PhD in Canada – Your Complete Guide

A Doctorate degree from Canada will give you the opportunity to work with leading experts in their respective fields and take advantage of state-of-art high-tech facilities. There are countless research opportunities in Canada for international students. Canada offers one of the world’s most generous post-study work visa and Permanent Residence schemes. So do not miss out on the opportunity to pursue PhD in Canada.

PhD degrees in Canada

The Canadian doctorate is awarded as a final ‘terminal degree’ – the highest level of academic qualification a student can achieve following an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate Masters.

A range of doctoral degrees is also available alongside the academic PhD, including professional doctorates such as the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Education (EdD) qualifications, etc.

Individual Doctoral Studies 

It is the most chosen study route by doctoral students. It is based on research carried out under the supervision of a professor and involves a thesis or dissertation that has to be produced at the end of the doctoral studies. You can complete this type of research at a university, a non-university research facility, or a company. In any case, a professor will supervise you and a thesis advisory committee may or may not be essential depending on the university norms.

Structured Ph.D. Programs

In this route, a doctoral student will be supervised by a professor and will attend courses, lectures, and seminars together with other doctoral students. In such PhD programs, a team of advisors in form of a thesis advisory committee offers regular and intense supervision to students. A structured interdisciplinary curriculum is to be followed which helps improving academic, scientific, and other soft skills.

Length of PhD in Canada

Most PhD programs require at least three years of full-time study and research, but some students may take longer, with a maximum of six years.

In most cases, you’ll need to hold a Master’s degree in order to gain admission to a standard Canadian PhD program. However, some universities offer doctoral stream Masters’s routes (integrated PhD) that commence with one or two years of MA or MSc study. These are suitable for students coming straight from an undergraduate degree, but take longer to complete.

Cost of PhD in Canada

A PhD can cost between 4,000 CAD and 15,000 CAD a year, a lot lesser than Ph.D. in the US or UK.

An Indian student may spend anywhere from 3-10 lakhs on their tuition and an additional 5.7 lakhs on their living and traveling expenses, annually.

If the PhD is a part of a structured programme then its fees may vary from year to year. Stages of the degree that involve taught classes and assessments are normally more expensive than those that focus on independent research.

In addition to tuition, you may also be asked to pay some smaller supplementary costs for student services and union fees.

Recent fee changes for international students

The University of Toronto has begun charging the same fees to domestic and international PhD students from 2018. This means that you’ll pay the same for your PhD as a local Canadian student.

Brock University has begun fully covering international PhD fees through its own fellowships.

PhD Funding in Canada

A low cost of living and an emphasis on the importance of support for research students makes Canada a surprisingly affordable place to complete a PhD. The country’s excellent research opportunities and international outlook only add to the appeal.

Canadian PhD funding can take the form of government fellowships, independent research scholarships, or graduate assistantships offered by universities themselves.


The number of scholarships for Ph.D. in Canada for international students is humungous. Some of the popular scholarships are Ontario Trillium Scholarships, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Ontario Graduate Scholarships, and more. Some of these scholarships offer 15,000 to 40,000 CAD a year.

Other Funding Opportunities for Ph.D. in Canada

Teaching/Research Assistantship: In research assistantships, you help a faculty member (can be your supervisor) by assisting them with data collection, lab organizations, report writing, analysis, and more. Teaching assistantship involved teaching one or more course sections, conducting lab experiments to support your department’s undergraduate programs. You can apply for TA/RA through your department website. The stipend offered varies from university to university.

Work-Study: Students can work for 20 hours per week with a study permit while their Ph.D. in Canada is ongoing. The salaries for part-time work opportunities are set by the government to ensure that minimum wages are offered to each individual.

Family visa norms

There are a lot of great benefits to being an international student in Canada, including the ability to bring family with you while you study there. Spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children may also be eligible for a Canadian work permit or study permit. While the student is studying, he or she can work part-time for any employer in Canada without needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). When you will be granted a post-study work permit after you complete your studies, then your spouse or partner is eligible to renew their open work permit for the duration of your post-study work permit.

Can I work in Canada after my PhD?

Yes, PhD graduates are a great candidates for a range of jobs in higher education, research and other areas. Canada’s post-graduation work permit (PGWP) allows international graduates from its universities to live and work in Canada for up to three years after completing a doctorate.

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

Yes, all full-time PhD 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 student shouldn’t work for more than 10 hours per week during term time – particularly if they’ve been granted funding to study in Canada.

Can I stay and work in Canada after my PhD?

Yes – if you would like to stay after graduation to find work in Canada, then 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 and apply for permanent residency in Canada via Express Entry.

How can “Road to Abroad” help you?

We provide the best PhD Assistance across the globe. We provide the right guidance and support needed to complete the tedious and time-consuming PhD admission process. Our flawless track record and very high success rate have fulfilled the dreams of many students who aspire to gain a doctoral degree. We will help you secure a fully-funded PhD position and help you in all the steps from application to immigration. For more information, visit our PhD Consultation Page.

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