It is a great thought if you are passionate about a topic and are planning for a PhD in Canada. Canada’s multi-cultural society, modern facilities and renowned global universities are perfect for international PhD students for completing their doctorate studies.
If you plan to permanently reside in Canada after your PhD degree, you have the right opportunities to take advantage of the Canadian Visa for Permanent Residence. Canada is known globally for welcoming people of all countries with both hands & offering to become a resident.
In this article, we will walk you through everything you’ll need to know about your Ph.D. study in Canada. We will discuss the application process, qualifications, fees, and more.
Overview of doing a Ph.D. in Canada
Canada has recently become one of the most popular options amongst international students for their post-graduate studies. The number of students opting to do their Ph.D. in Canada has also significantly increased in recent times.
Not only that but the number of students traveling to Canada has risen by up to 30% year on year. This is true owing to the diverse culture and acceptance of the society towards people from all across the globe and the high standard of living offered by Canada.
Why Canada for PhD?
There are many reasons for selecting Canada as your preferred destination for doing a Ph.D. Some of them are:
Globally Renowned Universities
Canada is home to some of the best universities in the world. Canada is home to 26 out of the top 100 universities in the world.
Attractive fees for International Students
Canadian universities offer students a Ph.D. course at a comparatively lower cost as against a majority of other countries in the world. Definitely cheaper than the immediate neighbor, the USA.
Canada offers a very friendly visa structure. A successful doctorate will enable you to a 3 years residence Visa in Canada. After which you can even apply for a permanent resident ship or even citizenship.
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The application process for studying Ph.D. in Canada
There are normally two methods for applying to a Canadian PhD:
An Advertised Project
An advertised project is usually a type where the course provider is in search of an ideal candidate for completing the research work. Also, many of these projects already have a Stipend or funding along with the course itself. Consider this as similar to a job opportunity.
A University Doctoral Program
This method is similar to applying to other courses. You will have to find the universities that provide a Ph.D. in the subject you are seeking. After that, it is very important that you find a suitable supervisor and a research group if available. You can contact them to discuss further the opportunities. However, note that funding is not a default part of this application process and you will need to apply separately for the same.
In either of the cases, you will need to submit the following documents to the University
- Previous studies & recent qualifications. You require to submit an overview of your GPA. This is done through transcripts from your previous university or college.
- Project Details: If you’re planning to pursue a PhD on your own topic you will need to submit a research proposal for it.
If you’re applying for an advertised opportunity, you have to provide a personal statement mentioning your academic interests, ambitions & your suitability for the project applied to.
- Letters of recommendation(LoR): Your Tutors or instructors at the school level sign your LoRs. They can vouch for you and your academic record during your undergraduate or post-graduate programs. These are very important documents for the Ph.D. application.
- Language test scorecards/any additional required tests: You have to furnish the scorecards for any of the language tests like GRE/GMAT or any other required tests.
- Interviews: Most of the time, the universities arrange a Ph.D. interview to evaluate your caliber and knowledge on the topic you have chosen. Most times these interviews are conducted through any video conferencing app.
Always be sure to check the exact specific requirement at your graduate school or get in touch with the supervisor you’re applying to work with for the requirements.
In the case of Ph.D. programs, timelines vary from university to university. Every school sets its specific deadline for their programs. Though actual dates vary, you will generally apply in the spring for an autumn start or vice versa.
The Canadian academic year usually runs from September to April. However, exact semester dates vary between individual provinces and allied universities.
Always make sure you have enough time to put together all of your application documents including your visa application.
The Canadian doctorate is awarded as a final ‘terminal degree’, similar to other countries. This means that this the highest level of academic qualification for a student following an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate Masters.
Usually, a Ph.D. course requires a minimum of 3 years of full-time study and research. At times, if required, you can study longer usually till 6 years.
The Canadian PhD process
A Canadian Ph.D. is a research-focused course. The Ph.D. puts more focus on key skills such as practical research techniques and methodological principles. However, some doctoral programs also arrange internships and professional placements.
Many times, students complete these courses in the first year of their Ph.D. and move on to focus on researching and writing their doctoral thesis. In some universities, a comprehensive exam is required at the end of the first or second year. It is a general knowledge test of your field which tests your ability to continue with your thesis.
Assessment and examination
The main evaluation criteria for the assessment of a Canadian Ph.D. is the originality and research quality of your doctoral thesis. The drafting usually begins during the first half of your program. Later, this draft is finalized based on inputs from your supervisor and research data.
A committee of examiners including at least one external expert is appointed to study and consider it your paper after you submit it. If it is approved only then your Ph.D. will proceed to the oral defense.
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Educational Qualifications for applying to a PhD in Canada
Since the Ph.D. is a ‘Terminal Qualification’ the minimum requirement for doing a Ph.D. in Canada is a Master’s degree. At times, in some cases, students may be allowed to apply directly from a Bachelor’s program but then the duration of the Ph.D. is increased to accommodate the Master’s training and research.
Moreover, winning a seat in Good Canadian universities for a Ph.D. is quite competitive. Many students apply for the same seat and the universities offer very limited seats for this course. This means, that when applying your previous qualifications will be thoroughly scrutinized by the admission panel.
Fees and funding
Studying abroad in Canada is more affordable than you might think, despite the fact that universities typically charge higher fees for international students.
Course fees for a PhD in Canada
The rough course fees estimate for a Canadian Ph.D. program stand anywhere between CAD $ 10000 to 20000. These fees are lower in comparison to other similar universities for similar coursework.
However, note that, in addition to tuition fees, you also need to pay some smaller supplementary costs for student services and union fees.
Canadian PhD fellowships & funding options
If you are a deserving candidate and wish to get into a Canadian university but cannot afford the academic costs, Canadian universities offer fellowships and funding options as well.
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships
- IDRC Doctoral Research Awards
- IDRC Research Awards
- Trudeau Doctoral Scholarships
- Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
To know more in-depth you can log into the Government of Canada website. It features a huge interactive database of funding opportunities for deserving international students.
Additionally, to the general scholarship opportunities mentioned above, most of the good universities also have funding options for students. On similar lines, many universities also offer Ph.D. students with teaching assistantships for undergraduate students. Moreover, these require you to clock in minimum work hours and you get a salary in return for this.
It is highly admirable to get a Ph.D. in our society. If you are thinking of getting one for yourself, it is in one way or the other uplifting the society as a whole.