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.
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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|
|Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies||2,241||2,784|
|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|
|University of British Columbia||3||45|
|Universite de Montreal||4||118|
|University of Alberta||5||119|
|University of Waterloo||7||166|
|Queen’s University at Kingston||9||246|
|University of Calgary||9||246|
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|
|Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies||13,105||14,212||14,122||14,724||15,709|
|Social and behavioural sciences, and legal studies||13,568||14,276||14,550||14,985||15,919|
|Business, management and public administration||21,387||22,190||23,808||24,408||26,351|
|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|
|Agriculture, natural resources and conservation||12,100||13,692||13,953||13,763||14,819|
|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
|C$ 1300 + C$ 430
INR 77,000 + INR 25,000
|University of Toronto||C$ 125
|C$ 750 – 1000 + C$ 350
INR 44,000 – 59,000 + INR 21,000
|University of British Columbia||C$ 170
|C$ 750 + C$ 400
INR 44,000 + INR 24,000
|University of Alberta||C$ 100
|C$ 500 – 700 + C$ 400
INR 30,000 – 42,000 + INR 24,000
|Universite´ de Montreal||C$ 100
|C$ 400 + C$ 430
INR 24,000 + INR 25,000
|McMaster University||C$ 150
|C$ 600 – 800 + C$ 300
INR 36,000 – 47,000 + INR 18,000
|University of Waterloo||C$ 125
|C$ 500 – 1,300 + C$ 450
INR 30,000 – 77,000 + INR 27,000
|University of Calgary||C$ 150
|C$ 600 + C$ 400
INR 36,000 + INR 24,000
|Western University||C$ 120
|C$ 600 + C$ 420
INR 36,000 + INR 25,000
|Queen’s University at Kingston||C$ 110
|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, Numbeo.com (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 Globalink Research Internship||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.
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