Top Universities In Canada For Masters

Last Updated on March 11, 2023 by

Studying masters in Canada is a popular option among international students who are seeking a prestigious postgraduate degree and high-quality experience. A master’s degree generally accounts to MA (Master of Arts) or M.Sc. (Master of Science). While the former is a title given to fields of study falling under arts, humanities and social science, the latter houses subjects of study that fall under life science and chemistry.

There are a wide range of master’s degrees for a variety of other fields too. These include music, education, business administration etc. Usually, a master’s course in Canada is a 12 to 24-month course depending upon the field of specialisation chosen by the student.

Why study masters in Canada?

Canada offers an array of advantages to students planning to study a master’s degree at the Canadian universities:

  • Internationally renowned universities: Canada boasts a total of 26 universities in the top 300 of the QS World University Rankings® 2020, including universities such as University of Toronto and McGill University.
  • Work while studying: International students in Canada can work up to 20 hours per week during school terms and up to 30 hours per week during scheduled vacation breaks, without the need for a work permit. Several degree programs also offer internship or work experience opportunities.
  • Research rigour: Canada is renowned for its research-intensive universities and offer research opportunities supported by the government and industry players.
  • Post-study work opportunities: Canada is one of the few nations that allow international students to stay and work or up to 3 years upon graduating from their studies.
  • Multicultural and peaceful environment: People in Canada are friendly and you’ll find it easy to make friends, settle in, and more practically to network with key contacts.
  • The great outdoors: From the beauty of the Great Lakes of Ontario and Rocky Mountains to the unspoilt wilderness of the vast Northwest Territories, there’s plenty to explore during your MA.

How to select the right university for your masters?

Several institutions in Canada offer master’s degree in a variety of disciplines. But choosing the right institution is a decision that should be made after due consideration. Everyone wishes for different things from their chosen institutions, but here are a few basic factors that can be considered:

  • Academic Excellence – Research on reviews and teaching professors can give good insight into course curriculum in addition to course descriptions. A good experience can move beyond traditional education boundaries and provides excellent teaching support for the track you wish to pursue.
  • Location – Popular choices for study include Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. Choose the city that fits best in terms of lifestyle, budget and university choices.
  • Cost – Tuition fees and scholarship can vary between universities, along with the kind of financial assistance and scholarships available.
  • International Student Support – Find a university that offers well-planned support for international students, as they can advise on essentials such as accommodation, student welfare, and post-graduate employment opportunities.

How much does the masters cost in Canada?

The majority of master’s programs in Canada range from one to two years and usually include a mixture of coursework and research. The indicative prices of this prestigious degree can cost you between CAD $16,250 – 28,650 annually. The cost of study varies depending on many factors, including the university, your program of study and location. However, many universities in Canada offer scholarships for qualified international students. You can benefit from these scholarships to lower the cost of your study there.

Your IDP counsellor can provide you with the latest information about the cost of studying in Canada and help you choose the best university that suits your budget.

Admission requirements for masters in Canada

Different master’s courses in Canada have different eligibility criteria. However, some of the common requirements in most master’s programs are:

  1. Qualifications – Most educational institutions require qualifications comparable to a Canadian Bachelor’s degree.
  2. Recommendation Letter – Reference letters may be needed, and can be from college lecturers, academic professors, or work employers, depending on the university.
  3. Work experience – Depending upon the master’s course applied for, students may be asked to furnish relevant work experience in the field of their study.
  4. Language test – Students whose first language isn’t English, shall be asked to appear for an English proficiency exam, generally IELTS or TOEFL.
  5. Work samples – Some institutions may also ask for written samples or copies of your published work as a part of their eligibility criteria.
  6. Additional tests – GMAT /GRE test scores can be

Top Universities for Masters in Canada by International Student Percentage

UniversityInternational StudentsPopular Program
University of Toronto (U of T)21%Master of Law
University of British Columbia (UBC)32%Masters in Computer Science
McGill University29%MSc or MEng Mining Engineering
McMaster University17%Masters in Economics
Universite de Montreal22%Masters in Statistics
University of Alberta26%MEng Engineering Management
University of Ottawa19%MA in Political Science
University of Waterloo20%Master of Mathematics
Western University18%MBA
University of Calgary19%Masters in Electrical Engineering

MS in Canada Application Deadlines

University of Toronto (U of T)January 13
University of British Columbia (UBC)January 15
McGill UniversityJanuary 15
McMaster UniversityJuly 2
Universite de MontrealFall and Summer- February 1
Winter- September 1
University of AlbertaSeptember admission- July 1
January admission- November 1
May admission- March 1
July admission- May 1
University of OttawaFall- March 1
Winter- August 1 
University of WaterlooFebruary 1
Western UniversitySeptember admission- February 1
January admission- July 1 
May admission- October 1
University of CalgarySpring- March 1
Summer- May 1
Fall- July 1
Winter- November 1 

Applying for MS in Canada

Applying for admissions in Canada can be competitive as the number of applicants far exceeds the actual number of accepted admissions. Academic sessions start in the month of September, however, few universities might also have several start dates. It is always advisable that international students must apply for admissions early and preferably submit their admission applications by the month of January. 

Eligibility for Masters in Canada

To be eligible for admissions in MS in Canada, an applicant must:

  • have a minimum GPA often 3.0/4.0 (equivalent to 65- 70%) or its equivalent international UG degree in a related field of study.
  • provide test scores such as GMATor GRE, depending on the program of choice.
  • Non-native English speakers must provide proof of English proficiency through TOEFL, IELTS, or other equivalent exams.
  • Few master’s programs (such as business/ management) also require 1-3 years of work experience.

NOTE: Although most master’s programs are taught in English, some of them might have French as the language of instructions. This majorly depends on the province you are in (for instance, Quebec). As proof of French proficiency, students must clear TEF or DELF.

English Requirements for MS in Canada

International students from non-native English-speaking countries are required to submit proof of English language proficiency. The minimum scores requirements of ELP test would vary depending on the program, however, the general scores at top universities offering masters in Canada are

  • TOEFL (iBT): 90+
  • IELTS: 6.5-7.0

Requirements for MS in Canada

As part of the application package, students must submit the following documents for admissions to MS in Canada:

  • A completed admission application form
  • Certified copies of academic transcripts and certificates from all educational institutions attended
  • CV/Resume
  • References or Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal statements/writing samples
  • Scores of standardized tests to study in Canada include
    • GRE/GMAT scores
    • Language proficiency (English/French)
  • Payments of non-refundable application fee.
  • Copy of Passport
  • Proof of scholarship or funding

MS in Canada Costs

The costs involved in studying abroad requires international students to estimate the financial budgets before starting the process. The cost of studying MS in Canada includes one-time payable pre-arrival costs, tuition fee as well as living costs.

Pre-arrival Costs to Canada

These pre-arrival costs include fees for admission application, registration for standardized exams, visa to study in Canada, airfare, etc. These estimated expenses are:

ExpensesCost (in CAD)
TOEFL Fee220 – 345
IELTS Fee250
PTE Fee250
GRE Fee280 – 320
GMAT Fee345
Application FeeVaries
Student visa*150 + 85
Airfare450 – 1400

*Studnet Visa fees- Study Permit Application+ Biometric Fee

Tuition Fees for Masters in Canada for Indian Students

ProgramFess Range (INR)
MBA 11-59 Lakhs
Masters in Mechanical Engineering8-29 Lakhs
Masters in Business Analytics14-36 Lakhs
Masters in Data Science12 Lakhs (avg)
M.Arch5-27 Lakhs
Masters in Computer Science36- 42 Lakhs
Masters in Civil Engineering14-21 Lakhs
Masters in International Business15-37 Lakhs
Masters in Health Administration11 Lakhs

Cost of Living in Canada

The cost of living in Canada is around 2% lower than the USA. However, a few states might have much lower expenses. The monthly accommodation fee varies depending on the Canadian province. The average monthly accommodation cost around 850 CAD- 1,000 CAD annually.

Other living expenses include costs spent on food, transportation, books and supplies, etc. These estimated expenses are:

ExpensesMonthly Costs (in CAD)
Books and Supplies327
Food and Groceries250- 300
Transportation100- 250
Other Miscellaneous Expenses150- 300

The chart below shows the estimated minimum and maximum monthly accommodation fees at best Canadian cities for international students.Monthly Accommodation Expenses in Canada

MS in Canada with Scholarships

To fund their studies in Canada, students can apply for various scholarships to study in Canada. These include scholarships awarded by universities, the government of Canada, private organizations and agencies, etc. These scholarships help students to take care of the tuition fee as well as the living expenses in many cases.

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The table below shows some of the scholarships available to international students pursuing Masters in Canada:

ScholarshipAwarded toScholarship Amount (in CAD)
Ontario Graduate Scholarshipgraduate students at universities in Ontario10,000- 30,000
Graduate Entrance Scholarshipstudents enrolled in Masters in Taxation program at University of Waterloo3,500
JN Tata Endowment ScholarshipIndian students looking for studies abroad1,832- 18,315
Aga Khan Foundation Scholarshipstudents from developing countries covering tuition & living expensesVaries
Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarshipfull-time students enrolled in a thesis-based master’s program at UBC5,000
International Entrance Awardsstudents enrolled in an MBA program at McGill UniversityUp to 20,000
Graduate Scholarshipstudents enrolled in a masters program at University of Waterloo1,000
Hira and Renu Ahuja International Graduate Scholarshipfull-time graduate enrolled in a masters program at University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering20,000
Graduate Fellowship (UMGF)full-time students of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at University of Manitoba14,000
Master’s Entrance Scholarshipfull-time graduate student at UAlberta in the form of a stipend17,500 + 10,000
Innovates Graduate Student Scholarshipstudents enrolled in a research-based graduate program at UAlberta26,000

Financial Aids in Canada for Masters in Canada

Apart from these scholarships, international students can also opt for other financial aid options, these include:

  • Education loans- Students can opt for education loans provided by various banking institutions, non-banking financial corporations, etc. Few of the popular loans to study in Canada include HDFC Credila, ICICI Canada GIC program, SBI Ed Vantage Education Loan, etc. 
  • Work-Study- International students can opt for various work-study options and can work up to 20 hours during sessions and full-time nursing vacations. Some of the options for work-study in Canada include-
    • Co-op program (co-operative education)- Several Canadian universities offer Master through co-op programs. This refers to alternate periods of academic study and work experience where students are paid for their work experience.
    • Internships- Includes paid or unpaid, work experience for academic credit or better placements.
    • Other opportunities include applied research projects, professional practicum and volunteering.