Pursuing a university or college education in Canada can open many career doors, but unfortunately tuition usually doesn’t come cheap. Tuition fees alone can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year, depending on your school and program of choice. In addition, international students in Canada spend anywhere between $27,000 CAD and $64,000 CAD per year on living expenses.
Luckily, there are many fully-funded scholarships available to help international students manage the costs of a post-secondary education in Canada. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top scholarships for newcomers that can help you achieve your academic goals in 2023 and beyond.
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It’s important to note that the application process and deadlines for the various scholarship options vary. For scholarships that are offered by universities or colleges, you’ll usually only be able to apply after you’ve been accepted into a study program. In some cases, you may be automatically considered for scholarships based on your academic or extracurricular achievements, without having to submit a separate application. For graduate-level scholarships awarded by schools, you may also need to be recommended or selected by your department. Be sure to keep track of the scholarships you’re planning to apply for, so you don’t miss out on application deadlines.
Undergraduate scholarships for international students
Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships
This scholarship program at the University of Toronto assists international students who’ve demonstrated significant academic potential, creativity, and leadership. Around 37 international students receive this scholarship each year.
- Eligibility: You must be an international student (a non-Canadian who requires a study permit), currently in your final year of secondary school or have graduated no earlier than June 2022, and begin your studies at the University of Toronto in September 2023.
- What it covers: Tuition, books, incidental fees, and full residence support for four years.
- Deadline to apply: January 16, 2023
- Other criteria: To become a Lester B. Pearson Scholar, you must be nominated by your school and apply to undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto.
For more information on the application process, visit the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships webpage.
University of British Columbia International Scholars Program
These scholarships are distributed based on both merit and need. UBC offers 50 scholarships each academic year, spread across four categories: the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award, the Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award, the International Impact Award, and the Vantage One Excellence Award.
- Eligibility: You must be an international student on a Canadian study permit entering UBC from a recognized secondary school or transferring from your first year at another college or university. You must have graduated from high school no earlier than June 2022 and be applying for your first undergraduate degree. In addition, you must demonstrate a level of financial need that would otherwise prevent you from pursuing a degree at UBC.
- What it covers: Awards are based on need, with the university dedicating approximately $10 million CAD a year to the 50 recipients in the program. Recipients also gain access to unique learning opportunities, annual retreats, dedicated advisors, and more.
- Deadline to apply: November 15, 2022
- Other criteria: You only submit one application and don’t choose which award you’d like to receive. Rather, UBC will automatically consider you for all awards you’re eligible for.
For more information on the application process, visit the UBC’s International Scholars Program webpage.
Carleton Entrance Awards for International Students
This program awards international students entering their first year of study at Carleton University with a record of high academic achievement. In addition to the Entrance Awards, Carleton also offers Prestige Awards to international students with an admissions average score of 90 per cent and above.
- Eligibility: To qualify for the Entrance Awards, you must be admitted to Carleton with an average of 80 per cent or higher in high school, as well as meet the university’s language requirements.
- What it covers: Award amounts vary based on your grade average, but begin at a total of $4,000 CAD ($1,000 x four years) and go up to $16,000 CAD ($4,000 x four years) for the 2023 academic year.
- Deadline to apply: No separate application required. If you’ve been admitted to Carleton, you’ll automatically be considered for a scholarship. The scholarships are available for students entering in the fall term only.
- Other criteria: Scholarship value is calculated on your grade average at time of admission and won’t be recalculated based on your final marks.
For more information, visit the Carleton’s Entrance Awards for International Students webpage.
University of Calgary International Entrance Scholarship
This program awards international students beginning their studies at the University of Calgary who have a track record of stellar accomplishments inside and outside the classroom. Currently, this scholarship is awarded two students each year, based on merit.
- Eligibility: You must be an international student registered full-time in an undergraduate degree program at the University of Calgary that commences in the Fall 2023 term. You must be a new student and present a minimum GPA of 3.20. You also must meet the university’s English Language Proficiency requirement.
- What it covers: The scholarship is $15,000 CAD, renewable annually in the second, third and fourth years at the University of Calgary, provided you achieve a GPA of 2.60 or more over a minimum of 24.00 units in the previous fall and winter terms. The total award amount is $60,000 CAD.
- Deadline to apply: December 1, 2022. You can apply for this scholarship (offered under the High School Prestige Award) directly through the UCalgary portal.
For more information, visit the University of Calgary’s International Entrance Scholarship webpage.
Humber International Entrance Scholarships
This program helps new international students enrolled in Graduate Certificate, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma programs at Humber College achieve their academic goals. This scholarship is awarded to 40 students each year, of which 20 are awarded during September intake, 15 during January intake, and the remaining five during May intake.
- Eligibility: You must be enrolling at Humber College directly from a recognized secondary school, be a non-transfer student, and have a minimum final admission average of 85 per cent. In addition, you’ll need a 6.5+ score in IELTS (or equivalent) to qualify.
- What it covers: $2,000 CAD, over the first two semesters of your study
- Deadline to apply: September intake: the last day of May prior to Fall semester. January intake: the last day of September prior to Winter semester. May intake: the last day of January prior to Spring/Summer semester
- Other criteria: Even if you receive this scholarship, you’ll still have to pay the full tuition amount up front. The scholarship amount will be credited to your account after the tenth day of classes. In order to be eligible, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Your Humber Student ID number
- Confirmed Letter of Acceptance from Humber College for full-time program commencing in the appropriate Semester
- Personal statement of interest, including your Grade Point Average
- Two reference letters
Humber College also offers Bachelor’s Degree scholarships to all meritorious international students coming directly from high school with a grade of 75 per cent and above. If you qualify, you’ll automatically be awarded the scholarship without filing a separate application. If your GPA at the time of admission is 80 per cent or above, you may be eligible to renew your scholarship provided you maintain a GPA of 80 per cent or above during your study program.
For more information, visit the Humber International Entrance Scholarships webpage.
Graduate scholarships for international students
University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship
This program awards more than $2 million each year to full-time masters and PhD students at the University of Manitoba who have a history of academic excellence.
- Eligibility: All students accepted into these programs without provisions are welcome to apply, regardless of citizenship, given they have a minimum GPA of 3.0 at the time of admission.
- What it covers: UMGF master’s awards are valued at $14,000 CAD per year for 12 or 24 months, for up to a total of $28,000 CAD. UMGF doctoral awards are valued at $18,000 CAD per year for 12, 24, 36, or 48 months, for up to a total of $72,000 CAD.
- Deadline to apply: Students must be recommended by their department or unit to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for a UMGF. Consult your department for information on the application process and deadline.
For more information, visit the University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowships webpage.
Waterloo International Master’s Award of Excellence
This scholarship recognizes international students who wish to undertake research-based Masters degree programs at the University of Waterloo.
- Eligibility: Applicants must be international students with a valid Canadian study permit who are registered full time. The scholarship is awarded to Masters degree students in research-based programs, and only students entering the first term of their program are eligible. Additional academic criteria will be decided upon by the faculty and you must not have any outstanding academic or probation issues.
- What it covers: The scholarship award is valued at $2,500 CAD per term for a maximum of five terms.
- Deadline to apply: You’ll be automatically considered for this scholarship with the submission of your regular application. The application deadline for most Masters programs commencing September 2023 fall within January to February 2023.
For more information, visit the Waterloo International Master’s Award of Excellence webpage.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Leadership Scholarships
This three-year scholarship program provides funding and other opportunities to twelve full-time doctoral students, and is not tied to one specific learning institution.
- Eligibility: Non-Canadians can be either permanent residents or foreign nationals enrolled in a doctoral program at a recognized Canadian institution. Field of study should be related to the humanities or human sciences with direct relevance to Canada’s future. You must already be accepted into years one or two of a doctoral program and expected to complete your studies by 2026.
- What it covers: Up to $40,000 CAD per year for three years to cover tuition and reasonable living expenses to focus on their doctoral studies and the Foundation’s leadership program. Additionally, up to $20,000 CAD per year for three years, for the learning of languages, for travel and accommodations for the Foundation’s leadership program, and for research, networking, and travel related to their doctoral research. There will also be access to opportunities to acquire greater proficiency in Canada’s official languages (French and English) as well as Indigenous languages.
- Deadline to apply: December 2, 2022 at 5 p.m. EST
- Other criteria: The selection process is a rigorous one involving multiple rounds of interviews. If successful, you’ll be expected to participate in and organize activities related to the Foundation outside your normal course of study.
For more information, visit the Trudeau Leadership Scholarships webpage.
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
This scholarship recognizes students enrolled in graduate studies at 19 publicly-funded Ontario universities, including the University of Toronto, University of Guelph, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo, Western University, and York University. Each award is jointly funded by the Province of Ontario (two thirds) and the school offering the award (one third).
- Eligibility: International students who are studying or plan to study a full-time graduate program (master’s or doctoral level) at one of the 19 participating universities in Ontario under a valid temporary resident visa (student study permit) are eligible for OGS awards (valid study permits must be effective as of the graduate units’ OGS international application deadline). Applications are assessed on merit and must meet the criteria set by the participating schools.
- What it covers: The value of the OGS is $5,000 CAD per term. Thus, awardees may receive $10,000 CAD for two consecutive terms or $15,000 CAD for three consecutive terms.
- Deadline to apply: Date will be set by your graduate department or unit, who will then forward selected applications to OGS for final consideration.
- Other criteria: Applicants must submit an OGS application to their proposed graduate unit using their school’s centralized OGS application portal. If you’re applying to multiple participating schools, you’ll need to submit a different OGS application for each school.
For more information, visit the Ontario Graduate Scholarships webpage.
Where to find more information about scholarships for international students in Canada
This list of scholarships is by no means comprehensive, so make sure to do your own research and see what else is out there! Start by checking if your academic institution offers any international student scholarships that you qualify for. You may also be eligible for program-specific or independent scholarships to fulfill your dream of studying in Canada. Educanada, studentawards.ca and scholarshipscanada.com are great resources to help you get started.
Other ways to fund your university or college education in Canada
While scholarships are a helpful tool, they’re far from the only way to fund a post-secondary education in Canada. Even if you do receive a scholarship, it may have to be supplemented with other sources.
As an international student, you may be able to rely on student loans or lines of credit to fund your education in Canada. You may also qualify for student grants or bursaries that are offered by universities, colleges, and other organizations. Alternatively, many international students choose to work while studying to cover their living expenses in Canada.
As an international student, studying in Canada can be expensive. However, the Canadian government and universities offer many scholarships to help international students achieve their academic goals. This resource will provide you with a starting point to research scholarship options to fund your education in Canada.