Top 10 Colleges in Canada for International Students

May 18, 2023


  • Shireen Fisher

Canada is a top study-abroad destination for many international students pursuing academic goals. This land of maple leaves has a cutting-edge educational infrastructure, dynamic institutions, and substantial research facilities at a long list of colleges and universities. Many students opt to study at a college in Canada schools because these institutions offer on-the-job training, with a selection of globally recognized and distinctive certifications, diplomas, and full-time degree programs. So if you would like to study here, take a look at the top 10 Colleges in Canada.

The Top Ten Colleges in Canada

Humber College

Humber College has been at the forefront of career-focused learning for more than 50 years. This college offers bachelor's degrees, diplomas, and postgraduate certificates in more than 220 programs on its three campuses in Toronto, Ontario. Offering an education that will take students from the study halls straight into a job, it is the college of choice for over 86,000 learners, of which 9,000 are international students.

Humber College offers students a great range of credit and non-credit courses in several fields spread across six faculties:

  • Faculty of Applied Sciences & Technology
  • Faculty of Business
  • Faculty of Health Sciences & Wellness
  • Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Faculty of Media & Creative Arts
  • Faculty of Social & Community Services

Douglas College

Douglas College is the largest degree-granting college in British Columbia, Canada. Founded in 1970, this prestigious college sees the registration of around 25,000 students, including 4,210 international students from over 92 countries per year. The college's two campuses, New Westminster and Coquitlam, are located in Metro Vancouver, but there are also smaller campuses in Surrey, Burnaby, and Maple Ridge. When choosing to study at one of the main campuses, you will have easy access to Sky Train lines, making commuting a breeze.

Douglas College offers students a great range of credit and non-credit courses in several fields spread across six faculties:

  • Faculty of Applied Community Studies
  • Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Language, Literature and Performing Arts
  • Faculty of Science and Technology

Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology

Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology offers certificate and degree programs.  It is Ontario's first publicly funded college. The institution, which was founded in 1966, offers a number of programs and courses, including engineering technology.

More than 400 programs are available from Centennial in more than 260 different disciplines of study, including bachelor's degrees, diplomas, certificates, post-graduate certifications, and apprenticeship programs.

As far as international students are concerned, there are over 14,000 students from all over the world enrolled at Centennial in 2022. It considers itself one of the most culturally diverse post-secondary institutions in Canada.

The College is home to a number of schools that offer full-time and part-time courses. These are as follows:

  • School of Advancement
  • The Business School
  • School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design
  • School of Community and Health Studies
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts
  • School of Transportations

Sheridan College

Founded in 1967, Sheridan College was founded in 1967 and is one of Ontario's leading post-secondary places of learning. The college is popular with Canadian and international students. It provides them with a learning setting that pushes innovation and creativity. When you choose Sheradin, you'll find yourself thriving in one of the most vibrant and diverse paces. Students benefit greatly from the college's practical and experiential style of learning and have the choice of over 90-degree programs and many with work-integrated learning (WIL)* opportunities.

Sheridan College offers a range of programs that are spread across five faculties:

  • The Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design (FAAD)
  • The Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies (FAHCS)
  • The Faculty of Applied Science and Technology (FAST)
  • The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHASS)
  • The Pilon School of Business (PSB)

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is laid out across three campuses in Ottawa, Pembroke, and Perth. The institution offers hands-on learning programs consisting of degrees, advanced diplomas, and graduate certificates. This college is the largest of its kind in East Ontario. It has added a number of new buildings to its campuses over the last few years to accommodate an influx of students. You can choose from full-time and part-time courses. The college's 'Fourth Campus' is a virtual setting, which is the perfect platform for online courses and support.

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology offers students a great range of credit and non-credit courses in the following categories:

  • School of Advanced Technology
  • Alonqin Centre For Construction Excellence
  • School of Business
  • General Arts and Sciences
  • School of Hospitality and Tourists
  • Language Institute
  • School of Media and Design
  • Police and Public Safety Institute

Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology

In Hamilton, Ontario, there is a public college of applied arts and technology called Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology. The institution was founded in 1966, and it has three main campuses.

Mohawk College is considered an amazing education destination for international students from more than 80 different nations taking advantage of the vast range of programs and services provided. Mohawk has a variety of programs that give foreign students access to professional prospects.

At Mohawk, you'll have the chance to learn skills that will help you get ready for whatever lies ahead and be exposed to a world of possibilities. Business, entrepreneurship, engineering, healthcare, English language instruction, and other fields in order to produce graduates who are prepared for the workplace and the future.

Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology offers students a great range of credit and non-credit courses in the following categories:

  • Business
  • Community Service
  • Creative Industries
  • Health
  • Skills and Trade Apprenticeship
  • Technology
  • Preparatory Studies

St Lawrence College, Ontario

St Lawrence College is an Applied Arts College which was established in 1967. The college has campuses in Kingston, Brockville, and Cornwall. It has a community of 10,000 full-time students and more than 96,000 alumni. The college has around 100 programs available and has a great system in place to give international students the best possible global learning experience.

St Lawrence College offers students a great range of credit and non-credit courses in the following categories:

  • Arts, Media and Design
  • Business
  • Community and Social Services
  • Health and Culinary
  • Justice Studies
  • Science and Technology
  • Skilled Trades

George Brown College

George Brown College was founded by 19th-century Scottish-born Canadian politician, and newspaper publisher George Brown in 1968 in Toronto. The college started with 2000 students, and today, this figure has spiraled to about 30,000. Program offerings at this institution include construction, early childhood education, dental services, and even marine engineering. The college is committed to developing skills and providing students with the real-world experience required to thrive once on the job.

George Brown College offers students a great range of credit and non-credit courses in the following categories:

  • Arts, Design and Information Technology
  • Business
  • Community Services and Early Childhood
  • Construction and Engineering Technologies
  • Health Sciences
  • Hospitality and Culinary Arts
  • Preparatory and Liberal Studies

Red Deer College (Red Deer Polytechnic), Alberta

In 2021, Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP), formerly Red Deer College, will become a public institute in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. The College is now a local polytechnic institute with the added capacity to award bachelor's degrees.

Red Deer Polytechnic offers more than 75 distinct academic and vocational programs, certificates, diplomas, advanced certificates, applied degrees, Bachelor degrees, and academic upgrades. As with all the post-secondary institutions on this list of Best Colleges in Canada for international students, Red Deer is a Designated Learning Institution that provides courses that qualify for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

Red Deer College offers students a great range of credit and non-credit courses in the following categories:

  • Arts
  • Education
  • Childcare
  • Healthcare
  • Legal Studies
  • Trades Professions
  • Sciences
  • Communications and media

Vanier College

Vanier College was established in 1970. It is publicly funded and functions as an English language CEGEP. It was named after General Georges P. Vanier, who was a Canadian soldier, diplomat and former Governor General of Canada. Its first year saw around 1,400 students registering. Today the college has a student population of over 6,700 full-time students and 2,000 students who have opted for the Continuing Education Department (credit and non-credit courses and programs). Vanier College campus is in the Borough of Saint-Laurent, Montreal. The college offers full-time pre-university and technical career programs that can lead to a Diploma of College Studies (DCS).

Vanier College offers students a great range of credit and non-credit courses in the following categories:

  • Arts
  • Education
  • Childcare
  • Healthcare
  • Legal Studies
  • Trades Professions
  • Communications and media
  • Sciences

Note: Before you start your Canadian student journey, it is important to do as much research as possible to find the best Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) in Canada or your area of interest.

How to Get a Canada Study Permit

You will have to apply for a Canadian study permit before you can study in Canada. Some may be able to apply for one from within the country, so be sure to check which option you qualify for.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before you start a Canadian student visa application, you must first check whether you qualify to study in Canada.

Step 2: Gather Your Documents

When applying, you will have to submit all required documents. These include:

  • A letter of acceptance from the DLI you will attend
  • Any other requested documents
  • A complete application

Step 3: Apply Online

You will have to apply for your Canadian student permit online - whether you are applying from your home country or from within Canada.

You can only submit a paper application if:

  • A disability prevents you from making an online application
  • You are a non-national resident, refugee or stateless person

Find out more about applying for a Canadian Student Visa.

The Benefits of Studying in Canada

Canada has a Prestigious Education System

The Canadian Government takes Education seriously, so it is no surprise that the country is home to some of the top academic institutions in the world. While we have touched on ten colleges in Canada, you will find that there are many more. So do some research to see what other option you have to be able to study in Canada.

Tuition is More Affordable in Canada

Courses in Canada are quite affordable compared to other first-world countries. This is probably one of the factors that play the biggest role in making it the top study-abroad destination that it is.

The Cost of Living in Canada is Low

The cost of living is fairly low in Canada. This is also compared to other first-world countries. So you won't have to break the bank just to survive when you study in Canada.

Students Are Allowed to Work Part-time

International students are allowed to work in Canada for up to 20 hours per week. This will allow you to pick up some part-time shifts to fund your day-to-day expenses.

There Are Loads of Opportunities For Exploration Outside of Class Time

As the second-largest country in the world, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do and places to explore in Canada.

Canada's Colleges Provide Great Training For Your Career

By choosing to study at a Canadian college, you'll be exposed to the field you will be entering from the get-go. This is because colleges offer experiential training, giving students hands-on, real-world experiences to carry out and reflect upon as they learn.

You Could Apply to Stay in Canada a Bit Longer Once You Have Completed Your Course

If you have completed your studies in Canada but are not quite ready to leave, the good news is that you will be able to linger a while longer in the Great White North by applying for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).


What is the Difference Between a College and a University?

In some countries, the terms "college" and "university" have varied connotations. However, in Canada, these are distinct institutions.

Colleges provide study programs that may be applied to a particular job, whereas some universities provide courses leading to certification in specialized fields. You will find full-time and part-time diploma and certificate programs at colleges of applied arts and technology. Many also provide Bachelor of Science degrees.

Colleges are more career-oriented, as they provide hands-on instruction. A certificate program typically lasts one year or fewer, whereas a diploma degree lasts two or three years.

Universities are educational institutions that can award degrees. Undergraduate (bachelor's) degrees are available at all institutions, and many also offer graduate (Master's and doctorate) programs. Each institution governs itself and is in charge of its own curriculum, admissions, and faculty. Undergraduate degrees typically take three to four years to complete if you study full-time.

How Long Will It Take For My Canadian Student Visa Application to be Processed?

Processing times vary according to your country of origin. It will depend on your specific submission and where it is processed.