Studying in Toronto – A Guide for Postgraduate Students
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Studying in Toronto – A Guide for Postgraduate Students

Written by Taru Medha

Toronto is the capital of the Ontario region and the largest city in Canada. Whether you’re looking for a fast-paced city lifestyle, a bustling job market or world-class education, the city has a lot to offer.

We’ve covered everything you need to know about studying in Toronto including top-ranked universities, living costs, career opportunities and more.

Why study your PhD in Toronto

Here is a snapshot of what’s on offer for postgraduate students in Toronto:

  • World-renowned universities:Toronto is home to the highest-ranking university in Canada along with two more in the top 200 universities list (according to Times Higher Education).
  • Career opportunities: From film and television to business and finance, there are plenty of opportunities for recent graduates.
  • Well located: Located on the south-eastern end of Canada, Toronto is close to the US border. For those of you looking to explore outside the city limits, famous attractions like the Niagara Falls are easily reachable.
  • Multicultural city: Toronto prides itself for its inclusivity and welcomes students from around the world. No matter where you’re from, you’ll feel welcome and at home here.

Top universities in Toronto for postgraduate study

Using the Times Higher Education rankings, we’ve taken a look at what some of the top-ranking universities in Toronto have to offer.

#1 University of Toronto

Placing first in Canada and 21st in the world, the University of Toronto is the highest-ranking university in the city. There are more than 200 postgraduate degrees on offer, but the university is known for its courses in Medicine, Business, Engineering and Humanities.

The University of Toronto has made contributions to both Science and Arts as the home of important scientific breakthroughs like the discovery of insulin and the alma mater of literary greats like Margaret Atwood.

#2 York University

York University is the 17th best university in the country and ranks in the top 500 in the world. You can study at one of two campuses in Toronto and the university also has international branches in India and Costa Rica.

York University is home to Canada’s largest Liberal Arts course and reputable professional schools like the Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall Law School.

#3 Toronto Metropolitan University

The Toronto Metropolitan University shares the 28th place in Canada with two other universities and features in the top 1000 in the world. It places a massive focus on entrepreneurship with a network of ‘zones’ which help students develop their ideas. DMZ, the most notable of the university’s 10 zones, has helped produce 420 startups since 2010!

Living costs for students in Toronto

There is no hiding that Toronto is one of the more expensive cities to live in as a student. We’ve gathered some crowdsourced data on the cost of some basic amenities in the city to give you an idea.


Student Cost of Living in Toronto - 2023
Monthly rent (1 bedroom apartment, city centre) CAD$2,610
Monthly rent (1 bedroom apartment, outside city centre) CAD$2,316
Restaurant Meal CAD$24
Cinema ticket CAD$16
Monthly travel pass CAD$156
Monthly utilities CAD$216
Based on crowdsourced data published by Numbeo.

However, with some smart budgeting, you can bring down the bigger costs, like rent, significantly. You can opt for university accommodation which is usually cheaper than renting privately or live in a shared house where you can divide the cost of rent and utilities.

Working during your degree in Toronto

If you’re an international student with a valid study permit, you can work while you study. However, depending on the kind of job, there might be some restrictions to the number of hours you can work. If you’re working an on-campus job, there are no restrictions to the number of hours you can work. However, there is a 20-hours-a-week limit if you’re working off-campus.

Any work on a university building is classed as on-campus work. You could be employed by the school, be a teaching assistant or work at the cafe inside the university. Students working off-campus jobs usually opt for casual jobs like waiting tables or working as a sales assistant

You can read more in our guide on working while studying in Canada.

Things to see in Toronto

You can’t miss the iconic CN Tower which characterises the Toronto skyline when in the city. Along with a lively cityscape, Toronto has a lot to offer if you’re looking for something to do in your free time.

Sports fans must pay a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays.

If you are a fan of the movies, the acclaimed Toronto International Film Festival takes place every year in September. You can watch some of the best films of the year and maybe even catch a glimpse of your favourite celebrity!

There is nothing like relaxing after a long study day with a good home-cooked meal and you can find all the best ingredients at the St Lawrence Market. Once called the best food market in the world, you can find everything here to satisfy the food lover within you.

Careers in Toronto

You’ll be able to stay and work in Canada after your studies with a post-graduation work permit. The amount of time you’ll be allowed to stay depends on the length of your course. You can then move on to a work permit if you wish to continue living and working in Canada.

Toronto is the biggest film and television hub in the country with plenty of opportunities for those interested in the creative fields. The city is also a major hub for Canada’s business, technology and finance sectors.

We have more information on how to look for jobs in Canada as a graduate in our guide.

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Last Updated: 13 November 2023