A Ph.D. degree is the highest academic qualification anyone can earn. And with Harvard Business Review declaring data scientist to be the sexiest job of the 21st century, a Ph.D. in Data Science should probably be called the sexiest university degree of the century.

Universities in Canada, like the ones in other highly advanced countries, are offering such degrees in abundance. Here, we have listed the seven best Canadian universities that offer a Ph.D. degree in Data Science.

Which University in Canada is Best for Ph.D. in Data Science?

When it comes to Canada, the University of British Columbia would probably be your best pick for getting a Ph.D. in data science. Requiring nearly 5-6 years of your time, this professional degree program will challenge its students to analyze data from a wide range of domains while allowing each student to solve real-world problems created by partnered businesses.

How Long Does It Take to Earn Ph.D. in Data Science?

If you want to graduate with a Ph.D. in data science, the time required ranges from 4 years to 9 years, depending on the person. To go down this track, you would probably apply for a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and take the track of data analysis, which is a major part of data science.

If you just want to complete a Master’s degree in data science, you only need to spend 10 months of your time in this accelerated professional degree program. Analyzing data from a real-world environment, the experience that you would get from these types of programs would be second to none!

Universities Offering Ph.D. in Data Science in Canada

1. The University of British Columbia

Beginning its journey over a hundred years ago, the University of British Columbia (UBC) offers higher education to nearly 65,000 students, including over 17,000 international students.

It has two main campuses sited in Vancouver and Okanagan of the province of British Columbia. It is recognized as one of the top 40 universities in the world and top three universities in Canada by a number of major university rankings.

Nobel laureates like economist Robert Mundell and physicist Bertram Brockhouse are a couple of notable alumni.

UBC’s Department of Computer Science administers a Ph.D. in Computer Science program. Its research areas include a number of concepts relevant to Data Science like Data Integration, Text Mining, Web Databases, and Optimization.

It is an on-campus program that is only available in a full-time format. It takes place at the Vancouver campus and can be completed within three to five years.


2. HEC Montréal

HEC Montréal is actually not a university; rather, it is a graduate school of the Université de Montréal. Founded in 1907, the business school currently has over 14,000 students.

All of its classes take place in its two buildings in Montreal, Quebec: the Côte-Sainte-Catherine building and the Decelles building.

Despite being a French-language institution, it also offers programs that have English as the medium of instruction.

Louis R. Chênevert, the former CEO of United Technologies Corporation and president of Pratt & Whitney, graduated from this institution.

HEC Montréal offers a Ph.D. in Administration – Data Science program in collaboration with three other universities: McGill University, Concordia University, and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). The partnership provides students with access to resources from all four Montreal-based institutions.

The English-language program requires 90 credits to be completed in full-time study mode. The duration of the program is typically four to five years.


3. University of Waterloo

Next on our list of universities in Canada with a Ph.D. in Data Science is the University of Waterloo. Founded in 1957, the University of Waterloo (UWaterloo) has a student population north of 40,000.

Around 20 percent of all undergraduate students and 40 percent of all graduate students have come from outside Canada. According to U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities 2019, the university located in Waterloo is Canada’s best for Computer Science and second-best for Engineering.

It is the alma mater of Rasmus Lerdorf, the programmer who authored the first two versions of the PHP scripting language.

UWaterloo’s Ph.D. in Computer Science includes research areas like Databases, Information Retrieval, and Machine Learning that are relevant to the field of Data Science.

Students may take on this on-campus program in either full-time or part-time study mode. Admission takes place thrice a year at the start of the academic terms Fall, Winter, and Spring.


4. University of Alberta

The University of Alberta is a top-tier Canadian research university based primarily in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta. It was established in 1908, the same year that UBC came into being. The total student enrolment stands at over 40,000.

Nobel-winning physicist Richard E. Taylor and former Canadian prime minister Joe Clark graduated from this university.

Alberta’s Department of Computing Science runs a Ph.D. in Computing Science that has a wide range of research areas. A few of them, including Database Systems and Machine Learning, are related to the field of Data Science.

There’s also a Ph.D. in Statistical Machine Learning offered by the department in collaboration with the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. These are full-time programs that are ideally completed within five years.


5. Dalhousie University

Founded over two hundred years ago, Dalhousie University (Dal) is one of the oldest universities in the Great White North. Its student population is around 19,000, which includes nearly 4,000 international students representing over 115 nationalities.

Each of its three campuses is sited in Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. The university is the alma mater of Nobel-winning astrophysicist Arthur B. McDonald, Canadian PMs R.B. Bennett, and Brian Mulroney, as well as former Xerox Corporation CEO and chairman Charles Peter McColough.

Dal offers a Ph.D. in Computer Science which allows students to specialize and develop deep expertise in Data Analytics. The Faculty of Computer Science’s Big Data Analytics & Machine Learning research cluster, which is based in the Institute for Big Data Analytics, helps students to conduct independent and original research. The Ph.D. program takes around three to four years to complete.


6. University of New Brunswick

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) started off in 1785 as Canada’s first English-language university. It has two campuses: one situated in New Brunswick’s capital Fredericton, and the other in the port city of Saint John in the same province. The university has more than 10,000 students hailing from over 100 countries. It was recognized as the country’s most entrepreneurial university in 2014 by Startup Canada.

UNB’s Faculty of Computer Science offers a Ph.D. in Computer Science one of the many research areas is Data Management, Analytics, and Mining. The program can be completed in three years. While it is ideally a full-time program, students could be permitted to take on the program on a part-time basis under certain conditions.


7. Ryerson University

Beginning its journey in 1948 as a postsecondary institute with merely 250 students, Ryerson University has grown into a full-fledged university with over 45,000 students.

It is located in Toronto, Ontario, and is the province’s most applied-to university relative to available accommodation.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts founder and chairman Isadore Sharp and former Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president and COO Tom Anselmi are a couple of its notable alumni.

Ryerson’s Faculty of Science administers a Ph.D. in Computer Science which provides students with the option of specializing in Data Science and related subjects like Machine Learning and Data Mining. The nominal duration of the thesis-based program is three years. The format for this program is full-time.


We hope that this article on universities in Canada with Ph.D. in Data Science was helpful. Make sure to also check out our Data Science Programs for International Students for some of the currently open data science courses around the world!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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