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Top Universities in Canada for PhD

Updated on 15 April, 2024

Shivangi Mishra

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

Canada, with its multi-ethnic population, vibrant metropolitan culture, and booming industries, is a popular destination for international students. Also, Canada is a sought-after place for PhD courses thanks to its world-renowned academic institutions and diverse research opportunities. Students looking to pursue a PhD at one of the top universities in Canada for a PhD will find all they need to know, from eligibility requirements to the application procedure, in this blog

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Why Study PhD in Canada?

Canada is rated fourth in the world for scientific research studies as the top universities in Canada for PhD are research-oriented.

  • PhD programs in Canada are available at several top universities. Business Studies, Engineering, Computer Science, Education, and Health are popular research disciplines. 
  • After completing their PhD, students will be permitted to live and work in Canada for up to three years. This might open the door to permanent residency or even citizenship.
  • Some of the best universities in Canada for PhD are rated in the QS World University Rankings. These colleges are the alma mater of many Nobel Prize winners.
  • There are several PhD scholarships available in Canada for international students. Doctoral Scholarship at the University of Montreal, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Ontario Trillium Scholarships, and other prominent scholarships are available.

List of Top 5 PhD Colleges in Canada:

Country Rank*UniversityQS Top World University Rankings*Popular programsDurationTuition fees 
1University of Toronto18PhD in Management, Business and Accounting4-6 yearsCAD 8,810.28/year
2University of British Columbia40PhD in Economics, Science and Engineering4-6 yearsCAD 3,13 (instalment 1 of entry year)
3McGill University46PhD in English, Physics, and Economics4-6 yearsCAD1,400-8,500 (Full-Time Thesis Residency Term)
4McMaster University85PhD in Engineering, Science, Medicine, and Statistics 4 yearsCAD 5,698/term
5University of Montreal111Chemistry, Economics, and Computer science2 yearsCAD 7,304/year

*As per QS Rankings in 2023

Eligibility Criteria & Admission Requirements for Universities in Canada for PhD:

Candidates must meet specified criteria for PhD admission in Canada. Although qualifying requirements differ from institution to university, some key criteria for PhD colleges in Canada are:

  • A postgraduate degree with consistent marks in the related discipline. Extracurricular activities and prior research experience are also helpful. A high-ranking bachelor’s degree is also acceptable for some PhD programs, such as an integrated master’s-PhD program.
  • A research proposal and a reference letter from the student’s preferred university supervisor.
  • Proof of minimum English language competence, such as IELTS/TOEFL results, is required.
  • Acceptable performance exams such as the GRE or GMAT, depending on the domain of the course.
  • After submitting their exam results, candidates are invited for the interview round.

Documents Required by Top Universities in Canada for PhD:

  • Transcripts of your previous courses 
  • Passport copy
  • Competitive exam scorecard 
  • Detailed resume 
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Research proposal
  • Canadian Study Permit
  • Other important certificates and transcripts 

How to Apply to Top Universities in Canada for PhD?

  • Step 1: Visit the official website of the university of your preference.
  • Step 2: Review the course syllabus and the qualifying conditions.
  • Step 3: Select the appropriate university’s application form.
  • Step 4: To begin, applicants must establish an account with their cell phone number or email address.
  • Step 5: The applicant will get an email or SMS with login information and verification on their provided contact number.
  • Step 6: Applicants can enter their details using the login information.
  • Step 7: They can enter their academic credentials and upload supporting documentation.
  • Step 8: Applicants can choose the university course and pay the application fee.
  • Step 9: The application cost varies by university and can be paid with a card or online banking.
  • Step 10: Submit the university application form; afterwards, students can also check its process and status.
  • Step 11: Some colleges also ask shortlisted students to participate in a virtual or personal interview.

Best Universities in Canada for PhD Scholarships for International Students:

Several best universities in Canada for PhD scholarship programs help deserving candidates pursue a PhD in Canada. They assist persons in exploring research prospects by giving complete financial support, stipends, and housing aid. Some of the scholarships that candidates can explore include – 

  1. Ontario Trillium Scholarship 
  2. University of Alberta Graduate Entrance Scholarships
  3. Doctoral Fellowship – the University of British Columbia
  4. Doctoral Scholarship at the University of Montreal
  5. Graduate Entrance Scholarship – the University of Windsor

Job and Salary After Pursuing PhD in Canada:

After completing the doctor of philosophy studies, PhD grads have many choices. The following are the top job profiles to consider:

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate

In Canada, the average annual income for a Postdoctoral Research Associate is CAD 48987.

  • Research Director

In Canada, the average annual income for a Research Director is CAD 92069.

  • Research Analyst

In Canada, the average annual pay for a Research Analyst is CAD 52640.

  • Research Engineer

In Canada, the average income for a Research Engineer is CAD 76976.

  • Medical Science Liaison

In Canada, the average income for a Medical Science Liaison is CAD 89755. 

Canada has always fascinated overseas students seeking to further their studies there. Graduating from PhD programs in Canada provides students more credibility in their career opportunities and academic understanding.


Is it worthwhile to get a PhD in Canada?

Yes, doing a PhD in Canada is worthwhile because the country is home to brilliant PhD intellect, well-ranked PhD educational facilities, and several top universities in Canada for PhD

Can PhD candidates work in Canada?

Yes, PhD students can work up to 20 hours a week part-time. They can live and work in Canada for up to three years after graduating.

What is the age requirement for a PhD in Canada?

There are no age limits for pursuing a PhD in Canada, according to Canadian legislation. The optimal age for a PhD at a Canadian university is typically 30, yet many PhD candidates accepted each year are above 30 years old.








Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

She is an experienced writer and journalist who has extensively covered the education sector in India and Abroad. Now helping Indian aspirants realise their foreign education dream by providing them with relevant content and information through upGrad Abroad. Amateur traveller, loves to read Architectural Digest!

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