PhD in Canada Details – Cost, Fees, Scholarship, Immigration Prospects

(Last Updated On: January 12, 2020)

PhD in Canada is a lucrative opportunity for anyone looking to immigrate to Canada or anyone who is trying to do some post graduation research. In this blog we will discuss the costs, university fees, scholarships and immigration prospects of doing PhD in Canada. We also take a look at various universities and doctoral programs that they offer for Canadian PhD Aspirants along with their requirements and application process.

Researchers contribute billions to country’s economy and with even more than a third of the Canada’s research being conducted at Canadian universities, Canada is increasingly enticing and multicultural study destination. Canada offers a wealth of research opportunities for someone considering it for their PhD studies.

Not to mention, once doctorate is earned one has the the opportunity to take advantage of generous post-study work visa scheme.

We’ve curated this article to help you succeed in your goal to study PhD in Canada and understand all aspects to it which includes but not limited to universities ranking, cost, scholarship programs and immigration prospects.

Canadian universities for PhD

With over 100 universities and 6 being ranked under 150 world ranking Canada holds a good reputation in education system. Find below list of doctoral universities in Canada with their world ranking.

University Province City World
University of Alberta Alberta Edmonton 113
University of Calgary Alberta Calgary 233
University of British Columbia British Columbia Vancouver 51
University of
Ontario Toronto 29
Ontario Hamilton 140
Queen’s University Ontario Kingston 239
University of
Western Ontario
Ontario London 211
University of Ottawa Ontario Ottawa 281
University of Manitoba Manitoba Winnipeg 601-650
Dalhousie University Nova
Halifax 280
University of Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Saskatoon 439
McGill University Quebec Montreal 35
Université de Montréal Quebec Montreal 137
Université de Sherbrooke Quebec Sherbrooke 651-700
Université Laval Quebec Quebec City 416


Every Canadian university has its own intake process for future students to enrol and apply for their doctoral programs. So once you have selected the university you will be applying to, go through their application process online and submit your materials there. Here are some basic requirements you will need for every application:

  • Master’s degree with related subjects backed up with great academic scores and research ability or potential.
  • Proof of French or English proficiency depending on which province your university is located. Universities accept certificates from IELTS or TOEFL for language benchmarking. (Universities in French-speaking Quebec have some programs which are conducted in both languages).
  • Some universities might ask for score in a graduate admissions test like GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) to assess applicants suitability for advanced graduate work.
  • A Statement of purpose within provided word limit which outlines all:
    • professional and academic experience
    • publications, awards or relevant experience
    • career goals and anything else specified by the university
  • At least two Reference letters from your supervisors (including one academic referee)


Fees: USD $7,500-15,000

Extras: supplementary costs for student services and union fees

PhD programme for international students in Canada will cost around USD $7,500-15,000 (CAD $10,000-20,000) per year. This is more than domentic student fee but considerably less then what PhD programme would cost in UK and USA.

PhD programmes which focus on Independent research are cheaper than any structured programme. If a PhD programme is structured as different stages of degree involving taught classes and assessment then fees will be relatively expensive than what is mentioned above.


Candidates looking for scholarship programs will be amazed with bunch of options available at university, provincial and even federal level. All these Canadian scholarship programs aim to welcome and motivate international students from around the world, thus increasing opportunities for post-graduation institutions across Canada.

To be considered for a scholarship, candidate students must first apply for admission to an academic program at a Canadian post-secondary institution. The Canadian institution is responsible for applying for the scholarship on behalf of the student.

Every scholarship program has its own evaluation criteria but there are some common selections factors while applying for scholarship where every candidate must:

  1. hold a valid Canadian study permit.
  2. be enrolled in a PhD program at any Canadian university, except if you’re applying for university scholarship where you must be nominated by the particular institution at which you want to study.
  3. demonstrate academic excellence through your past scholarships, awards, distinctions and academic results.
  4. have volunteered in any social projects with some NGOs.
  5. have competitive GRE or GMAT score.

Note: Specific requirements (and expected scores) will vary between universities and graduate schools, so check in advance.

Scholarships offered by universities:

  1. University of Waterloo – International Doctoral Student Awards (IDSA) valued at CAD 14,160 per year till end of the third year.
  2. University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship valued at CAD 18,000 per year for 12, 24, 36 or 48 months.
  3. University of Calgary – Alberta Innovates valued at CA$ 31,000 in total for 4 years.
  4. University of BC – Graduate Global Leadership Fellowship valued at $18,200 per year plus tuition for 4 years.
  5. Dalhousie University Scholarships for graduate and professional students (link)
  6. Carleton University Financial Aid for teacher or research assistantship value at $10,000 per year for TA (Teaching Assistantships) and varies depending on RA (Research Assistantships)
  7. McGill University international student funding (link)

Scholarships program offered by provinces:

  1. Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) Program valued at CA$ 15,000 for 3 consecutive years.
  2. Ontario Trillium Scholarship worth CA$ 40,000 per year renewed up to 4 years for best doctoral students

Canada study scholarships:

  1. Vanier CGS (Canada Graduate Scholarship) valued at CA$ 50,000 per year for three years during doctoral studies.
  2. Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarship valued up to CA$ 40,000 for tuition and living expenses; and up to $20,000 for research and travel allowance.
  3. Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships valued at $70,000 per year for 2 years.
  4. Canada Graduate Scholarships Master’s Program valued at CA$ 17,500 for 12 months.
  5. Fairleigh Dickinson scholarship for international students valued up to CA$ 10,000 based on academic merit.

Institutions whose applications are successful will receive a contribution agreement for the administration and disbursement of scholarships to the recipients (i.e., the student).


Canada is known for generous post study immigration programs for retaining talent and boosting economy while giving back a safe and healthy environment. There are many PNP programs for candidates who have studied in eligible schools within the province. Some of these programs are listed below:

1.OINP PhD / Masters graduate stream

The stream is open to international graduates with a master’s degree obtained at any eligible university in Ontario and allows them to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence. Registration periods typically end quickly for the Masters Graduate Stream, which is a popular permanent residence pathway among international students because it does not require a job offer in order to be eligible.

Ontario has been generous with number of allocated seats to this program. This program has taken registrations multiple times in an year e.g. February, May and October of 2017.

2. BC PNP – Skills Immigration – International post graduate

Anyone who has completed a degree or diploma from an eligible post-secondary institution in Canada in the past 3 years and has a valid full-time job offer (of NOC Skill type 0, A or B) from BC employer is eligible to apply for PR under this provincial program.

Note: For NOC skill B occupations one need to meet minimum CLB 4 in language proficiency.

3. AINP – Alberta opportunity stream

Graduate of eligible Alberta public funded post secondary institute holding a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) can apply for PR under Alberta AOS provincial program.

Although there are some strict requirements regarding current occupation, where your current occupation must:

  • be related to your girls of study in Alberta.
  • be related to your post secondary education outside Canada.


4. NSNP – Nova Scotia experience : Express Entry

Nova Scotia also invite candidates having a Canadian high school credential or equivalent with 1 year of work experience in Nova Scotia with valid job offer to apply for PR.

Although english proficiency requirements are little high with CLB 7 but it’s a great stream for students who intend to settle in Nova Scotia.

5. Québec experience program (Programme de l’expérience québécoise)

Post graduates from any eligible Quebec education institute can apply for Permanent Residence under Québec experience program (Programme de l’expérience québécoise) if they are employed and can demonstrate advanced intermediate knowledge of oral french.

6. MPNP – International Education stream

Out of three pathways in this stream Graduate internship pathway is the best option for international masters or doctoral students. It provides faster nomination through internships which align with Manitoba industry innovation goals.

Graduates who have completed an internship with Mitacs in Manitoba can apply to this stream immediately after graduation, even if they do not have a job offer.


Post A Reply

Take Free Mock IELTS Reading Tests for immigrating to Canada