Phd in Canada

Study in Canada


Why Study PhD in Canada?

Let’s Look at the Numbers!

  • As per QS World University Rankings 2023, 3 Canadian universities are in the top 50 listUniversity of Toronto (Rank 34)McGill University (Rank 31) and University of British Columbia (Rank 47).
  • In Canada, the University sector is the 2nd largest research driver in the country after the private sector.
  • The Fortune Magazine has named Toronto the best international city to live in.

Following are some reasons to study PhD in Canada for international students:

Globally Recognized Degree: There are 3-4 universities in Canada for PhD that rank among the top 150 in the world. These top-ranked Canadian universities provide world class research facilities as well as teachers with the most up-to-date academic expertise.

Post-study opportunity: After completing your PhD programs in Canada, you can stay for up to three years through the PGWPP. After which you can apply for permanent residency in Canada.

Affordability: In Canada, the cost of earning a PhD ranges from 4,000 to 19,000 CAD. When compared to other study destinations such as the United States and the United Kingdom, this is significantly low.

Scholarships: There are a number of PhD scholarships in Canada for international students. Ontario Trillium Scholarships, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Ontario Graduate Scholarships, and others are among the most popular scholarships. Some of these scholarships include a yearly stipend of 15,000 to 40,000 Canadian dollars.

Work-study opportunities: During the academic year, PhD students in Canada can work for 10 hours every week. This enables you to fund and sustain your everyday costs while learning and getting experience in the field.


PhD in Canada: Highlights

Duration 3-6 years
Research Universities Around 100
Academic Year September to April
Fees 4,000 to 19,000 CAD
Funding up to Up to 40,000 CAD a year
Work-study opportunities 10 hours a week
PGWP duration At least 3 years


Top Universities for PhD in Canada

  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • McGill University
  • McMaster University
  • University of Montreal
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Calgary
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Waterloo


Canadian University Rankings 

University of Toronto 31
University of British Columbia 47
McGill University 31
McMaster University 152
University of Montreal 116
University of Alberta 110
University of Ottawa 237
University of Calgary 242
Simon Fraser University 13
University of Waterloo 154
Western University 172
Dalhousie University 12
Universitié Laval 433
Queen’s University 216
University of Manitoba 651-700
University of Victoria 359
York University 162
University of Guelph 591-600
University of Saskatchewan 465
Carleton University 601-650


Universities Within Canadian Provinces and Territories

Because of its huge geographic size and colonial past, Canada has evolved a federal structure consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Provinces are self-governing sovereign entities (equivalent to states in the United States), whereas territories are governed by the federal government.

Here is the list of the 10 Canadian provinces:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Québec
  • Saskatchewan


Best Cities to Study in Canada

Here is the list of some best cities to study in Canada:

  • Study in Montreal
  • Study in Québec City
  • Study in Edmonton
  • Study in Vancouver
  • Study in Toronto


Research Universities and Graduate Schools

In Canada, there are approximately 100 research universities. These universities frequently hold their doctoral programs in specialized graduate schools that have all of the necessary resources and expertise to let students complete advanced postgraduate (or ‘graduate’) degrees. Depending on how they are funded, Canadian universities can be either public or private. Public universities (the most majority) are funded by their respective provinces or territories and tend to provide a broader range of academic options, including doctoral programs. Private universities are smaller as well as more specialized and are sponsored by third-party sources.

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Powerful Reasons to Study in Canada

Top-notch Education & Curriculum Most Flexible Education System Extensive International Exposure Thriving Campus Life Relaxed Immigration Laws & Stable Economy
Quality of education at par with that of USA PhD supported by government and industrial sector collaborations Diverse class Student clubs/organizations Immigration friendly; Post-study stay back option of 3 years
Most sought after research destination Management Accounting PhD Scholarships available are higher than in other nations Cross-cultural exposure Focus on ECA Strong economy with low unemployment rate

Related Blog: Top Reasons to Study in Canada.


Popular PhD Courses in Canada

Following is the list of popular courses to study PhD in Canada for Indian students:

  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Social Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Medicine & Health
  • Business & Management
  • Engineering & Technology
  • PhD in computer science in Canada
  • Agriculture & Forestry
  • Applied Sciences
  • Environment and Earth Sciences


Program Duration & Cost of Education for PhD in Canada

Duration Cost of Education per annum (Tuition Plus Living)
Usually between 3-4 years, Occasionally it might become longer. Living Costs: CAD 15,000-20,000 per annum.

Funding beyond 6 years becomes limited Cost of Education in Canada per annum (Tuition Plus Living)

Financial aid is available from universities as part of acceptance to PhD programs. This financial aid can come as graduate assistantships in varied forms, including teaching and research assistantships, fellowships, and/or tuition waivers.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship award, for example, comes in at CA$50,000 (~US$37,210) per year for highly qualified international and local PhD students in the fields of social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health.

The  Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarships awards $40,000 (~US$29,770) per year for three years to Canadian citizens and foreign students -with applications particularly welcomed from students from developing countries.

The University of British Columbia Four Year Doctoral Fellowship meanwhile, provides a stipend of at least CA$18,200 (~US$13,545) per year plus full tuition for outstanding international/home doctoral students for all four years of their studies.


PhD Course Duration in Canada

Some PhD programs in Canada last 2-3 years, while others last up to ten years, it is heavily dependent on the type of university you will attend and the field you will pursue.

  • Management: 4 years
  • Accounting: 4 years
  • Organization Studies: 5 years
  • Finance: 4-5 years
  • Industrial Engineering: 4 years
  • Civil Engineering: 3 years
  • Philosophy: 4 years
  • Social Sciences: 4 years
  • Anthropology: 2-3 years
  • IT: 3-4 years


Academic Year for PhD in Canada

The academic year in Canada begins from September to April, but semester dates vary by province and university.


PhD Program Structure

The doctorate in Canada is typically a last ‘terminal degree,’ or the greatest level of academic certification that a student can achieve after earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.

Along with the traditional academic PhD, a variety of doctoral degrees are offered, including professional doctorates such as the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Education (EdD).


Supervision and Research for PhD in Canada

Your PhD will be completed under the supervision of at least one academic supervisor. They’ll be an expert in your overall subject and field. Other members of your graduate school may assist you with supervision and training, especially if your degree requires additional classes and coursework. The completion of PhD thesis will be the primary criteria of your degree. If you are pursuing a professional doctorate degree, such as a DBA or an EdD, you will have to concentrate on practical work and case studies along with your academic research. A thesis will still be required, although it may be shorter and complemented by other resources.


Assessment and Examination for PhD in Canada

The originality and quality of your doctoral thesis are the major factors for evaluating a Canadian PhD.

After you submit your thesis, it will be read and considered by a committee of examiners (which will include at least one external expert). After that, you’ll have a verbal presentation of your thesis.

This process may be slightly more involved than viva voce, which is commonly done in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Instead of discussing your work in a room,’ you may be expected to give a presentation about your research before being questioned about its content and significance.

The examiners will next meet separately to determine whether or not you performed well on the examination and if you have performed well then you will be awarded your PhD.


Admission Requirements for PhD in Canada

A Master’s degree in a relevant field is usually the minimal PhD requirement in Canada. PhD admission in Canada can be quite tough. Students frequently take classes and modules together, and graduate institutions only accept a specific number of students each year. This means that your previous academic achievements will be examined carefully.


GPA Scores for PhD in Canada

Instead of just providing your final degree result, you will be asked to offer a Grade Point Average (GPA) score. The GPA system is widely used in the United States and Canada (as well as a few other nations), although it is less widespread in the United Kingdom and Europe. It gives you a more comprehensive picture of your total performance over the course of your studies.

A GPA of 3.0 or better is usually required for admission to a Canadian PhD program.


Graduate Admissions Tests for PhD in Canada

As part of your application, you may be asked to submit a score from the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). This allows universities to evaluate applicants’ readiness for higher graduate work and, in some cases, choose between candidates with similar academic histories.

Specific criteria (and expected scores) differ per university and graduate school, so double-check ahead of time.


Language Requirements for PhD in Canada

You can consider the following language proficiency test for pursuing a PhD program in Canada:



Student Visas in Canada

Canada is a kind and friendly country that is keen to attract international students. Its student visa and immigration systems reflect this.
To enter Canada as a student and stay for your PhD, you’ll typically require two documents:
• Electronic travel authorization
• Study permit


Applying for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

The majority of overseas students will require permission for studying in Canada. You can obtain this by submitting an application for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). This document serves as your visa, allowing you to enter Canada. The application process for an eTA is convenient and it is done online.

Along with your passport information and payment details you would need to pay a fee of CAD 7 It’s important to note that while your eTA permits you to enter Canada, it doesn’t give you the right to stay there for the duration of your PhD. To do so, you must first apply for your Study Permit.


Cotutelle Programs in Canada

In addition to the traditional PhD process, several Canadian universities collaborate with other international schools to offer a ‘cotutelle’ (French for ‘co-tutored’) route to a PhD. These programs require students to spend time at two distinct universities, each of which supervises, examines, and awards the PhD project. A cotutelle agreement, unlike some other joint PhDs, is usually tailored to the student’s thesis rather than a long-term cooperation between two (or more) universities.

This option may or may not be available at each Canadian university. It is recommended to contact the University for More Information.

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Eligibility Criteria for PhD Programs in Canada

Strong Academic Credentials Standardized Test Scores Strong Academic Profile
Master’s degree in relevant field with minimum grades required completion of specific prerequisite courses Competitive GRE score in some universities Many universities require GRE Subject Test scores as well TOEFL/IELTS Academic & Research projects, Internships and/or publications/work experience

As a PhD aspirant, you need to properly network with a professor (supervisor, mentor) who has accepted to supervise your research and thesis work. The first step is to send out networking letters to professors whose areas of expertise match your interests and then wait for their reply.

A student who wants to pursue PhD programs in Canada must meet the eligibility criteria mentioned below:

  • Master’s degree with excellent academic records
  • Strong GRE or GMAT score
  • Scores of language proficiency test:
  1. IELTS: 6.5
  2. TOEFL: 100 (iBT) , 600 (pBT)

Know more about Entry Requirements for Canadian Universities.


A Sneak Peek into the PhD Application Process in Canada

The following documents are required:

  • College Transcripts
  • Detailed Resume
  • Scanned Copy of Passport
  • Some universities additionally ask for a research proposal
  • Application Form
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation

Learn more on How to Apply for PhD Abroad.


Intake & Application Deadlines for PhD in Canada

Canadian PhDs follow a 3-semester deadline system

  • Fall (September to December)
  • Winter (January to April)
  • Summer (May to August)

The funding availability to study in Canada is maximised for autumn, so it is preferred over the other two-semester intakes. The deadlines are different for all universities; nonetheless, the commencement dates for applications are more or less in September.

Know more about the Upcoming Intake to Study in Canada.


Student Visa Terms and Provisions for PhD in Canada

International students need study permits to pursue their PhD in Canada. You must submit a visa application online, and submit relevant documents to the VFS office. Additionally, an acceptance letter from the specific department of your university, proof of adequate funds, and a cover letter to the Canadian High Commission are also required.

Usually, students need to commit to specific hours of teaching or research as part of their assistantships and are generally not allowed to preoccupy themselves with any other form of employment on or off-campus. Post-degree, a work permit must be applied for within 90 days and the student must carry a valid study permit to acquire this work permit.

Related Blog: Things to Consider Before Pursuing a Ph.D Abroad

Are You Planning to Pursue PhD from Canada?
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How to Apply for PhD in Canada?

Decide the Type of PhD Course you Want to Pursue

You can pursue structured or open PhD programs in Canada. The research studies for the Structured PhD program are determined by the university. For an Open PhD, you must propose and outline your own research subject.
You must choose a supervisor for one of the two courses who will guide you through the research process. Some colleges may require a letter of support from your supervisor in addition to your application.


Submit Research Outline

If you want to pursue open PhD programs in Canada, you’ll need to submit a research proposal outlining the scope of your subject and its relevance in today’s world. The proposal must be written in accordance with the university’s research requirements.


Apply Online and Submit Relevant Documents

Submit your application online with the university of your choice and pay the application fees. While submitting your application, make sure that you are submitting all the required documents in the correct sequence and order. Following is the list of documents that are generally required for PhD courses in Canada:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Academic transcripts
  • Score of language proficiency test
  • LOR
  • CV
  • Portfolios (if required)


Give the Interview

Some universities in Canada conduct virtual interviews before selecting you.


Get Your Study Permit

After receiving your letter of acceptance you must start applying for study permit. Following is the list of documents required for applying study permit in Canada:

  • Health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Medical certificate
  • Acceptance letter from the university
  • Language proficiency test results
  • Intention of leaving back to home country


Tuition Fees for PhD in Canada for Indian Students

Fees for PhD programs in Canada typically range from CAD $2,500 to $17,000 per year, while certain programs of PhD in Canada cost up to CAD $25,000.


Recent Fee Changes for International Students

From 2018, local and international PhD students at the University of Toronto will be charged the same fees. This implies that you’ll pay the same as a local Canadian student for your PhD.

Brock University has started covering for international PhD expenses through its own grants.

Following is the list of PhD fees in Canada in the top universities:

University Name Tuition Fees in INR (yearly)
University of Toronto 4.9 lakhs
University of British Columbia 4.8 lakhs
McGill University 10.6 lakhs
McMaster University 8.9 lakhs
University of Montreal 4.1 lakhs
University of Alberta 5.1 lakhs
University of Ottawa 3.8 lakhs
University of Calgary 7 lakhs
University of Waterloo 7.4 lakhs
Western University 6.2 lakhs


Cost of Living in Canada

The cost of living in Canada would depend on factors like the city, degree, and the university you choose. However, the following are some of the usual expenses in Canada:

  • Educational Supplies: 1,960 – 2,631CAD/per year
  • Food and Beverages: 3,267 – 4,574 CAD/per year
  • Utilities, Internet and Mobile Phone: 6,534 – 9,800 CAD/per year
  • Clothing and Recreation: 1,045 – 1,306 CAD/per year


PhD in Canada Scholarships

There are a number of top universities in Canada for PhD. Following is the list of most renowned scholarships to study PhD in Canada for Indian students:

  • Ontario Trillium Scholarship: 40,000 CAD a year (renewable)
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship: 15,000 CAD
  • Robert Hartog Graduate Scholarship: 5,000 CAD (renewable)
  • UAlberta Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship: 45,000 CAD (for two years)
  • University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship: 18,000 CAD per year
  • UBC four-year Doctoral Scholarship: 18,200 CAD per year (stipend)
  • Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship: 40,000 CAD
  • Ontario Graduate Fellowship: 12,000 CAD (renewable)
  • Hira and Renu Ahuja International Graduate Scholarship: 20,000 CAD

So, these were some PhD scholarships in Canada.


Government Scholarships for Indian Students in Canada

Following is the list of government scholarships to study PhD in Canada for Indian students:

  • IDRC Research Awards
  • Vanier Graduate Scholarships
  • Ontario Trillium


Non – Government Scholarships for PhD in Canada

Following is the list of non-government scholarships to study PhD in Canada for Indian students:

  • Anne Vale Ecological Fund
  • Canada Memorial
  • Trudeau Scholarship & Fellowship


Other Funding Opportunities for PhD in Canada

Teaching/Research Assistantship: In a research assistantship, you would have to assist a faculty member with data collection, lab organization, report writing, analysis, and other tasks.

Work-Study: With a study permit, you can work for ten hours per week while pursuing your PhD in Canada. The government sets the salaries for part-time employment to ensure that everyone receives a minimum wage.


Scope of PhD in Canada

  • Research Scientist: 69,000
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate: 53,000
  • Research Engineer: 63,000
  • Principal Scientist: 99,000
  • R&D Director: 135,000
  • Physicist: 79,000
  • Medical Science Liaison: 98,000


PhD in Canada Without IELTS

English proficiency is required for PhD admission in Canada. Most major colleges require EILTS, while many university courses do not requires IELTS scores.

Following is the list of some universities that allows students to pursue PhD in Canada without IELTS:

  • University of Winnipeg
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Regina
  • Brock University
  • Memorial University


PhD in Canada Without GRE

Despite the fact that many institutions require GRE scores for PhD admission in Canada but there are some universities in Canada that does not require GRE scores.
Following is the list of some universities that allows students to pursue PhD in Canada without GRE:

  • Trent University
  • Lake head University
  • Laval University
  • Carleton University
  • Royal Roads University
  • Laurentian University


PhD in Canada Without GMAT

GMAT score is required for pursuing PhD in management in Canada. The GMAT is needed by nearly all major universities. On the other hand, several universities do not require the scores of GMAT.
Following is the list of some universities that allows students to pursue PhD in Canada without GMAT:

  • University of Winnipeg
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Regina
  • Brock University
  • Memorial University


PhD Course Duration in Canada

Some PhD programs in Canada last 2-3 years, while others last up to ten years, it is heavily dependent on the type of university you will attend and the field you will pursue.

  • Management: 4 years
  • Accounting: 4 years
  • Organization Studies: 5 years
  • Finance: 4-5 years
  • Industrial Engineering: 4 years
  • Civil Engineering: 3 years
  • Philosophy: 4 years
  • Social Sciences: 4 years
  • Anthropology: 2-3 years
  • IT: 3-4 years

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Can I work in Canada after my PhD?

Yes. You’ll be a strong candidate for a variety of jobs in, research and other fields as a PhD graduate. Furthermore, Canada will be eager to keep you, and the country’s post-study immigration system is geared to make that option as appealing as possible. The post-graduation work permit (PGWP) allows international graduates of Canadian universities to reside and work in the country for up to three years after receiving their doctorate degree.

Is college cheaper than university in Canada?

College is usually less expensive than university. This is because college programs are typically shorter than university ones, and universities are generally held in higher regard. Your decision between college and university is largely influenced by the type of career you wish to follow. The tuition fee in Universities per year generally ranges between CAD 25 – 40K for Bachelor’s degree programs, whereas the tuition fee at colleges generally ranges between CAD 12K and 25K.

Do Indian students get scholarships in Canada

The Government of Canada and many post-secondary schools provide students with various sorts of scholarship awards, grants, or bursaries to help them pay for their studies. This attracts a big number of Indian students who wish to pursue higher education and a better quality of life in Canada.

How much percentage is required to earn a scholarship in Canada?

To be considered for a scholarship, a candidate must have scored at least 80% in their class 12 examination. In addition, the candidate’s parent’s annual income should not exceed Rs. 4.5 lacs.

Which language proficiency test should I consider for pursuing PhD in Canada?

Below is the list of the most renowned language proficiency test that you can consider for pursuing PhD in Canada:


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