Can international students take online courses in Canada?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed a change in how we carry out our daily activities including studying.


We were all forced to stay inside and because of that, we couldn’t attend physical classes, studying online became the only way out.


Online classes have always been there but, the adoption rate grew higher as a result of the pandemic and Canada wasn’t left behind.

Many Universities and Colleges in Canada allow their students to take online classes, which has eased the burden and cost associated with physical classes.

If you are an international student and wish to study online in Canada – you live internationally and want to study online without coming to Canada, but at the same time, gain the same certificate just like everyone else, below are your chances and what you need to do ASAP.

What you should know about the Canadian education system

Canada has a wide range of institutions, you will find universities, colleges, and technical institutes in the country.

These institutions are in different provinces and each province has its education system, and the provinces play a significant role in determining education policies.

Can international students take online courses in Canada?

Yes, international students can take classes online in Canada, but before you apply, you need to check with the school and the province for any specific rules attached to their online learning.

Generally, you are allowed to take online courses if your chosen institution offers online courses/programs and if these programs are recognized/approved according to the province’s policy.

Canada embraced online education a long time ago, and many institutions in the country offer a wide range of online courses and programs that you can choose from.

For example, Algonquin College has online courses for international students who don’t want to come to Canada and study physically.

You can register for their online programs and earn a globally recognized certificate – the same as those who attended physical classes.

The adoption of online classes in Canada matches the global shift towards digital learning and it’s making it more convenient for students to access quality education remotely.

How do you become eligible to study online in Canada as an international Student?

Your eligibility to take online courses in Canada as an international student depends on your chosen institution’s policies towards online courses, the type of course you want to study, the province where your chosen school is and how long your course will last.

Generally, as an international student, you can enrol in online courses, but you must check with your institution to ensure compliance with their guidelines.

How you can apply and get admission to take online courses in Canada as an international student

If you want to take online courses in Canada, follow the steps below.

  • Research and choose your course and school

Start by researching online courses offered by Canadian universities or colleges.

Consider your interests, career goals, and the skills you want to develop. Make a list of potential courses that align with your aspirations.

Check different universities and colleges in Canada that offer the course you want to study and whether they are offering it online.

You can find a list of Canadian universities that offer online courses by clicking here.

Tip: Almost all Canadian institutions offer online courses, you just need to check their website and you will find all the information you need about their online courses.

  • Check the admission requirements for the course you want to study

Each course and institution has specific admission requirements.

If you want to find out about the admission requirements of any university or college, visit the official website of the university or college offering the course you’re interested in.

Look for details of the courses and you will find everything you need to study any of the available courses they offer.

You will find requirements like language proficiency tests (IELTS or TOEFL), academic transcripts, and any additional requirements.

  • Prepare your document to apply for admission

Once you get a list of the admission requirements, gather all the required documents listed there.

Make sure that they are in order and meet the criteria outlined by the institution.

Some institutions offer you laptops and other gadgets once you get admission while other institutions have openings for scholarships that you can also apply for.

  • Submit your application

With your documents and every other requirement ready, follow the application instructions provided by the institution.

Most Canadian universities and colleges have online application portals.

Fill out the application form online, attach the required documents, pay any application fees and submit your application.

  • Monitor your application status

After submitting your application, you can monitor your application status through the university’s online portal.

  • Receive admission offer

If your application is successful, you will receive an admission offer from the institution.

  • Accept the offer and pay your tuition

Once you receive the admission offer, carefully review the terms and conditions.

If you agree, formally accept the offer and proceed to pay the tuition fees as outlined by the institution.

Once you pay your tuition fees and do all necessary registration, you can start your course.

Most institutions start with an orientation before your course outline proper.

Study permits and immigration regulations for online courses

While studying online from abroad has become an option now in Canada, you must know Canada’s immigration regulations should you want to come to Canada maybe for your graduation or if your course demands that at some point you have to enter the country for a particular purpose.

In normal circumstances, you need to get your study permit before you will be allowed to take any (full-time) course as an international student, however, it is not the same for online courses, you don’t necessarily need all of that before you will be allowed to study.

Since online courses don’t need you to enter Canada, you don’t need a study permit to get started.

Things have changed since the pandemic. These changes facilitated remote learning for international students who are unable to travel to Canada.

Why online learning is a great option for international students including you

  • It is flexible: With online courses, you are allowed to create a study schedule that accommodates different time zones and personal commitments.
  • It is also cost-effective: Studying online is more cost-effective because it eliminates expenses related to accommodation, transportation, and sometimes even textbooks.
  • You have many courses available: Canadian universities and colleges have numerous online courses across various disciplines that you can choose from.
  • Enhanced technological skills: With online education, you will be equipped with valuable technological skills, which are increasingly essential in today’s job market.

Challenges you may face with studying online in Canada

Studying online in Canada is indeed a great idea, but there are some things you need to think about:

  • Time zones will be a challenge: Since everyone will be joining from different time zones, it can get tricky, you must make plans to keep up with classes and assignments.
  • Different cultures: You will be working with classmates from different backgrounds and this can be challenging – get ready for it.
  • Internet connection can be a big issue: You’ll need a good internet connection and the right software to make your online learning experience smooth.

In addition to all these challenges, you will also have to deal with self-discipline. You have to attend classes and keep up with assignments.


Can an international student do online study in Canada?

Yes, international students can do online studies in Canada. Most Canadian institutions offer online courses, but before you proceed to register, get a confirmation from the institution you are interested in.

How many online courses can international students take in Canada?

You can take as many online courses as you like, as long as you keep up with the terms of each course and complete them.

Can international students do 100% of their studies online in Canada and still get PGWP?

Unfortunately, no, international students who do 100% studies online from outside Canada cannot get PGWP, to get PGWP, you must complete at least 50% of your course inside Canada, whether you do the course online or in class, you must do 50% of the course while you are inside the country.

Are online courses recognized in Canada?

Yes, online courses offered by reputable institutions in Canada are recognized. If you want to register, you must choose programs and institutions accredited or recognized by relevant education authorities.

Before you pick a course or school, make sure you verify the recognition status of the specific online course or program.

Can I get a work permit with an online course from Canada?

No, to get a work permit, you need to be in the country and on full-time studies, online courses don’t require you to come to the country.


So, yes, international students can take online courses in Canada and there are lots of courses available that you can apply for.

Canada’s education system is adapting well to online learning, and the country is friendly to students from all over the world.

But, before you jump in, make sure you understand the rules, requirements, and challenges that come with studying online in a new country.

Make your preparation well before you apply to study online in Canada.

Leave a Comment