10 Cheapest Universities in Alberta for International Students

Alberta is a Western Canadian province brimming with prairies, forests, and mountains. Set upon these picturesque features are Alberta’s universities, which are known for their rigorous quality requirements. As beacons of global-standard education, these cheap universities in Alberta can also pave the way for work or immigration opportunities in Canada.

What is Alberta’s higher education system like?

Alberta’s higher education institutes are divided into 6 categories. They include:

  • Comprehensive Academic and Research Institutions
  • Baccalaureate and Applied Study schools
  • Polytechnic Institutes
  • Comprehensive Community Schools
  • Independent Academic Institutes
  • Specialized Arts and Culture Institutions

Admission to 26 public universities may be done through the ApplyAlberta portal.

How much do you need to spend monthly as a foreign student in Alberta?

The cost of living per month can range from 1,255 CAD to 1,505 CAD ($960 to $1,152).

How much is the average tuition fee in the universities in Alberta?

Alberta universities cost about 11,780 CAD to 45,208 CAD ($9,013 to $34,590) a year. Colleges are cheaper at 7,221 CAD to 26,560 ($5,525 to $20,321) CAD annually.

Cheap Universities in Alberta

1. Bow Valley College

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 7,221 to 9,533 CAD ($5,525 to $7,294) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: N/A (undergraduate programs only)
  • Tuition Fee Link

Bow Valley College is a public comprehensive community institution founded in 1965. It has multiple campus locations in Banff, Airdrie, Canmore, Okotoks, High River, Cochrane, and Strathmore. It offers various programs in Business, Continuing Learning, Community Studies, Creative Technologies, Foundational Learning, Global Access, and Health & Wellness. With the undergraduate tuition fee of starting around $5,500 a year, Bow Valley College is the cheapest university in Alberta for undergraduate programs.

Application may be done through ApplyAlberta’s online portal for students. Program availability varies per term, so it’s best to view the college’s website for vacancy details.

2. Athabasca University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 9,786 to 48,930 CAD ($7,488 to $37,437) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 26,137 to 29,186 CAD ($19,998 to $22,330) a year
  • Tuition Fee Link

Athabasca University is a public institution that focuses on online distance learning – the first one to do so in Alberta. Established in 1970, it is one of the province’s comprehensive academic institutions. Its unique delivery models include in-person education, individual study, collaborative online courses, and grouped study.

This cheap university in Alberta offers bachelor’s programs in Commerce, Health Administration, Business Administration, Management, and Professional Arts, to name a few. It also offers graduate courses in Architecture, Arts, Business, Health, and Information Systems, among many others.

3. MacEwan University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 12,060 to 24,120 CAD ($9,227 to $18,455) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: N/A (Undergraduate programs only)
  • Tuition Fee Link

MacEwan University is a higher education institution specializing in undergraduate studies. Based in Edmonton, this former 2-year college became Alberta’s 6th university in the year 2009.

MacEwan University is home to 6 departments: Nursing, Arts & Science, Fine Arts & Communications, Business, Health & Community Studies, and Continuing Education. Through these arms, the University offers 10 bachelor’s degrees and 43 diploma & certificate programs.

Apart from the usual admission requirements, foreign students may need to submit other requirements, including portfolios, letters of intent, and resumes, to name a few.

4. Mount Royal University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 13,152 CAD ($10,063) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: N/A (Undergraduate programs only)
  • Tuition Fee Link

Next on our list of affordable universities in Alberta for international students is Mount Royal University, a Calgary-based public institution. Founded in 1910, the former Mount Royal College was developed to educate students in Alberta’s rural areas. Almost a century after its establishment, the school was granted university status in 2009.

The university is home to the Faculties of Arts, Business, Communication Studies, Health, Science, and Continuing Education. It also governs 5 institutes, 3 centers, and 1 studio.

Some of the university’s programs have competitive admission rules, requiring applicants to have a grade of 90+ to be shortlisted (Nursing, Health & Physical Education, Midwifery).

5. University of Lethbridge

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: ~17,526 CAD ($13,410) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: ~13,016 CAD ($9,959) a year
  • Tuition Fee Link

The University of Lethbridge is a comprehensive public university specializing in Liberal Arts education. Its main campus is in Lethbridge, with the other one in Calgary, Alberta.

The university offers over 150 programs through its 7 departments, namely Arts & Science, Education, Fine Arts, Health Science, Business, Graduate Studies, and Liberal Education.

Apart from a secondary school certificate, ULethbridge applicants may be required to submit other requirements such as a portfolio or personal statement. Some programs may also require an audition. With a tuition fee of $10,000 a year for graduate students, University of Lethbridge is the cheapest university in Alberta for graduate students.

6. Alberta University of the Arts

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 15,960 CAD ($12,211) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 31,250 CAD ($23,910) a year
  • Tuition Fee Link

The Alberta University of the Arts is a public institution that specializes in art and design education. Based in Calgary, the former Provincial Institute of Technology & Art was founded in 1916.

Its program offerings include bachelor’s and masters’ degrees in Media Arts, Sculpture, Fiber, Painting, Drawing, Visual Communication, Ceramics, Print Media, Glass, Jewelry & Metals, and Photography.

Application for undergraduate and post-graduate degrees requires transcripts, proof of English proficiency, and other supplementary documents including portfolios and statements of intent.

7. Ambrose University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 19,480 CAD ($14,903) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: N/A (undergraduate programs only)
  • Tuition Fee Link

Ambrose University, an affordable university in Alberta, is a former Bible Institute that has been transformed into a private university. Based in Calgary, it now offers undergraduate courses in the arts, humanities, and education. It also has a School of Ministry for aspiring church leaders.

International students need to submit a transcript of records and a TOEFL result. A grade of 60% is the minimum requirement to be considered, alongside further requirements such as a theory exam and music audition.

8. University of Calgary

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: ~20,170 CAD ($15,433) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 8,081 to 29,027 CAD ($6,183 to $22,209) a year
  • Tuition Fee Link

The University of Calgary is a public research institution in Calgary, Alberta. Established in 1944 as a branch of the University of Alberta, it eventually became an autonomous institute in 1966. UCalgary is the current home of 14 faculties, as well as 85 research centers and institutes.

As one of Canada’s top research universities, UCalgary offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Medicine, Arts, Architecture, Law, Nursing, Kinesiology, Science, Social Work, Veterinary Medicine, Business, Engineering, and Education.

9. The King’s University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 23,021 to 36,068 CAD ($17,614 to $27,596) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: N/A (undergraduate programs only)
  • Tuition Fee Link

The King’s University in Edmonton is a private Christian institution founded in 1979. While it specializes in the liberal arts, it also offers bachelor’s degrees in Education, Business, Natural Science, Social Science, and Music.

This cheap university in Alberta has a diverse international student community, with learners coming from about 16 countries. As such, it offers several special services, including immigration advising, international student programming, and pre-departure sessions, among many others.

Apart from a secondary school certificate, proof of English proficiency is also required from international applicants.

10. University of Alberta

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: ~29,500 CAD ($37,437) a year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 8,700 to 33,500 CAD ($19,998 to $22,330) a year
  • Tuition Fee Link

The University of Alberta (UA), our final university in our list of cheapest universities in Alberta, is a public research institution based in Edmonton. Founded in 1908, UA has branches in Edmonton and in Camrose.

UA is home to 18 faculties, including Business, Arts, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Law, Medicine & Dentistry, Native Studies, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Rehabilitation Medicine.

The university’s requirements depend on the high school program, which may range from the International Baccalaureate to American and Indian systems. Once admitted, foreign students are entitled to several special events, including a UAlberta Day Trip and a Research Symposium.

 

I hope that this article on cheap universities in Alberta was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Cheap Tuition Category!