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Phd in Canada | Phd Specializations, Scholarships & Costs

phd in canada (1)
Chapter 1


Why study PhD in Canada?

Every year Canada welcomes thousands of overseas PhD students. Here science, research and development are the most important symbols of this country which leads to global innovation. Canada is a globally renowned country known for its diverse research programs, opportunities, globally ranked universities and excellent research institutions. Canada’s broad attitude and cosmopolitan lifestyle make it an increasingly attractive home-away-from-home for millions of foreign students. It is home to some of North America’s most historic – and globally famous – research universities. They provide exceptional practical training opportunities for the students, which gives them good employment options. More than 5,500 international graduates complete their doctorates every year. There are excellent funding opportunities such as scholarships and fellowships for international students. These are provided by the government and others. The living costs are also low in this country. Other than this you will also get to experience the rich culture and tradition of Canada and explore different places there. A PhD in Canada will allow you to collaborate with prominent specialists and take advantage of cutting-edge technology. Once you’ve completed your PhD, you’ll be eligible for one of the most lucrative post-study work visa programmes in the world.

Cost of PhD in Canada :

At Canadian universities, there are several scholarships available for PhD studies. However, depending on the programme, specialisation, and university, the cost of a PhD in Canada ranges from CAD 8,000 to 20,000 each year.

About PhD :

The PhD program structure in Canada differs from one university to another in its cost, time and structure. The PhD that you do will be supervised by a professor who will be your guide for research. But you are required to complete a dissertation and an original research paper which contributes to your field of study. The paper that you have submitted will be marked by examiners who will read through your work and consider whether you deserve a PhD. They will also conduct oral defense where you need to answer the cross questions asked by the examiners about your thesis. After this, you’ll be awarded a PhD degree.

PhD program length :

The length of a PhD program is a minimum of three years which includes full-time study and research. But it often takes more than three years to complete a PhD. The maximum duration you can take to complete a PhD in six years. To get into a conventional Canadian PhD programme, you’ll almost always require a Masters degree. Some universities, on the other hand, offer doctoral stream Masters programmes that begin with one or two years of MA or MSc work. These are appropriate for students who have just completed a bachelor’s degree, although they take longer to finish.

There is something called the Cotutelle program where several Canadian universities collaborate with other foreign schools to offer a ‘cotutelle’ (French for ‘co-tutored’) route to a PhD. These programmes require students to spend time at two distinct universities, each of which supervises, examines, and awards the PhD research. A cotutelle is similar to a combined PhD in this regard. A cotutelle agreement, unlike some other joint PhDs, is generally tailored to the student’s thesis rather than long-term cooperation between two (or more) universities. In this respect, a cotutelle might be thought of as a special type of joint PhD.

Chapter 2

Popular PhD specializations in Canada :


Mathematics is a broad subject with several branches. There are some areas where you can do research as a student of mathematics. There are three types of mathematics categories you can research on. They are pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics. You can collect and analyse data, prove theorems and more.

University: University of Waterloo

Fees: AUD 97,384


The physics PhD programme seeks to offer applicants a wide professional basis in physics through education in experimental and theoretical physics. Based on existing research activity at the Department of Physics, the applicant can tailor the curriculum to do research on a wide range of themes.

University: McGill University

Fees: €12,467


A PhD in psychology is a doctorate degree programme that takes three years or more to finish. PhD psychology is a degree that examines the therapy and strategies available for clinical psychology in humans and other species. Graduates with a recognised master’s degree in psychology are entitled to pursue a PhD in psychology.

University: Saint Mary’s University

Fees: €10,872


This degree programme teaches students how to examine and write about works of English literature by studying their history, cultural context, and significance. Participants in the programme usually select a specific subject of study. Specializations might focus on the literature of a single location, such as the United States or the United Kingdom, or on a specific period, such as the Renaissance. Those who graduate with this degree usually have excellent writing abilities that may be used in a variety of fields. Scholars improve their research abilities, argumentation skills, and historical and cultural understanding.

University: McGill University

Fees: €12,000


In order to pursue a PhD in Economics, you should have done a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the same discipline. You are required to be actively involved in research work in any of these fields such as applied microeconomic theory, behavioural economics, political economy, labour economics, health economics, development economics, public economics, and many other disciplines can do research on these topics. The first two years of a PhD in Economics are mostly devoted to coursework and building research objectives. 

University: Concordia University Montréal

Fees: €13,364

Chapter 3

Eligibility and Requirements

Admission requirements :

  • First decide on the PhD course you want to pursue in Canada and the University. There are two types of PhD in Canada one is a Structured PhD and the other is an Open PhD. In a Structured PhD, the university will set the outlines of your research. In the Open PhD, you will choose your topic and the outlines of your research should be done by you.
  • The minimum requirement for pursuing a PhD degree is a master’s degree related to the topic of your research.
  • You need to submit your research online and describe its impact and importance in your proposal which should be within the research guidelines of the university.

Application requirements :

  • Submit the required documents.
  • Academic transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • GMAT scores 
  • IELTS – 6.5 
  •  or TOEFL
  • three LORs
  • CV
  • Portfolio
  • Admission fee
  • You should have a Canadian study permit

Language requirements :

You are required to take an English language examination either from IELTS or TOEFL.

IELTS is the international English language testing system for non-native English speakers. The minimum IELTS score you require for obtaining a PhD in Canada is 6.5.

Test of English as a foreign y is TOEFL.

You need to obtain a score of 90 in TOEFL and in each section, you should obtain a minimum of 20 marks.

Chapter 4

Top Ranked PhD Universities in Canada :

Name of the University

QS Ranking 2022

Approximate Fee

(Per term/year)

Application deadline

University of Toronto



September 15 - November 30

McGill University



September 1

University of British Columbia




McMaster University



February 1

University of Montreal




University of Calgary



January 15

University of Alberta



May 1

University of Ottawa



August 1

Simon Fraser University




University of Waterloo



October 1

Western University



January 15

Dalhousie University



July 1

Universite Laval



February 1

University of Manitoba



July 1

Queen's University



January 15

University of Victoria




York University




University of Guelph




Carleton University




Chapter 5

Scholarships for PhD in Canada :

Name of the Scholarship

Amount provided

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship


IRDC Research Awards


Quebec Provincial Government Scholarship


Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship plan

Depends on the program the student has enrolled

Partnership Grants by Social Science and Humanities Research Council in Canada

CAD 20,000

Trudeau Scholarships and Fellowships


Anne Vallee Ecological Fund


Ontario Trillium Scholarship


Sanders Prize in the history of modern philosophy

Partial funding

Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD Fellowship 2022

Partial funding

Manulife Life Lessons Scholarship program

Full funding

Ontario Graduate Scholarship 2022

Partial funding

International peace scholarship for women

Full funding

Google PhD Fellowship Program 2022

Full funding

Chapter 6

Jobs after PhD in Canada :

Academia: Post Doc

The postdoc position is one of the most common paths in academia. The duration of postdoctoral jobs varies (between 1 year and 4 years, typically). You can stay in the same institution where you had received your PhD. You can get a continued project on what you did for your PhD is a possibility. You can then spend your post-doctoral years to publish your PhD study and expand your research network. 


You can be a faculty member in any college immediately after PG but a PhD is very important and it will get you more salary.You may be considered for a faculty post at the university where you earned your PhD, but there may be few positions. If this is the road you want to take and you’re prepared to travel around and become an academic nomad, you can find that other regions of the world are keen to recruit somebody with a PhD. 

Work in your field of specialization

It is possible to work for a company in your field of expertise. While some individuals consider a PhD to be a pointless extra degree and a waste of time, most employers believe that PhDs offer value to the firm and may be assigned to more complicated tasks or put their highly honed skill set to work.

Business consultant

You may have a PhD in neuroscience and believe that business is not for you, yet huge consulting businesses employ PhD grads from many areas. These firms will be on the lookout for someone who can manage big volumes of data. If you wish to learn more about these organizations’ work, you may usually join them for a weekend when you will be pushed to solve a business case.


Why not establish your own business and commercialise your research? You can get started on your idea, and find similar programmes that exist at other institutions.

You can also establish a business unrelated to your doctoral study. PhD graduates establish businesses as professional proofreaders, technical translators, independent researchers, and career and/or research advisors for PhD students. There are so many options.

Cost of living in Canada

Canada has a  fast-growing economy and high-quality level of living, it offers limitless options and potential. Every year, the country adds thousands of employment opportunities, which lowers the  poverty rates and boosts the economy. In Canada, healthcare is a fundamental right. Because access to medical treatment is so swift and smooth, the country’s health is among the greatest in the world.

Here the educational system is superior to that of the majority of other countries. It spends more on education than any other country, which is one of the things that distinguishes Canada.

  • Renting an apartment for a single person per month is $1,335 in the center of the city and $1,120 for outside the city.
  • Tuition fee depends on your course.
  • Average cost for food is $300 which includes groceries.
  • Electricity, garbage etc is $168 per month.
  • The most expensive cities in Canada are Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal.
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Frequently asked questions :

What are the advantages of doing a PhD in Canada while receiving a scholarship?

A  PhD scholarship in Canada might give you adequate finances to complete your study without having to worry about the costs of migrating overseas. Furthermore, receiving research fellowships appears good on your CV when applying for jobs after you finish your studies.

Is a PhD in Canada fully funded?

Many PhDs in Canada are fully sponsored through scholarships. However, not all PhDs are completely financed, and the student may be required to contribute some expenses.

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