As the fourth-largest city in Canada, Ottawa prides itself on its identity of showcasing a unique blend of history, politics, and natural beauty. When you decide to study in Ottawa, you get to be a part of this unique city and gain experiences that can form memories of a lifetime.
Ottawa offers international students an exceptional environment to pursue their academic goals. It has some of Canada's top universities and colleges; many consistently rank among the country's best. Ottawa, being the capital city, truly reflects the Canadian system, which is also proven by its bilingual population. Canada has two official languages; you can easily find people speaking English and French in Ottawa. This linguistic diversity presents an excellent opportunity for international students to become bilingual or enhance their language skills.
If you are considering studying in Canada, Ottawa is a fantastic city to consider. Learn more below and begin your application by contacting SI-Canada for a free consultation on your future.
Why Study in Ottawa?
1. Excellent education institution
Ottawa is home to a highly acclaimed education system, with several universities and colleges providing students with various study options. Students get to explore various disciplines as there are courses at different levels with multiple subjects. As the city has a bilingual population, you can also get various opportunities to learn a new language through stand-alone language courses or by mingling with those who speak that language.
2. Safe and welcoming environment
The environment in this multicultural city is extremely welcoming for international students. Over 25% of its residents are born outside Canada, allowing students to mingle with people from diverse backgrounds. The city also strongly influences European traditions and cultures, giving the ambiance a unique setting. As per a study by Main Street and Postmedia, Ottawa is Canada's safest city, which can be a comforting factor for students and their families.
3. Lower cost of living than other cities
The cost of living in Ottawa is generally considered reasonable compared to other major Canadian cities such as Toronto or Vancouver. However, international students need to budget wisely to ensure a comfortable lifestyle. The largest expense involves accommodation, with options ranging from on-campus residences, around CAD 1,000 per month, to off-campus apartments or shared housing, ranging from CAD 1,000 to 1500 per month. International students are also required to have health insurance. While some institutions include this in their fees, others may require students to arrange coverage independently, costing them around CAD 600-900 per year.
Transportation costs can reach up to CAD 150 per month. Food and grocery costs can range from CAD 500-750 per month, but here, students can save by cooking at home. Other expenses can include the money spent on entertainment and utilities, which can cost almost CAD 100-300 per month, depending on the services one chooses.
4. Great student experience
Offering a dynamic environment of multiculturalism and academic excellence, Ottawa has created a name for itself among the international student community. Most university campuses also reflect this vibrant culture, and students are given opportunities to engage in various activities by joining clubs and student organizations.
Students studying in Ottawa can take advantage of the city's cultural scene outside the campus confines. From exploring national museums to attending local art exhibitions and music festivals, students have ample opportunities to engage in the arts and broaden their horizons. Interestingly, the city also hosts numerous events throughout the year, from Canada Day celebrations to winter festivals, providing students with opportunities to immerse themselves in Canadian culture and traditions.
Ottawa's green spaces, such as the Rideau Canal and Gatineau Park, offer students a refreshing escape from academic rigours. Most students like to cycle along scenic pathways and arrange picnics by the river. A unique mix of urban and natural landscapes gives the students a rejuvenated sense of university life.
5. Stunning landscapes
Ottawa is a haven of natural beauty that seamlessly blends with its urban landscape. The city is situated at the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau, and Rideau Rivers, providing a picturesque backdrop for students to feel refreshed and relaxed. One of Ottawa's most iconic natural features is the Rideau Canal, one of Canada's best UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Students can also visit Gatineau Park, just a short drive from downtown Ottawa and truly a nature lover's paradise. They can also visit Hill Park to witness panoramic views of the Parliament buildings and the Ottawa River.
6. Job prospects
Thanks to its diverse and thriving job market, Ottawa presents promising career opportunities for international students post-graduation. The city's status as the capital of Canada generally translates into several opportunities in government-related sectors, including public administration, policy development, and international relations. The city's technology sector is also a major player in the job market for students, as they can find several job opportunities by pursuing courses in computer science and information technology. Students with degrees in Health Sciences are also in great demand in Ottawa's strong healthcare sector. They can find positions in hospitals, research institutions, and healthcare administration to apply their knowledge and contribute to the city's healthcare landscape.
Business and finance professionals can also find ample opportunities with positions in banking, consulting, and various business services. Furthermore, Ottawa's commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship also creates a supportive environment for graduates interested in starting their own ventures. The city provides resources, networking opportunities, and incubators for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Ottawa encourages international students to stay and contribute to the city's growth and post-Study Work Permits allow graduates to gain valuable Canadian work experience, making it easier to transition from student life to a successful and fulfilling career in the nation's capital.
Five Leading Universities and Colleges in Ottawa
1. University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa is a world-renowned bilingual institution that offers a vibrant academic environment to all students. The university provides students with a diverse range of disciplines to choose from and a deep emphasis on research. As the university has a central location in the capital city, students benefit from a rich cultural atmosphere and proximity to major government institutions. The University of Ottawa is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 9th in the Best Global Universities in Canada (US News).
- Popular courses: Engineering, Medicine, Business, Accounting and Chemistry
- Student acceptance rate: 35%
2. Carleton University
Carleton University is an English-language university renowned for its strong emphasis on experiential learning and innovation. It offers high-quality educational programs at various technology, public affairs, and business levels, among other disciplines. The Carleton campus fosters a dynamic community, and its commitment to research contributes to its reputation as a leading Canadian institution.
- Popular courses: Business, Engineering, Computer Science and Economics
- Student acceptance rate: 21%
3. Saint Paul University
Saint Paul University, rooted in the Catholic tradition, offers a unique educational experience to the enrolled students. The university is majorly known for its humanities and social sciences programs and for emphasizing ethical leadership and community engagement through its approach. It has been federated with the University of Ottawa since 1965 and is fully bilingual, offering courses in both English and French.
- Popular courses: Theological Studies, Social Communication, Conflict Studies And Law.
- Student acceptance rate: 68%
4. Dominican University College
Dominican University College is a small yet impactful institution specializing in philosophy and theology. The university's size enables it to provide all its students a close-knit community and a focused academic experience. With a commitment to the Dominican intellectual tradition, the college offers a distinctive educational journey centred on critical thinking and spirituality.
- Popular courses: Teaching, Childhood Education, Business and Theology
- Student acceptance rate: 81%
5. Algonquin College
Algonquin College is an English-language College of applied arts and technology. It is a leader in providing applied education and offers a diverse portfolio of subjects. The college has three campuses in Ontario, with the primary one in Ottawa. The college prepares its students to readily join the job market by focusing on hands-on learning and industry-connected educational options.
- Popular courses: Engineering, Accounting, Sciences, Journalism, and Public Relations.
- Student acceptance rate: 60%
Courses to Study in Ottawa
When students decide to pursue a study-abroad pathway, one of the most important aspects that they must consider is the course that is taken up. This decision will determine the kind of study options they get and the eventual career opportunities the subject presents. In Ottawa, most institutions provide various subjects, but some are most in demand. Those subjects are mentioned below:
- Computer Science and Technology: Ottawa's reputation as "Silicon Valley North" makes it an ideal location for studying computer science and information technology. Institutions such as Carleton University offer specialized programs that prepare students for software development, artificial intelligence, and telecommunications careers, capitalizing on the city's thriving tech sector.
- Business and Finance: Ottawa's diverse economy strongly focuses on finance and business services. Studying business and finance at institutions like the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the city's financial landscape, with opportunities in banking, consulting, and business development.
- Public Administration and Governance: Given Ottawa's status as the capital city of Canada, studying public administration and governance is particularly advantageous. Institutions like the University of Ottawa offer comprehensive programs that provide insights into government operations, policy development, and public service, aligning well with the city's focus on public administration.
- Health Sciences and Healthcare Administration: With a robust healthcare sector, Ottawa provides excellent opportunities for students pursuing health sciences and healthcare administration. Study programs in the healthcare sector equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for thriving and fulfilling careers in the medical field.
- International Relations and Diplomacy: Given its role as the capital and a hub for international affairs, Ottawa is an ideal place to study international relations and diplomacy. Institutions like Carleton University offer courses that delve into global issues, preparing students for careers in diplomacy, international organizations, and government agencies.
Study in Ottawa
If you want to learn more about studying in Ottawa or have any questions about your application, take advantage of free advice with our consultation service.