average (GPA). In some cases, you may also need to have studied high school level mathematics or calculus to qualify for admission into bachelor’s programs in economics, finance, or accounting.

Admission into university undergraduate programs is competitive, so the better your high school marks, the better your chances of admission will be. For international students whose first language isn’t English, or who haven’t studied English in high school, proof of English language proficiency—IELTS or TOEFL scores—will usually be required. 

If your application is shortlisted, many schools will also conduct interviews to select students who best meet the program admission criteria. Some Canadian universities also give preference to shortlisted students who have good extra-curricular track records, such as participation in sports or volunteer programs. 

Graduate programs in finance, economics, and accounting

To qualify for admission into graduate programs in Canada, and in order to obtain a master’s degree in finance, economics, and accounting, you must have a four-year (or four-year equivalent) undergraduate degree with specialization in a related subject. Most universities evaluate prospective students based on undergraduate marks (or at least your marks in the last two years of your undergrad program), so you’ll need at least a minimum 3.0 GPA, or 70 to 75 per cent average, to get into a good university.

For admission into graduate-level economics programs, Canadian universities may require you to have taken calculus, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and statistics courses in your undergraduate program. You may also need to take the GRE and achieve a minimum score to qualify.

Many graduate finance programs require applicants to have a few years of relevant work experience. You’ll also need to submit a GRE or GMAT score, or a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) level II exam score.

Entry into graduate-level accounting programs can be slightly complicated for international students; you’ll often need a Canadian undergraduate degree or diploma in accounting in order to qualify. Some universities, like York University, allow international students to complete a Canadian diploma and then enter the second term of the master’s program directly. Other universities require students to have taken courses in accounting, auditing, Canadian taxation, and finance to qualify.

For most graduate programs, you’ll also be evaluated on the basis of your academic marks, admission essay, academic or professional references, and, if shortlisted, your admission interview. For all graduate programs delivered in English, students are required to be proficient in English. If your undergraduate program was delivered in another language, you’ll need to get a good IELTS or TOEFL score.

Top Canadian universities for finance, economics, and accounting

Note Icon  Note
Unless otherwise specified, the fees listed in this section are total program tuition fees for students applying in the admission year 2021-2022. As an international student, you’ll also need to account for non-tuition fees, taxes, and living expenses. Please check your university website for the latest fee estimates.

Canada is home to some of the world’s best universities for finance, economics, and accounting courses. Here are some of the Canadian Learning Institutions that feature in the QS World University Rankings 2021 for these programs.

Please note that graduate programs are typically for one or two years (some are shorter) and the tuition fees outlined below for graduate programs are for the full degree. Undergraduate degrees are typically obtained in four years, and the tuition fees for those programs outlined below are per year of study.

University of Toronto, Ontario

Programs offered

  • Graduate programs: Two-year Master of Finance, ten-month Master of Financial Risk Management, 16-month Master of Accounting and Finance, eight-month Master of Arts (MA) in Economics, 18-month Master of Management and Professional Accounting, one-year Master of Mathematical Finance.
  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) with a specialization in Accounting or Finance and Economics, Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics, Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Economics and Mathematics, Financial Economics, and Mathematical Applications in Economics and Finance. Compared to the BCom and BA programs, BSc programs tend to be more research-focused.

Fees for international students: 

  • The international student fee for master’s programs ranges between $54,640 CAD and $109,500 CAD for the entire program, depending on the program you choose. 
  • Bachelor’s program fees for international students are revised annually. For students entering the program in 2022-23, the first-year tuition fee is $60,490 CAD.

University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Programs offered

  • Graduate programs: Two-year MSc in Business Administration in Finance (MSCB), one-year MA in Economics.
  • Undergraduate programs: BCom with a specialization in Accounting or Finance, BA or BSc in Economics, Bachelor of International Economics.

Fees for international students: 

  • The MA in Economics program has a total international tuition fee of $25,871 CAD and the MSCB program costs $18,262.62 CAD.
  • The annual international student tuition fee for bachelor’s programs ranges between $41,156 CAD and $53,254 CAD.

McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Programs offered

  • Graduate programs: One-year MA in Economics, one-year Master of Management in Finance (MMF).
  • Undergraduate programs: BCom with a major in Economics, Finance, or Accounting, BCom Honours in Economics, BCom with Joint Honours in Economics and Accounting or Economics and Finance, BA Honours in Economics.

Fees for international students: 

  • The tuition fee for the MMF program for international students entering the program in Winter 2022 is $25,662 CAD. 
  • For the MA program, the international student tuition fee is $9,330.90 CAD or $12,862.50 CAD, depending on whether you’ve opted for a thesis or non-thesis program.
  • The international student tuition fee for the BCom and BA programs is $56,544 CAD and $26,500 CAD per year, respectively.

York University, Toronto, Ontario

Programs offered

  • Graduate programs: One-year Master of Finance (MF), 12 to 16 month Master of Accounting (MAcc), one-year MA in Economics
  • Undergraduate programs: BA in Business Economics, Economics, Financial and Business Economics, BCom with a specialization in Finance

Fees for international students: 

  • The MAcc program has a total tuition fee of $56,700 CAD. International students who haven’t completed their undergrad in Canada must first complete an eight-month Diploma in Intermediate Accounting (DIAc) with at least a B-average to qualify for entry into the MAcc program (entering at Term 2).
  • The MF and MA programs cost $80,150 CAD and $12,550 CAD, respectively, for the entire program.
  • For BA programs, the annual tuition fee (for 30 credits) is $32,501.40 CAD.
  • BCom programs have an international student fee of $34,622.70 CAD per year (30 credits).

Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec

Programs offered

  • Graduate programs: MSc in Economic Sciences, MSc in Mathematics and Computational Finance (both programs are offered in French only)
  • Undergraduate programs: BSc in Economics and bachelor’s programs in Finance available in French.

Fees for international students:

  • For graduate programs, the average annual tuition fee is $27,992.70 CAD.
  • The average international student tuition fee for undergraduate programs is $24,607.80 CAD per year.

Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario

Programs offered

  • Graduate programs: One-year MA in Economics, one-year Master of Finance, 13-week Graduate Diploma in Accounting.
  • Undergraduate programs: BA Honours in Economics.

Fees for international students:

  • For the MA program, the international tuition fee is $51,709.80 CAD for the entire program. 
  • The total tuition fee for the Master of Finance program is $71,595 CAD. 
  • The Graduate Diploma in Accounting program costs $16,500 CAD for international students.
  • Undergraduate arts programs have an annual tuition fee (for 30 credits) of $50,925.60 CAD.

University of Alberta, Edmonton

Programs offered

  • Graduate programs: MA in Economics, MA with a specialization in Economics and Finance, two-year Master of Accounting, Master of Financial Management.
  • Undergraduate programs: Bachelor of Commerce with a specialization in Accounting, Business Economics and Law, or Finance, Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Fees for international students:

  • The total tuition fee for the Master of Accounting program is $50,400 CAD.
  • For MA programs, the fee varies depending on whether the program is course-based or thesis-based, and the number of courses you pick. Typically, a thesis-based MA program will cost $8,700 CAD per year.
  • The international student tuition fee for BA programs is around $118,000 CAD for four years.
  • The three-year BCom program costs $105,000 CAD in tuition.

University of Waterloo, Ontario

Programs offered

  • Graduate programs: MA in Economics (also available with co-op option), Master of Quantitative Finance (MQF).
  • Undergraduate programs: Bachelor of Accounting and Financial Management (BAFM), BA in Economics.

Fees for international students:

  • The international student tuition fee for MA programs is around $7,254 per term, with a minimum of two required terms. Co-op programs usually require two or three extra terms.
  • The MQF program has a term fee of $5,668 CAD for international students with three course terms and one internship term.
  • The BAFM is a four-year program with multiple co-op terms. The tuition fee for the entire program is around $183,143 CAD. Other BA programs have an annual tuition fee ranging between $53,456 CAD and $66,482.82 CAD per year.

Western University, London, Ontario

Programs offered

  • Graduate programs: One-year MA in Economics (aimed at students who wish to pursue a PhD in Economics after MA), sixteen-month Master of Financial Economics, Graduate Diploma in Accounting.
  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Honours specialization in Economics or Global Economics, Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies (BMOS) with Honours specialization in Accounting or Finance. 

Fees for international students:

  • The MA in Economics program costs around $27,827.86 CAD. Students who score an average of 85 per cent during this program can then enrol in the PhD program.
  • The international student tuition fee for the Master of Financial Economics program is $76,088 CAD.
  • The Graduate Diploma in Accounting is a single-term program that costs $16,000 CAD.
  • For undergraduate programs, the average international student tuition fee is $136,980 CAD for the full four-year program.

As a leading study destination, Canada is recognized globally for its world-renowned programs in every field of study and the quality of education offered by Canadian universities. Whether you’re exploring undergraduate or graduate programs, a degree in finance, economics, or accounting from a Canadian university will help you prepare for your future career and set you firmly on the path to success.