Study Computer Science in Canada

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Why study Computer Science?

To be in the business of computers is to be into every business: almost every business – not just the e-commerce companies – is powered by computers today. On top of that, individual identity itself is shaped by networked computers in this age of smartphones and omnipresent internet; that creates jobs even for the software developers who don’t serve any corporation. In short, if you can acquire marketable expertise in the field of computer science, and almost all kinds of expertise in this field are highly marketable, you are not going to lack employment opportunities – no matter where you are.

A computer science expert can work for a company based in Silicon Valley, California, USA, while he or she lives on tiny atoll in the Bahamas if the place has a reliable internet connection. And thanks to our pandemic experience, that doesn’t sound like a fanciful thing any more. In a world where the whole economy had retreated into a work-from-home bubble, the computer expert was absolutely at home.

Why study Computer Science in the Canada?

The United States of America is the place where the modern computer – originally with valves in lieu of microchips – was born. The first organization (outside the academia) to use general purpose computers was the US army. Since then the computer has grown smaller in size and bigger in importance. As the world was sharply divided in opposing politico-military camps during as well as in the aftermath of WWII, computing technology developed in America got shared with the USA’s closest allies, the UK and Canada, very early. Another reason why the study of computing took off in UK varsities was that the earliest software languages and interfaces – thanks to the American influence – were aligned with English. It’s no wonder then that Canadian universities possess the capacity to teach you more about computers than do institutions in most other countries.

On top of that, Canada and the US are sister economies. Capital, technology and manpower flows across the US-Canada border almost unchecked. That proximity to the world’s largest economy makes the Canadian job market particularly resilient.

Last but not the least, Canada offers extensive stay back opportunities. Therefore, an opportunity to study in a Canadian university is also an opportunity to acquire work experience in Canadian firms. That experience will count for big wherever you go when you get out of Canada.

Entry requirements

You don’t need to take any standardized aptitude test (like SAT or ACT) and score good marks therein but you need to secure good marks in the science subjects in high school. If you have secured good marks consistently in exam after exam, you have a much better chance than you do with good marks only in the latest ones.

If your high school marks aren’t in the Canadian format, they need to be converted when you apply.

Cost of doing the course

Tuition fees at Canadian universities are quite high from the point of view of South Asian students, primarily on account of the currency exchange rates, but they are lower than those at UK, US or Australian universities. And the fees vary yearly as well as regionally. Newfoundland universities, for instance, have the lowest tuition fees, while Ontario has the highest. Tuition fees vary across programmes too. Tuition fee for a bachelors course in computer science may fall anywhere between 2000 and 52000 Canadian dollars (CAD) per year while the fees for a masters course in this field may cost between CAD 8000 and 18000.

Top universities to study Computer Science in Canada

By all estimates, more than 120 universities in Canada offer courses in different branches of the discipline we call computer science. Many of these are well equipped and, consequently, well reputed. Arguably, the top 10 places to study computer science in Canada are the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, the McGill University, the University of Alberta, the University of Montreal, the Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the University of Calgary and the McMaster University. A significant difference between the US and Canadian education scene form the point of view of international students is that the top universities in Canada offer a lot of scholarships.

Top Computer Science courses in the Canada

In Canada, more than 120 universities altogether offer more than 1000 courses in computer science, including foundation to undergraduate, undergraduate diploma, bachelors degree, postgraduate diploma and masters degree courses. BSc in computer science, cyber security, game development, web design, animation, software engineering, computer engineering, cloud computing, information technology, information systems and mobile application development are some of the top undergraduate courses that lead to a degree.

Work while you study

An international students can work in Canada if his or her study permit allows working on or off the campus. You do not become eligible to work the moment you land in Canada; you will be eligible the day your course starts. There are some other conditions which you have to meet as well.

A person on student visa can work on campus if he or she a full-time post-secondary student at a

public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or a CEGEP in Quebec, or a private college-level school in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public schools, and is at least 50% funded by government grants, or Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law AND he or she a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

On the other hand, a person on student visa can work off campus if he or she is a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI) enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program or a secondary-level vocational training program (Quebec only) which must be at least 6 months long and lead to a degree, diploma or certificate AND the student has a Social Insurance Number.

Healthcare benefits for international students

In Canada, all international students are required to have health insurance. Medical coverage available to international students varies from province to province. In provinces where international students ARE NOT covered under provincial health care plans, you will have to purchase private health insurance coverage. In provinces where international students ARE covered under provincial health care plans, the student is entitled to preventive and basic treatment as well as emergency care.

Please note that dental care, vision care and prescription medications are not covered under provincial healthcare plans. Moreover, hospitalization is partially covered.

Internships and placement opportunity

Plenty of opportunities though all of them are not paid internships. However, students who take up unpaid internships get their living costs reimbursed by the employer in case the student has to go out of town in order to undertake it. You may get to intern in Canada itself or in the US or even some country in Western Europe, especially France which has close ties with Canada. In fact, learning a little French is good idea even if you are not going to a university in French speaking Quebec because it might entitle you to a valuable internship in France.

Postgraduate study opportunity

Canadian universities offer postgraduate courses in computer science in a huge number of specialized fields which include networking, data systems, game development, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, robotics, cryptography, simulation and modeling, and mobile app development. Most of these entail a job as a teaching assistant, which lightens the financial burden of living in a first world country.

Very importantly, Canadian universities – while sorting the applications for postgraduate courses – favour international students who have done their undergraduate studies in Canada itself to the international students who have not.

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