USA or Canada? Which Is Better For Study Abroad?


Sristy Sharma
Updated on Mar 29, 2023 05:49 PM IST

As the session finishes, the decision for higher studies has to be made now. If you are also among those lakhs of aspiring international students confused between Canada and the US for higher education, then this is where you will find out which among the two would be ideal for you.

USA or Canada? Which Makes for a Better Study Abroad Destination?

If you have decided to Study Abroad, then you are probably familiar with the fact that Canada and the USA are among the top study destinations for international students.

The top 50 universities of the world for higher education include names of both Canadian and the US universities, such as Harvard University(US), Stanford University(US), MIT(US), Princeton(US), University of Toronto(Canada), University of British Columbia(Canada), McGill University(Canada) and many others.

The most sought-after degrees pursued in these universities comprise MS and MBA with the top subjects being Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Data Science, Business Administration, etc. Universities in both these countries offer a wide range of graduate, postgraduate, doctorate, diploma, advanced diploma, certificate and PG certificate programmes to international students along with scholarships.

We have prepared a guide for you to decide which among the US and Canada is better to study abroad.

Canada vs USA for Study Abroad: An Overview

USA or Canada which is better to study abroad? Here is a table showcasing the major differences between studying in Canada and studying in the US:

Comparison Parameter



Intake Seasons

Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter

Spring, Summer, and Fall

Application Documents

Academic Transcripts, SOP, Letter of Recommendation (LOR), Academic CV, Language Proficiency Test Score

Academic CV, Academic Transcripts, Statement of Purpose (SOP), LOR, Language Proficiency TestScore

Average GPA and Admission Test Requirements

For Bachelors -Grade Point Average (GPA) - 2.5+ and SAT exam - 1100+ or ACT exam - 22+

For Masters -GRE - 307+ or GMAT - 550+

For Bachelors - GPA - 2.8+ and SAT - 1300+ or ACT - 25+

For Masters -GRE exam - 315+ or GMAT exam - 590+

English Language Proficiency Tests Scores

Either of IELTS exam:6.0+,

TOEFL - 75+, PTE - 65+, or Duolingo English Test (DET)- 105+

Either IELTS - 6.5+, TOEFL exam - 80+,

PTE exam - 73+, or DET - 120+

Acceptance Rate

40% - 58.7%


Top University in World Rankings

University of Toronto (=#18)

California Institute of Technology (#2) and Harvard University (=#2)

No. of Universities in Top 50 World Ranking



Top Courses

Business and Management; Engineering; CS & IT; Law; Biomedical Science; Cultural Studies

Business and Management; Engineering; CS & IT;Hospitality Management; Sports & Athletics

Undergraduate Tuition Fees

CAD 7,000 - 29,000 annually

USD 20,000 - 40,000 annually

Graduate Tuition Fees

CAD 15,000 - 32,000 annually

USD 20,000 - 40,000 annually

Doctorate Fees

CAD 45,000+ annually

USD 28,000 - 55,000 annually


Special scholarships for international students sponsored at University, Provincial, and National levels

Special scholarships for international students sponsored at University, State, and National levels

Post-Education Opportunities

Corporate Jobs, R&D sector, Professorship, Consultancy services, etc.

Corporate Jobs, R&D sector, Professorship, Consultancy services, etc.

Highest Employability Score



Average Cost of Living

CAD 8,000 -12,000 annually

USD 10,000 - 16,000 annually

VISA Approval Duration and Level

Moderate-difficult; 7 weeks

Easy; 3 - 5 weeks

Student VISA Rejection Rate



Overall Environment

Safe, secure and welcoming environment with extremely flexible permanent residence programs

Also a welcoming country with flexible immigration policies being reinstated by the Biden administration

Now let us check out in detail the difference between Canada and USA for masters while understanding the educational analysis, overall teaching environment, fees, top universities, scholarships, student visa and stay back, work opportunities etc. 

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Educational Analysis of Canada vs US

The Education systems need to be compared on various levels to understand Canada or US which is better for Indian students. The fields which are important could be elaborated as:

  • Students can choose to study in the US as per the type of institution they are applying to. The country has Junior Community Colleges, Vocational colleges and universities for bachelors and universities and colleges affiliated with the universities for masters.

  • In case you decide to study in Canada, the decision shall have to be made on the basis of the type of degree or course programme you would like to pursue. The country offers seven types of degrees and the duration of these degrees varies according to their type; Certificate level (one year), Diploma level (one to two years), Advanced Diploma (two to three years), Bachelor's degree (four years), Postgraduate Diploma OR Certificate (one to two years), Masters degree (one to two years) and Doctorate OR PhD (four to seven years).

  • The academic years of both countries are conducted on the basis of regional seasons. While Winter, Fall and Spring make up for main semesters, Summers are dedicated to certificate courses and internships. Canada divides its Winter season into two terms:September to December and January to April. The academic year planning varies for every institution.

Overall Teaching Environment in the USA vs Canada

Faculty ratio and quality are also important factors in deciding Canada or US which is better for Indian studentsThe class strengths of both countries have a range of 30-200. However, this is subject to the type of teaching carried on by the head.

  • Lectures are taken by a professor for the whole class and therefore include the whole class's strengths as attendees. These lectures are equipped with presentations, digital notes and other supportive materials as designed by the Professor.

  • Tutorials are used by the professors to divide the class into batches of 20-30 students and help them in gaining proper knowledge of a particular section or sections from the overall course material. These tutorials are designed into group and individual projects which can be assigned either by the tutor or students themselves, depending on the tutorial design.

  • Practical projects are assigned either in part with theoretical tutorials or as a whole. These also can be divided into a group or individual projects and tutors may direct or allow the students to take their own individualistic approaches into action.

Fees of Studying in Canada vs USA

Canada and the US have different tuition fees for international students, and these are about two to three times more expensive than the education cost for domestic students. It is probably in this nature that the countries have special scholarships for international students. However, if deciding Canada or US which is better for Indian students, it is imperative to study the fee difference between the two countries. Comparatively speaking, the tuition fees of Canadian institutes are lower than that of the US.

  • An undergraduate degree in the US costs between USD 20,000 to 40,000 annually, while in Canada this amount ranges anywhere from CAD 7,000 to 29,000 annually.

  • Professional degrees in law, Medicine, and other fields carry tuition fees of above USD 45,000 in the US while the minimum bar in Canada is CAD 40,000.

  • Graduate programs in the US may cost you anywhere from USD 20,000 to 40,000 annually, while in Canada they cost in the range of CAD 15,000 to 32,000 annually.

  • PhD program tuition cost in the US lies between USD 28,000 to 55,000, while in Canada the minimum of CAD 45,000 every year.

Note: The currency exchange rate of the Dollar and Canadian Dollar is not huge, yet the overall impact can be significant for the students.

Canada vs USA Top Universities

Both the countries, the USA and Canada, are home to a number of prestigious institutes that have earned a spot among the top universities worldwide. The institutions in both nations strongly encourage students to learn assertively and practically. This is because engaging in active learning strengthens students' academic underpinnings and facilitates their understanding of difficult and advanced concepts. So let us look at some of the top universities in USA and top universities in Canada that meet all the educational standards for prospective international students.

QS Ranking 2022 (USA)

USA Universities

QS Ranking



Canada Universities


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


University of Toronto


Stanford University


McGill University


Harvard University


University of British Columbia


California Institute of Technology


University of Montreal


University of Chicago


University of Alberta


University of Pennsylvania


McMaster University


Yale University


University of Waterloo


Columbia University


Western University


Princeton University


University of Ottawa


Cornell University


University of Calgary

Canadian Scholarships vs US Scholarships for International Students

Canada or US which is better to study is highly affected by the financial capacity of a student. In view of heavy tuition fees and additional incidental costs, the institutions of both Canada and the US have offered their international students scholarships, which can be availed on the basis of academic merit, financial need and community excellence.

  • Tuition fees for most doctoral programs in the US are covered under Research Teachership/Assistantship, Research aid and bursaries. Overall, international students can avail of various scholarships to study in USA.

  • International students can avail of various scholarships to study in Canada. Some of the popular Doctorate and Masters scholarships include the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, National Research Council of Canada (NRCC), Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program, NSERC, Quebec Provincial Government Scholarship and Ontario Trillium Scholarship. For detailed information, you may check PhD Scholarships to Study in Canada.

  • Universities of both Canada and the US provide a range of international scholarships on an individual basis, some of which cover all the expenses during the educational duration of students and are renewable for up to three to four years. However, the competition for the scholarships is extremely high and only a few excellent performers are able to avail the benefits.

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US vs Canada: Student Visa and Stay Back Period

USA or Canada which is better to study is a decision dependent on the stay-back period allowed on the student visa. It is especially important if the student seeks a job in either of the study abroad destinations after completion of their program.

  • Canadian Study Permit allows a stay-back period of up to three years depending on the course and its duration. The international students who opt for Masters in Canada can stay for at least one year after their course. If the course duration is of two years the stay-back period gets extended to two years. For all the international students pursuing PhD in Canada, the stay-back period is of three years.

  • The terms of stay back period in USA for international students are much more complicated and difficult than in Canada. Although once the student manages to get an H-1B visa they can stay for up to six years in the United States. However, getting an extension on Study Visa in USA is not easy. Especially, STEM in USA and PhD graduates enjoy certain perks though. They can with a timely application get their stay extended to a period of up to three years in the USA.

  • If asked, Canada or USAwhich is better for Indian students, then in terms of a student visa, stay back period, and future career, we recommend Canada. Although it is comparatively hard to get a Canadian visa, the eligibility criteria and cost of education are both comparatively lesser than in the USA. The stay-back period is clearly defined and the terms are simple as well. Moreover, US companies often hire Canada-graduated students, making it possible for students to study in Canada and look for job opportunities in the USA.

Canada or USA: Which is Better for Jobs?

International degrees are often the key to securing a job in the US or Canada. If the student is desirable for a career in the destination country then it is an important factor to consider which Highest Paying Jobs in USA and Highest Paying Jobs in Canada are better for Indian students. Salaries for various professions in the US are high compared to those in Canada. Some of these include software engineers, medical doctors, and management executives. Some of the top jobs in Canada are those related to education and healthcare. The average first salary for American graduates was USD 48,127 in 2018.

Practical Training Provided in the USA vs Canada

The practical training is included by Canadian universities as additional semesters into their course programs or as supported self-study suggestions. In the US,these practices are similarly upheld, however, an additional credit system and incentive push are apparent as internships, summer practical training and other self-based approaches are supported and motivated. While in Canada the emphasis is placed on additional credits through on-campus training and overall reference during the Career guidance process.

Post-Graduation Opportunities in Canada vs USA

The institutions of both countries enjoy a global reputation meaning graduates of these universities are offered employment easily not only in their home countries but also around the world. Find out more:

  • The QS Graduate Employability rankings of 2022 include a total of 18 Canadian universities, with the University of Toronto (89.5), University of Waterloo (88.7), Western University (73.8), McMaster University (61.9) and University of Alberta (57.6) placed at the top.

  • The same global list ranks 90 US universities including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (100), Stanford University (99.3), UCLA (99.1), Harvard University (97.7) and Cornell University (94.4) among the top ones.

  • Ranking Web of Research Centers ranks various government-owned and private research centres in both Canada and the US highly. There are a lot of job opportunities for Masters and Doctorate graduates in these research centres and others across the world.

  • The professorship is also one of the top choices of students graduating from the universities of Canada and the US.

  • Jobs in fields like Advertising, Biomedical, Finance, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Data Science, Management, Software Engineering, IT, etc. are some of the top jobs in America. On the other hand, jobs like Financial Manager, Program Analyst, Teacher, Pharmacist, Nurse Practitioner, Construction Manager, etc. are some of the most sought-after positions in Canada.

Life in Canada vs Life in the USA

While education analysis is comparatively more important for the students looking forward to pursuing the option of studying abroad, the overall environment of the country also makes a huge impact on decisions. Being overseas,contact with your own country and the possibility of experiencing a home environment would be minimal, you need to confirm that the environment of the foreign country is welcoming enough for international students. Whether Life in USA or Life in Canada as an international student is better for a living can be found on basis of some important parameters, which determine the quality of life.

While there are many aspects that can be attributed to a country's environment, some of which are probable to make the most impact on a students life have been described below.

Living Expenses

US or Canada which is better for living is directly affected by the annual living expenses in each of the countries. As an international student,the average living expenses in the USA are USD 10,000 to 18,000, differing from student to student. On the other hand, the average cost of living in Canada for an international student is CAD 25,000 to 40,000 per year. The accommodation costs in Canada are more burdensome than in the US, although there is not much difference. The exchange rate difference will however benefit a few thousand CAD only. Hence, both countries shall cost almost the same as far as living expenses are concerned.

Safety and Security - USA vs Canada

In terms of a safe and secure environment, if asked US or Canada which is better for living, Canada is a comparatively better option. Canada for international students provides an overall peaceful environment. The US has an overall crime rate of 47.81% while Canada has a crime rate of 41.89%. On the other hand, for the mid-year of 2021,the US had a quality life index of 163.60 while Canada scored 157.25. This indicates that people in the US enjoy their life in terms of qualitative comforts in a better manner.

Part-Time Jobs - Canada vs USA

The availability of part-time jobs in USA and part-time jobs in Canada for international students in both countries is immense. Both nations are known to be supportive of international students desiring to work part-time while studying. In fact, many universities provide opportunities for on-campus employment of students and also support students in searching for jobs beyond the boundaries of the university.

Communal Diversity - USA vs Canada

Diversity acceptance in a country determines the welcome that international students shall receive. US or Canada which is better for living is also affected by the communal diversity of the two nations. Canada as well as the UShave high communal diversity with Canada being more welcoming towards people coming from across the world. In the US, demographics are 1% American Indian, 3% Asian, 11% Hispanic, 12% Black, and 73% White. While in Canada more than 25% of the population consists of people of colour.

USA vs Canada: Permanent Residence

US or Canada which is better for living is important for students looking to settle down in either of the two countries. They should consider the various factors related to the course and the country of residence they desire to study. There are some key differences between the two countries. A post-grad work permit is an easy way to get into Canada for Indian students. They just need to work for at least a year and then apply for a PR.

Permanent residence in the US is known as a Green Card. Students with an F1 visa can get it after completing their studies while working under the Optional Practical Training program.

If you intend to stay in the US after graduating, you will need to acquire the necessary documents. Doing so usually requires a bit of effort and patience. Canada offers various programs that allow graduates to get a Post-Graduation Work permit. This permits them to work in the country after graduating.

Canada vs USA Climate

When comparing Countries with Best Weather for Indian Students, both Canada and USA top the list. Although we take a lot of factors into consideration while choosing a study abroad destination, climatic conditions are the ones most underrated. This is an important factor which we cannot miss since unsuitable weather greatly affects us. The following is a comparison of the climatic conditions of both countries:

Weather in USA

The US is a massive country with various climatic conditions over its vast territory. California and Arizona are two cities along the East Coast, which has warm climate. Cities like Boston and Chicago are located in the Midwest and New England, which has a cold winter climate. Portland and Seattle are located in the Pacific Northwest, which has a humid oceanic climate. Phoenix and Las Vegas are located in the Southwest, a region with a scorching desert environment. Cities like Houston and New Orleans are located in the southeast, which has a mild to hot, humid climate.

Weather in Canada

Depending on where you are in Canada, the weather might vary greatly. Canada covers five time zones as it disperses from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. Toronto experiences a milder winter than the majority of Canadian cities, although it is still extremely cold and snowy. Winters in Montreal are frigid and snowy. The country often has summers that are moderately cool.

USA vs Canada: Which Country to Choose?

Finally, after discussing all the possible factors affecting the decision of Canada or US which is better for Indian students, it is time to conclude with an observation. While Canada has better immigration policies and lower costs, education in the US offers more variety and better job opportunities. To make a decision, you should consider several factors such as your program of choice, university expectations, and scores.

International students in Canada are required to pay taxes if they earn income from outside of Canada. This includes any income they receive from various sources. Students earning in the USA also need to pay taxes. USA F1 visa holders are non-residence holders and need to file their income under the USA tax return.

Over the years, various countries have emerged as popular study abroad destinations for international students. Canada and the US have been considered dream destinations for many of them. However, in recent times, Canada has overtaken the US in terms of student preference. As previously stated, these are the most impactful factors and they might differ on a case-by-case basis.

If you are still confused between USA and Canada, we recommend taking the help of experts in choosing the right study destination. For more, you may write to us at

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Which is better to study in Canada or the USA?

It can be said that it is better to study in Canada as compared to the USA. This is because universities in Canada charge tuition fee that is typically 27% less expensive than those at US universities. However, there are many other things to take into account besides tuition fees like educational standards, quality of life, etc. Canada also has far lower living expenses. The lower cost of living in Canada may be a factor in why international students choose to study there.

Should I go for Canada or USA in terms of employment prospects?

It would be a wiser choice to go for the USA rather than Canada in terms of employment prospects. However, this too depends on a lot of factors like taxation. The United States offers greater compensation packages, while Canada has superior healthcare, more paid maternity leave, and other social benefits. In Canada, the standard workweek is a little longer than in the US. Both nations have a comparable system of annual leave.

Why do Indian students prefer Canada over the USA?

There are many reasons why Indian students prefer Canada over the USA. This includes a diverse culture, a well-regarded educational system, and top-tier universities. Canada has less options in this regard, compared to the US, which undoubtedly has more prestigious universities.

Is it easier to immigrate to USA or Canada?

Both Canada and the USA are immigrant-heavy nations that accept a sizable number of immigrants each year. Overall, it can be said that it is more difficult to immigrate to Canada because of family sponsorship but simpler for those seeking refugee status or education.

Can Canadian permanent residents work in USA?

Yes, Canadian permanent residents or citizens work in USA if they have the proper work authorisation depending upon the employment status. The form of work authorisation a person receives is determined by their level of education, their employment history, and the kind of work they will be undertaking in the USA. A Canadian citizen or permanent resident must first acquire a job offer letter from a US employer who will sponsor them for a work visa before they may begin working there.

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