The cheapest DLI programs for international students eyeing Canada’s three most in-demand careers

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: May 21, 2023

According to Randstad, an employment agency and consulting firm with over 60 years of industry experience, the three most in-demand jobs across Canada are developers, human resource managers and mechanical engineers.

Appropriately, it can be expected that international students coming to Canada may lean toward pursuing educational programs that will prepare them for careers in these sought-after fields.

Discover your options to study in Canada

In the hopes of aiding international students with that goal, the following will present the three Canadian Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) offering the cheapest tuition rates for programs that will help international students obtain careers in Canada’s most in-demand employment sectors.

Please note that the content below considers only tuition fees from each institution, rather than all fees (recreational, student services, dental/health etc.). In addition, unless otherwise noted, all tuition estimates below are from 2023/2024 (in CAD).

For this list, we will be comparing the most popular DLI in each Canadian province according to the QS World University Rankings 2023.

The 10 DLIs assessed include:

  • McGill (Montreal, Quebec)
  • University of British Columbia - UBC (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • University of Toronto – UofT (Toronto, Ontario)
  • University of Alberta – UAlberta (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • University of Manitoba – UManitoba (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
  • University of Saskatchewan – USask (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)
  • Dalhousie (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • University of New Brunswick – UNB (Fredericton, New Brunswick)
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland – Memorial (St. John’s, Newfoundland)
  • University of Prince Edward Island – UPEI (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)

It was important to compare DLIs here because these are educational institutions in Canada that have been approved by the government to accept international students. Studying at these institutions also allows international student graduates to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which enables them to acquire key Canadian work experience they will need to eventually become permanent residents in Canada.

Job 1: Developers

On Randstad’s list of the 15 top jobs trending in Canada in 2023, the first position was taken by developers. As described by Randstad, “developers design and code programs based on user needs: from smartphone apps to business accounting programs to operating systems.”

Typically, people in this role have an educational background in computer science. All 10 of the assessed DLIs offer computer science programs, the cheapest of which are offered by UPEI, Memorial and UManitoba.

Note: Memorial provides only general estimates, rather than program-specific values, regarding tuition (including for international students)

At UPEI, a full year of tuition for undergraduate international students is estimated at $6,570 for programs in the Faculty of Science. Memorial, in Newfoundland, provides a $20,000 estimated international student tuition. Finally, according to the most recently available data from UManitoba, undergraduate international students in the sciences will pay $20,400 in tuition every year.

Among the assessed DLIs, the two most expensive programs in this field are offered at McGill (approx. $58,158.90 per year for students working towards a Bachelors of Science) and UofT, where annual international student tuition is $60,510 for undergraduates studying computer science.

The following table presents all 10 assessed DLIs, ordered from cheapest to most expensive computer science-related program tuition.

ProvinceInstitution NameTuition CostNote(s)
Prince Edward IslandUPEI (Charlottetown)$6,750source
New BrunswickUNB (Fredericton)$19,360source
Newfoundland and LabradorMemorial (St. John's)$20,000source
SaskatchewanUSask (Saskatoon)$26,359source
AlbertaUAlberta (Edmonton)$31,895.40source
Nova ScotiaDalhousie (Halifax)$35,000source
British ColumbiaUBC (Vancouver)$46,295.70source
QuebecMcGill (Montreal)$55,389.30source
OntarioUofT (Toronto)$60,510source
ManitobaUManitoba (Winnipeg)$77,196source

Job 2: Human Resources (HR) Managers

HR managers were ranked as the second most in-demand job across Canada according to Randstad. People in these roles, generally speaking, “oversee the company’s human resource functions, including recruitment and workforce management.”

Once again, all assessed DLIs offer an HR-related program, although some institutions offer full four-year undergraduate programs and others offer certificate programs that can be completed in less than a year.

Still, the cheapest HR programs for international students can be found at:

  1. Dalhousie: $3,135 (see note below)
  2. UofT: $6,051 (see note below)
  3. UPEI: $6,570 (annual tuition)

Dalhousie Note: Dalhousie’s HR management certificate program includes three courses that each last 12 weeks

UofT Note: UofT offers half-course fee estimates for their Human Resources Management Certificate program

On the other hand, the two most expensive HR programs offered by these DLIs can be found at UBC and McGill. At UBC, annual undergraduate international student tuition is $58,153.50 for students pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce. Meanwhile, McGill approximates tuition costs of around $65,604.30 per year for students pursuing a Bachelors of Commerce at that institution.

The following table presents all 10 assessed DLIs, ordered from cheapest to most expensive HR-related program tuition.

ProvinceInstitution NameTuition CostNote(s)
Nova ScotiaDalhousie (Halifax)$3,135source
Prince Edward IslandUPEI (Charlottetown)$6,750source
Newfoundland and LabradorMemorial (St. John's)$20,000source
New BrunswickUNB (Fredericton)$20,158source
SaskatchewanUSask (Saskatoon)$30,060source
AlbertaUAlberta (Edmonton)$37,842source
British ColumbiaUBC (Vancouver)$58,153.50source
OntarioUofT (Toronto)$60,510source
QuebecMcGill (Montreal)$63,693.60source
ManitobaUManitoba (Winnipeg)$85,999.20source

Job 3: Mechanical Engineers

Canada’s third-most in-demand job of 2023 belongs to the mechanical engineering industry. Mechanical engineers help with “developing and designing machines that solve human problems … [finding ways to] control and automate manufacturing systems and [solve various] environmental problems.”

The cheapest mechanical engineering programs for international students can be found at UPEI, Memorial and UNB. Their annual international student tuition estimates are listed as follows:

  1. UPEI: $6,750
  2. Memorial: $20,000
  3. UNB: $22,297 (for undergraduate international students in the Faculty of Engineering)

Once again, McGill and UofT offer the most expensive tuition rates for international students seeking to study mechanical engineering. At McGill, annual international student tuition is $59,654.40 for students pursuing undergraduate degrees in the school’s Bachelor of Engineering programs. Meanwhile, UofT approximates tuition costs of around $65,410 per year for students studying in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.

The following table presents all 10 assessed DLIs, ordered from cheapest to most expensive tuition for mechanical engineering programs.

ProvinceInstitution NameTuition CostNote(s)
Prince Edward IslandUPEI (Charlottetown)$6,750source
Newfoundland and LabradorMemorial (St. John's)$20,000source
New BrunswickUNB (Fredericton)$21,337source
SaskatchewanUSask (Saskatoon)$35,071source
Nova ScotiaDalhousie (Halifax)$40,800source
AlbertaUAlberta (Edmonton)$42,707.40source
QuebecMcGill (Montreal)$55,389.30source
British ColumbiaUBC (Vancouver)$57,735.91source
OntarioUofT (Toronto)$65,410source
ManitobaUManitoba (Winnipeg)$77,196source

Discover your options to study in Canada



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