top of page
  • info3863004

What are the best online universities for immigrant women?

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

Hi, Female Settlers!

Welcome to the FS community; your advice for education, personal finances, financial aid and career opportunities for integrating and thriving in Canada.

Online universities and programs in Western countries (especially United States) were often perceived as less prestigious than universities with physical campuses. However, all of this perception changed with the lockdown measures that happened with COVID-19. Universities had to shut down their physical locations, and classrooms were pivoted online. During that time, students started complaining about the high fees charged by these universities.

There are benefits to accessing a physical campus- having better access to your professors and peers, using the institution's gym, the counselling centres and health clinics and having classroom simulations. But taking an online program is excellent for immigrant women who need flexibility- working odd times, taking care of children and still being able to work. Plus, programs and universities online are generally cheaper than physical campus programs.

Online universities and programs are your best option if you need flexibility in attaining your credential. Let's review some of Canada's best online universities and programs.

Athabasca University

an areal view of Athabasca university campus
Source-Wikimedia Commons

Canada has only one English university that is entirely online- Athabasca University. The institution has over 24 graduate programs and over 50 undergraduate programs. If you have post-secondary education from outside Canada or the United States, some credits from your credential could be considered for your program of choice. Your previous work experiences could also qualify as credit for your program.

However, Athabasca University is not cheap, and you could probably find cheaper universities in Alberta. Students can qualify for Government loans or grants and bursaries, scholarships or awards with their program. You also have the same types of student support as any other university, except it is all online. The only part about Athabasca University to be wary of is the limited opportunities and support to find a co-op or work opportunity within programs .

Université TÉLUQ

A picture of Université TÉLUQ building
Source- Wikipedia Commons

If you are proficient in french, you can try Canada’s other online university- Université TÉLUQ, which is entirely in French offers over 125 programs online. Like Athabasca University, courses can begin anytime and within any semester. The university is cheaper than Athabasca and is a lot cheaper than other universities in Canada. But that's only if you live in Quebec and you can study your course in french. Université TÉLUQ offers scholarships, awards and bursaries, and you can also apply for financial aid and grants from your province of residence.

Before applying for university admission, you can figure out how many transfer credits you can get towards your program from your previous education by submitting a request on their website. TÉLUQ also offers other student services, although not in a vast range like in other physical universities. Like Athabasca, TÉLUQ is lacking in co-op and internship opportunities for their students.

Thompson Rivers University

A building at Thompson Rivers University
Source- Wikipedia Commons

In British Columbia, we have Thompson Rivers University (TRU). While TRU is a physically bound institution, they have a tailored learning environment for distance students called Open Learning. Open learning offers students over 60 undergraduate and graduate programs, giving them flexibility to study anywhere. There is also a flexible admission policy and learning pace, and you can also get transfer credits and work or life credit added to your program to shorten the number of courses you take. Student can also take their exams where they are located and not have to come into the institution.

However, keep in mind that the fees for Open learning are the same as that of regular students in the university. But they also offer Scholarships Awards and Bursaries, and you have opportunities to apply for government student loans and grants. Students also have access to co-op opportunities through the eligible programs at the university and the opportunities to network through the university's career centre.

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Residence Building at Memorial University of Newfoundland
Source- Wikipedia Commons

Like TRU, Memorial university has a physical campus but also has an array of online programs in graduate and undergraduate areas. However, they only offer complete online programs in Education, Business Administration, Technology, Maritime studies, Nursing (graduate level), Human Kinetics and Recreation, Food Safety, Quality Management and criminology.Their fees are the same as other regular programs, but with an additional administrative fee for online learning. Students in the online programs have the same financial aid opportunities as regular students.

Work placement opportunities are this institution are very limited. While there are work learning placements for students, they are unpaid and last for a few weeks at best. That is not enough to gain work experience or network within these workplaces.

Laurentian University

A building at Laurentian University
Source-Wikipedia Commons

Laurentian University, a physical university, has an online learning option called Laurentian online. Laurentian Online offers over 26-degree programs from Bachelor of Arts to Business and post-graduate programs with a Nurse practitioner and MBA. Tuition is the same as campus students, so that's not much of a benefit. But you can access the same financial aid, scholarships and student resources as other students.

Unfortunately, Laurentian has very limited access to co-op opportunities with their programs. The only program I was able to see a co-op option is their Bachelor of Commerce program, which is not available online. Plus, if you were looking into a 4-year science program or nursing program, that option is also not available online.

Private Colleges

There are some private colleges across Canada but I would NOT recommend attending. These colleges offer a quicker pathway to completing your credential, but they are ridiculously expensive, with limited financial aid options and the most of the courses cannot be transferred to other institutions. Credentials from these institutions sometimes are not accepted by employers.

Final Thoughts

I would only recommend Athabasca or TÉLUQ if you are already working somewhat in the sector you want to be in, you are taking advantage of the Government of Canada summer work program with various workplaces or if you are in a clinical program where mandatory clinical placements are offered. I would recommend going to other online universities if they offer co-op or internships in your program of choice and you want to take advantage of the flexible opportunities that online learning offers. In Canada, it does not matter where you study or get your credential as long as you build the right industry connections in your sector or field to land the right jobs.

Have you studied a course or program online? What has been your experience? Leave a comment below!

Related Posts

See All
bottom of page