Top 7 Universities in Ottawa for International Students in 2023

Universities in Ottawa provide world class education and job opportunities, not only for Canadian students but also for students from all over the world. Contrary to what most people assume, the capital of Canada is not Toronto or Vancouver, but the city of Ottawa, located in the Ontario province. A bilingual city, Ottawa is the political center of Canada, a hub for high-tech industry and also for tourism and healthcare. Considered to be the most educated city in Canada with the highest per capita concentration of engineers, scientists and residents with PhDs, Ottawa is also a great global education destination for international students.

So, in this article, we will be looking at

Also read: 10 best colleges in Ontario for International Students

Why study college in Ottawa?

As an international student, choosing the right university is probably one of the biggest decisions you will have to make. But, that alone is not enough. Your life as an international student is not limited just to the school that you will be enrolled in. Your choice of the city also makes a significant impact on your life abroad. As the nation’s capital, Ottawa has lots to offer. Here are some of the reasons to consider Ottawa as your study destination.

One of the best global education systems: Ottawa has many reputed post-secondary institutions that offer high-quality education in both French and English. It has a balanced mix of reputed universities and colleges catering to the different needs of the student body. A university offers undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degrees while a college offers specializations relevant to the workplace. The University of Ottawa is the largest bilingual university in the world. Since the pandemic, Canada has surpassed the U.K. and the U.S. and has taken the spot as the top country in the world to study abroad.

High employability rate: Despite being the second largest country in the world after Russia, the population of the country is sparse and is concentrated around certain developed pockets. This makes the employability rate quite high, especially for skilled graduates. The University of Ottawa, for instance, has maintained a 95% employability rate.

Multicultural, diverse population: With nearly one-fourth of its residents being born outside of Canada, Ottawa has a rich and diverse culture. As a capital city, it is natural that it receives one of the highest numbers of immigrants, after Toronto. This has built the city’s rich ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity.

Safety and quality of life: Considered to be one of the safest cities in North America, Ottawa was ranked as the eleventh safest city, globally, in 2020. The city has one of the lowest violent crime rates in all of Canada. Despite being the capital, the cost of living in Ottawa is cheaper than that of Toronto or Vancouver. It also has an award-winning public transit system. With higher education at the center of its economy, a majority of Ottawa’s population is made up of the student community.

An amalgam of history and modernity: A big city that gives you a small-town vibe, Ottawa has something for everyone, whether you are a history buff, a shopaholic, a music aficionado or an adventurist. From the Victorian Parliamentary Hill and museums to ​​skiing in the Gatineau’s, life in Ottawa gives you the complete Canadian experience.

How much does it cost to study for college in Ottawa?

For an international student, compared to the UK, the USA, or even Australia, the cost of enrolling at a post-secondary institution in Canada is more affordable. In Canada, the expenses that an international student might incur are lower than that of the more popular city choices such as Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal. Let’s take a look at some of the indicative figures that will show you the range of expenses you might incur as an international student living in Ottawa.

Tuition Fee: According to the official website of the city of Ottawa, the average undergraduate university education costs about CA $31,000 for one academic year. This is cheaper than the CA $32,275 of Montreal, CA $34,400 of Toronto, and the CA $36,000 of Vancouver. This figure is inclusive of all expenses. The average undergraduate tuition fee for international students is between CA $17,720 and $21,650. Graduate tuition for international students ranges from CA $ 11,300 to $17,700.

Application Fee: Depending on the college or university, the application fee ranges anywhere from CA $70 to CA $150.

Study Permit Fee: CA $150 per person. The study permit is essentially your student visa. It is something you apply for, once you receive the Letter of Acceptance from the university or college of your choosing.

Cost of Living: While these are larger, some even one-time expenses, let us look at some of the recurring ones that you will incur.

  • Student incidentals, including the university transit pass at CA $ 625 – 955 for an academic year.
  • Housing will cost anywhere from CA $600 to $800 per month.
  • Food can be managed with around CA $85 per week.
  • Health insurance at CA $685 to $770.
  • Communication (phone, internet) CA $1,000 per year.
  • Always remember to budget extra for entertainment, shopping, and leisure activities.

What are the scholarship options for colleges in Ottawa?

Looking at the costs involved, it is natural to seek some kind of financial assistance. For an international student, a student loan is always an option to help with the financial requirements of studying abroad. But, before you open that door, always look at the scholarships and other financial aid given by the government or the institution.

For instance, the Canadian Bureau of International Education has an entire range of scholarships for international students. On the whole, with the government of Canada trying to establish the nation as a top global ed destination, numerous scholarship options are available to international students.

Most of the colleges in Ottawa for international students also have the option to provide scholarships/ fellowships for international students. These financial aids are based on merit, need, or both. Many times, simply writing to the college, requesting financial aid is a good way to begin the scholarship application. Let us take a look at some of the popular scholarships in different Ottawa colleges.

  • University of Ottawa International Scholarships
  • Carleton Awards for International Students
  • Algonquin International Scholarships
  • Herzing Educational Funding
  • St Paul Scholarships
  • Dominican University College Financial Aid

What is the average salary for college graduates in Ottawa?

Being an international student is a considerable investment so it is natural to wonder what the return on investment would be like. Let’s take a look.

Work Permit: Your study permit allows you to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week, during the course of the academic year. On completion of the course, you may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), provided you have graduated from a designated learning institution. To be eligible for the PGWP, your program must be over 8 months long. The validity of this permit can be the same as the duration of your program or a maximum of 3 years. The application fee is CA $255. If you are ineligible for the PGWP, then you can always consider the employer-specific work permit or the open work permit.

Average Salary: Let’s say you have your permit. What level of compensation can you expect? Keeping the University of Ottawa as the benchmark, the highest-paying degree is the MBA. In particular, graduates who work as Financial Services Professionals are paid an average salary of CA $199,000 per annum.

Based on the degrees, here are the average salaries.

MBA CA $167,000
Other degrees CA $101,000
Bachelor (Other) CA $98,000
Masters in Science CA $87,000
Bachelor of Arts CA $66,000
Master (Other) CA $55,000


What are the best universities in Ottawa for international students?

Now that we have a general idea of being an international student in Ottawa, let us delve into the specifics. In this section, we will be looking at the top universities and colleges in Ottawa for international students, the benefits of studying there, the average fees, eligibility criteria, and the courses they offer.

S.No Institution Ranking Average Fees
1 University of Ottawa 237 (QS Global ranking) CA $15,000 to CA $30,000 per term
2 Carleton University 601 – 650 (QS Global ranking) CA $27,000 to CA $40,000
3 Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology 83 (Webometrics National ranking) CA $16,000 to CA $22,000
4 Herzing College 179 (Webometrics National ranking) CA $8,000 to CA $15,000
5 St Paul University 70 (Webometrics National ranking) CA $9,000 per term
6 Willis College N.A. CA $16,000 – 22,000
7 Dominican University College 745 (Webometrics National ranking) CA $14,440

1. University of Ottawa

Source: uOttawa

Often referred to as uOttawa or U of O, the University of Ottawa is a bilingual public research university. First established as the College of Bytown in 1848, it was renamed the College of Ottawa in 1861 and then received university status in 1866 through a royal charter. The world’s largest bilingual university, U of O is also a member of U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.

Why is it good to study here?

The 2023 QS World University Ranking places the University of Ottawa in 237th place globally and 9th in Canada. Of the 35,000 undergraduate students and the 6,000 postgraduate students, the university enrolls, about 7,000 are international students from over 150 different countries. While the university is bilingual, it does emphasize a multicultural ethos to create global citizens. Their Faculty of Medicine has been consistently ranked as one of the top ten medical schools in Canada. The Telfer School of Management, ranked in the 141-150 range globally by QS Rankings, is also affiliated to the University of Ottawa. The university also runs an optional co-op program that presents students with the ability to take part in paid work placements as part of their academic program, making it one of the most sought after universities in Ottawa for international students.


The average fee of a full-time bachelor’s program is anywhere between CA $15,000 to CA $30,000 per term. A master’s program on average costs about CA $9,000 per term.


While different courses have different requirements, here are some of the common ones.

For an undergraduate program

  • Completed Class 12
  • Three years of high school in English (Grades 10, 11, and 12 of CBSE and ICSE schooling is considered) or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL iBT of 86 to prove proficiency in the language
  • Ensure that the prerequisite courses are taken

If you are applying for a Master’s program, you can check the specific requirements of your course, here.

For the full-time 2-year MBA program at Telfer

  • A minimum of 70% or above in a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • 3 years of work experience or more
  • Competitive score in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or TAGE MAGE for the MBA offered in French
  • Minimum TOEFL iBT score of 100 or IELTS of 7

Courses offered and Admission Process

The university offers a wide variety of academic programs at the diploma, undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. They are administered through ten different faculties including that of Medicine, Law, and the Telfer School of Management. You can access the entire list of programs here.

An application fee of CA $110 must be paid while submitting the application. The completed application form along with the required transcripts, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation must be uploaded well before the deadline through the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC).

2. Carleton University

Source: Carleton University

An English language public research university in Ottawa, Carleton University was founded in 1942 as Carleton College as a private evening college to serve the returning World War II veterans. It was chartered as a university by the provincial government of Ontario in 1952. This school has been the alma mater to Lester B Pearson (14th Prime Minister of Canada), Gerard Herzberg (Nobel laureate in chemistry in 1971), Peter Grünberg (Nobel laureate in physics) and Trina McQueen (founding president of the Discovery Channel).

Why is it good to study here?

Ranked in the 601 to 650 range by QS World Rankings 2023, Carleton offers a wide variety of programs and opportunities across disciplines. It is also a research-intensive university. It runs the third largest co-op program in Ontario where, as a student, you can sign up for paid work in a relevant industry, as part of your academic program. Carleton’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) is known for its world-class programs at the Master’s level for International Affairs. With its emphasis on hands-on learning, Carleton is a great university in Ottawa for international students.


Undergraduate tuition fees range from CA $27,000 to CA $40,000. The graduate tuition fees can be anywhere between CA $15,000 and CA $29,000 for a year.


For a student applying to an undergraduate program from India, you must have completed your higher school certificates (Class 12). Your admission average will be calculated on 5-6 academic subjects completed in the XII level. The minimum entrance averages range between 67-85%, depending on the program. Prerequisite subjects must be taken at the XII level.

In addition, you can submit your TOEFL iBT (minimum 86) or IELTS score (minimum 6.5) to avoid any further ESL requirements.

For a Master’s program, a four-year bachelor‘s degree equivalent – completion of BOTH a Bachelor’s (three-year) degree and a Master’s or a Bachelor’s degree requiring four years of study (e.g., B.Pharm., M.B.B.S., B.Tech., B.Eng., or B.Arch) is required along with the necessary ESL requirements.

Courses offered and Admission Process

The following are the different faculties of Carleton. You can access the complete list of programs here.

  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offering 27 majors and 19 minors B.A., B.A. Honors, Bachelor of Cognitive Science, Bachelor of Global and International Studies (B.GINS) degrees, and Bachelor of Humanities degrees.
  • Faculty of Science offers 86 undergraduate and 39 graduate programs across various fields
  • Faculty of Engineering and Design offers 20 different undergraduate and 36 graduate programs
  • The Faculty of Public Affairs offers 12 undergraduate programs and 21 graduate programs in criminology, economics, European studies, legal studies, journalism, political science, and public policy
  • Norman Paterson School of International Affairs
  • Sprott School of Business

The admission process begins with submitting your completed application along with the required documents either through Ontario Universities’ Application Centre or directly to Carleton through Carleton 360. You can track the progress of your application through those websites and accept your conditional offer through them.

3. Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology

Source: Algonquin College

Established in 1967, the Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is a public college in Ottawa. The medium of instruction is English. The educational institution offers bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, and certificates in a range of disciplines and specialties. It is a member of Polytechnics Canada and provides work-centric post-secondary education.

Why is it good to study here?

One of the top colleges in Ottawa for international students and the nation as a whole, Algonquin College is one of Canada’s largest colleges. The student-oriented atmosphere and multicultural ethos make for an exceptional learning atmosphere. The college is known for its diverse areas of studies and application-oriented on-campus training. The college offers over 200 bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, postgraduate diplomas, and certificate programs. The Algonquin varsity teams have also made a name for themselves by competing in six sports on the provincial level within the OCAA.


For an international student, the fee (tuition + health insurance + student services) ranges from CA $16,000 to CA $22,000.


For a certificate or a diploma program:

  • Class 12 certificate with a minimum percentage of 60%.
  • IELTS with a minimum score of 6.0

For a Bachelor’s Degree:

  • Class 12 certificate with a minimum mark overall 65% and min 60% min. in required program subjects
  • Academic IELTS with an overall minimum score of 6.5 (with no single test score below 6.0)

For a Post Graduate Certificate program:

  • Bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA (CGPA) of 55% or higher
  • Academic IELTS with an overall minimum score of 6.5 (with no single test score below 6.0)

Courses offered and Admission Process

There are 155 diploma/ certificate courses, 18 apprenticeship programs, 40 co-op programs, 6 collaborative degree programs, and 6 bachelor’s degree programs. Here’s an A-Z list of all programs offered by Algonquin College.

With a fairly high acceptance rate, Algonquin College has a simple admission process. Once the completed application along with the application fee of CA $110 is submitted, the college responds within 8 weeks of your status. Once you accept their conditional offer, you can begin your study permit application.

4. Herzing College

​​Source: Herzing College

Established in 1970, Herzing College is known for providing career-focused post-secondary education. A privately owned college with campuses in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Cambridge, this college provides flexible yet hands-on professional training.

Why is it good to study here?

Herzing College has solely placed its focus to meet the demand for Healthcare, Business, and technology professionals in Canada. This school, while offering an entire range of programs, specializes in the fields of healthcare, business administration, and the latest technological advancements. The college keeps upgrading itself with the latest industry standards. It works in tandem and brings in professionals to give expert lectures. The classes and schedules are also flexible, giving you the choice of on-campus, online or hybrid models.


The average tuition fee ranges from CA $8,000 to CA $15,000 for an academic year of 8 months.


  • You must be a high school graduate to attend Herzing College.
  • The minimum score required is 60 on the internet-based version (IBT) of TOEFL. For the IELTS, we require a minimum score of 6.0 in all areas. If your high school (or equivalent) was instructed in English, a TOEFL/IELTS score is not required.

Courses offered and Admission Process

The following are the courses available on the Ottawa campus:

  • 2D Animation
  • Accounting and Payroll Administration
  • Business Administration
  • Community Services
  • Computer Networking Technology
  • Cybersecurity
  • Immigration Case Manager
  • Law Clerk
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Health and Safety Officer
  • Physiotherapy/ Rehabilitation

Complete the Personal Information Record form and return it by email. Once the application form and the necessary transcripts are submitted, you must pass the online entrance exam. After your documents have been accepted, you must pay a non-refundable administration and testing fee of CA $500. Once you have received the acceptance from the college, you can begin applying for the study permit.

5. Saint Paul University


Before we get into the details, here is a disclaimer. If humanities and philosophy are not your areas of interest, you might as well move to the next one. If you are still here, then St Paul’s might just be the right place for you. Established in 1965, St paul’s is a Catholic pontifical university that runs in collaboration with the University of Ottawa. What began as a theological school has opened religious barriers and now included human sciences, counseling, and ethics into its repertoire.

Why is it good to study here?

For those philosophically inclined, St Paul provides a lively atmosphere of debate and discussion in addressing the moral and ethical questions that trouble humankind. A bilingual campus, this school brings in a multicultural perspective, making philosophical discussions more well-rounded. The university also has a well-connected college credit transfer program that allows you to transfer credits after completing the required minimum.


The average full-time fee for an international student is around CA $9,000 per term.


  • You must have a diploma certifying 12 years of education that is equivalent to an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
  • If you are a candidate for a graduate diploma or a master’s degree, you must have an honors B.A. (4 years) or equivalent and have obtained an average of at least 70%.
  • To study in French, you must prove that you are proficient in French by providing the official results of a recognized language proficiency test, such as DELF or DALF.
  • To study in English, you must prove that you are proficient in English by providing the official results of a recognized language proficiency test, such as TOEFL, IELTS, CAEL, MELAB, CPE, or PTE Academic.

Courses offered and Admission Process

At the Bachelor’s level, the university offers

  • Anglican Studies
  • Conflict Studies
  • Eastern Christian Studies
  • Human Relations and Spirituality
  • Ethics and Contemporary Social Issues
  • Social Communication
  • Social Innovation
  • Theology
  • At the graduate level, the university offers
  • Canon Law
  • Conflict Studies
  • Counseling and Spirituality
  • Ethics and Contemporary
  • Social Issues
  • Social Innovation
  • Theology
  • Transformative Leadership and Spirituality

Here’s a step by step guide of the admission process.

6. Willis College

Source: Willis College

A private college established over 150 years ago, Willis College has established itself as a school dedicated to skill training and excellence. With its headquarters in Ottawa, it also has additional campuses in Arnprior and Winnipeg.

Why is it good to study here?

Willis College provides a range of post-secondary diploma courses to help its students gain skills in the fields of healthcare management, business administration, and computer science. They are industry-recognized certifications that will allow you to transition, either into the workforce or into a university seamlessly.


CA $16,000 – 22,000 per year


For a certificate or a diploma program, an applicant must provide transcripts of a high school diploma, evaluated by a third-party credential evaluation service provider such as Comparative Education Service (University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies), International Credential Assessment Service of Canada or World Education Services (WES).

and TOEFL: 500 PBT, 185 CBT, 74-76 iBT or

IELTS: An overall score of 5.0 or

Cambridge: CAE or CPC band of 5.5.

Courses offered and Admission Process

You can access the A-Z program list here and the admission process here.

7. Dominican University College

Source: Dominican University College

Established in 1900, Dominican University College began as the graduate center for Canadian Dominicans. Today, the school offers both civil and pontifical bachelor’s master’s, and doctoral degrees in philosophy and theology.

Why is it good to study here?

For a student of philosophy or theology, Dominican University College creates an exceptional atmosphere of learning, research, debate, and discussion. The faculty-to-student ratio is 1:7. This provides for small classrooms and individual attention. The emphasis of the philosophy and theology programs is on critical thinking, analysis, and teamwork. Since 2012, this school has been affiliated with Carleton University. This provides a unique opportunity for students to enroll in classes on both campuses.


A full-time undergraduate program costs around CA $14,440, while a master’s program costs CA $21,660.


  • Completed Class 12 transcripts or a recognized bachelor’s degree
  • All applicants must have ACEND-Accredited Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics (DPD) coursework completed
  • 79 or higher on the Internet-based TOEFL or 6.5 or higher on the IELTS

Courses offered and Admission Process

Undergraduate Courses:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with minor in Ethics – B.A.Ph.(Eth.)
  • Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Philosophy – B.A.Ph.
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (Honors) with minor in Ethics – B.Ph.(Eth.)
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (Honors) – B.Ph.
  • Bachelor of Theology – B.Th.

Graduate Courses:

  • Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Master of Arts in Philosophy (M.A.Ph.)
  • Doctorate in Theology (Ph.D. / Canonical Degree)
  • Master of Theology (M.Th) – Civil Degree
  • Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.Th) and Licentiate (S.T.L)

Check out the step-by-step admission process here.

How to apply to universities in Ottawa?

Preparing to study abroad can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to plan and consider. This is why it’s a great idea to get the best guidance and support you can.

At TC Global, we simplify international education, learning, and mobility through connecting students, universities, and a global community on a single platform where there are over 1000+ education providers and over 80,000+ courses.

Our platform enables students to study anywhere in the world in just a few steps. From search and discovery and finding the right course fit for you, to applications, visas, and departure – we see you through it all.

To move forward with us, download our app or visit and sign in to create an account on our student platform and onboard with us in quick, easy steps.! 🚀

Then simply set up a visit to pick a Relationships Team closest to you and choose a slot to meet with a Relationship Member.

Let’s shape your future together.

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