How much does it cost for international students to study in Montreal?

Planning your academic journey
Marie-Pier Carpentier

To fully understand how to calculate tuition fees, you have to take certain basic notions about the Quebec university system into consideration. This will serve you throughout your academic career. Sound complicated? Don’t worry. It’s easier than it seems, I promise.

Basic lexicon

Credits? Semesters? Can you repeat the question, please? 

Even though you understand French, you may suddenly feel that it’s a completely different language when you enrol in university.

The first thing you need to know is that the Quebec University system operates on the North American model (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate) which is comparable to the European LMD system. Students are graded on three study cycles: 1st cycle: (bachelors, major, minor, certificate), 2nd cycle (masters, DESS) or 3rd cycle (doctorate). The duration of the cycle depends on the cycle and the program you select.

The school year over the three terms

The academic year of a university student is spread out from September to August, in three semesters of 15 weeks (commonly referred to as sessions). Candidates are generally admitted in the fall semester, although some students start their program in the winter or summer.


Fall semester: September to December
Winter semester: January to April
Summer semester: May to August

To help you understand the terms frequently used in university, have a look at the glossary developed by the admissions team.

Calculate your registration fee

Admission and registration fees

Admission fees were covered when you applied. They should not be confused with tuition fees for course enrolment. Additional fees will be added to these costs.

University credits

The first variable you’ll need to consider when calculating the cost of studies is the number of credits acquired in a course. A credit is a numeric value that corresponds to the workload required to achieve the objectives of a course. One credit is equivalent to 45 hours of work, including the number of hours spent in the classroom. A course usually has three credits. For example, you will need to accumulate a total of 90 credits for a bachelor’s degree in Quebec. 

In terms of graduate studies, the distribution of credits is different. For a master’s degree with a thesis, 20 to 30 compulsory credits are awarded for research and writing a dissertation, internship or directed studies. Then,15 to 25 credits are also awarded for completion of compulsory or elective courses. The program structure varies by field of study.

Student status: full-time or part-time

If you are an international student, your study permit will require you to be registered full-time for the duration of your studies. That means a minimum of 12 university credits or a maximum of 15 credits per term for undergraduate programs. This is equivalent to four or five courses respectively.

At the graduate level, it is common to enroll in courses of 4 credits. It’s not necessary to fill your term with a minimum of 12 university credits to obtain full-time student status. The minimum threshold is 9 credits in the fall and winter and 6 credits in the summer. In some cases, your student file management clerk (TGDE) will manually change your file.

Can you study during the summer?

Whatever your status, this decision is up to you: unless courses are required by your program. Some students prefer to complete their education sooner by taking one or two courses or participating in a project or summer school. Others use the time off to work and make some money.

Unfortunately, there’s no rest for you if you’re in graduate studies. You’ll need to maintain your full-time status during the summer, either by writing your dissertation or thesis, pursuing an internship or successfully completing courses in your program. The fee for a dedicated writing term is less than a full-time course session. Visit the Registrar’s Office website for details on these costs.

An online tool to calculate your tuition fees

Now that you have everything you need to estimate the cost, all you have to do is the math. The Registrar’s Office tuition calculator will provide you with information on the amount of tuition fees for one semester at the University of Montreal. For a general idea of annual costs, multiply the amount by the number of semesters you’ll be enrolled in.


Several paths to a degree

How do I choose the right program?

The answer is within your reach and easy to find if you apply the following tips. There is a directory of all the programs offered at UdeM at Simply enter a program you are interested in into the search engine and consult the course description for all the details. Use the filters in the left-hand menu to refine your search by academic term, discipline and other specifics.

Ensure you are eligible

Each application is evaluated according to criteria that varies from program to program. Some programs require completion of preparatory courses, a minimum academic average, or relevant experience in the field. Others, like several training courses in the health field, are not offered to foreign applicants with a study permit.

You will find all this information on the curriculum descriptive pages in the “Admission et exigences” tab for the 1st cycle and the “Admission and Regulations” tab for graduate cycles. This is also where you will be able to check whether the degree you obtained is sufficient to qualify or whether you will have to complete a preparatory year before entering the program you want.

To learn more about the eligibility requirements and equivalence of diplomas, visit the Verify Eligibility Requirements page.

Consult the right resources for all your questions


If you are still reading this article, you are probably considering attending an academic institution in the near future. You may even have identified some fields of study you are passionate about. If you aren’t sure of all your options, try Affiniti. This tool was developed by Udem and recommends programs that are completely compatible with your interests and academic goals.

try Affiniti

The Department of Admission

The Admissions team offers key contacts to guide you through the process. To contact the Admissions Department, complete the Information Request.

Marie-Pier Carpentier

Marie-Pier has been a communications officer at SAR since April 2018. Not only is she versatile and bursting with enthusiasm, she is also the queen of organization and post-it notes. With her, nothing gets decided by chance. After studying computer graphics, she perfected her skills in graphic design going face-to-face with her computer screen for a few years. Bolstered by her interest in human relations, she studied languages and communication in university. Since then, she has artfully combined graphic communication with writing in the most perfect way.