PhD in Canada (Updated 2022) – Course, Fees, Cost, Eligibility

Rachit Agrawal
Modified on 2019-05-04 in Canada
Read time: 16 mins

Ph.D. in Canada permits overseas students to take advantage of the high-tech education and placement opportunities available at Canadian universities, as well as the opportunity to study with renowned specialists. As an international student completing a PhD, there are a plethora of research possibilities in Canada to be aware of. International candidates interested in pursuing the programme should be aware that the degree takes between 3-6 years to complete. When it comes to higher education in Canada, there are both professional (Doctorate in Business Administration) and academic doctorate (Ph.D. in sciences and more) options.

Source: Stephanie Buttermore

The cost of a PhD varies because each university sets its fees and because there are a variety of TA (Teaching Assistantships) and RA (Research Assistantships) options available. It is significantly more affordable than obtaining a PhD in the United States or the United Kingdom, with costs as low as 4,000 CAD each year. Every year, an Indian student may expect to spend anything from 3 to 10 lakhs on tuition and another 5.7 lakhs on living and travel expenses.

You can find several Canadian universities in the world’s top 100 colleges list depicting the quality of education in Canada. The courses also are internationally recognised and research-based.

Top Universities for PhD in Canada

Canada’s universities have had a strong reputation for excellent research and teaching. The country’s universities are well recognised among foreign schools and universities and continue to bring the best and brightest students to their distinguished degree courses.

Canada has some of the most reputable universities & colleges for PhD programs. Given below are some of the top universities for PhD in Canada according to times higher education and QS ranking 2021

RankingsUniversityFees (CAD/year)QS Global Rankings 2021
#18University of Toronto4,500 to 8,90025
#37University of British Columbia8,70045
#44McGill University19,00031
#80McMaster University16,000144
#88University of Montreal7,500118
#125University of Alberta9,200119
#162University of Ottawa6,900166
#201-250University of Calgary12,600203
#201-250University of Waterloo13,400166
#201-250Western University11,180203
#251-300Dalhousie University11,995272

Why study in Canada?

In the various options accessible to students for their foreign education, Canada comes out on top. In reality, during the previous decade, the number of overseas students studying in this country has increased substantially. 5 Reasons to why to Study in Canada are listed below.

Universities with a Global Presence

Medicine, agriculture, computer technology, telecommunications, and environmental research are just a few of the cutting-edge businesses in Canada that are backed by the private and public sectors. A study in Canada is highly respected worldwide because Canadian institutions place a strong focus on research and good academic standards in post-secondary education.

Living in a Beautiful Environment

Everyone studying abroad should keep in mind that there is enough to do outside of class. In Canada, you don’t have to drive far to discover adventure, whether you choose to spend time or be active outside or explore nature and see a diverse range of animals. It’s a lovely nation with a lush shoreline in British Columbia, huge sky in the prairies, Alberta’s stunning Rocky Mountains, the St. Lawrence River and the rough highlands, the Great Lakes”maple sugar area,’ and the appealing coastline of the Atlantic Provinces. Natural beauty abounds throughout Canada.

Alternatives to Immigration

When you study abroad, you are generally granted temporary residency in the nation where you are studying. Because that status normally expires after your programme ends, you’ll have to return home once you’ve completed it.

Possibility of Employment

During their education, students are permitted to work part-time on and off campus. Students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week on campus without needing a work permit. Off campus, there are a range of part-time jobs available, such as hotel and hostel jobs, general labour, tutoring, and so on. There are several work opportunities in the technical profession after graduation. Students with relevant knowledge and abilities have an easier time getting work in prestigious companies. There are several work prospects for international students.

Enjoy the benefits of a high level of living.

According to QS World University Rankings, three Canadian cities, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, made the top 50 student cities list. The rating took into account affordability, student diversity, and employers’ evaluations of graduates on the job market.

Popular PhD courses in Canada

Some of the popular courses taken by overseas students in Canada while pursuing a Ph.D. are listed below :

StreamNumber of PhDs AvailablePopular Universities
Natural Sciences & Mathematics58U of T, McMaster, McGill, UAlberta, University of Calgary
Social Sciences51U of T, UAlberta, University of Montreal, McMaster
Humanities28U of T, McMaster, McGill
Medicine & Health34U of T, UBC, McGill, uOttawa, UAlberta, University of Calgary
Business & Management23UBC, McGill, UAlberta, University of Calgary
Engineering & Technology18U of T, UBC, McGill, uOttawa
Computer Science & IT13U of T, McMaster, McGill
Agriculture & Forestry14U of T, UAlberta, University of Montreal
Applied Sciences5UBC, U of T, McGill, uOttawa

Ph.D. in Canada: Course Structure

The majority of Ph.D. programmes need at least three years of full-time study and research, while it is normal for students to take longer. In order to enter Canada, you must have completed your Ph.D. within six years of arriving.

A Ph.D. in Canada is usually done with the assistance of at least one academic supervisor. Before the conclusion of the semester, you must submit a solid PhD thesis. This will be forwarded to a team of examiners, who will review your research and provide recommendations.

Your Ph.D. will next proceed to an oral defence, during which you will be cross-examined on your research topic and may be asked to create a presentation to explain your findings to them. Your entire performance, as well as your thesis, will contribute to your Ph.D. completion.

Cotutelle Programs

The Cotutelle Program is a collaborative or co-tutored route to a Ph.D. in Canada. Students in these courses often spend time working at two institutions, each of which evaluates, supervises, and awards the Ph.D. project.

This may appear to be comparable to joint Ph.D. degrees, however instead of institution collaborations, this arrangement is generally particular to a student’s research (as is the case with Joint Ph.D.). The Cotutelle Program’s availability is determined by each Canadian institution, and applicants must discuss their university in detail before applying for a Ph.D. programme in Canada.

Education System In Canada

In Canada, the education system is quite similar to that in the USA and has some aspects of the British Education System as well.

There are 3 types of Institutions in Canada:

  • Public Universities- These are run by the government may it be provincial, territorial or federal. They also collect the tuition fee from the students.
  • Private Universities- They are mostly run at the cost of donations and research grants. They receive no funding from the government.
  • Liberal Arts College- These colleges are either public or private and have a primary emphasis on courses in liberal arts.

How To Apply For PhD In Canada?

After learning about the Canadian educational system, you may be considering applying to a Canadian university to begin your study abroad experience. The following procedures will aid you in this regard:

Decide on a programme

You can choose between structured and open Ph.D. programmes in Canada. The university determines the study plans for Structured Ph.D. students. You must develop and outline your own research project for an Open Ph.D.

For one of the two courses, you must select a supervisor who will guide you through the research process. After you have a supervisor, some universities may want a letter of support from them in addition to your application.

Submit a study outline.

You’ll need to submit a research proposal detailing the breadth of your subject and its relevance in today’s world if you wish to pursue an open Ph.D. in Canada. The proposal must be developed in compliance with the research criteria of the university.

Prepare the necessary paperwork

A statement of intent, a recommendation letter, and, if applicable, a portfolio of previous work are among the basic documents that are normally required by all universities. Universities will also request all legitimate academic transcripts from your secondary school, or from your prior institution if you’re seeking a master’s degree or higher, if you’re commencing a bachelor’s degree. You may be needed to pass an English proficiency exam such as the IELTS or TOEFL

Specific Admission Requirements should be checked.

Depending on the university, specific documentation may be requested. Always check the university website for comprehensive admission standards, and if you have any questions, contact the relevant university office. In Canada, applications and admissions are handled by the university to which you are applying. Students are encouraged to apply to a variety of programmes and universities at the same time.

Send in your application

In Canada, the majority of university applications are submitted using an online method. Application forms may be found on the websites of specific universities and are usually accompanied by an application fee. Attach the needed papers or prepare to ship them to the institution when you’ve done filling out the application form.

Wait for your letter of acceptance.

After completing your application and the required documentation, admissions decisions will be announced within 3-6 weeks. After obtaining your offer letter from the university of your choice, you will be required to pay the first semester’s tuition costs in order to guarantee your spot.

Request a Student Visa

Initiate the student visa application process as soon as you have been accepted into a Canadian university, if necessary. Do not wait because the process might take up to 60 days and will require the submission of various important documents. If students from countries other than Canada do not have the requisite visa, they will be denied admission and will be unable to stay in Canada.

Also Read: Top colleges for PhD in Canada

PhD in Canada for Indian Students

Many students wish to pursue PhD in Canada. What makes this country so sought-after? Well, three Canadian institutions are among the top 50 in the QS WUR 2021: Toronto University, McGill University, and University of British Columbia. Doing PhD in Canada is suitable for Indian students because of the following reasons:

  • Leading universities can be found here – Doing PhD in Canada can be very beneficial to one’s professional future. Canada is home to many of the world’s best universities, including McGill University, the University of Toronto, the University of Alberta, the University of Waterloo, and many others.
  • Tuition fees are reasonable – PhD in Canada is significantly less expensive than that in the United States, with some institutions, such as the University of Toronto, decreasing–or even eliminating – international fees.
  • There are a plethora of scholarships for PhD in Canada – Canadian universities also give merit-based scholarships to students who aren’t able to pay for their education.
  • Opportunities after graduation – After completing PhD in Canada, students and stay & work for up to 3 years.
  • Possible immigration after PhD in Canada – Students can apply for a permanent visa after working under an organisation/company for 1-2 years through express entry. 

PhD in Canada Requirements

To apply for PhD in Canada, you need to have documents that will verify your academic & work record. Here are some of the essential documents that you must not forget while applying for PhD in Canada:

  • CV (Curriculum vitae) with all the necessary details required and a little about the applicant. 
  • SOP to help the university understand you better, and to help them decide whether you are a fit for their university or not. 
  • LOR is very important especially if you’re applying for PhD in Canada. A LOR for a senior or supervisor will act as a proven track record of your professional accomplishment.
  • Student Visa is a temporary visa that is given to the applicant after they get their offer letter from a university.
  • Health insurance proof is also required by the university. Also, many universities/colleges in Canada provide health insurance to their students and include them in their tuition fees. 

Check out : Top Universities in Canada for MS

PhD in Canada Eligibility 

Now that you think doing a PhD in Canada can be beneficial for you, the next thing you need to think about is the eligibility criteria. Though different universities/colleges have a different set of criteria,

Here are some basic things you need to have for being eligible to apply for PhD in Canada:

  • Have a master’s degree and a solid academic record, as well as shown research abilities and potential.
  • In rare situations, GMAT scores are accepted in addition to a good GRE score.
  • Language proficiency proof:
  • 6.5 on the IELTS (band score no less than 6.0)
  • TOEFL: 100 (iBT) with a writing score of 22; 600 (pBT) with a TWE of 5.0

PhD in Canada Cost

Doing PhD in Canada is expensive for Indian students, but it is cheaper than education in countries like the UK, US & Australia. For an international student, the cost of studying abroad is one of the most important aspects in determining which university and place to attend. International students’ total costs include not just tuition and living expenditures, but also expenses incurred prior to leaving their home country.

The following are the total costs of studying in Canada:

Pre-Arrival Costs

The usual one-time expenditures that an international student will incur when preparing to study abroad are listed below.

ExpensesCost (CAD)
Application Fee95-156
IELTS Fee309
TOEFL Fee210-330
Visa Fees235*
Air travel350-1200
Health Insurance600-800

Cost of Living in Canada

A lot of factors influence the cost of living in Canada. The province in which you will study, the type of house you will live in, and your personal preferences are all crucial factors to consider.

Table illustrating the cost of living in Canada is provided below:

Expense TypeApproximate Cost in CAD (per year)
Educational Supplies1,960 – 2,631
Food and Beverages3,267 – 4,574
Utilities, Internet and Mobile Phone6,534 – 9,800
Clothing and Recreation1,045 – 1,306

Ph.D. in Canada : Tuition Fees for Indian Students

Table mentioned below represents tuition fees for Indian Students

UniversityFees in INR (yearly)
University of Toronto4.9 lakhs
University of British Columbia4.8 lakhs
McGill University10.6 lakhs
McMaster University8.9 lakhs
University of Montreal4.1 lakhs
University of Alberta5.1 lakhs
University of Ottawa3.8 lakhs
University of Calgary7 lakhs
University of Waterloo7.4 lakhs

Check out : MBBS in Canada

PhD in Canada Fees

International expenses for PhD in Canada can range from CAD 6,000 – CAD 10,000 annually, with some universities charging as much as CAD 40,000. Annual tuition fees depend on the university and its location. Universities that rank higher and are located in a prime city tend to have a medium-high fee structure. 

PhD in Canada for Different Courses:

Course         Fee Structure (CAD)
Finance 6,000 – 12,000 per year
Management 10,000 – 15,000 per year
Accounting 8,000 – 12,000 per year
Engineering 15,000 – 20,000 per year
Humanities 10,000 – 15,000 per year 

Also Read: PhD Programs in Canada

Universities in Canada for PhD Ranking

Sr. No.UniversityWorld Ranking
1University of Toronto28
2McGill University33
3University of British Columbia47
4University of Alberta109
5McMaster University146
6Universite de Montreal149
7University of Waterloo163
8The University of Western Ontario214
9University of Calgary229
10Queen’s University at Kingston239

Scholarship for PhD in Canada

Canada offers financial help to students PhD in Canada. Students from developing countries, in particular, can apply for a variety of financial help programs in Canada. For Indian and other overseas students seeking a PhD in Canada, there are two types of scholarships available: government and non-government.

 Government Scholarships


IDRC Research Awards
Applicants enrolled in master’s or doctorate programs in developed nations are eligible to apply.
Vanier Graduate ScholarshipsApplicants should be deserving, with both testing & leadership skills.
Ontario Trillium Ontario students can apply for PhD in Canada scholarships.

Non – Government Scholarships 

Scholarship Eligibility
Anne Vale Ecological FundStudents pursuing a doctorate in animal studies at a university in Quebec or British Columbia are eligible.

Canada Memorial 
Students from the United Kingdom who wish to pursue postgraduate courses in Canada are eligible to apply.
Trudeau Scholarship & FellowshipThis grant is for international students pursuing PhD in Canada.

PhD in Canada Without IELTS

Proficiency in English is a requirement for admittance to any PhD in Canada. EILTS is required by most major colleges; however, many university courses do not.

Whether or not EILTS is necessary depends entirely on your subject. Some institutes may have severe EILTS criteria, while others may not.

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

PhD in Canada Without GRE

Even though many Canadian colleges demand the GRE for admittance to their Doctoral programs, it’s not mandatory. The GRE is required by most major colleges; however, many university courses do not.

Whether or not GRE is necessary depends entirely on your subject. Some institutes may have severe GRE criteria, while others may not.

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

PhD in Canada Without GMAT

The GMAT is a key requirement for a management PhD in Canada. The GMAT is required by the majority of major institutions. Many universities, on the other hand, do not require it.

Whether or not GMAT is necessary depends entirely on your subject. Some institutes may have severe GMAT criteria, while others may not.

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

Duration of PhD in Canada

Some PhD in Canada can be for 2-3years, and some can be up to 10 years. It highly depends on the type of university and the field you are going to opt for. Following are some of the courses in Canada along with their duration:

Management4 years 
Accounting4 years
Organization studies5 years
Finance4-5 years
Industrial Engineering4 years
Civil Engineering3 years
Philosophy4 years
Social Sciences4 years
Anthropology2-3 years
IT3-4 years

Jobs for PhD in Canada

For a student, a Ph.D. offers up new possibilities. After finishing your Ph.D. in Canada, you have a variety of alternatives, ranging from teaching to conducting research with industrial giants. The occupations you pick or the research field you choose will be determined by the specialities of your project; as a result, the pay you will receive will vary depending on your choices. Having said that, we may nevertheless investigate the pay granted to doctorate candidates at some of Canada’s most prestigious universities.

Job RoleSalaries
Research Scientist69,000
Postdoctoral Research Associate53,000
Research Engineer63,000
Principal Scientist99,000
R&D Director135,000
Medical Science Liaison98,000

phd in canada


✅ Is PhD in Canada free?

Ans: 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.

✅ What is the cost of PhD in Canada?

Ans: Canadian PhD fees
Fees for a Canadian PhD programme will usually be between CAD $2,500-17,000 per year although some can reach up to CAD $25,000. This is more than a domestic student pays, but still less than in other popular countries like the UK and USA

✅ Is PhD in Canada paid?

Ans: As a rough estimate, you can expect to pay between CAD $2,500 and CAD $17,000 (USD $1,985-13,505) per year for your PhD fees. … Some Canadian universities automatically waive PhD tuition as part of a baseline funding arrangement.

✅ Can I get PR after PhD in Canada?

Ans: If you did your Ph. D. Program here you would be eligible to apply for the Post Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). This program allows you stay in Canada and work in Canada and makes you eligible for permanent residency if approved.

✅ Can I work while doing PhD in Canada?

Ans: You can work in Canada as an international PhD student for as long as you have a valid study permit for your degree. You won’t normally need a separate work permit, but your employment will be subject to some restrictions: Working on campus – You can work on your university campus without restriction during your PhD.


PhD in Canada

About the Author

Rachit AgrawalRachit believes in the power of education and has studied from the top institutes of IIIT Allahabad, IIM Calcutta, and Francois Rabelias in France. He has worked as Software Developer with Microsoft and Adobe. Post his MBA, he worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group across multiple geographies US, South-East Asia and Europe.

Comments (27)

PaigeCommented on 2021-11-30

This blog was really helpful! I do have a quick question – do you know of any PhD programmes that can be completed by thesis only and do not require coursework as a component? I’m not sure how to find that information or where to look.

Onyinye NwadikeCommented on 2021-09-19

Great work

Shubhang puriCommented on 2021-09-07

doing phd in english litreature from canada is good and what will be the average salary

IshitaCommented on 2020-11-17

How much time does it take to get a Canadian Permanent residence?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

How much time does it take to get a Canadian Permanent residence?

DishaCommented on 2020-11-17

Can I do PhD while working?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

Can I do PhD while working?

SankalpCommented on 2020-11-17

Is a PhD harder than a master’s?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

Is a PhD harder than a master’s?

FarhanCommented on 2020-11-17

Is a PhD better than a master’s?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

Is a PhD better than a master’s?

HiranCommented on 2020-11-17

What are the prerequisites for PhD in Canada?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

What are the prerequisites for PhD in Canada?

JanuCommented on 2020-11-17

Which country is best for PhD?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

Which country is best for PhD?

KritikaCommented on 2020-11-17

Is there an option for a scholarship for PhD in Canada?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

Is there an option for a scholarship for PhD in Canada?

ChankaCommented on 2020-11-17

Can a student doing PhD in Canada apply for permanent residency?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

Can a student doing PhD in Canada apply for permanent residency?

VaniCommented on 2020-11-17

Can I work and do PhD in Canada, simultaneously?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

Can I work and do PhD in Canada, simultaneously?

BarkhaCommented on 2020-11-17

Is GRE required for PhD in Canada?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

Is GRE required for PhD in Canada?

NamanCommented on 2020-11-17

On average how much do students with PhD in Canada earn?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

On average how much do students with PhD in Canada earn?

ManikCommented on 2020-11-17

Is a PhD in Canada worth it?

Vishesh ChogtuCommented on 2020-11-17

Is a PhD in Canada worth it?