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

Canada 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 530.5k in 2020, according to data from ICEF, from about 180k in 2007. Although international enrolments have seen a dip since the pandemic outbreak, falling nearly 17% in one year, the overall increase in enrolments in the past decade has seen 135% increase.

According to CBIE/IRCC data, China and India are the leading contributors, coveting a share of 34 and 22% share of valid student permit holders respectively. Canada is clearly now the among the most popular degree hotspot, right after US.
Top study abroad countries for Indian students | Emerging destinations
Best MBA in Canada

And with more than 4% (~ 1.3 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)
[Editor’s note: Article updated in August 2021]

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 2017 and 2018 (data released in 2020).

Field of Study Number of International Students in 2017 Number of International Students in 2018
Business, management and public administration 28,191 40,581
Personal improvement and leisure 858 981
Education 1,095 1,170
Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies 2,241 2,784
Humanities 4,182 5,358
Social and behavioral sciences and law 8,460 9,759
Physical and life sciences and technologies 3,633 4,218
Mathematics, computer and information sciences 6,147 8,268
Architecture, engineering and related technologies 14,049 17,862
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 1,374 1,929
Health and related fields 3,903 5,397
Personal, protective and transportation services 1,260 1,839
Other instructional programs 531 645

Source: Statistics Canada, Table 37-10-0020-01 (Formerly 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 2021, shows the cumulative impact of research, alumni, faculty, resources, etc. (Updated in August 2021 with QS World University Rankings from 2021)

University Canada Ranking World Ranking
University of Toronto 1 25
McGill University 2 31
University of British Columbia 3 45
Universite de Montreal 4 118
University of Alberta 5 119
McMaster University 6 144
University of Waterloo 7 166
Western University 8 203
Queen’s University at Kingston 9 246
University of Calgary 9 246


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.

Note: Covid19 Update for International Students can be obtained from the Canadian Government’s official page here.

Here are the international graduate tuition fees by field of study in Canadian Dollars (C$ 100 ~ USD 80).

Field of study 2016 / 2017 2017 / 2018 2018 / 2019 2019 / 2020 2020 / 2021
Education 14,437 15,447 15,267 16,068 16,899
Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies 13,105 14,212 14,122 14,724 15,709
Humanities 13,504 14,078 13,250 13,702 14,220
Social and behavioural sciences, and legal studies 13,568 14,276 14,550 14,985 15,919
Law 16,309 15,779 16,586 17,529 18,455
Business, management and public administration 21,387 22,190 23,808 24,408 26,351
Executive MBA 51,597 47,930 67,657 55,424 55,578
Regular MBA 34,644 36,797 38,406 38,668 40,032
Physical and life sciences and technologies 13,816 14,624 14,910 15,125 15,959
Mathematics, computer and information sciences 14,311 15,245 16,114 17,441 18,391
Engineering 16,299 17,465 18,236 19,736 21,559
Architecture 20,556 22,383 23,082 24,951 26,524
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 12,100 13,692 13,953 13,763 14,819
Dentistry 20,982 21,534 21,533 22,507 24,582
Medicine .. .. .. .. ..
Nursing 12,081 13,566 15,518 16,318 16,312
Pharmacy 10,835 11,856 11,421 11,646 12,532
Veterinary medicine 8,598 8,814 9,896 9,834 9,081
Optometry .. .. 13,608 14,014 14,436
Other health, parks, recreation and fitness 15,603 16,384 17,734 18,109 19,422
Personal, protective and transportation services 12,275 13,796 .. .. ..

Source: Statistics Canada, Table 37-10-0006-01  International graduate tuition fees by field of study

Cost in Indian Rupees and Canadian Dollars

University Application Fees ((Typically)) Approx. Average living cost (Rent + Food) per month
McGill University C$ 120
INR 7,100
C$ 1300 + C$ 430
INR 77,000 + INR 25,000
University of Toronto C$ 125
INR 7,400
C$ 750 – 1000 + C$ 350
INR 44,000 – 59,000 + INR 21,000
University of British Columbia C$ 170
INR 10,000
C$ 750 + C$ 400
INR 44,000 + INR 24,000
University of Alberta C$ 100
INR 6,000
C$ 500 – 700 + C$ 400
INR 30,000 – 42,000 + INR 24,000
Universite´ de Montreal C$ 100
INR 6,000
C$ 400 + C$ 430
INR 24,000 + INR 25,000
McMaster University C$ 150
INR 9,000
C$ 600 – 800 + C$ 300
INR 36,000 – 47,000 + INR 18,000
University of Waterloo C$ 125
INR 7,400
C$ 500 – 1,300 + C$ 450
INR 30,000 – 77,000 + INR 27,000
University of Calgary C$ 150
INR 9,000
C$ 600 + C$ 400
INR 36,000 + INR 24,000
Western University C$ 120
INR 7,000
C$ 600 + C$ 420
INR 36,000 + INR 25,000
Queen’s University at Kingston C$ 110
INR 6,500
C$ 750-1,300 + C$ 370
INR 44,000 – 77,000 + INR 22,000

* C$ 100 = INR 6,000
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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17 thoughts on “Masters (MS) in Canada – Costs, Top universities, Eligibility requirements”

  1. 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. 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. 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. Hi
    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. @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. 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. HELLO,
    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. Hi,
    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. 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. 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. 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. Hello,
    I am interested in pursuing M.Sc food science courses in Canada( Non thesis)

    What are the recommendations?

  13. Hi,
    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. 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?

  15. 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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