Masters (MS) in Canada – Costs, Top universities, Eligibility requirements

Masters (MS) in CanadaCanada is the second most popular education destination for Indian students eager to expand their knowledge in a global setting.

The rise in the number of total international students, enrolled in post secondary studies in Canada, was in the neighborhood of 450k in 2016, according to data from RBC, from about 180k in 2007.

According to UIS UNESCO data, China and India are the leading contributors, with nearly 80k valid student permit holders from India. Canada is clearly now the among the most popular degree hotspot, right after US.
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And with more than 3.5% (~ 1.17 million) Canadian population with Indian origin, you will never feel quite so out of touch with the familiar desi comforts. (Read Guide to MS for International Students)

MS/Masters in Canada – The Basics

In this article, we will cover the basics of getting into an MS or Masters degree in Canada. This is just to get your feet wet. The particulars of relevant information related to which programs, which Universities, and the finer details will depend on your research and investigation.

There are 13 provinces with some of the best Universities in the world, in Canada. Each is equipped with talented faculty, optimum facilities and all the necessary resources needed for the best training for all students from all over the world.

Canada also has a relatively straightforward means of transitioning from a student status to that of employment, after graduation, thus making it easily possible for recent graduates to look into permanent residency with a viable employment to back it up.

Here is a snippet into the number of international students in the various fields, in 2013 and 2014.

Field of Study Number of International Students in 2014 Number of International Students in 2015
Business, management and public administration 19,053 19,086
Personal improvement and leisure 1,554 1,197
Education 831 954
Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies 1,542 1,791
Humanities 5,520 3,525
Social and behavioral sciences and law 5,883 6,627
Physical and life sciences and technologies 2,595 2,613
Mathematics, computer and information sciences 2,994 3,504
Architecture, engineering and related technologies 8,424 9,543
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 897 909
Health and related fields 2,514 2,520
Personal, protective and transportation services 915 894
Other instructional programs 531 744

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 477-0020

The best ranking universities in Canada

Canada has some of the top Universities in the world. Though the rankings may differ from field to field, the overall QS World University Rankings from 2016, shows the cumulative impact of research, alumni, faculty, resources, etc. (Updated in April 2019 with QS World University Rankings from 2019)

University Canada Ranking World Ranking
University of Toronto 1 28
McGill University 2 33
University of British Columbia 3 47
University of Alberta 4 109
McMaster University 5 146
Universite de Montreal 6 149
University of Waterloo 7 163
The University of Western Ontario 8 214
University of Calgary 9 229
Queen’s University at Kingston 10 239


Application Requirements

The very basic requirement is the expected one – an excellent academic record. However the caveat to consider is the language of instruction. Canadian Universities may require you to qualify an English or French language proficiency test.

While most courses are taught in English, some French may just be thrown your way depending on the province you are in, Quebec for instance. So you can qualify either one of these standardized tests – TOEFL with an average in the vicinity of 90 for internet based test among the top rankers, The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment Test (CAEL), CanTest or IELTS.

However, with an Indian undergraduate degree you may be exempt from providing proof of the knowledge of A,B,Cs (as per McGill University proficiency exemptions).

For French, you may need to clear Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) or Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF). But it is highly likely that most STEM or non language specific degrees will be imparted in English.

Besides testing your communicative prowess, Canada immigration may require you to apply for a Study Permit based on your selection to a Canadian University. This permit is only required if the study duration is greater than 6 months. For less, you may get away with just a temporary visa such as a tourist visa.

The application requirements, costs, tuition, and deadlines are a factor of many parameters. Listing each requirement is not possible in the scope of this article. However, we have gathered some relevant data on weighted average of tuition fees, by field, for all international graduate students in all Canadian Universities.

Also tabulated are the individual application fees and a general sense of cost of living for each of the listed top ranking universities.

Masters (MS) in Canada

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 477-0024

Cost in Indian Rupees and Canadian Dollars

University Application Fees (Approx.) Average living cost (Rent + Food) per month
McGill University C$ 110
INR 5,500
C$ 1300 + C$ 430
INR 65,000 + INR 21,500
University of Toronto C$ 90
INR 4,500
C$ 750 – 1000 + C$ 350
INR 37,500 – 50,000 + INR 17,500
University of British Columbia C$ 162
INR 8,100
C$ 750 + C$ 400
INR 37,500 + INR 20,000
University of Alberta C$ 100
INR 5,000
C$ 500 – 700 + C$ 400
INR 25,000 – 35,000 + INR 20,000
Universite´ de Montreal C$ 94
INR 4,700
C$ 400 + C$ 430
INR 20,000 + INR 21,500
McMaster University C$ 85
INR 4,250
C$ 600 – 800 + C$ 300
INR 30,000 – 40,000 + INR 15,000
University of Waterloo C$ 100
INR 5,000
C$ 500 – 1300 + C$ 450
INR 25,000 – 65,000 + INR 22,500
University of Calgary C$ 150
INR 7,500
C$ 600 + C$ 400
INR 30,000 + INR 20,000
The University of Western Ontario C$ 100
INR 5,000
C$ 600 + C$ 420
INR 30,000 + INR 21,000
Queen’s University at Kingston C$ 105
INR 5,250
C$ 750-1,300 + C$ 370
INR 37,500 – 65,000 + INR 18,500

* C$ 100 = INR 5,000
Source: Graduate Admissions Page of Individual Universities, (Food Prices)

Scholarships and Funding

Though studying costs in Canada are relatively lower than the US, it still becomes a steep venture for most Indian students. Fikar not as there are many scholarships available to international students as well.

The Government of Canada, through the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development, offers multiple fellowships as listed in the table below.

Fellowship Program Funded By
Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship Government of Canada
IDRC Research Awards International Development Research Centre
Mitacs Elevate Mitacs
Mitacs Globalink Research Internship Mitacs
Mitacs Step Mitacs
Sauvé Scholars Program Jeanne Sauve Youth Foundation

Besides the Government fellowships, the individual universities also provide funding opportunities. For instance, the University of British Columbia offers an International Tuition Award and the Universite´ de Montreal has a way to offer tuition fee waiver to foreign students.

In all, if you can manage any one of these scholarships or a way to the heart of a student loan officer, you will be all set to manage the financing of your study in Canada.

Canada has a multicultural society with ample resources to support both the intellectual and social education of young talents. And if you have the requisite passion for pursuing a Masters in Canada, the system is more than equipped to help you achieve your goals with significant returns for all your investments now (Read Average Salary in Canada after an MS Degree).

So go ahead and research your field of interest, locate your future university and educate yourself with all the requirements that can make your MS dream come true.

Good luck!

Read these related posts:
Top business schools in Canada
Canada student visa requirements and process
Average Salary after MS in USA, Canada and Australia
Best MBA in Canada for international students
MBA in Canada vs India decision for Healthcare marketing applicant
MBA after 35 in Canada with Scholarship with low GMAT score

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  1. Simran says:

    Hy this is simran … i have done bba from india.. i want to do mba from canada and i am pursing ilets these days … i dnt have any experence and gmat score… is it good r a good choose to go for mba from canada…?

  2. Dhruval says:

    Hi i want to do mba from canada in good university please let me i have done bcom and company secretary please tell me whether i will have to study one more year to full fill the criteria of 16 yeras or will it do

  3. dia says:

    hello sir..i am 12th passing medical student and i wanted to move abroad after the completion of 12th grade but if i couldn’t able to go be cause i am not from affluent family and i think chances are less as i was thinking of availing study loan but problem arises i will be the one who has to pay back loan..and right now i am not sure about my field.Well i am thinking if i do bsc nursing from india can i get direct job in rich places like Ny or Canada? well if chances are maybe less than i am also thinking of doing bca or bba and get a mba degree abroad?which will be better going for bsc nurisng or bca or bba? can i change my field into business line?

  4. Abdulrafiu Musa Imam says:

    Please which of the schools in Canada is the cheapest for MBA study for international students considering the following:
    1. student are allowed to work while in school.
    2. Students can have access to loan to cater for their study expenses.
    3. Availability of scholarship.
    4. Getting good job after completing the MBA study

  5. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Simran: It is best to get a few years of experience first before applying to MBA programs.

    @Dhruval: There are programs in Canada that accept 15 years of education as well. Check the official sites to read up on their policies.

    @Dia: It is too early for you to worry about higher education. Focus on completing your basic graduation. And keep reading up more on what is required to go abroad.

    @Abdulrafiu: The lower you go in the rankings, the cheaper it is. However, you’d also be sacrificing quality as well as the chances of getting a good job after graduating, so don’t focus purely on the fees.

  6. Amit says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I want to do an MS in Computer Science from Canada. I have a GRE score of 328 (Q164, V164) and am planning to write TOEFL in a couple of weeks. I have cumulatively one year of CS related work-ex post my undergrad. My concerns are as follows:

    1. I have done my undergrad in Electronics and Communication. Though US universities would happily take people in with such a background, I’m not being able to get a clear picture about Canadian universities regarding the same. Also, haven’t come across people having transitioned from ECE to CS for masters in Canada.
    2. I am considering waiting for a year and applying next year rather than this year. I believe I’d be able to take a few CS related courses and also have some more experience to back my applications. Not sure how the universities would view it since I have already written my GRE and would want to use the same score if I apply next year.
    3. I quit my job last year in October and have an employment gap which I’ve used to take some time off and rethink about my goals. I’m aware employment gaps aren’t received quite well by MBA AdComs but not sure how that plays out in MS admissions.

    I’m really interested in pursuing Computer Science from a good university in Canada, and can wait and better my profile in any way possible. I need guidance for the same. Kindly help.

  7. surendhar says:

    I am SURENDHAR from India, as iam interested in doing masters in canada.
    i am a bit confused because i have 6 backlogs with GPA of 7.23 (up to 6th semester) as i am currently doing my final year.
    i will be finishing my post graduate program by 2018 and more over i can able to increase my GPA up to 8.

  8. gagan sharma says:

    I am a graduate in B com and undergone CA Articleship which is going to complete in Jan 2018.So basically i have a graduate degree (aggregate 59%) and a three year experience of working in same stream.I want to pursue Msc in finance from Canada. What is the score that i should target in GMAT and IELTS exam to get admission in one of the topmost universities of Canada? And how to get scholarship? am i eligible candidate to claim scholarship as per my qualification and work experience?

  9. Tej says:

    Hi sir..i am doing my undergraduate in computer science engg.I am interested to do masters in softeare dev in Canada. Does Ielts is alone enough to get an admission or gre is required to get good universities?
    I am having 7.41 CGPA upto 6th semester.

  10. k ajith kumar says:

    Hii Sir…..
    I am pursuing my undergraduate in electronics and communication engineering.I am interested to do my Masters in CANADA.can you please tell me which universities are the best (aggregate 80%).

  11. Ameya says:

    Hello this is Ameya from India ..I have completed by bsc math I wanted to know if I can apply for masters in mis in Canada and which universities do I opt for..

  12. Areeba Fatima says:

    I am interested in pursuing M.Sc food science courses in Canada( Non thesis)

    What are the recommendations?

  13. Himani says:

    I have given my IELTS(8 band overall), did my B.Tech in 2016 (86%) and after that working with Accenture as Software Engineer(2 years work exp).
    Can I get University of Alberta for masters in Computers for Fall’19 intake?

  14. banumurugavel says:

    i finished bsc viscom i am intrested in photography next what degree shall i do in canada and which is the best option

  15. Pawan says:

    I had completed bsc (economics) ,with 7 band overall .is it enough to go for masters degree in canada

  16. Joseline says:

    I have completed my Masters in English Language and Literature in India. If I apply for a student visa in Canada ..What all courses can I take over there?

  17. Harsha J says:

    Hi , my self harsha , i have completed Masters in computer applications and i am looking for MS in computer science , i need help in choose universities and also i have 1 years 8 months work experiance as software engineer.

    Also i wanted to know how to apply and stuff like that.

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