Admission Procedure to Study in Canada

Shilpa Saxena
Updated on Jan 24, 2023 8:31 PM IST

Intakes to Study in Canada

Before we begin explaining details about the admission process followed in the universities of Canada, let us first find out about the various intakes in Canada.

Canada has three intakes in a year. Different universities in Canada accept admissions for Fall, Winter and Summer (or Spring) terms although most intakes in universities are accepted for the Fall term. Itusually commences in the month of September andis the primary intake term in Canada. The secondary intake term is Winter which begins in January. Usually, students who do not apply or qualify for admission for the Fall Term choose to apply for the Winter Term. The Summer (or Spring) Term begins in May and is offered in very few colleges in Canada. Summer term is also the least preferred intake by students.

Intakes in Canada

Refer to the following table for different intakes in Canada along with dates:



Application Process Start Date

Application Process Deadline

Offer of Admission

Fall Intake

September to December


February to April


Winter Intake

January to April


August to September


Summer or Spring Intake

May to August


October to February


Canada does not have a centralised application process. The dates and deadlines for admission vary university-wise as well as programme-wise. One must confirm the exact dates for admission to a specific university and course before applying.

Want to Study in Top Universities of Canada?

Types of Application Deadlines to Study in Canada

Moving to a new country is challenging, but knowing the optimal time to come might help you settle smoothly. All Canadian universities and colleges accept international students in the fall, winter, spring, and summer intakes, but mostly during the fall intake.

Prospective students are urged to select their desired college/university as soon as possible in order to be admitted to one of them to study in Canada during their preferred intake. It will give them ample time to organise the qualifications and work their way through the application and admission process. Students can also plan ahead of time for the cost of living in Canada.

Admission Process for Pursuing Bachelor Courses in Canada

If you have cleared the entrance exam required for admission to undergraduate courses at a university, submit the online application form for the same. Once the application is received by the university, you will receive an email regarding further admission process and schedule. If you clear the mandatory admission requirements of the varsity, you will be offered admission. After securing the admission offer letter, you must apply for a Canada Student/ Study Visa.

Canada has a different application process to apply for admission to colleges and universities situated in Ontario province, Quebec province and the rest of the part of Canada. The procedure to apply for admission to undergraduate courses is explained separately here:

Ontario Colleges and Universities

In order to apply for admission to universities situated in Ontario province, you must visit the OUAC (Ontario University Application Centre) website. The procedure to apply through OUAC is as follows:

  • Visit the official website of OUAC and find the OUAC Undergrad (105) Application Form. If you are a first-time applicant then you must create a user account on My OUAC.

  • Once you have the OUAC account created, log in and find the application form for the undergraduate course and complete all the sections of the application.

  • Review the application and sections and check I Verify and Agree at the end of the application.

  • Submit the application and make the application fee payment before the application deadline date.

  • Keep the record of the OUAC Reference Number for reference.

  • The application must regularly log in to the account for reviews and updates. The primary mode of communication is email and universities will acknowledge the receipt of the application via email.

Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC)

The Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) is a centralised application system for all Ontario universities. Students will apply through the OUAC whether they are going for an undergraduate degree or dreaming of attending law school, medical school, or even dentistry school in Canada.

Ontario is home to some of the most prestigious colleges in Canada, and acceptance rates can be quite competitive depending on the programme. While the level of difficulty in getting into a certain programme or school in Ontario varies, admission can be difficult. Ontario offers some of the most competitive university programmes in Canada, including the University of Toronto (43% acceptance rate) and the University of Waterloo (53% acceptance rate).

Even if they are applying to multiple schools, students must submit a single application through the OUAC system. OUAC charges a flat cost for their service, which allows students to apply to up to three different universities or programme combinationsthree distinct universities or three different programmes at the same institution. For an extra charge, students can apply for more options. Some colleges demand additional application costs in addition to the OUAC fee. The OUAC application fee is CAD 150, with an extra CAD 50 charge for any additional programme options. International applicants must pay a service fee of CAD 10.

The following is the procedure for applying through OUAC:

  • Go to the OUAC official website and look for the OUAC Undergrad (105) Application Form.

  • If you are a first-time applicant, you must create a My OUAC user account.

  • Once you have made an OUAC account, log in and look for the undergraduate course application form, filling out all of the fields.

  • Examine the application and sections, then click "I Verify and Agree" at the bottom.

  • Submit your application and pay the application cost before the application deadline.

  • Keep a record of the OUAC Reference Number for future reference. The application must be logged in on a frequent basis to be reviewed and updated.

  • The application must be logged in on a frequent basis to be reviewed and updated. Email is the major form of communication, and colleges will acknowledge receipt of applications by email.

Admission Process for UG Courses in Canada

For most universities in Canada, there is a specific admission process that students need to follow in order to enrol in the course of their choice. Those interested in pursuing Bachelor courses in Canada must follow the following admission process.

Pre-Application Process in Canada for Pursuing Bachelor's Course

  1. Research and Shortlist:The first step in starting your study abroad venture is to research about the different universities and colleges in the country. While researching the universities and colleges, this will also be the best time to shortlist them along with a few courses that they offer. Read about the amenities, facilities and programme outcomes of the programme offered by a specific university and see if it matches your goals and aspirations.
  2. Read the Admission Requirements:Each student is required to meet certain admission requirements, specific to each university and course. Moreover, international students will be required to meet additional requirements. Therefore, go through the admission requirements of each university and course as well as the requirements for international students to successfully apply and enrol in the course and university of your choice.

Application Process in Canada for Pursuing Bachelor's Course

  1. Register:Most universities require students to apply to the official university website and submit the application forms. Interested applicants should visit the official website of their university of choice. Once registered, the candidate will be able to fill up the application forms and submit the form with the necessary documents.
  2. Attempt Standardised Tests:It is advisable to take the tests before you begin with your application. Tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, GMAT and SATs have commonly accepted tests in Canada. You may be required to present valid test scores in these tests or any other relevant test defined by the University of your choice for admissions.

Post-Application Process in Canada for Pursuing Bachelor's Course

  1. Appear for Interviews:Universities and colleges in Canada will revert back to you and ask you to appear for interviews to complete your admission processes. One of the steps that you need to complete is to sit for Personal or Video Interviews, as specified by the University.
  2. Await Response:The Universities will respond and provide you with the details of whether you are selected for admission at the university, depending on your performance in the interviews. Selected candidates will receive an offer letter that will provide the next few steps that you need to complete, including depositing a non-refundable deposit or security deposit as confirmation of acceptance of the offer letter.
  3. Apply for Financial Aids:Once selected for admissions, you must look out for financial aid such as student loans, student scholarships and other financial support measures. Universities will be able to provide you with the appropriate scholarship and financial aid. However, you will be required to apply for student loans separately. Studying in Canada can be expensive, therefore, applying for student loans can be the right choice for you.
  4. Apply for Student Visa:Students planning their higher education studies are required to apply for the appropriate Study Permit in Canada to commence their studies in Canada. Refer to the Embassy of Canada that is closest to you and apply for the Study Permit. You will also be required to sit for interviews to receive approval for the Study Permit. Once approved, you can commence your higher education studies in Canada.
  5. Book Flight Tickets:The final step in starting your course in Canada is to book the flight tickets and fly over to the country. Book your flight tickets as soon as you receive the Study Permit approval as you will not be allowed to enter Canada without a valid Study Permit, under the current COVID-19 regulations.

Eligibility Criteria for Studying Bachelors in Canada

Now that we in detail about the admission process to study bachelor's in Canada, here is a general eligibility criterion that aspirants must know before they can kickstart their admission process to study in Canada:

  • Class 12th from a recognised board of study in a relevant stream that matches the chosen programme is required.

  • Depending on the university, a minimum GPA of 2.5 to 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.

  • Test scores from any of the standardised examinations, such as the ACT/SAT/LSAT, must be approved and legitimate.

  • Must demonstrate English language competency through tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, and others.

Admission Deadlines for Undergraduate Courses to Study in Canada

The majority of undergraduate course application deadlines to study in Canada occur between December and March, with winter deadlines occurring between September and November. These courses are only available for enrollment during the fall and winter semesters.

Name of the University

Tentative Application Deadline

University of Toronto

January 13 (for most programmes)

McMaster University

January 13 (for most programmes)

University of British Columbia

January 15 (for all programmes)

McGill University

January 15 (for most programmes)

University of Montreal

  • Fall: February 1

  • Winter: September 1

  • Summer: February 1

University of Waterloo

February 1 (for all programmes)

Western University

February 1 (for all programmes)

Queens University

February 1 (for most programmes)

University of Calgary

March 1 (for most programmes)

University of Alberta

March 1 (for most programmes)

Admission Process for Pursuing Masters in Canada

If you have a relevant bachelor’s degree and have cleared the entrance exam required for admission in a graduate course in a university then you must submit the application form and complete the admission procedure. 

The universities of Canada directly accept the application form for graduate courses. You can request for the application form via email to universities or download the application form available on the official website of the university.

Past academic qualifications and work experience play an important factor in determining admission confirmation. Each university sets its own evaluation system to enrol students in graduate courses. The universities ask candidates to submit certain documents for evaluation based on which the admission is confirmed.

Pre-Application Process for Masters Courses in Canada

  1. Research Universities and Courses: Start your study abroad experience by researching and studying the different universities and courses available in Canada, that are perfect for you. You can check out our list of the top Universities and Colleges in Canada for PG courses. While researching, it is also advisable to go through the various amenities, facilities and financial aids available for international students.
  2. Shortlist Universities and Courses: Once you are updated on the different universities and courses on offer in Canada, then you can choose and shortlist the best universities and courses as per your requirements.
  3. Go through the Admission Processes and Requirements: Be thorough with the admission processes and requirements that you will neet to meet, in order to enrol in the course of your choice. Each university will define its own admission process and eligibility criteria. Therefore, you must read through each admission process of the universities you shortlisted.

Application Process for Masters Courses in Canada

  1. Attempt Standardised Tests: Prepare and attempt the necessary standardised tests such as GRE, GMAT, IELTS or TOEFL and secure a good score in order to be considered for admission at the University of your choice. Each university will define its standardised test requirements, therefore, read them first before applying for any standardised test.
  2. Submit Application Forms: Start your application process by submitting the necessary application forms with the appropriate documents. Candidates must ensure that they are entering the correct information with the appropriate documents and certificates.

Post-Application Process for Masters Courses in Canada

  1. Appear for Interviews: All eligible candidates will receive communication from the university regarding the date, time and place, where they would be required to sit for a personal or video interview. These interviews will decide whether you are the prospective student that the University is looking for.
  2. Offer Letter: Universities and Colleges will send out admission offer letters to those shortlisted candidates that they deemed as prospective students. These offer letters will consist of all the information that the candidates will be required to follow to complete the admission process.
  3. Apply for Financial Aids: Once selected for admission, candidates can look out for and apply for the different financial aid that will help them cover the costs of studying in Canada. Apply for student loans, scholarships and other financial aids that can reduce the financial burden.
  4. Apply for a Study Permit: If you wish to commence your studies in Canada, then you need to possess a valid Study Permit. Connect with the nearest Canadian Embassy to your location and apply for the appropriate Study Permit. You must receive your Study Permit to enter Canada and commence your higher education studies in the country.
  5. Book Flight Tickets: Once you are approved for the Study Permit, select the best flight available to you, so that you can start your study abroad adventure. If your University is a registered DLI with an approved COVID-19 Readiness Plan, then you can fly over to the country and start your studies.

Eligibility Criteria for Studying Master’s in Canada 

For graduate admissions in Canada, applicants must meet the following general eligibility criteria:

  • Candidates must hold a recognised bachelor's degree from a university that is transferable to specified courses at the university.

  • They must have good bachelor's level grades and meet the academic requirements set by the department offering the course.

  • They must first check that standardised exam scores, such as GMAT or GRE test scores, are required and display them if necessary.

  • All international students must meet English language requirements via tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or any other English Proficiency test scores recognised by Canadian colleges.

Having Issues Applying to the RIght University in Canada!

Admission Deadlines for Postgraduate Courses to Study in Canada

Tabulated below are the admission deadlines and deadline periods of Masters programmes at some of the top universities in Canada for international students:

Name of the University

Tentative Application Deadline

University of Toronto

Fall: September-March

McMaster University

Fall: January to March

Winter: July to September

University of British Columbia

Fall: November to January

Summer: January to March

Winter: January to July

McGill University

Fall: February to April

Winter: September

University of Montreal

Fall: February 1

Winter: September 1

University of Waterloo

Fall: September to December

Summer: January to April

Winter: May-August

Western University


Queens University

Fall: April 30

Summer: October 1

University of Calgary

Fall: January to April

Winter: August 15

University of Alberta

Fall: January 15/March 31l

Ryerson University

Fall: February 1

Summer: November 1

Simon Fraser University

Fall: January 31

University of Manitoba

Fall: June 1

Summer: February 1

Winter: October 1

Deadline for MBA Programmes in Canada

MBA programmes in Canada have multiple deadlines. In fact, MBA programmes have numerous rounds of deadlines, such as Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3. However, it is not recommended to wait until the third round because most seats are already taken. Colleges in Canada have established deadlines for MBA programmes, whereas in some countries like the United States, colleges accept applications on a rolling basis. So, in order to begin the course on time, students need to wait until Round 3 is finished.

Admission Deadlines for Diploma Courses to Study in Canada

The table given below highlights the admission deadlines for studying diploma courses in Canada during various intakes:

Intake Season 

University Deadline 

College Deadline 

Fall Intake 

From December to March of the previous year

Between the months of February and April of the same year

Winter Intake 

September to November of the preceding year

Between the months of August and September of the preceding year

Summer Intake 

February of the same year

Between the months of January and February of the same year

Entrance Exams Required For Studying in Canada

In order to secure admission to Canadian Universities, you must clear some of the mandatory entrance exams. However, depending on the course you choose to pursue, you may be required to attempt one or more Standardised Tests and Entrance Examsfor admissions in Canada. Interested applicantsmust check the entrance test requirements defined by theuniversity for international students and courses, and appear for the same.

The following are some of the common entrance exams accepted for admissions in Canadian universities:

Entrance Exams for Bachelors Course

  • SAT Exam: SAT is an important exam that helps you to gain admission to some of the top universities across Canada. International students who are interested in pursuing one of the thousands of UG programmes available in Canadian Higher Education Institutions can attempt SAT, secure a good score and apply for admission using the score as a criterion. SATs help in outlining a candidate's aptitude for studying in one of the many globally-reputed Universities and Colleges in Canada.

Entrance Exams for Masters Course

  • GRE Exam: Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is an important exam for international students who wish to seek admission in graduate or master's courses like MS degree programmes. Similar to UG admissions, depending on the course you choose to study in Canada and the admission requirement defined by the University you choose for your Master's education, you may or may not be required to sit for GRE.
  • GMAT Exam: For those planning to study a management programme in Canada such as an MBA, then you are required to have secured a good score in GMAT. Depending on the course and university you choose and the requisite admission requirements, you may be required to have secured a minimum score, in order to be considered for admission. Consult with the University or read through the admission brochure for the MBA course of your choice for specific details.

Note:For a few courses, you may not have to appear for any tests and you may receive admission based purely on academic performance. However, some Universities and Colleges may require you to attempt specific tests. Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly read through the admission requirements defined by Canadian Universities.

English Language Proficiency Tests

As an international student, you must take the English language test whether enrolled in Bachelor's or Master's degree programme. A common requirement for Bachelor's and Master's admission in Canada is the English Proficiency Test scores, which depict your ability to communicate and survive in an English-speaking community. The two most popular language test scores accepted by the universities of Canada are:

  • TOEFL Exam: The test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is one of the popular exams that one must qualify for to pursue higher education in Canada. It is a test to examine English language skills and is applicable to international students whose first language is not English. TOEFL is widely accepted in Universities and Colleges across Canada.Exam
  • IELTS Exam: IELTS is similar to TOEFL, which is a language proficiency test in English. Students aiming to secure admission to top Canadian universities can clear IELTS. Along with TOEFL, most Canadian Higher Education Institutions accept an IELTS score as proof of English Proficiency. There are two types of IELTS that are offered to applicants. Commonly accepted across universities and institutions in Canada is IELTS Academic. However, those interested in working after graduating in Canada may be required to apply for IELTS General.
  • PTE Exam:PTE or Pearson Test of English is another English Proficiency Test which has gained popularity in over half the countries across the globe, and is also widely accepted in Universities and Colleges in Canada. Certain Universities may require you to attempt specific English Proficiency Tests, therefore, check the requirements before you apply for any English Proficiency Tests.

Note:There are other English Proficiency Tests that are accepted by Colleges and Universities in Canada that are accepted, which include Duolingo Exam, Cambridge Assessment English and Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL). A few universities and institutions may conduct individual tests for applicants interested in taking admission to those universities.

Important Documents for Admission Process to Study in Canada

Students must apply for admission to their selected universities after deciding the course to pursue and shortlisting universities. But first, students must gather the following documents, which will help in their admission process to study in Canada:

  • Marksheets and Transcripts: Students must have all of their educational records or academic transcripts, from 10th grade to the highest level of study.

  • Result of the English Proficiency Test: Students must show proof of English competence. You can take one of the following exams and save the results for future reference:

    • IELTS

    • C1 Advanced

    • TOEFL

    • You must submit French Proficiency Tests such as TCF, TEF, DELF, and DALF if you are applying for a French-taught programme.

  • Updated Resume: Students must have an updated resume that includes all of their academic records, professional experience, talents, ambitions, and so on.

  • Proof of Funds: Students must show that they have adequate money to cover the first year of their graduate studies in Canada. This includes, but is not limited to, tuition, living expenses, books, travel, and other expenses.

  • Educational Credential Evaluation: This serves as verification that your foreign degree/diploma/certificate is valid and equivalent to a Canadian degree.

  • Other Documents: Statement of Purpose, Letters of Recommendation from Professors/from work, essays, copy of passport, student visa, photographs, etc.

Related Reads:

List of Documents Indian Students Need for Canada Visa

Life in Canada as an International Student

Study MS in Canada: Popular Universities, Courses Offered and more!

Top Universities in Canada to Study MBA

Kickstart Your Study in Canada Dream Right Now!

FAQs on Admission Procedure to Study in Canada in 2024

Can I go to Canada without taking the IELTS exam?

Yes, Canadian universities provide many alternatives for those without IELTS scores who wish to study in Canada. Alternative exams include: TOEFL, Duolingo English Test CanTEST, PTE, CAEL, CPE, Cambridge English Exams, etc.

Is it possible to bring my family to Canada while studying there?

Definitely! You have the option of bringing your spouse or common-law partner to Canada, along with dependent children. Depending on their situation, they might qualify for a study or work permit, or for a visitor visa. The applications need to be submitted in conjunction with your application for a study permit.

Can I study in Canada if I have a gap in my academic history?

The majority of colleges and universities in Canada accept students with gaps in their studies under regulations. Studies gaps of up to two years are acceptable between undergraduate and graduate courses, and five years are acceptable between graduate and undergraduate programs.

How much percentage is necessary for studying in Canada after 12th grade?

65% and above is the minimum percentage required for studying in Canada for the humanities stream in class XII, and 70 - 80% and above is needed for studying the science/commerce stream. Students who have not achieved 60% are eligible for Foundations or Diploma programs.

How long does it take to get admission in Canada?

You can expect the Canadian study permit application process to take up to 90 days after you submit your application, although it is usually faster. This process will also vary based on where you live. You may be able to get the study permit in a shorter amount of time with the Student Direct Stream.

How do I find out what academic subjects are acceptable at a Canadian university?

Universities set the minimum eligibility criteria for the admission of international students for a specific course. You can check the academic subjects on the course page of the college/ university website. You can also directly get in touch with the international student admissions office to confirm the admission requirement.

How do I decide which university is best for me to study in Canada? 

With many popular universities in Canada, it is often difficult to decide which college is the right choice for you. However, you can research the university that offers the course that you are interested in. For example, if you are planning to study MBA, look for universities in Canada that offer the best MBA course. After shortlisting the top MBA colleges in Canada, check the location, fee structure, duration of course, and study environment, and then select the final university to study in Canada. 

What to do in case I do not meet the English language test required for admission to a Canadian University?

Those who do not meet the English language requirements for admission to a Canadian university can take an alternative to IELTS Academic, TOEFL, or PTE Academic. If a student is unable to take the English language test, they will usually receive a conditional offer letter. Each institute sets its own requirements. Prior to beginning the course, such students can hold an International Baccalaureate degree or an equivalent diploma with English as the medium of instruction.

Can I transfer to a Canadian university from a university outside of Canada?

Canadian institutes provide students with the flexibility of applying as transfer students. Students who are studying in a university, college, university, polytechnic institute, or other institutes outside Canada must review the general requirements for the degree program along with the major or specialization before applying as a transfer student in Canada. For admission to a specific course at a Canadian institute, the candidate must also meet the GPA requirement. Admissions documents such as transcripts and test scores are required.

How can I find out if a Canadian institution is accredited or not?

The universities in Canada that are accredited by a governing body in Canada or abroad usually mention it in their prospectus or publish it on its official website. You can confirm the accredited body for a specific academic program before admissions. The degree offered by universities in Canada is accepted worldwide. One can apply for jobs in any country after acquiring a degree from Canada. Students who complete their studies from Canada find it easier to get a job within the country or abroad soon after the completion of their studies. 

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