Pre Nursing Programs In Canada For International Students

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Team College Learners

The two-year pre-nursing degree program provides students with the educational foundation to transfer into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at the junior level. Coursework requirements for the first two years at nursing schools may vary, so pre-nursing degree programs are typically designed to meet the requirements for targeted nursing schools, usually within the same region as the college offering the associate degree.

The study of nursing is a comprehensive field that focuses on the prevention of illnesses and injuries, patient care, and the promotion of overall health. Nurses play a crucial role in healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, assisted living centers, and other health institutions. A career in nursing requires dedication, skill, and a strong educational background.

To pursue a career in nursing, individuals must first meet the admission requirements for pre-nursing programs. These requirements typically include a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, courses in high school chemistry, biology, and math may be required for enrollment in a pre-nursing program. Some schools may also require applicants to take a standardized college admissions test, such as the ACT, or maintain a minimum GPA in high school.

When applying to a university for a nursing program, prospective students should carefully review and meet all of the admission requirements. It is important to submit all required documents, such as transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation, by the specified deadline. Additionally, applicants should be prepared to undergo an interview process and, in some cases, complete prerequisite courses before being admitted into the nursing program. By carefully following the admission process, individuals can take the first step towards achieving their goal of becoming a nurse.

Pre-Nursing Degree Program

Pre-nursing degree programs include general education courses required for a bachelor’s degree at a nursing school and science courses necessary to prepare students for the BSN. Because nurses come into contact with diverse populations, often in stressful circumstances, the pre-nursing curriculum includes psychology and humanities courses intended to cultivate strong interpersonal and communication skills. The curriculum typically includes coursework in:

  • English composition
  • Communication
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Biology
  • Anatomy

Top Universities in Canada for Nursing Degrees

In this article, you will find the top universities in Canada where you can apply for a degree in Nursing. 

University of Toronto

The two-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program at the University of Toronto, Lawrence S. Bloomberg, opens opportunities for a rewarding healthcare career. The university is internationally recognized for its educational programs and the quality of nursing research conducted by the principal faculty researchers.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Click here to view the postgraduate program

Click here to view the Ph.D. program

McGill University

The mission of the School of Nursing is to educate current and future nurses, advance the art and science of nursing and optimize health equity globally through academic excellence, strengths-based nursing, and innovation.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Click here to view the postgraduate program

University of Alberta

The University of Alberta offers the best nursing education in Canada and is the third-best education program according to Maclean’s Canadian University Rankings 2022.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Click here to view the postgraduate program

University of Ottawa

Studying nursing at Ottawa University will make you part of the next generation of nurses to provide high-quality care, take on leadership roles within the healthcare system, and contribute to the advancement of nursing knowledge.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Click here to view the postgraduate program


Explore Related Article: Top Universities In The UK To Study Public Health

McMaster University

This School of Nursing is internationally recognized for its innovation in nursing education. They continue to build an excellent reputation for developing and improving nursing education capacity worldwide while delivering high-quality, responsive, and student-centered educational programs.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Click here to view the graduate program

Western University

Studying nursing at Western allows you to join the most compassionate leaders in health care who are passionate about health promotion, health equity, and social justice.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Click here to view the postgraduate program

Stenberg College

Stenberg College’s nursing program goal is to help people transform their lives through education so they can transform the lives of others.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Click here to view the diploma program

University of British Columbia

UBC’s nursing program positions you as a leader in improving health equity, advancing nursing knowledge, and envisioning a new landscape in health care.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Click here to view the postgraduate program


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Queen’s University at Kingston

Nursing at Queen’s university allows you to join leaders in health care who are passionate about health promotion, health equity, and social justice.

Click here to view the nursing programs

University of Calgary

The University of Calgary Bachelor of Science in Nursing prepares students for the opportunities and challenges of a nursing career in an evolving healthcare system. Throughout the program, students receive a solid theoretical foundation and supervised practical experience in a variety of nursing settings.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

University of Saskatchewan

In USask’s nursing program, you will learn all aspects of health and well-being throughout a person’s life by creating and integrating knowledge from research, education, and practice.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Click here to view the postgraduate program

University of Windsor

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program lasts four years and is designed for individuals who wish to prepare for a career in nursing. The program is also offered in partnership with St. Clair College (Windsor and Thames/Chatham campus) and Lambton College (Sarnia).

Click here to view the undergraduate program


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Memorial University of Newfoundland

Memorial University’s Nursing program is a competitive program with two admission options: the 4-year option and the option of the short course.

Click here to view the nursing program

University of New Brunswick

The undergraduate students practice hands-on clinical experience in their first year of study. There is an opportunity for a 2-weeks internship in the final year of study.

Click here to view the undergraduate program

Ontario Tech University

The program prepares nurses committed to excellence and innovation in assessing and meeting the nursing needs of society. You will learn about nursing practice and the human experience of health, illness, and recovery.

Click here to view the undergradu

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that registered nurse positions are expected to increase by 12% from 2018 through 2028 (; an aging population, advances in medical treatments and an emphasis on preventative care will all contribute to this faster-than-average job growth. The median annual wage for registered nurses was $71,730 as of May 2018, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

Students earning an associate’s degree in pre-nursing typically continue their education by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After completing a BSN program, students must complete the state licensure exam for registered nurses before beginning work as a registered nurse. Registered nurses who wish to advance their career may go back to school to earn a master’s degree for nurse practitioners or healthcare administration.

Students wanting to purse a career as a registered nurse have the option to enroll in a pre-nursing degree program and complete the first two years of their training at a community college. Often times, graduates of these programs transfer into a partnered BSN program at a four-year university.

Why Study Nursing in Canada

The overall expenditure on healthcare represents 11.6% of the total domestic product of Canada in 2019. With the increasing focus of the government towards this sector, the jobs for medical graduates in Canada is also on the rise. 

  • Full-time nursing jobs in Canada are expected to rise by 3.4%, from 64,000 in 2019 to 142,000 in 2035. 
  • 80% of the Registered Nursing (RN) graduates are able to obtain nursing license in Canada within 2 years of graduation.
  • Internationally educated nurses increased by 7.8% from 2014 to 2018, representing 8.5% of the total nursing population of Canada. 
  • From 2008 to 2017, Registered Nurses (RNs) increased by 12,283, Licensed Nurses (LNs) by 6,685 and Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) by 294. 

Top Universities for BSc Nursing in Canada

10 universities of Canada were included in the list of top 100 universities for the nursing program, according to QS News World University Ranking of 2019. Except for the University of Montreal, all the other 9 universities offer BSc Nursing in Canada. 

Following table lists the top 10 universities in Canada for nursing, along with their program duration and total fees: 

UniversityRankingProgram Offered DurationTotal Program Fees (in CAD)Brochure
University of Toronto72 years$113,900Brochure
McMaster University154 years$52,094Brochure
McGill University214 years$169,568Brochure
University of Alberta234 years$103,912Brochure
University of British Columbia (UBC)382 years$117,304Brochure
Western University454 years$159,344Brochure
Queen’s University at Kingston51 – 1004 years$189,420Brochure
University of Calgary51 – 1004 years$51,348Brochure
University of Ottawa51 – 1004 years$142,016Brochure
Dalhousie University3 years$70,020Brochure

BSc Nursing in Canada: Course Type and Subjects

Students pursuing bachelor of nursing are taught about human anatomy, physiology and related subjects. BSc Nursing in Canada is available in two types: Basic or Regular Stream and Accelerated Stream.

  • Basic Stream: This program is for students having no previous nursing education and takes 4 years to complete. 
  • Accelerated Stream: Students who already have completed two years at a university can opt for accelerated BSc Nursing program. Human anatomy and physiology must be studied as compulsory subjects within those two years. 

Some of the courses taught in BSc Nursing program are:

  • Nursing theory
  • Nursing practice
  • Nurse as a professional person
  • Professional issues
  • Path physiology
  • Human anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Psychology
  • General education

Admission to BSc Nursing in Canada

Students are required to have a secondary school diploma/certificate with English as mandatory subject to apply for BSc Nursing in Canada. Some universities such as University of Toronto and University of British Columbia accept only transfer students in bachelor of nursing programs. 

Where to Apply: Application for ontario universities must be submitted via OUAC application portal whereas universities of alberta accept application through ApplyAlberta application portal. Universities in the rest of the Canadian province have their own portal for accepting applications. 

Eligibility for BSc Nursing in Canada

Minimum eligibility for BSc Nursing in Canada is described below for some of the universities: 

Requirements for University of Toronto BSc Nursing

  • Completion of at least 10 university equivalent full-courses
  • 75% or 3.0 GPA in the last year of study or in the last five courses
  • Studied following courses in the previous education
    • Human Physiology
    • Life Sciences or Physical Sciences
    • Social Sciences 
    • Humanities
    • Statistics
    • Personal Statement
  • Two letter of references: one academic and one work-related
  • Interview (not mandatory)

Requirements for McMaster University BSc Nursing

  • 85% or above average at secondary school level
  • Completion of a mandatory CASPer Test (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics)

Requirements for University of Alberta BSc Nursing

  • 70% overall at secondary school level and 50% in each required course
  • Completed following courses at high school level:
    • English
    • Fine Arts, Humanities, Languages other than English, Physical Education or Math/Sciences
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Calculus or Mathematics

Requirements for University of British Columbia BSc Nursing

  • Direct school entry is not allowed at UBC’s nursing program. Only transfer students satisfying below mentioned criteria are eligible to apply here:
  • 70% or above average in recent 30 transferable credits
  • Studied human anatomy and physiology courses specified by the university
  • Updated Resume
  • Completed CASPer test

Requirements for Western University BSc Nursing

  • 65% average in mandatory Grade 12 courses
  • Mandatory Courses: English, Biology, Chemistry, Math
  • Completion of CASPer test

Requirements for Queen’s University BSc Nursing

  • Studied English, Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics at secondary school level
  • 75% or above average in English
  • Personal Statement of Experience (recommended)

Requirements for University of Ottawa BSc Nursing

  • Studied following courses at secondary school level:
    • English or French
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
  • Scored 65% or above average in chemistry and biology

Requirements for Dalhousie University BSc Nursing

  • Studied following courses at secondary school level:
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • One additional university preparatory course
  • 75% or above in each compulsory subject
  • Completed CASPer test

Proof of English Proficiency

Students from countries where English is not the primary language are required to provide evidence of English proficiency. This could be done by submitting IELTS or TOEFL test scores. Minimum requirements for some of the top universities of Canada is specified below: 

UniversityMinimum IELTS Score RequiredMinimum TOEFL (iBT) Score Required
University of Toronto6.5100
McMaster University6.586
McGill University6.590
University of Alberta6.590
University of British Columbia6.590
Western University7.092
Queen’s University at Kingston6.588
University of Calgary7.092
University of Ottawa6.586
Dalhousie University6.590

Cost of Studying BSc Nursing in Canada

A student interested in studying abroad has to bear a lot of expenses including pre-arrival cost, tuition fees and cost of living. 

Pre-arrival Cost

As the term suggests, this expense is incurred even before a student is enrolled in the university. A generalized list of these costs is tabulated below:

Type of ExpenseCost (in CAD)
Application Fee$140 (approx)
IELTS Fee$309
TOEFL Fee$210 – $330
CASPer Fee$50
Air Travel$350 – $1200
Health Insurance$600 – $800

BSc Nursing in Canada: Fees

Fees structure of BSc Nursing in Canada includes tuition fees, ancillary fees, student union fees, laboratory fees etc. Tuition fee forms a major portion of this fee structure. Calgary University and McMaster university have the lowest annual tuition fee of 12,837 CAD and 13,024 CAD respectively among the top universities offering BSc Nursing in Canada. Tuition Fee of BSc Nursing in Canada

Cost of Living in Canada

The Cost of living in Canada for international students includes books, food, clothing, accommodation and other personal charges. This is estimated to be around 14,000 CAD to 19,601 CAD per year. 

Following charges are incurred throughout the year for a student living in Canada:

  • Food: 3,267 CAD – 4,574 CAD
  • Books and Other Educational Supplies: 1,960 CAD – 2,631 CAD
  • Clothing: 1,045 CAD – 1,306 CAD
  • Other Personal Expenses: 6,534 CAD – 9,800 CAD

Scholarships for BSc Nursing in Canada

One of the advantages of studying BSc Nursing is the availability of scholarships in Canada for international students specifically for this program. These awards are usually sponsored by the Health Sciences Department of the respective universities. 

Below is the list of few of such scholarships available for international students enrolled in bsc Nursing in Canada: 

ScholarshipUniversityEligibilityAward Value (in CAD)
Dean’s Global Award of ExcellenceUniversity of TorontoEnrollment in BScN program$20,000 per year
The Class of 1966 Nursing ScholarshipMcMaster UniversityAcademic Performance$1,000
The Steve Baxter Memorial ScholarshipMcMaster UniversityLeadership qualities$1,000
The Lori Scott Nursing ScholarshipMcMaster UniversityCompleted Level 1 in Nursing$5,000
F.A. Davis Nursing Undergraduate ScholarshipMcGill UniversityEnrollment in Nursing program$1,500
Canadian Nurses Foundation AwardsUniversity of British ColumbiaEnrollment in BScN$1,500
Susan Nelles ScholarshipQueen’s University4th year student of BScNVaries
BN Nursing ScholarshipUniversity of CalgaryAcademic Performance$1,500
School of Nursing ScholarshipUniversity of OttawaEnrollment in School of Nursing$1,000

Scope of BSc Nursing in Canada

Post basic BSc Nursing in Canada, students can opt for becoming a registered nurse to apply for Masters in Nursing in Canada for any other country. A separate license is required for each province or territory of Canada to practise as a nurse. 

Canadian Registered Nurse Examination conducted by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is the common examination to become a registered nurse in Canada, except in Quebec. This exam is conducted three times a year. 

Jobs in Canada after BSc Nursing

Average salary for BSc Nursing in Canada is estimated to be 142,000 CAD per annum. Nursing jobs in Canada salary starts from 104,000 CAD and can go up as high as 201,000 CAD. This includes other benefits such as housing and transportation. Jobs after BSc Nursing in Canada

Advantages of studying BSc Nursing from Canada are many including increasing job opportunities, globally recognized degree and easy PR route. That’s why more international students are attracted towards bachelors in nursing programs in Canada. 

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