8 min read

USA vs Canada: Which is better for studying abroad in 2023?

Dec 05, 2022Date Published
Please Login
to perform this action
UniSearch - USA vs Canada: Which is better for studying abroad in 2023?

More and more students are travelling overseas to pursue higher education. If you are interested in studying abroad, you should take several things into account. What do you wish to study? How much does it cost? Which university should you pick? However, before any of that, you must decide which country you want to go to for higher education. The United States and Canada are currently two of the most well-known and prominent education destinations worldwide. Millions of prospective students have been wondering about whether to study in the USA vs Canada. Studying in one of the two nations has several significant benefits and drawbacks. Let’s find out which country is suitable for you

Pros and Cons of Studying in the USA vs. Canada

International students have access to excellent possibilities in both Canada and the United States. Although the USA has been accommodating international students for a long time, Canada is now also an immensely popular choice for international students. However, there are a few important aspects to take into account when choosing any sides in this “study in USA vs Canada” debate.

In this article, we’ll lay out how the two compare across factors important to international students. It will help you to choose the country that is ideal for you based on education costs, quality of life, employment opportunities, and, immigration laws. When you begin your study abroad research, all of these are important considerations.

1. World-Ranking Universities

International students have access to excellent resources in both Canada and the United States. However, there are a few important aspects to take into account while choosing the nation in which you should enroll as an international student.

When examining university rankings, you should keep in mind that they place a high emphasis on the quantity and grade of academic research conducted at these institutions. Alongside this metric, rankings like the QS and THE World University rankings also consider factors like international student ratio, academic and employer reputation, and more. These indicators create a well-rounded idea of the academic standing of a university.

If you're searching for a top-ranked, highly regarded university that also prioritizes research, the US offers more choices. The USA is home to the highest number of world-ranking universities globally! While Canada ranks fewer universities compared to the USA in the QS World University Rankings 2022, these universities are nonetheless excellent in academic standing.

When comparing US and Canadian universities, you will see that both have almost the same teaching standards. If you are an international student who does not emphasize enrolling in a top research-focused university, both the USA and Canada offer similar teaching quality.

2. Intakes Seasons

The academic calendars of both countries are based on local seasons. US universities offer three intakes: Fall, Spring, and Summer. On the other hand, Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer are the main semesters in Canada. Canada also separates the winter session into two seasons: January to April and September to December. Each institution has a unique method for preparing for the academic year.

3. Tuition Fees

International students pay higher tuition fees compared to domestic students in Canada and the US. When comparing the cost of education for international students, you need to keep in mind that tuition fees can also vary quite a bit across the board depending on:

  • The university
  • Your study level
  • The program you’re enrolling in

For international students, Canadian tuition fees between 2021-2022 fall around USD 26,500 for undergraduate programs. For graduates, average tuition fees round-up at USD 15,650. Tuition fees can vary greatly depending on what you’re studying too. A full-time bachelor’s degree in engineering can cost around USD 30,000 a year, compared to a veterinary medicine degree rounding up to over USD 50,000

In the case of the USA’s tuition fees, private universities generally cost more than public universities. An undergraduate degree at a private non-profit university can cost between USD 35,000 to 60,000 a year. On the other hand, the sticker price of a bachelor’s degree at a public university can go anywhere between USD 8,000 to USD 30,000 per year). You should always keep in mind that tuition prices vary from state to state as well.

With the range of tuition fees to consider in both countries, you’ll likely find something within your budget in either the USA or Canada. The key to finding the right option is careful research. US universities typically feature the cost of attending their school on a dedicated university page. In Canada, tools like EduCanada’s cost comparison feature can give you a clearer idea of tuition breakdowns.

4. Cost of living

In both countries, the cost of living for international students can also vary based on various aspect

  • Which state or province are you living in?
  • Are you planning to stay on campus or off campus?
  • How much do you want to spend on your personal expenses?

It will be far less expensive for international students to study in less crowded cities like Sherbrooke or Clarksdale compared to Vancouver or New York City. The average living expenses for an international student in the US range from USD 10,000 -18,000, depending on the individual student. On the other hand, an international student's annual cost of living in Canada ranges from USD 19,000- 31,000.

5. Healthcare

The cost of healthcare is much lower in Canada compared to the USA. This is due to public funding of the Canadian healthcare system. On the other hand, the US healthcare system is mostly private. Many colleges in the US require foreign students to register for health insurance. These students frequently have to pay expensive charges for private healthcare as a result.

6. Safety and Security

Canada is a better choice in terms of a safe and secure environment. Canada has a crime rate of 41.89%, compared to the US's total crime rate of 47.70%. Meanwhile, Canada scored 157.25 and the US had a quality of life rating of 163.60 in 2022. Canada and the USA show similar qualities of life, with the USA coming out a little ahead.

7. The Climate

The USA has a variety of climatic zones, including chilly and humid Alaska and warm and dry California. Canada, in comparison, offers a colder climate that is more consistent and has less seasonal variance than the USA. If you’re okay with the occasional chill, you’ll find parts of Canada very pleasant and the winters a brand-new experience. If you absolutely can’t stand the cold, the perpetually sunny parts of the USA may be a better destination for you.

8. Employment Opportunities

Both countries have a reputation for assisting overseas students who want to work part-time while attending university. However, the USA has strong regulations regarding who, where, when, why, and how you can work as an international student.

As an international student, you are only permitted to work on campus during your first year of study. You may apply for positions that support the general operations of the institution or any of its related sites. After your first year, if you want to work off-campus, there are two options you can choose from:

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT

For both CPT and OPT, you have to work within the field of your program of study. You will also need to arrange for CPT or OPT options yourself.

Now let's look at some of your work options in Canada! Depending on your study permit authorization, you can work both on- or off-campus without needing a work visa. Part-time work refers to a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are ongoing. Over the breaks, you can work full-time.

Canadian programs also offer co-op and work placements. Programs with co-op require professional work experience as part of your course curriculum. Generally, your university will help you find a placement with an industrial partner or employer for these. International students are permitted to work in Canada on a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) for up to three years after graduation.

You may also have the option to work in the USA for up to 12 months after graduation through a post-completion OPT. However, the duration of your OPT depends on whether or not you did CPT and/or OPT while studying in the USA. In the long run, you also need employer sponsorship in the USA to qualify for a work visa.

Study in the USA Vs. Canada: An Overview

Comparative Factors 
Fall, Spring and Summer
Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer
English Language Test
Either of IELTS - 6.5+, TOEFL - 80+, PTE - 60+, or Duolingo - 110+
Either of IELTS: 6+, TOEFL - 75+, PTE - 65+, or Duolingo - 105+
Acceptance Rate
Average Cost of living
USD 10000-18000 per year
USD 5500- 9,300 per year
No. of Universities in Top 100 World Ranking
Student Visa Rejection Rate
Undergraduate tuition fees
USD 20,000 - 40,000 Per Year
USD 23,000 - 26,000 Per year
Graduate tuition fees
USD 20,000 - 40,000 Per Year
USD 15,600 - 22,000 Per Year
Visa Approval Level
Easy to moderate
Moderate - difficult

*all the criteria can change depending on the universities, programs, nationalities, and time frames.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The USA or Canada, which country has more visa refusals?

Canada has recently rejected overseas students more often than the USA. the most recent information on immigration to Canada for individuals who have been rejected a visa or issued a letter of denial.

Study in the USA vs Canada - Our Final Thoughts

Be sure to consider these points before choosing Canada or the USA as your final study destination. You can choose based on your preferences and priorities cross the range of factors important to you. For instance, Canada might be the best option if you want a great education at a lesser cost and are keen to access post-graduation pathways in the country. The United States would probably meet your demands if you value a world-class education, comfortable living circumstances and job prospects, and are willing to spend extra for your education.