The requirements to study in Canada at doctorate level vary between universities and courses, but you generally need the following:
- A master’s degree in a related field, with strong grades and proven research ability and potential.
- Proof of language ability, depending on whether you study in English or French, if either language is not your first language and you haven’t previously studied in either language. (Some programs in French-speaking Quebec are conducted in both languages).
- A strong score in a graduate admissions test such as the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
In exceptional cases, you may be able to study a PhD with “accelerated admission” – that is, without a master’s degree. In this process, you’ll need to have outstanding grades in the last two years of your bachelor’s degree (a first-class average) and other demonstrations of your high academic potential, such as research publications.
How long are PhDs in Canada?
Most PhDs in Canada take about four to six years to complete.
How To Apply
Although the admissions process can vary between Canadian universities, you’ll generally need to follow the following steps to apply for a PhD:
1.Decide the course you want to apply for. Identifying your supervisor and chosen research topic. This may be an advertised, structured PhD in which the scope of the research is already outlined by the university (particularly in the sciences), or alternatively (particularly in arts and humanities) you could suggest and outline your own research project with an open PhD. Once you’ve found a supervisor, some universities may ask for a letter of support from your chosen supervisor to be included in your application documents.
2. If applying for an open PhD, you’ll need to submit a research proposal following the guidelines set by your university and generally outlining what you want to research, and why this is a worthwhile project.
3. Apply online, paying the appropriate application fee and attaching the necessary documents to your application. This could be all or some of the following:
- Statement of purpose – this should outline your background and academic/professional experience, including any awards, publications or relevant experience you can offer. You should also discuss your career goals and anything else stipulated by the university, keeping to the word limit.
- Two or three letters of reference (including one from your intended supervisor). Your referees should be academic, where possible.
- Academic transcripts and degree certificates – Canadian universities may require that your university mails an official transcript, which should be in English or accompanied by a perfectly translated document.
- Writing sample (most likely for arts and humanities PhDs)
- Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Language test results, if needed
- Portfolio of creative work (if applying for an arts/humanities PhD)
Some Canadian universities may also ask you to attend an admission interview.
4. Once accepted, the next step is to apply for your study permit which acts as your student visa for your stay. You should also take out health insurance, and check your university’s website for orientation advice.
How much does it cost to study a PhD in Canada?
Tuition fees for a PhD in Canada vary between universities and courses, and will generally be around twice that of fees for Canadian students. An exception to this is the University of Toronto, where most international PhD students will pay the same tuition fees as domestic students, starting from fall 2018.
To give you an example of the cost of a PhD in Canada, the University of British Columbia charges CA$7,641 (~US$5,760) per year for Masters by Research or PhDs, while PhDs are CA$$10,240 (~US$7,700) in years one and two at the University of Manitoba.
Can you work in Canada part-time during your studies?
Yes, all full-time students with a valid study permit can work part-time on or off campus for up to 20 hours per week during university semesters and full time during semester breaks. However, some PhD courses may stipulate that you shouldn’t work for more than 10 hours per week during term time – particularly if you’ve been granted funding to study in Canada. It’s also important to consider that your PhD will take up a considerable amount of time and challenging work, so you might prefer to focus entirely on your studies. Also, it’s not advised to rely on part-ti
Can you stay and work in Canada after your PhD?
Yes – if you’d like to stay after graduation to find work in Canada, you can apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) which allows you to stay and gain valuable work experience for a maximum of three years. And if you’re interested in becoming a permanent resident, this post-graduation work experience helps you to qualify to apply for permanent residency in Canada via Express Entry.