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Study: International students in Canadian Universities, 2004/2005 to 2013/2014

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Released: 2016-10-20

The international student population at Canadian universities almost doubled in the decade from 2004/2005 to 2013/2014, rising from 66,000 students to 124,000. In 2013/2014, international students represented 11% of all students on Canadian campuses, up from 7% in 2004/2005.

To put this growth in perspective, the international student population at Canadian universities grew 88% from 2004/2005 to 2013/2014, while the comparable growth rate for Canadian students was 22%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Proportion of international students in all Canadian university programs
Proportion of international students in all Canadian university programs

The proportion of international students on university campuses varied across Canada. Ontario (9%), Alberta (10%) and Manitoba (10%) recorded the lowest proportions of international students in 2013/2014, while British Columbia (18%), New Brunswick (16%) and Nova Scotia (15%) had the highest proportions.

In all but one province, Asia was the main source region for these students, accounting for over 60% of all international students in 2013/2014. The exception was Quebec, where Europe was the largest source region at 39%, with France as the main source country.

In 2013/2014, as in previous years, the presence of international students was most pronounced at the doctoral level, accounting for 29% of doctoral students in Canada. In comparison, international students represented 9% of students at the bachelor's level, and 17% at the master's level. However, because of the considerable size of the bachelor's programs, most of Canada's international students study at the bachelor's level.

International students were fairly concentrated in two fields of study, with almost half of them studying business, management and public administration (27%) and architecture, engineering and related technologies (19%). In comparison, these two fields of study accounted for just over a quarter of Canadian students' university programs.


The fact sheet "International students in Canadian Universities, 2004-2005 to 2013-2014," which is part of the Education Indicators in Canada: Fact Sheet series (Catalogue number81-599-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website, under Publications.

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