Best 10 Colleges in British Columbia for International Students in 2024



Colleges in British Columbia play a significant role in making Canada one of the most sought after destinations for international students. Home to some of the top colleges and universities in the country and in the world, the western most province of British Columbia is one of the major education and career hubs in Canada.

Be it their immigration policies, the job opportunities, the top notch research and teaching or the safety that the nation offers, we find more international students choosing Canada as their study destination.


What are the benefits of studying at universities in British Columbia?


Source: britishcolumbia.ca

Every year, thousands of students choose British Columbia as their study destination for its welcome blend of world-class colleges and its multitude of opportunities. Be it Victoria, the capital city, Vancouver, the more popular economic hub, or Kelowna, a more rustic town known for its college, almost 100,000 international students seek the province of British Columbia in pursuit of higher education. QS Rankings has ranked Vancouver in the 18th place worldwide, as one of the top student-friendly cities.

That said, here are some of the reasons why you must consider colleges in BC:

The B.C. Transfer System: The province is known for its easy credit-transfer system when it comes to higher education. It provides for means to transfer seamlessly from one school to another. You can consider transferring in your second or third year to a more competitive universities in BC.

While this system has its own requirements such as minimum GPA and credits to be eligible for transfer, it is an option open to both domestic and international students.

Immigration and Employment Opportunities: British Columbia has a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) that allows graduating students to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) through the PNP route. It begins by getting a Provincial Nominee Certificate. Once you have this certificate, your PR application will be processed much faster than going through any other immigration route. With high employability rates and increased industrial exposure, B C is also inundated with career opportunities for international students.

Education Quality Assessment: Among all the provinces, British Columbia is the only province that provides a government-mandated EQA. Higher education institutions especially colleges and universities in BC that are accredited by this body ensure they maintain international standards and keep themselves up to date with industry requirements.

Cost of Living: In general, the cost of education and living in Canada is more affordable than the likes of the USA or the UK. Even within Canada, British Columbia is cheaper compared to a province like Ontario (home to the capital city of Ottawa and the most populous Toronto) or Alberta.

A Welcoming Ethos: British Columbia has a rich ‘outside’ culture. With its rocky coastlines, abundant wildlife, lush landscapes, and abundant lakes, British Columbia has a lot to offer in terms of adventure. Moreover, as one of the student favorites when it comes to international education, the province is becoming more multicultural and diverse with every passing day.

How much does it cost to study for college in British Columbia?


Before we get into the specifics of finance, let us remember, as mentioned in the List of Colleges in Ontario, that universities and colleges are not synonymous. Universities in British Columbia are larger institutions of higher education that confer degrees (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral). The focus of university education is typically knowledge-based. Here are some of the top universities in British Columbia.

  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver(World Rank 34)
  • Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby
  • University of Victoria, Victoria
  • University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George
  • Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, William Lakes
  • Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey

A college in Canada typically has full-time or part-time diploma courses, certificate courses, and sometimes even a Bachelor’s degree in certain applied areas of study. A college offers more career-oriented training. A certificate program is typically one year while a diploma can go up to 2-3 years. Your course in a college might also include apprenticeships, skill upgrading, and even language training.

Tuition Fees: On average, the tuition fee for an international student is about CA $15,000 for an undergraduate degree. Postgraduate degree courses are more expensive. Diploma courses typically range from CA $8,000 to CA$20,000, depending on your field of study and the duration of the course.

Application and Visa fee: Ranges from CA $70 to CA $150 for application. The cost of applying for a study permit is CA $150.

Cost of Living: You can expect to incur an average amount of CA $1,400 per month as living expenses. This includes rent, food, transport, and insurance. On average, you can expect to spend about CA $200 on food and CA $75 on public transport per month in British Columbia. The rent largely depends on the area, the kind of accommodation, and the roommates. At the end of the day, it is your lifestyle that will determine how much you spend outside of your educational needs.

What are the scholarship options for colleges in British Columbia?


Keeping in mind the expenses and the cost of international travel, many of the colleges in British Columbia colleges offer financial aid in the form of scholarships, fellowships, and awards. These are based on merit, need, or in some cases, both criteria taken into consideration together. You can apply for them either with your application or after having secured admission.

Here are some of the top scholarships in different British Columbia colleges.

What are the career opportunities after studying in colleges in British Columbia?


Choosing to be an international student and pursuing your career goals abroad is an investment. So it is important that we talk about the return on investment as well.

Work permit and Immigration:

First, let us get the legalities out of the way. Having completed your course from any of the colleges in BC, in order to establish your career, you must apply for a PWGP (post-graduation work permit). You are given up to 180 days after graduation to apply for your permit.

The length of your permit is typically proportional to the length of your course. It can range anywhere from 8 months to three years. After having gained one year of professional experience under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of 0, A, or B, you can apply for the PR (Permanent Residence) program.

Some in-demand job roles:

Based on the data published by WorkBC, here is a list of high opportunity occupations that require a degree in the province of British Columbia

S.No Role Hourly Wages in CAD
1 Registered Nurses 42.00
2 Information Systems Analysts 40.87
3 Computer Programmers And Interactive Media Developers 42.79
4 Financial Auditors And Accountants 35.00
5 Software Engineers and Designers 52.88
6 Computer and Information Systems Managers 53.57
7 Senior Managers – Financial, Communications And Other Business Services 62.50
8 Technical Sales Specialists – Wholesale Trade 29.33
9 Accommodation Service Managers 30.77
10 Professional Occupations In Advertising, Marketing And Public Relations 27.47

That said, some of the highest paid roles include lawyers, general practitioners, specialist doctors, and senior managerial roles across industries.

Top industries in BC:

According to the provincial government’s website, BC’s major economic sectors are agriculture, Clean Technology, Construction, Film and Television, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Forestry, Manufacturing, Mining, Technology and Tourism.

Cities with the most opportunities in BC:

Lower Mainland, including Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, and Richmond, the capital city of Victoria, Abbotsford and Kelowna.


What are the best colleges in British Columbia for international students?


S.No College Location Fees
1 Camosun College Victoria CA $9,000 – 15,000
2 Coast Mountain College Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Hazelton, and Haida Gwaii CA $7,000 – 15,000
3 Langara College Vancouver ~ CA $640 per credit
4 Douglas College New Westminster and Coquitlam CA $20,000
5 Okanagan College Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, Salmon Arm CA $16,000 – $32,000
6 Northern Lights College Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Fort Nelson CA $370 per credit
7 Fraser International College Burnaby CA $7,000 – 38,000
8 College of New Caledonia Prince George, Quesnel, Mackenzie, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, and Burns Lake CA $13,000 – 18000
9 College of the Rockies Cranbrook CA $1,500 per course
10 Selkirk College Castlegar, Nelson, Trail, Grand Forks, Kaslo, and Nakusp CA $7,000 – 18,000

1. Camosun College


Location: Victoria

Established in 1971, Camosun College is one of the largest public community colleges in BC. There are seven schools under Camosun College that are dedicated to Arts and Science, Business, Health and Human Services, and Trades and Technology, among others.

Source: Camosun College

Why is it good to study here?

Students often choose this British Columbia college for its top-notch research and educational facilities. This school welcomes over 1,100 indigenous students and 1,700 international students every year. This Canadian college also offers a wide range of programs that will help you with university transfer, applied degrees, career, and trade training, and with professional studies. The college is also located in Victoria, which is often referred to as the garden city of Canada.

Fees

The tuition fee ranges from CA $9,000 to CA $15,000 for international students.

Eligibility

  • For an applicant who is over 17 years of age, high school graduation is mandatory.
  • IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 overall (no sub-score less than 6.0)
  • TOEFL iBT score of 78 overall (no sub-score less than 19)
  • PTE Academic or PTE Academic Online score of 54 overall (no sub-score less than 50)
  • Cambridge Assessment of English: C1 Advanced score of 174 overall (no sub-score less than 169)

Courses offered & admission process

This college has an entire range of programs that even allow you to transfer to the University of British Columbia, provided you meet the transfer criteria. Some of the top courses in Camosun are

  • Bachelor of Business Administration (Check out our piece on MBA in Canada)
  • Bachelor of Athletics and exercise training
  • Diploma in Civil Engineering
  • Diploma in Child Education
  • Diploma in Arts and Science Studies

Your application for this college happens online through EducationPlannerBC. A completed application form along with the fee must be submitted well before the deadline. The application does not necessarily guarantee admission.


2. Coast Mountain College


Location: Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Hazelton, and Haida Gwaii

Spread across 5 campuses, Coast Mountain College is a government-certified, publicly-funded post-secondary educational institution. It is one of the top contenders when one is looking for colleges in British Columbia.

Source: Coast Mountain College

Why is it good to study here?

Affordable education, innovative pedagogy, experiential, industry-based learning and degree partnerships with some of the world-class universities are just some of the reasons to consider this college.

Fees

The fees differ quite extensively depending on the course and duration. It ranges from ~ CA $7,000 for a 7-week course all the way to CA $15,000. The college suggests an average living expense of CA $1,050 per month.

Eligibility

Each program has a different set of eligibility requirements. However, for international students, proof of English language proficiency must be submitted. A minimum score of 6.5 in IELTS or 90 in TOEFL iBT is required.

Courses offered & admission process

The popular programs include

  • Diploma in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Science
  • Certificate in Physical Sciences
  • Certificate courses in Engineering

Once you know that you have matched the admission requirements of the program of your choosing (GPA and English scores), you must submit your completed application along with a fee of CA $100.


3. Langara College


Location: Vancouver

Founded in 1965, Langara is one of the finest colleges for applied arts and technology in Vancouver and even the entirety of Canada. At Langara College, students get to choose from more than 90 programs and over 10000 courses.

Source: Langara College

Why is it good to study here?

The college has a strength of nearly 21,000 students out of which nearly one-third of students come from different countries. It provides a diverse multicultural experience. The school of nursing at the Langara school has been named the school of the year by the Canadian nursing students association, and the school of management is ranked in the top 6 business schools in Canada.

Fees

The total tuition for a course is about CA $640 per credit in Langara

Eligibility

  • IELTS: 6.5 or above, internet TOEFL: 80 or above
  • Transcripts from the three years of high school / Undergraduate degree

Courses offered

  • English
  • Film Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • BBA
  • Accounting
  • Financial Management Marketing
  • Computer Science
  • Ecology
  • Asian Studies
  • Criminal Justice
  • Family Studies
  • Post Degree Diploma, Web and Mobile App Design and Development
  • Post Degree Diploma, Business Administration
  • Diploma, Applied Science for Engineering

4. Douglas College


The largest degree-granting college, Douglas College is a public institution spread across campuses in Surrey, Westminster, and Coquitlam. Around 20,000 students study in this institution every year.

Source: Douglas College

Why is it good to study here?

Recognized by the EQA, Douglas college combines the solid academic foundations of a university-style teaching with the trade and industry skills of a college education. It also provides clear pathways to university education, should you wish to continue.

Fees

The tuition fee is about CA $20,000 per year, including insurance and student costs.

Eligibility

For Undergraduate (diploma, associate degree, and bachelor degree) programs:

  • High school graduation or 19 years of age by the end of the first month of studies in the semester of entry to Douglas College; and
  • A minimum grade average of 60% (or equivalent) in the final year of high school; and
  • A minimum final grade of “C” or 60% (or equivalent) in Grade 11 Mathematics or equivalent for most programs

Post-Degree and Post-Baccalaureate programs:

  • minimum 3-year bachelor’s degree; and
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 60% (or equivalent) during the bachelor’s degree program

Minimum TOEFL iBT score of 83 or IELTS score of 6.5

Courses offered & admission process

Here are some of the college’s degree programs

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatric Nursing,
  • Physical Education and Coaching,
  • Business Administration,
  • Nursing,
  • Child and Youth Care,
  • Recreation Performing Arts,
  • Criminology and
  • Social Work

The application process begins with finding your program and checking its requirements. Then you upload the completed application with the required transcripts and the application fee.


5. Okanagan College


Location: Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, Salmon Arm

Another public institution run by the BC province, this Canadian college operates out of four campuses. Home to about 20,000 students, it is the second-largest training institute in British Columbia.

Source: Okanagan College

Why is it good to study here?

The college provides numerous easy options to transfer to UBC. The programs are accredited by the Government of British Columbia. The choice of programs seems almost limitless. In addition, numerous student jobs are also available on campus. It also provides co-op work options so you get a taste of industry experience.

Fees

The approximate per year fees for tuition is around CA $16,000. However, technical diplomas such as animation or in engineering can cost almost twice the amount.

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or turn 18 during the first semester
  • Duo Lingo, TOEFL (minimum of 80), and IELTS (minimum of 6.0) scores are also accepted.

Courses offered & admission process

  • BBA
  • Diploma in Accounting
  • Diploma in Culinary Management
  • Diploma in Mechanical Engineering

The application process remains simple. You check your requirements for the chosen courses, submit the completed application and wait for the letter of acceptance.


6. Northern Lights College


Location: Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Fort Nelson, Tumbler Ridge

Source: Dawson Creek

Why is it good to study here?

With its affordable tuition and cost of living, Northern Lights College is one of the most reputed colleges in BC. It gives you the added advantage of applied practical college learning and the chance to apply for a PGWP (Postgraduate Work Permit) on completion of its course. Its campuses are also strategically located in places with dynamic local labour markets. It becomes easier for skilled workers to find employment within three months of completion of the course.

Fees

The average fee is about CA $370 per credit.

Eligibility

  • High school graduation
  • Minimum IELTS score of 6.0 for bachelor’s level programs and 6.5 for master’s level.

Courses offered & admission process

Popular courses include

  • Business Management
  • Apprenticeships and Trades
  • Teacher Training
  • Applied Business Technology
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering
  • Workforce Training
  • Clean Energy Technology like Wind Turbine Maintenance,
  • Oil and Gas Training
  • Early Childhood Education

7. Fraser International College


Location: Burnaby

Source: Fraser International College

Why is it good to study here?

One of the private colleges to make it into this list, Fraser International College is affiliated with Simon Fraser University,a top university in BC. In addition to the vast number of career-oriented programs, this college also provides pathway programs that allow its students to easily continue their higher education at Simon Fraser.

Fees

Depending on the course it ranges from $7,000 to CA $38,000 per year.

Eligibility

  • High School completion (Grade 12) with a minimum of 60%
  • An applicant must be at least 17 years of age
  • TOEFL/ IELTS scores

Courses offered & admission process

Its degree programs are popular – BBA, BA, B.Sc., B.Tech., etc.


8. College of New Caledonia


Location: Prince George, Quesnel, Mackenzie, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, and Burns Lake

Source: College of New Caledonia

Why is it good to study here?

Since 1969, this college, spread across 6 locations, has been providing community-focussed educational programs. It offers an eclectic mix of vocational, professional, trade-based, and academic programs that you can choose from, in order to up-skill.

Fees

On average, the fee ranges from CA $13,000 – CA $18,000 per year.

Eligibility

  • Completed Standard XII with scores in English, Maths, Physics, Social Sciences
  • IELTS minimum score of 6.0 or a TOEFL iBT minimum score of 80
  • GRE/ GMAT scores are required for some specific postgraduate programs.

Courses offered & admission process

Some of the popular areas of study include

  • Business and Management
  • Community and Continuing Education
  • Health Services
  • Human Services
  • Technologies
  • Trades and Industry
  • University Studies
  • Upgrading and Access

The university has three intake semesters, January, May, and September, for international students.


9. College of the Rockies


Location: Cranbrook

Source: College of the Rockies

Why is it good to study here?

Another public college, College of the Rockies is known for its small classrooms, individual attention, personalized instruction, up-to-date technology, and great support services, especially when it comes to career choices.

Fees

On average, each course at College of the Rockies costs about CA $1,500. In a semester, you can choose anywhere from 3-7 courses.

Eligibility

  • High School Completion
  • Minimum TOEFL iBT score of 80 or TOEFL score of 6.0

Courses offered & admission process

  • PG Diploma in Sustainable business practices.
  • General Management Diploma
  • Diploma in Adventure Tourism Business Operations
  • Diploma in Environmental Studies
  • Accounting
  • Health Care

10. Selkirk College


Location: Castlegar, Nelson, Trail, Grand Forks, Kaslo, and Nakusp

​​

Source: Wikimedia

Why is it good to study here?

Selkirk College offers more than 60 nationally recognized programs and has grown to be one of the biggest institutions in the Boundary and West Kootenay regions. The college is known for its practical and applied learning techniques, preparing you to start your career earlier than a typical university education.

Fees

Depending on the program, the fees range from CA $7,000 to CA $18,000.

Eligibility

International applicants seeking admission generally must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age, or
  • Have successfully completed the equivalent of British Columbia Grade 12 or
  • Be approved by Selkirk International
  • Submit IELTS/ TOEFL score

Courses offered & admission process

Academic Upgrading and Development, Lifespan Autism Training, Business, Environment and Geometrics, Health, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Services, Industry, and Trades Training, Peace and Justice Studies, and University Arts and Sciences.

Selkirk’s programs are quite competitive in nature. Therefore you must stay ahead of the deadlines. The earlier you apply, the better your chances. Once you have chosen your course, you must submit the completed application form along with the necessary transcripts and the application fee.

That covers ten of the top colleges in British Columbia. In addition to the colleges mentioned here, you can also look into Vancouver Community College, North Island College, and British Columbia Institute of Technology for more options.

Read also: Top colleges in Canada

Let’s get you into top courses with no stress


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Talk to our experts to gain more insights about the courses and universities you are applying to. Also know about the entry requirements and all the formalities that you need to complete before you begin your journey.

Reduce your stress while applying to colleges in British Columbia and reach out to TC Global. We will be with you every step of the way, from finding the right course to helping you through your applications for the colleges and study permits.

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Date added
30.11.2023

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