An associate degree earned in Canada is a significant milestone for any international student. It provides them with more employment options than a high school diploma. Also, it shows that they have grit, a crucial factor in university admissions or job applications.

If all those said have made you consider pursuing an associate degree program, read this article! It provides a list of the best institutions in Canada that can offer associate degrees to international students.

What Is the Difference Between an Associate Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree?

A most noticeable and significant distinction between a bachelor’s degree and an associate’s degree is the period it takes to earn them. For instance, an associate’s degree program may be completed in 2 years, while a bachelor’s degree program takes four years as it provides a more in-depth analysis of the field.

Other differences include cost: a bachelor’s degree might be quite expensive, while an associate’s degree is relatively affordable. Qualifications are also less stringent, so an associate degree is a terrific choice for students who did not flourish in academics in high school or did not get exceptional SAT scores.

Can International Students Work in Canada After Completing an Associate Degree Program?

International students can work in Canada after earning their associate degree. Indeed, a two-year associate degree from a recognized Canadian college or university can qualify international students and graduates for entry-level employment opportunities. Thus, recent graduates can find work in many different industries, such as computer programming, dentistry, web development, and aerospace.

In addition, students who complete an Associate Degree program are eligible for a 3-year post-graduate educational visa in Canada. This is a significant factor in many students’ preference for an associate degree, as they can use the employment experience for Canadian permanent residency applications.

Best Schools in Canada Offering Associate Degrees to International Students

The finest schools that provide associate degrees to international students in Canada are described below.

1. Kwantlen Polytechnic Institute

For almost four decades, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) has been educating its students so they can lead lucrative professional lives. It offers several extensive study programs to international students, including associate degree courses.

The primary objective of those courses is to offer a basis for higher education while also preparing students for the workforce. An associate degree program comprises two years of college-level coursework in various disciplines. Completing diverse courses is mandatory, as is an in-depth study in a few chosen areas.

2. North Island College

The next suggestion is North Island College, recognized globally for its technologically advanced courses. A substantial percentage of its student body comprises individuals who participate in online education.

The two associate degree paths the North Island College provides are Arts and Science, and both offer specialization in different disciplines. Moreover, students who begin their education at NIC may transfer up to two years’ worth of credits (60 total) to any British Columbia institution.

Associate degree courses can even be used to fulfill conditions for Canadian medical, optometry, dental, and veterinary schools. Thus, students may concentrate on a particular field of study or branch out into others like chemistry, mathematics, and physics for an associate degree in Science.

3. Douglas College

Douglas College, established in 1970, has an annual enrollment of 25,000 students, making it the most prominent degree-granting institution in British Columbia, Canada. It holds a considerable ranking among the top 1,500 universities in the world by QS World Rankings. All these help it land its place among the best Canadian institutions offering associate degree programs to international students.

This school offers two associate degree programs: one in the arts and another in the sciences, both of which may lead to specialization. Students with at least 12 credits of university transferable classes are eligible for the Associate of Arts for Future Teachers Program, another associate degree program in this institution.

Students may choose from many options within the same broad subject area when completing their associate degree course credits. Costs for these courses are calculated per credit. Presently, an international student’s education costs CAD 636.75 per credit hour. However, Douglas College annually awards almost $100,000 in scholarships to new yet academically outstanding international students to help cover study costs.

4. Thompson Rivers University

Through various academic programs, student-centered support services, experiential learning opportunities, and a welcoming community, Thompson Rivers University supports each student so they can thrive. TRU is proud of its long history of educating students from all walks of life and at all stages of development since its founding in 1970.

The institute offers international students a well-rounded, subject-focused Associate of Science degree. The degree expands into multiple areas with a theoretical and practical approach. Biology, chemistry, physics, geology, mathematics, and computer science are among the disciplines that might be explored in this program. Two semesters of full-time study at this level is anticipated to cost $3,500 in tuition fees.

5. Okanagan College

Our final recommendation is a college acclaimed for its educational diversity and excellent teaching model. It is highly ranked and accredited by respective authorities. Also, at this institution, students may choose between two associate degree programs, one in the arts and one in the sciences.

If students opt for the associate of arts program, they can get firsthand experience of other cultures, be exposed to fresh points of view, and accumulate relevant historical context. The program also trains them to have the ability to share information in unconventional methods and uncover solutions to both perennial and novel problems.

Students who enroll in the Associate of Arts program have access to more than 300 courses in 23 different disciplines, allowing them to hone their analytical and research abilities in only two years. It may cost around $32,000 in total for international students.


An associate degree from a well-regarded foreign university is the ultimate feather in the cap for many academically ambitious individuals. You can be one of them, too, so consider enrolling in an associate degree program in the best Canadian schools for international students.

We hope this article guided you toward Canada’s best associate degree programs and institutions. If you’re decided in studying in this country, check out this Best Cities to Study in Canada for International Students page!


About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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