Top 10 Worst Universities for International Students in Canada

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • University in Canada
  • How Our Rankings Were Determined
  • Top 10 Worst Universities for International Students in Canada
  • Other Things to Consider


The last thing you want to do as an international student is spend your or your family’s hard-earned savings on tuition at a school in Canada that’s simply not worth it. Yes, there are some world-class campuses in Canada, and a lot of very good schools, but there’s also some schools that you might want to avoid. They might be average in terms of the education and offer little but high tuition costs. Or they could simply be low-ranking universities that will not provide you with the future job opportunities you want.

University in Canada

In Canada there are two types of post-secondary education; college and university.


  • Focuses on trades and technology
  • Good fit for students looking to work in; healthcare & nursing, digital technology & computer programing, broadcasting, aviation, animation, hospitality, agriculture, trades, applied engineering, applied sciences, etc.
  • Usually takes 1-3 years to complete
  • Provides graduates with mainly diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees, however some colleges do grant BA degrees


  • Focus on academics and theory
  • Good fit for students looking to work in; medicine, business & business management, teaching, law, politics, psychology, engineering, science, etc.
  • Usually takes 4+ years to complete
  • Provides graduates with degrees (BA, MA, PhD, etc.)

University tends to be more expensive than college. This is because university programs are usually longer than college programs and because universities tend to be more revered.

Canada currently has 97 universities, but only 26 are recognized by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World Ranking. This means that only 26 Canadian universities are worthy of competing on a global scale.

How Our Rankings Were Determined

When compiling this list, we only evaluated the 26 universities that ranked on the QS World Ranking. We did this because any university that is not recognized by QS will probably not  provide you with a valuable education, regardless of price.

Keep in mind that the universities we have included in this list, are still widely recognized within Canada and are worst in our rankings only.

We determined what universities to include in this list by comparing them to a Canadian university that is average in terms of both cost and international reputability: McMaster University.

McMaster University, located in Hamilton, Ontario, has a QS World Ranking of 144 and an overall score of 51.5. This means that it is considered a reputable Canadian university but is not as prestigious as schools like University of Toronto, McGill, or University of British Columbia. In addition, McMaster University is not as expensive as Canada’s top tier schools, so it’s a good comparison to see the value of a degree compared to lower-ranked universities.

Using McMaster as an example, our evaluation of Canadian universities will appear as follows:

QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
144 $32 000 – $45 000 350+ $6100 – $90000


We will also include a brief write-up that explores other important information, such as, location, graduate employability, scholarship availability, percent of international students, etc. For example;

McMaster is located only hour away from Canada’s largest city, Toronto. This means that graduates of McMaster will have greater access to one of Canada’s most desirable job markets. It also means that they will have more opportunities to network with individuals and companies of interest, during while still in school. The campus itself is located within downtown Hamilton, a metropolitan city, so access to necessities will not be an issue.

McMaster tends to have good student satisfaction rankings. In 2019, they ranked 4th in Canada.[1] McMaster ranks 98th in the world for graduate employability.[2] 19% of McMaster’s student body are international students.[3] Scholarships are available.

Now that we’ve looked at the baseline for our rankings of which Canadian universities are the worst in terms of value, let’s find out what the Top 10 Worst Universitas for International Students in Canada are with 10 being better and 1 being the worst.

Top 10 Worst Universities for International Students in Canada

  1. University of Toronto
QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
25 $40 000 – $110 000 700+ $11 000 – $21 000


You might be surprised to see University of Toronto, Canada’s top ranking university, on this list. It is known worldwide for it’s intense academics, innovative research, and motived student body, 34% of which are international students. So, why did we add it to this list?

Well, this might be a controversial decision, but we’ve put University of Toronto at #10 because of the cost. University of Toronto is the single most expensive university in Canada. Undergraduate tuition starts at $40 000 and can go as high as $110 000 per year. Not only is tuition pricy, so is the cost of living (food and housing), as the campus is situated in Toronto’s core.

Now, is it worth the price? Probably. It offers a huge number of programs, meaning that students have a lot of freedom to choose what best fits their interests. Graduates have a higher level of employability, than graduates of other Canadian institutions. And being located in the heart of Toronto, students have ample opportunities to network and connect with potential future employers. It’s a great university to attend… if you have the money for it.

If cost is something you are concerned about, there are plenty of other great Canadian universities, with similar amenities, that are more reasonable. McGill university in Montreal or University of British Colombia in Vancouver. They are Canada’s 2nd and 3rd highest ranking universities, respectively.

  1. York University
QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
531-540 $30 000 – $37 000 200+ $7500 – $9400


Another university located in downtown Toronto, York University is #9 for similar reasons, it’s on the pricier side. The big difference between York and University of Toronto though is that York is one of the lowest ranking Canadian Universities on the QS World Report. It doesn’t even make the top 500. Moreover, graduates of York University are not as highly coveted — they only have an employability rate of 301-500, compared to University of Toronto whose graduates rank number #16 for global employability.

Although this doesn’t sound too encouraging, there are some benefits to studying at York University. Much like University of Toronto, York is located in Canada’s largest metropolitan city. Studying here will allow students to make connections with individuals and local corporations that might one day be able to help them to land a job.

  1. Carlton University
QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
601-650 $29 000 – $40 000 100+ $11 000 – $12 600


Located in Canada’s capitol, Ottawa, Carlton is a well-known university. Unfortunately, it’s not one of the top ranking Canadian universities. It ranks 601-650 on the QS World Ranking, which is quite low.

So why is it #8? Quite simply, the cost of attending Carlton doesn’t match with it’s global ranking. While it’s tuition prices aren’t as bad as some institutions, they are a bit higher, as is student housing. What’s more, Carlton doesn’t offer as many programs as other universities. They still have a wide range of fields, but more specialized subjects are not offered. Maybe this is why their graduates are ranked 301-500 in terms of employability?

There are definitely a few drawbacks to Carlton, but there is one big benefit and that is location. Being situated in Ottawa means that Carlton is only a stone’s throw away from the Canadian Parliament buildings (head of state) and near to most embassies. This is great for students who are looking to work in government, whether that be Canadian government or their home country’s. There are a lot of internship, apprenticeship, and co-op opportunities in Ottawa. Carlton is also located very near the province of Quebec, a primarily French-speaking province.

  1. Ryerson University
QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
801-1000 $26 000 – $39 000 100+ $7500 – $13 000


Yet another Toronto based university, Ryerson has earned a spot at #7. This university is the lowest ranked Canadian university on the QS World Report.

Overall, it’s not a bad university to attend, but it’s certainly not as prestigious as some of the other institutions in Canada. Like Carlton University, Ryerson doesn’t offer as many programs as other universities. It does offer programs like sciences, engineering, business, etc. but it’s especially known for the arts; architecture, media, fashion design, and similar subjects. If these are the types of programs you’re interested in Ryerson may be a good fit for you, but beware if these fields are not your main focus.

The tuition is a little bit steep, considering it’s ranking, but that is probably due to it’s location.

  1. University of Saskatchewan
QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
463 $18 000 – $70 000 80+ $6800 – $8800


The University of Saskatchewan comes in at #6. This university was a bit hard to rank as it is within the top 500 global scores (great!) but it’s still on the lower end when it comes to Canadian universities. It’s also difficult to rank because it has such a wide range of tuition costs. Most programs tend to be pretty reasonable — around $28 000 — but some can be as high as $70 000.

One feature that we think is a barrier for international students, especially those who have strict budgets, is that this university doesn’t provide comprehensive program costs, instead you pay per course. Since the price of each course can vary, it makes it very difficult to know what you’ll actually be spending for your education.

Another downside to this university is that the programs offered are very limited. This university offers only 80 undergraduate courses, where most others offer at least 100, if not 200+.

As for location, the province of Saskatchewan and city of Saskatoon are not known for their flourishing job markets, especially in more theoretical fields. At least the cost of living is a bit less…

  1. University of Ottawa
QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
279 $30 000 – $52 000 200+ $10 000 – $20 000


With a QS Ranking of 279, the University of Ottawa is one of Canada’s more revered institutions. So why is it #5 on our list? Price. With the average cost of undergraduate tuition ranging from $30 000 to $52 000, it’s not horribly expensive, but there are higher ranking universities for the same, or similar, amount of money. For example, Western University, the University of Calgary, the University of British Colombia. Moreover, graduates from the University of Ottawa only rank 301-500 in terms of employability, whereas graduates from the universities listed previously are all considered more employable.

One big draw to the University of Ottawa is that it is a bilingual university, offering degrees in both English and French. This is something that few other universities in Canada offer. And like we said with Carlton University, having the campus located in Ottawa’s core can be beneficial, depending on your area of study.

Be prepared to pay for the cost of living in downtown Ottawa though, as student housing at the University of Ottawa can be as high as $20 000 per year.

  1. Université de Sherbrooke
QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
701-750 $18 000 – $20 000 350+ Unknown


One of the lower-ranking Canadian universities, this French-speaking intuition is geared only towards prospective students who already have a substantial understanding of the French language. If you do not currently speak French, don’t bother applying.

Now, for anyone who does speak French, this may be a good option to consider. Especially individuals from France or Belgium, who get a discount on their tuition. And since this university is located in Quebec, tuition is already a lot lower than in other Canadian provinces.

Overall, not bad, so long as you have the language skills necessary to succeed here.

  1. University of Quebec
QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
601-650 $18 500 – $25 000 Unknown Unknown


Another French-speaking institution, the University of Quebec might be a good choice for anyone who is currently fluent, or very close to being fluent in French. Like Université de Sherbrooke, students from France and Belgium will get discounts on the already very reasonable tuition.

Now you might be wondering why this university is #3 and Université de Sherbrooke is #4 despite Université de Sherbrooke having a lower QS World Ranking. We’ve done this because this university, University of Quebec, is one of the few Canadian universities that does not offer scholarships. All other universities on this list do. Even though the tuition is reasonable, it still helps to have some financial aid from the school itself. Since there is none at University of Quebec, it ranks #3.

*NOTE: scholarships may be available to students through sources unaffiliated with University of Quebec

  1. Concordia University
QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
601-650 $18 500 – $25 000 100+ Unknown


Ranking 477 on the QS World Ranking, Concordia University just squeaks into the top 500 universities globally. Usually, this university is considered okay. It’s graduates aren’t considered as employable as those from other Canadian universities (ranking 301-500 in terms of employability), but they are still considered well educated within Canada and many international students still choose Concordia for their education. Approximately 33% of the school’s population is international students.

The reason why Concordia is in the #2 spot on this list though, is that due to COIVD-19 all Concordia residences are closed and no meal plans are being offered. This puts an extra strain on international students, who not only have to adapt to living in a new country (perhaps speaking a second language) and familiarize themselves with university schoolwork, but would also have to find housing, figure out transportation, and either make meals or purchase meals themselves.

If you’re going to be living with family near the campus, then this university might still be a good option for you, but if you’re going to be travelling here alone, it would probably be best to attend a school where you are more connected both physically and through student support programs.

  1. All Canadian Universities Not Ranked on QS World Ranking

QS Ranking Tuition Range per Year (International Students) Number of Programs Housing Cost per Year
NOT RANKED (meaning not within the top 1000 universities globally) Wide Depends upon the school Depends upon the city

As we said above, there are 97 universities in Canada. Only 26 of those universities rank on the QS World Ranking. If a university does not rank on the QS World Ranking, it is not a top global university. Even universities that have a poor score on QS World Ranking are still ranked higher than an institution not ranked at all.

For that reason, we have to classify all Canadian universities that did not rank as the ‘Worst Universities for International Students in Canada.’


Other Things to Consider when Choosing a University in Canada

We hope that this list can serve as a guide for you and will help you when choosing your Canadian university.

When choosing your university don’t forget to look at other factors too, like which university is best for your specific program, student satisfaction, student life, and the city the university is located in. Consider personal needs as well. Do you want to be near other people from your home country? Maybe a big city with cultural enclaves is best for you. Is fitness a big part of your life? Check and see what universities have recreational centres, jogging paths, etc. School is going to be your main focus while you’re in Canada but don’t neglect other important areas of your life.


PREVIOUS ARTICLE: Worst 10 Canadian Universities for International Students for 2020

The last thing you want to do as an international student is spend your or your family’s hard-earned savings on tuition at a school in Canada that’s simply not worth it. Yes, there are some world-class campuses in Canada, and a lot of very good schools. But there’s also some schools that you might be best to avoid. They might be average in terms of the education they offer but with high tuition costs. Or they might simply be very low-ranked colleges or universities where international students still have to pay thousands of dollars in tuition fees that may not be the best investment in their future.

So, let’s find out what the Worst Value Post-Secondary Schools in Canada are! Keep in mind that first is worst in our rankings. So, we’ll start at the 10th worst school in terms of value of education and work our way down to the worst at number 1. Ready?

Before we give you our worst 10 deals, we should point out that our baseline data to see what kind of value a degree from these universities offers, is the University of Alberta in Edmonton with a QS World ranking of 113 which places it near the top schools in Canada but not as high as schools like University of Toronto and UBC, or McGill and Waterloo. U of Alberta is also not quite as expensive as Canada’s top tier schools, so it’s a good comparison to see the value of a degree from other lower-ranked universities in the country. Our baseline tuition costs from U of Alberta are as follows:

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Engineering – U of A Civil/Env. Engineering Residence on campus CAD 39,500 per year
Science – U of A Nutrition & Food Sciences Off-campus CAD 29,500 per year
Arts – U of A Design Off-campus CAD 29,500 per year

Please note that we’ve given two options that show the cost if you decide to live off-campus. (Maybe you have family in Canada that can put you up for example.) Living in residence is often available for all undergraduate programs and courses so always ask your university about that option, regardless of what courses you plan to take.

Here are our 10 worst deals as far as value of education in Canada goes:


10. University of Manitoba – Winnipeg, MB

Administration Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg June 3, 2005 This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

by James Teterenko / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Surprised? Yes, UMB has had a good reputation in the past, especially in areas like architecture, but remember that this is cost versus world-ranking in quality-of-education survey. Let’s see how the school’s ranking and its tuition costs compare with our baseline at U of Alberta:

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Engineering – U of Manitoba All engineering programs Residence on campus CAD$39,900 per year ($22,100 tuition + $13,800 residence package)
Science – U of Manitoba All Sciences Programs Off-campus CAD$18,00 per year
Arts – U of Manitoba All Arts Programs Off-campus CAD$14,800 per year

How about U of Manitoba’s QS World Ranking? It’s way below U of A’s ranking of 113. Down there at 601-650. And you actually pay more for an engineering degree at U of Manitoba! So, if you’re thinking of taking applied sciences in Canada, be aware that U of M is not the best deal.

Looking at pure science programs and arts programs, you do get significant savings compared to U of A when living off-campus in both cases. Is it worth the savings? 500 points below U of A in the QS University Rankings?

You decide.

9. Carleton University – Ottawa, ON

{{GFDL}} Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; August 2004; seen from the Bronson St. Bridge over the Rideau River

by Peregrine981 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Carleton is a little like Rodney Dangerfield, complaining about how they don’t get the respect they deserve. Never at the top of local rankings like Maclean’s Canadian University rankings, they have a middling-to-not-so-bad reputation with perhaps political science as one of their top faculties. This is understandable for a university that’s just a 15-minute drive from Parliament Hill and various and sundry government agencies and departments scattered around the nation’s capital.

This is not a bad university at all, but let’s look at it’s ranking in the QS survey which was 651-700 which is below University of Manitoba and well behind top schools like UBC or U of T.

Next step is to check out the table below and see what you pay in tuition to attend Carleton:

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Engineering – Carleton All Engineering Programs Not specified CAD$34,221 per year
Science – Carleton All Science Programs Not specified CAD$26,490 per year
Arts – Carleton Humanities Not specified CAD$26,490 per year

Notice that, while Carleton’s engineering is slightly cheaper than U of Alberta or U of Manitoba’s programs, it is still rather expensive. And its science and arts degrees are only a few thousand dollars cheaper a year. All this with a ranking that’s hundreds of points below U of Alberta’s.

The question of value – or lack of it – is a little clearer in the case of Carleton’s cost versus quality.

8. Memorial University – St. john’s, NL

Memorial University by IseDaByThatEditsTheBoat / CC0

[Public Domain]

At the risk of being smacked in the head with a frozen cod from the stormy waters where the Gulf of St Lawrence gives way to the mighty North Atlantic and only the brave and the daring dare sail their fishing vessels, we must place Newfoundland’s Memorial University in 8th place in our worst university deals rankings. And of course, the first thing we’d get told is that wasn’t a fishing vessel we ran into but rather a floating platform using the latest deep-water technology to drill for oil. None the less we must consider Memorial because as you’ll see, its cost is actually not that bad at all, but its ranking is a bit of a problem.

It’s small but not that small with a little less than 20,000 students and campuses in places you’ve never heard of like Corner Brook, or Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador, as well as the main campus in St. John’s. It’s an innovative campus with a student-centric approach and a fairly high output of research according to QS.

And who knows? Someday it might be recognized as a must-see choice for students from around the world. The numbers for now tell a different story, however. Its ranking is 701-750 in the QS Top Rankings survey and that’s low, really quite low. Let’s see what the costs are:

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Engineering – Memorial All Engineering Programs Residence & Meals CAD$21,500 per year
Science – Memorial All Science Programs Off-campus CAD$11,500 per year
Arts – Memorial Humanities Off-campus CAD$11,500 per year

Remember that St. John’s Newfoundland is not a large city and it might be difficult to find rent off campus, though you can certainly give it a try but you might find that the residence plan is your best bargain.

As for the quality of education, yes tuition is noticeably cheaper at Memorial compared to U of Alberta. If you don’t mind a huge step down in rankings and recognition for your degree, then go for it. But if you want a degree that helps your career no matter where you decide to live and work, Memorial may not be the school of your choice.

7. University of Windsor – Windsor, ON

University of Windsor by Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA / CC BY-SA (

by Ken Lund / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

This is a school that has been investing heavily in innovation – especially research labs – and has been gaining ground in its ranking and recognition. Still, it comes in at 651-700 in the QS ranking which is a long way from top quality schools’ rankings in Canada.

The good news is that it’s a relatively affordable place to study for an Ontario university. Let’s look at the costs:

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Engineering – U of Windsor All Engineering Programs Residence & Meals CAD$22,655 per year
Science – U of Windsor All Science Programs Off-campus CAD$15,145 per year
Arts – U of Windsor Humanities Off-campus CAD$14,375 per year

These are quite reasonable tuition levels, especially considering the engineering costs includes residence and meals. If you’re not worried about name recognition and world rankings, Windsor isn’t that bad a deal. But for anyone concerned with getting a degree you can leverage in major economic centres around the globe, you might want to look elsewhere.

6. Ryerson University – Toronto, ON

The Ryerson University Library in Toronto, Ontario. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

by UnionFront / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Come on! The campus is right downtown in Toronto, next to the best shopping and less than a dozen blocks from the ferries to the Toronto Islands! Its buildings are cutting edge and it’s a really cool place! What is it with these guys at QS? Here’s what they say in their QS rankings report on Ryerson:

Ryerson is the most applied to university in Ontario relative to available spaces.
Culturally diverse and inclusive.
Externally funded research has doubled in the past four years.

Unfortunately, none of this is enough (at least not yet) to lift the school past its abysmal rankings of 801-1000 in the QS survey.

And it’s not at all cheap either. Here are the costs of tuition for international students:

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Engineering – Ryerson All Engineering Programs Residence & Meals CAD$53,900 per year
Science – Ryerson All Science Programs Off-campus CAD$27,600 per year
Arts – Ryerson Humanities Off-campus CAD$27,600 per year

Ouch. That’s basically US level costs for engineering students when accommodation costs (including meals) are thrown in.

Sure, you can live off-campus. In Toronto, one of Canada’s more expensive cities where 6 people sharing a cramped 3-bedroom 15 subway stops away from campus might save you some money. If Toronto was less expensive to live in and if Ryerson was a little less costly and a little more recognized internationally it would not be on this list.

But for now, it’s earned its place with expensive tuition and a ranking that doesn’t match up to the costs of studying there.

5. Lakehead University – Thunder Bay, ON

Office of Communications, Lakehead University, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

by Atac / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5

This smaller university is of course located in Thunder Bay at the far western edge of the Great Lakes. Hence its name. Unless you like long car drives and worrying about bears when you stop to take a bathroom break in the middle of the woods, you have to get on a plane to reach a major urban centre. Whether that’s east back in Toronto or West to Winnipeg.

There’s a Paleo-DNA Lab and a Biorefining Research Institute which sound impressive, but you won’t find the range of courses that you do in our previous universities. Especially ones like Ryerson, U of Manitoba or Carleton.

While it doesn’t get a score in the QS rankings, the Times Higher Education rankings have it at 601-800.

How much does it cost for an international student to study there?

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Engineering – Lakehead All Engineering Programs Residence & Meals CAD$39,400 per year
Science – Lakehead All Science Programs Off-campus CAD$23,730 per year
Arts – Lakehead Humanities Off-campus CAD$23,730 per year

For a smaller university, in the middle of nowhere – they also have a campus in Orillia which is more than a little closer to Toronto – with little to no international recognition, these are not cheap rates. You’d be better off at Memorial University or University of Windsor for example, in terms of value. That’s why Lakehead is our 5th worst university deal.

4. Université de Sherbrooke – Sherbrooke, QC

Universite de Sherbrooke by Zbeen1329 / CC BY-SA (

by Zbeen1329 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Sherbrooke is a lovely, medium- sized city located in what are called The Eastern Townships of Quebec, rolling hill and farming country with the odd ski hill cropping up as you head East down the autoroute (highway) from Montreal and approach the border with Vermont. But this is a francophone school where you will have trouble taking your courses in English. If you are fluent enough in French – or French is your native language – then schools in Quebec (aside from a handful of English-language universities like McGill) become a viable option. For a medium-sized university, it reportedly invests heavily in research and has over 70 research chairs. But the question is: does U of Sherbrooke provide value for money?

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Engineering – U de Sherbrooke All Engineering Programs Not specified CAD$19,459 per year
Science – U de Sherbrooke All Science Programs Off-campus CAD$19,459 per year
Arts – U de Sherbrooke Humanities Off-campus CAD$19,459 per year

There are several choices for accommodation including co-ops, apartments, or renting a room in a house. That means you should assume these tuition levels do not include costs of room and board – which for an 8-month academic year come to at least CAD$10,000 unless you manage to share living accommodations and greatly reduce your rent.

How does U de Sherbrooke rank? If you consider the past 6 years or so, it’s a disappointing downward slope, from a QS ranking of around 400 in 2014 down to 651-700 in 2019. If you wish to study in French and are willing to pay for a less-recognized school, then maybe U de Sherbrooke is not a bad option. But in Quebec, and certainly in Canada, there are better deals to be had.

3. Bishop’s University – Sherbrooke, QC

Bishop's by JasonParis / CC BY (

by JasonParis / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

If you head south from Sherbrooke you come to the town of Lennoxville, a short drive away. (It’s essentially a suburb of Sherbrooke and is legally part of the city, though culturally distinct.) Here you find a smaller English-language liberal arts school with an emphasis on education and business studies that is struggling a little to keep up with a fast-paced, changing environment in academics.

A peaceful, rural location with elegant brick buildings (and a golf course even) is nice but is it enough given the costs of studying there? Most students are from elsewhere so almost everyone lives in residence and interestingly it ranked top in student satisfaction in a 2019 Maclean’s survey. It also ranked 12th in Maclean’s undergraduate rankings. But try finding it on any international ranking system like QS or Times Higher Education rankings.

What does it cost to study and live there?

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Business – Bishop’s U All Business Programs Residence on campus CAD$30,460 per year
Science – Bishop’s U All Science Programs Off-campus CAD$21,110 per year
Arts – Bishop’s U All Arts Programs Off-campus CAD$21,110 per year

You will likely be living in residence, so add anywhere from CAD$4,000 to $5,000 for an 8-month academic year to the off-campus tuition costs in the above table. For a school with little research and not much in the way of applied science programs, these are not cheap costs at all.

Yes, it’s popular with students because of the sense of community it generates, as a bit of a throwback to earlier times when life was simpler and a little easier on campus. Is that what you need to prepare for the world of work in the 2020s?

2. University of Winnipeg – Winnipeg, MB

University of Winnipeg by KrazyTea / CC BY-SA (

by KrazyTea / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

U of Manitoba’s little sibling is also located in Winnipeg. Founded just over 50 years ago, it is also a liberal arts college like Bishop’s. The undergraduate faculties are as follows: arts; business & economics; education; kinesiology & applied health; and science. There isn’t much research and precious little applied science aside from certain areas in healthcare (excluding medicine and dentistry).

While it is a small school with a high professor-to-student ration, it doesn’t even rank at QS or Times Higher Education rankings. In the Maclean’s undergraduate universities ranking it comes in 15th.

What are the costs for internationals? Let’s see:

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Business – U of Winnipeg All Business Programs Not specified CAD$17,670 per year
Science – U of Winnipeg All Science Programs Not specified CAD$17,010 per year
Arts – U of Winnipeg All Arts Programs Not specified CAD$14,220 per year

Winnipeg is relatively cheaper than cities like Toronto or Vancouver, so living off campus might be relatively cheap in Canadian terms, especially if you share accommodations. This is one of the cheapest schools on our list in terms of tuition but its also a reflection of its lack of rankings on an international level and its relatively narrow offering of courses.

If you wish to get a chemistry degree or a degree in education on the cheap this might be your choice. For quality education, however, you’d possibly be better off looking elsewhere.

1. Mount Saint Vincent University – Halifax, NS

Mount Saint Vincent by misterjerk2 / Public domain

[Public Domain]

In leafy Halifax, this small university offers tuition that is not the cheapest and a course selection that is interesting but far from the widest available at mid-to-small sized post-secondary schools in Canada. Its ranking is near the bottom of the Maclean’s survey we’ve been using and if you search for the school at QS or Times Higher Education surveys you will get nothing. It’s not even there, unlike some of our unranked schools, like U of Winnipeg, which do appear at QS & THS.

It offers some courses that interestingly are not offered in the same form at many other Canadian universities, like a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, or a degree in Tourism & Hospitality Management.

Halifax has a lovely climate in summer but you’ll be there in fall and winter and part of spring, so bracing storms off the North Atlantic that dump a couple of feet of wet snow on the city will be closer to some of your daily experiences.

How much does all that shovelling of wet, cold stuff cost?

Faculty Program Housing Tuition – Intl. Students
Education – Mount St. Vincent Education Residence on campus CAD$24,284 – $28,483
Science – Mount St. Vincent All Science Programs Off-campus CAD$17,260 – $17,660
Arts – Mount St. Vincent All Arts Programs Off-campus CAD$17,260 – $17,660

You’re paying over CAD$28,000 to get a degree in education at one of the lowest ranked universities in Canada – excluding community colleges of course which offer diplomas and certificates for the most part rather than full bachelor’s degrees.

Does this sound like a good value proposition? If you want a degree in public relations and you like the idea of living in Halifax, then maybe it is. Otherwise, Canada has much better value to offer you as an international student.

Might you actually find what you’re looking for at one of these schools? Of course you might. But when it comes to rankings and international recognition, don’t expect too much for the dollars you will have to spend as an international student.

Also find these contents interesting