Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by

Canada is emerging as an attractive location for students to pursue graduate education. A PhD in Canada offers high quality education at respected institutions. Students from all over the world are discovering Canada as a country with world-class universities and a growing presence of international students. In addition, with a PhD in Canada, students will enjoy the beautiful nature and scenery th… Read moreRead more about studying in CanadaSort by:

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Doctor of Philosophy in Biomolecular Science

University of LethbridgeLethbridge, Canada

The PhD in Biomolecular Science is delivered by the Faculty of Arts and Science. Students in this program are normally supervised by Faculty members in the following contribut … +FeaturedPhDFull-time48 monthsEnglishSep 2022Campus Read More

PhD Program in Management

McGill University, Desautels Faculty of ManagementMontreal, Canada

The Desautels Ph.D. program participates in a joint doctoral program that brings together the four leading Montreal universities (HEC-Montreal, Concordia, UQAM, and McGill). A … +FeaturedPhDFull-time3 – 5 yearsEnglish31 Jul 202215 Jan 2022Campus Read More

Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies (PhD)

Wycliffe CollegeToronto, Canada

The Ph.D. program trains candidates to carry out innovative research. Successful candidates qualify to teach theological (and related) subjects in universities, liberal arts c … +FeaturedPhDFull-time4 – 6 yearsEnglishSep 202221 Jan 2022Campus Read More

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PhD in Administration

HEC MontréalMontreal, Canada

Contribute to advancing scientific knowledge in the management field. Do your Ph.D. studies at a world-class school, with research units and faculty recognized for their rigor … +FeaturedPhDFull-time4 yearsEnglish, FrenchAug 202207 Jan 2022Campus Read More

PhD in Philosophy

McMaster University Faculty of HumanitiesHamilton, Canada

McMaster’s Doctoral Program in Philosophy offers courses of study leading to the degree of Ph.D. in philosophy. The program is designed so that students may quickly enter into … +FeaturedPhDFull-time4 yearsEnglish (Canada)07 Sep 202201 Apr 2022Campus Read More

Ph.D. in Conflict Studies

Saint Paul UniversityOttawa, Canada

The program, administered by the School of Conflict Studies, studies various dimensions of social, political, and philosophical conflict from a multilevel and multidisciplinar … +FeaturedPhDFull-time6 yearsEnglish, FrenchJan 2022Campus Read More

Doctoral Programs

Carey Theological CollegeVancouver, Canada

The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) program is an advanced degree for experienced pastoral leaders who have completed a Master of Divinity or equivalent. This program is based upon … +FeaturedPhDFull-timePart-time4 yearsEnglish03 Jan 202203 Dec 2021Online Read More

PhD in Information

University of Toronto Faculty of InformationToronto, Canada

Be equipped to take on leadership roles in information and knowledge-based environments, including academia. The doctorate program features advanced scholarly research on the … +FeaturedPhDFull-time4 – 6 yearsEnglishSep 202215 Dec 2021Campus Read More

Doctor of Social Sciences

Royal Roads UniversityVictoria, Canada

The Doctor of Social Sciences program is the first degree of its kind in North America. It approaches the study of complex, real-world problems within an interdisciplinary and … +FeaturedPhDFull-time4 yearsEnglish11 Jan 2022Online & Campus CombinedCampusOnline Read More

Doctor of Ministry

Acadia Divinity CollegeWolfville, Canada

We invite you to join us at Acadia to gain the energy, skills, and depth you need for the long-haul in ministry and to sharpen your effectiveness as a Christian leader. Take s … +PhDFull-time4 yearsEnglishCampus Read More

Doctor of TCM Diploma

Calgary College Of Traditional Chinese Medicine And AcupunctureCalgary, Canada

Doctor of TCM diploma program is a four years full-time program. Students will learn acupuncture concepts, herbs, TCM foundation … etc. Clinic practice will also be involved i … +PhDEnglish (Canada)Campus Read More

Doctorate in Biology

INRS UniversityQuébec City, Canada

Infertility, pregnancy, cancer… The research topics covered in the doctoral program in biology concern a precious asset in living beings: health, whether human, animal, or env … +PhDFrench (Canada)Campus Read More

Ph.D. Program

Institute for Christian StudiesToronto, Canada

The Ph.D. program is intended for junior members (students) whose principal vocation is the life of scholarship and teaching. Graduates of the doctoral program are well-equipp … +PhDEnglish Read More

PhD in Education (with a focus on Educational Sustainability)

Nipissing UniversityToronto, Canada

Grounded in the context of a post-modern society, and recognizing the importance of multiple perspectives, this Ph.D. program in Educational Sustainability will prepare studen … +PhDFull-timeEnglishCampus Read More

PhD in Management – Accounting and Control

Telfer School of ManagementOttawa, Canada

Multidisciplinary, holistic and forward-looking, the Telfer Ph.D. in Management program is unique, challenging and carries high expectations for students. In the Accounting an … +PhDFull-timeEnglishCampus Read MorePage 1 of 3Next
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Browse thousands of PhD programs from around the world.

Finding the right PhD program should be elementary. PHDSTUDIES connects prospective doctoral students with exciting PhD programs around the world. As a part of the Keystone Academic Solutions family of student-centered websites, PHDSTUDIES makes it easy for postgraduate students to find specialist degrees in a variety of fields of study. PHDSTUDIES is accessible in 40+ languages and provides detailed information about prestigious doctoral programs, research degrees, and professional qualifications.

phd in canada requirements

An increasingly attractive and multicultural study destination, Canada is a great option to consider for your PhD studies, offering a wealth of research opportunities to help you expand your expertise. More than a third of the country’s overall research is conducted at Canadian universities, and this work contributes billions to the country’s economy.

What are the admission requirements?

The requirements to study in Canada at doctorate level vary between universities and courses, but you generally need the following:

  • A master’s degree in a related field, with strong grades and proven research ability and potential.
  • Proof of language ability, depending on whether you study in English or French, if either language is not your first language and you haven’t previously studied in either language. (Some programs in French-speaking Quebec are conducted in both languages).
  • A strong score in a graduate admissions test such as the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

In exceptional cases, you may be able to study a PhD with “accelerated admission” – that is, without a master’s degree. In this process, you’ll need to have outstanding grades in the last two years of your bachelor’s degree (a first-class average) and other demonstrations of your high academic potential, such as research publications.

How long are PhDs in Canada?

Most PhDs in Canada take about four to six years to complete.

How do I apply for a PhD in Canada?

Although the admissions process can vary between Canadian universities, you’ll generally need to follow the following steps to apply for a PhD:

1. Decide which PhD course you’d like to apply for, identifying your supervisor and chosen research topic. This may be an advertised, structured PhD in which the scope of the research is already outlined by the university (particularly in the sciences), or alternatively (particularly in arts and humanities) you could suggest and outline your own research project with an open PhD. Once you’ve found a supervisor, some universities may ask for a letter of support from your chosen supervisor to be included in your application documents.

2. If applying for an open PhD, you’ll need to submit a research proposal following the guidelines set by your university and generally outlining what you want to research, and why this is a worthwhile project.

3. Apply online, paying the appropriate application fee and attaching the necessary documents to your application. This could be all or some of the following:

  • Statement of purpose – this should outline your background and academic/professional experience, including any awards, publications or relevant experience you can offer. You should also discuss your career goals and anything else stipulated by the university, keeping to the word limit.
  • Two or three letters of reference (including one from your intended supervisor). Your referees should be academic, where possible.
  • Academic transcripts and degree certificates – Canadian universities may require that your university mails an official transcript, which should be in English or accompanied by a perfectly translated document.
  • Writing sample (most likely for arts and humanities PhDs)
  • Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Language test results, if needed
  • Portfolio of creative work (if applying for an arts/humanities PhD)

Some Canadian universities may also ask you to attend an admission interview.

4. Once accepted, the next step is to apply for your study permit, which acts as your student visa for your stay. You should also take out health insurance, and check your university’s website for orientation advice.

How much does it cost to study a PhD in Canada?

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.

To give you an example of the cost of a PhD in Canada, the University of British Columbia charges CA$7,641 (~US$5,760) per year for Masters by Research or PhDs, while PhDs are CA$$10,240 (~US$7,700) in years one and two at the University of Manitoba.

What PhD scholarships and other funding opportunities are available?

Thankfully, many PhD scholarships are available to help make studying in Canada more affordable to international students, with many awards based on academic merit. The Canadian government runs a useful website with a search tool to find scholarships based on your country of origin. Other good places to look are the official websites of Canadian universities, which may provide their own scholarships search tool to help you find one relevant to your situation and country of origin.

Some examples of PhD scholarships to study in Canada include:

  • The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, which award CA$50,000 (~US$37,700) per year to highly-qualified international and home PhD students in the fields of social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health.
  • The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarships, which at the time of writing is currently in the process of being reworked.
  • The University of British Columbia Four Year Doctoral Fellowship provides a stipend of at least CA$18,200 (~US$13,700) per year plus full tuition for outstanding international/home doctoral students for all four years of their studies.

Teaching/research assistantships

Many students also decide to fund their studies by taking part in a research or teaching assistantship – in these, you can work as a teaching or research assistant in exchange for a stipend and/or have your tuition fully or partially covered.

As a research assistant, you’ll work to help a faculty member (which may be your supervisor) by assisting with data collection, analysis, report writing, lab/office organization and other tasks. As a teaching assistant, you’ll support your department with its undergraduate programs, teaching one or more sections of the course, conducting laboratory sections, holding office hours and grading undergraduate papers. To become a teaching assistant, you’ll need to demonstrate your mastery of the course and ability to effectively facilitate students’ learning.

To apply for a research or teaching assistantship, you’ll need to check the information posted by your university and likely fill in an online application form.   

Can I work in Canada part-time during my studies?

Yes, all full-time students with a valid study permit can work part-time on or off campus for up to 20 hours per week during university semesters and full time during semester breaks. However, some PhD courses may stipulate that you shouldn’t work for more than 10 hours per week during term time – particularly if you’ve been granted funding to study in Canada. It’s also important to consider that your PhD will take up a considerable amount of time and challenging work, so you might prefer to focus entirely on your studies. Also, it’s not advised to rely on part-time work to fund your living expenses. You’ll need a Social Insurance Number to work in Canada.

Can I stay and work in Canada after my PhD?

Yes – if you’d like to stay after graduation to find work in Canada, you can apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) which allows you to stay and gain valuable work experience for a maximum of three years. And if you’re interested in becoming a permanent resident, this post-graduation work experience helps you to qualify to apply for permanent residency in Canada via Express Entry. Find out more here.

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