Choosing Your UK University Course: A Canadian Student’s Guide

Deciding where to go to study is not a decision to be undertaken lightly. You need to consider what you want to study, how quickly you want to complete your degree and how well you’re likely to adapt to the local environment.

If you’re torn between studying in the UK and Canada, both have their benefits and drawbacks.

However, the UK university system may be a more attractive option for students who prefer more one-on-one instruction, along with spending commensurately less time pursuing their degrees.

In this article we’ll do a brief comparison of the Canadian and UK university structures so you can decide whether to study in the UK and give you tips on choosing your UK university course.


The Maple Leaf

Educational structure

A benefit of staying at home, you will already know the structure of Canadian universities and colleges and what is expected of you. Having spent years in the system already, you will understand exams, coursework and the way you will be taught.

Although it is always tempting to stick to what you know, it doesn’t mean the UK system is completely different. In fact, the UK could be viewed as offering a better support service to students than at a home university.


Staying in Canada means you are closer to your friends and family. For those worried about homesickness, you can be assured you’re no further than a few hours away from a hug or your next ‘care package’ with emergency supplies.

Living conditions

Depending on where you decide to study you may have to cope with extreme weather which, although you’ve lived with it for the whole of your life, can cause disruption to your learning.

Canada has some of the harshest weather on the continent, but the UK in comparison is fairly mild – making getting to classes that little bit easier!

Study time

From your initial research you will know that most Canadian university undergrad programs are set up on the four-year model, taking 12 months longer than counterparts in the UK.

The breadth of your knowledge may extend in this time, but you could benefit more from studying in the UK for 3 years before returning to the jobs market early. To see whether the UK is a real possibility, download our free eBook Studying in the UK: The Essential facts for Canadian Student.

The UK

British flag (Union Jack) in Bangor

Educational structure

The UK university program is substantially different than that of Canada, with the exception of certain universities in Scotland. The Canadian system is based upon the four-year model whilst most British universities work to a three-year schedule for students.

For those looking to study courses in the medical sector as an example, you will be required to take a longer course than the ‘normal’ as you may have found out already from your Canadian research.


The weather in the UK tends to be milder year-round than that of Canada, which means students are less likely to be exposed to extremes of weather and temperature.

And as the UK is such a small island in comparison to Canada and the US, you are able to travel around the historic country during your studies, as well as making the two hour flights across to Spain, France, Greece, Italy and other European destinations.

Living conditions

Life in the UK offers you a more varied cultural experience.

For those living in London, accommodation and living costs may be higher compared to the rest of the UK, but you are within touching distance of some of the most famous buildings in the world including Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

Canada or the UK?

While the differences between Canada and the UK university systems seem vast, the UK may actually offer more advantages to the student who wants to get away from familiar surroundings and experience a completely different culture.

Studying in the UK offers you more freedom and flexibility, the opportunity to complete your degree faster, and the chance to learn what you’re really capable of with an ocean between you and the comfortable support structures you’re used to, giving you a better chance to find out who you really are.

Click here to get in touch with an Across the Pond advisor to learn more!