Graduate studies in Canada

Transform your future with a graduate degree from a Canadian university. With a global reputation for education and research excellence, Canada is the ideal choice for your master’s degree, PhD or doctoral studies.

Canada is a global leader in research and innovation

Canadian universities conduct research at one of the world’s highest rates. Canada’s thriving research culture exceeds the G7 average in terms of impact in the fields of clinical medicine; biology; information and communication technologies; agriculture; fisheries and forestry; earth and environmental sciences; economics; and business.

To put it into context, Canadian universities conducted CAD 13 billion in research and development (R&D), representing 40% of the total 2014 Canadian R&D[1].

Canadians have a long, proud history of developing innovations that have changed the world, including the electric wheelchair, Canadarm space technology, IMAX film, Java programming language and wireless radio transmission.

We also have a long list of medical and scientific breakthroughs. Among them: insulin, the pacemaker, the HAART therapy treatment as HIV prevention, open heart surgery and transplantable stem cells. More recently, a Canadian PhD student made a groundbreaking cancer discovery at Queen’s University. Caitlin Miron discovered a chemical compound (DNA binder) that could ‘switch off’ cancers cells and prevent them from spreading[2].

Why not add your name to the list? Our teaching and research programs offer endless possibilities for you to work with world-leading researchers in cutting-edge research laboratories.

Graduate program options

In virtually every field of academic study, Canadian universities offer graduate degree programs.

  • Master’s degrees require 1 or 2 years of study after completing your bachelor’s degree. In Canada, your master’s studies can include a thesis, practicum, research paper or a course‑based program.
  • PhD and doctoral degrees involve 3 to 5 years of study, including a thesis. This usually is pursued after completing your master’s degree. Your PhD path will include a dissertation that you prepare based on extensive and original research in your field.

International students cite the quality of Canada’s education system as the number 1 reason they choose to study in Canada[3]. Why not join them?

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Canadian institutions offer both in-person master’s degrees and PhD programs as well as online or distance education options.

The case for higher education in Canada

  1. Canada is seen as the #4 destination in the world for the quality of education we offer international students[4].
  2. Canada also ranks #4 among international students for the best graduate student outcomes[5].
  3. Graduate studies in Canada are affordable at an average cost of CAD 16,252 for a degree[6].
  4. Canada produces 3% of global scientific research yet has only 0.5% of the global population[7].
  5. A total of 26 Canadian universities feature in the QS World University Rankings 2018, an achievement matched only by a handful of other countries[8].

Cost of graduate studies in Canada

Your graduate studies are a smart career investment. Canada’s master’s and PhD programs are recognized around the globe, and our relatively lower cost of living makes the opportunity even more appealing to international students like you. Even Canada’s larger cities are more affordable than many cities around the world. 

Graduate tuition fees in Canada can vary depending on the program and location you choose. Try our search tool to find your graduate studies program and calculate what it will cost you:

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To give you an idea of the costs, we tested our search tool on a number of master’s and PhD programs across Canada. We found that tuition can range from CAD 2,500 per year to approximately CAD 18,000 per year for a master’s degree program. A PhD might run you approximately CAD 2,500 to CAD 17,000 per year. Be sure to compare programs from different provinces and schools if you are on a budget. The tool will also give you the estimated costs for books and supplies.

The cost of accommodation, food and local transportation varies from city to city. Our search tool will give you a good idea of the cost you once you choose your school; however, we found that living expenses for 1 year averaged around CAD 12,000.

Scholarships to study in Canada

You may be eligible for a scholarship, fellowship or grant to complete your postgraduate studies in Canada. The Government of Canada, our provinces and territories and many educational institutions offer funding for international students.

Find scholarships

7 steps to your study in Canada experience

  1. Choose your program of study and find out who offers it.
  2. Find and apply for scholarships.
  3. Apply to the Canadian universities that interest you most.
  4. Prepare your study in Canada budget.
  5. Get your study permit.
  6. Plan your new life in Canada.
  7. Review our Going to Canada checklist before you leave home.

Admission requirements and credits

Each university in Canada has its own admission requirements. To learn out about admission requirements for the program you want to pursue, visit the website of the university you would like to attend. Contact the university directly to determine whether your existing credits can be applied toward that program. You may use our Search colleges & universities tool to locate their contact information.

To study at a Canadian university, you must provide proof of your English or French language capabilities, depending on the language you choose for your studies.


[1] Statistics Canada, Gross Domestic Expenditures on R&D in Canada, 2016.

[2] Global News, Canadian PhD student makes groundbreaking cancer discovery, 2017.

[3] A World of Learning: Canada’s Performance and Potential in International Education, 2016. Canadian Bureau for International Education.

[4] Hobsons, Global International Student Survey, 2017.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Statistics Canada.

[7] Thomson Reuters, List of Highly Cited Researchers.

[8] QS World University Rankings, 2018.