Starting a Ph.D. is a big decision, so finding the best place for it is vital. How about including Canada in your list as it renowned for having a world-class school system? Thousands of students plan to come to Canada for academic success but before even applying for one, most students are unsure of what to do to get admitted. For this article, we will discuss in detail all you need to know about studying Ph.D. in Canada, its admission requirements, and the application process. Read on to learn more!

Is it Expensive to Study Ph.D. in Canada?

Studying Ph.D. in Canada is undoubtedly a significant investment in your academic and professional future. However, financial considerations play a crucial role when planning to move there.

Unlike other destinations, Canadian universities often offer competitive tuition fees. For instance, the tuition cost for the University of Victoria is CAD 3,277, while the University of Alberta costs CAD 9,406.

But you don’t have to worry about the additional costs because multiple scholarships are available for which you can apply. Also, it’s worth noting that the cost of living in Canada can vary depending on the city and lifestyle.

Admission Requirements When Applying for a Doctoral Degree

While specific institution and subject-specific requirements differ, certain common qualifying requirements exist for Ph.D. programs in Canada. All doctoral programs require prospective applicants to have a master’s degree in the same field. In addition, the following general qualifications are needed to be eligible for a Ph.D. in Canada:

1. GPA Calculations

The first and foremost thing that is extremely important is getting good grade points. When submitting your academic credentials and applying to Canadian Ph.D. programs, it is customary to be asked for your Grade Point Average (GPA). To increase your chances of getting into your dream college, you must have a GPA of at least 3.0; the higher, the better.

Pro tip: Having coursework or certificates in your respective field is a game changer in securing your position.

2. Language Requirements

Once you’ve worked on your grade points, it’s time to improve your language proficiency. In Canada, you can experience students/lecturers giving instructions in English or French, depending on your chosen province. For instance, Quebec has a predominant French language. Besides, studying Ph.D. in Ontario or Alberta can help you pursue your degree in the English language.

3. Tests for Graduate Admissions

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Records Examination (GRE) are some tests that graduate programs and universities need to evaluate a candidate’s readiness for advanced study. So, having these in your hands will shine high among the competition. However, these requirements can change between universities, so you must carefully conduct your homework beforehand.

4. Statement of Purpose / Research Proposal

In their statement of purpose or research proposal, Ph.D. applicants typically demonstrate their significant research interest. This is a crucial step in the application process and should include information about your future objectives, hopes for the program, and motivation for applying. Having a strong research statement will add weight to your proposal.

Language Proficiency Tests Needed for Doctoral Programs

English language proficiency is essential for studying for a Ph.D. in Canadian universities. In this regard, IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular language tests you’d need. Besides, for provinces with instructions in French, you might also need some French proficiency tests. So, let’s explore in detail which kinds of tests you will encounter.

English-taught Programs

Most Canadian universities offer Ph.D. programs in English. For this, you’ll need a TOEFL and IELTS score. For example, the minimum score required for IELTS is 7.0 at the University of Alberta. Moreover, the TOEFL score varies depending on the university, but the minimum score is 100 (internet-based).

French-taught Programs

Although English is the main language for Ph.D. study, certain Canadian universities offer programs in French language. Well, the popularity of this is rare, so you must check the university website for up-to-date information. One of the popular French language tests is “Accès au programme de francisation” required by the University of Montreal.

Steps to Apply for a Doctoral Degree in Canada

Let’s now dive into the steps for applying to a doctoral program in Canada.

Step 1. Find the ideal supervisor for your research

Identifying a suitable supervisor is pivotal for Ph.D. admission. Research faculty members whose expertise aligns with your chosen field of study. A well-established and supportive supervisor not only enhances your academic experience but also strengthens your application. Communicate with potential supervisors to discuss your research interests and seek their guidance.

Step 2. Search for funding opportunities for your Ph.D. studies

Funding your Ph.D. is a critical aspect of the admission process in Canada keeping its tuition fee in mind. Explore various funding opportunities, including scholarships, grants, and research assistantships. Different universities and external organizations offer financial support to deserving candidates. Therefore, thoroughly research and apply for relevant funding to ensure a smooth academic journey.

Step 3. Visit the university’s official website to submit all related documents before deadlines

Adherence to application deadlines is imperative. Visit the official website your chosen university to access detailed information about the required documents and submission deadlines. Prepare a comprehensive application package, including academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a well-crafted statement of purpose. Submit all documents on time to enhance your chances of acceptance.

Step 4. Apply for a study permit and Ph.D. visa (Electronic Travel Authorization)

International students planning to pursue a Ph.D. in Canada need to secure a study permit and, if applicable, a Ph.D. visa or electronic travel authorization. Familiarize yourself with the immigration requirements, gather the necessary documentation, and initiate the application process well in advance to ensure a smooth transition to your doctoral studies in Canada.


Understanding Canadian Ph.D. entry standards is crucial. From GPA calculations to language competency assessments, preparedness is essential. You must have a high GPA, linguistic fluency on IELTS and TOEFL, and GRE/GMAT scores to get your position. Moreover, a strong statement of research highlights your research interests and goals, boosting your application. So, follow these steps and prepare your application to succeed in doctoral studies in this lively and welcoming country.


We hope this article on the admission and application process for studying Ph.D. in Canada was informative. To learn more about studying in this great and diverse country, check the Study in Canada page and sample the various Available Programs for International Students to kick-start your study-abroad journey.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

Share this article via

Leave A Comment