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There are many reasons for Canada’s popularity with international postgraduates. It’s not just that Canadian universities are routinely found towards the top of international rankings; the typical cost of studying a Masters in Canada is also cheaper than in many other English-speaking countries.
On this page you can find detailed information about fees and funding for Masters degrees at Canadian universities. This includes guidance on the cost of postgraduate study in Canada for both domestic and international students.
If you’re looking for more general information on postgraduate education in the Canadian university system, why not check out our comprehensive guide to studying a Masters in Canada? Alternatively, you can get started searching for your ideal Canadian Masters degree.
As a Canadian citizen you’ll benefit from substantial government investment in higher education. This keeps Masters fees relatively low for domestic students, at around half the rate paid by international applicants.
In the 2019-20 academic year, the average cost of a Masters in Canada was CAD $7,056 (USD $5,400). Your university will usually calculate this total based on the price of a set number of instalments (the fees paid for each semester of study) plus any supplementary costs (such as administrative charges).
Note that individual Canadian universities set their own fees and these may vary. Certain degree programmes may also be more expensive – particularly those in professional subject areas such as Medicine. The average cost of an executive MBA, for example, is CAD $56,328 (USD $43,125).
If you’d like to look up the cost of a specific Masters in Canada, you can either look at the details of courses listed on FindAMasters.com or check the information provided by individual universities.
Most Canadian Masters degrees are between one and two years in length. If you exceed the normal duration of your programme you may be charged a continuing fee for additional years of registration. The cost of this is usually less than CAD $1,000 (USD $765), but may be more.
Most of the price of a Canadian Masters degree is made up of tuition fees, but universities may also levy additional charges for administrative costs, services and resources.
Registration and student services fees are quite common and normally cost less than CAD $100 (USD $75). Other charges will probably depend on your programme and could include fees for the use of laboratories and sports facilities, as well as examination fees.
These supplementary charges may be included in the advertised price of your Masters degree, but it’s worth checking to confirm this.
As a Canadian citizen you will be covered by the publicly funded Medicare system for most health-related expenses. In addition to this, universities may offer their own student health insurance, covering extra expenses such as dentistry and prescription charges.
The price of this cover varies, but is usually between CAD $200 and CAD $300 (USD $150-225). Some institutions may let you opt out of their health insurance, but others will make it a compulsory condition of registration. It may also be included in your tuition fee payment. You should contact your university for more information.
Quebec organises its higher education system slightly differently to other parts of Canada, offering discounted fees to local residents.
This means that its universities operate three fee-tiers, with international students paying the most, followed by a lower rate for Canadian citizens and a further discount for Quebec residents.
Other aspects of the cost of a Masters degree in Quebec (such as continuation fees, health insurance and supplementary charges) are the same.
Canada prides itself on being a historically multicultural country, welcoming students from around the world. This extends to the international fees for its degree programmes. International Masters fees in Canada are higher than those for domestic students, but they’re often lower than other major Anglophone study abroad destinations.
On average you can expect to pay up to twice the tuition fee rate of an equivalent domestic student, with typical fees between CAD $13,000 and CAD $25,000 (USD $9,955-19,145).
The average international fee for a graduate programme in Canada is CAD $17,744 (USD $13,590).
Costs will vary between individual universities and degree programmes. Like domestic students, you’ll normally pay more for professional subject areas (particularly Medicine).
Whatever your tuition fees, funding for postgraduate study abroad in Canada is available from a wide range of sources.
Health insurance is compulsory for international students in Canada. The following Canadian provinces cover international students under their normal public healthcare plans:
However, if you’re studying in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island or Quebec, you’ll need to purchase specific international student health insurance, the cost of which is normally between CAD $600 and CAD $1,000 per year (USD $460-765).
The Canadian government’s immigration service maintains a page with details of provincial health ministries.
If in doubt, contact your prospective university. They should be able to confirm your requirements and most will offer their own student healthcare.
Masters degrees in Canada sometimes incur additional costs alongside standard tuition fees. These include compulsory charges for administration and student services as well as specific course-related expenses. Costs won’t usually be higher for international students; expect to pay between CAD $100 and CAD $500 (USD $75-385), depending on your degree programme.
The only additional fee that applies specifically to students studying abroad in Canada is an international application fee. This is usually between CAD $100 and CAD $170 (USD $75-130), but is not required by all universities.
The full cost of a Masters degree in Canada also includes accommodation and living expenses; it’s important that you budget for these in advance and ensure sufficient savings or funding to support yourself while you complete your degree abroad.
As a rough guide, you should have around CAD $20,000-30,000 per year (USD $15,320-22,975) for tuition fees and living costs whilst studying a Masters in Canada. This should be sufficient to cover accommodation, food and travel expenses. See our guide to living as a Masters student in Canada for more information.
One of the most important sources of financial support for Masters students in Canada is the Canadian government. As a Canadian citizen you can apply for two types of government financial aid for your Masters degree: grants and loans.
Due to the country’s federal government system, Masters funding in Canada may be provided by the national Canadian government, or by local student finance bodies in individual provinces or territories. In some cases funding will be available from both sources; in other cases you will only be able to apply for a grant or loan from federal or local government.
The type of funding you can apply for depends on your normal province or territory of residence, not the province or territory in which you plan to study your Masters degree:
Canada’s substantial investment in higher education means that grants are potentially available to domestic students at all levels of study – including Masters degrees.
Both the Canadian federal government and local provincial or territorial authorities award grants to students. Where you apply for funding will depend on your normal province of residence (you can check this using the list above).
The federal government awards its own Canada Student Grants to Masters students according to need-based criteria.
Canada Student Grants for Masters students are available in all Canadian provinces and territories, with the exception of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec. These operate their own grant systems.
The amount of money you can receive with a Canada Student Grant depends on your assessed financial need. Depending on your financial circumstances, you could receive a maximum of CAD $375 (USD $285) per month. Grants for disabilities or dependents can provide alternative or additional funding according to your needs.
Applications for Canada Student Grants take place simultaneously with applications for Canada Student Loans. Your needs will be assessed and the most appropriate type of financial support will be offered. This can combine grants and loans; for example, your grant may be topped up with an additional loan according to your needs.
You can view information on the different types of grant available, including amounts and income thresholds, on the Canadian government’s website.
The Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec do not participate in the Canada Student Grants programme (or the Canada Student Loans programme).
This doesn’t mean that students from these provinces and territories can’t apply for a grant to study a Masters in Canada. Instead, each offers their own student grant programme.
Grant amounts, eligibility criteria and applications procedures will be broadly similar to those for the Canada Student Grants programme, but may still vary slightly between the three provinces and territories.
For more information, consult the website of the student finance authority in your province or territory:
If you do not qualify for a grant, or if the grant you receive is insufficient to cover the full cost of your Masters degree, you may be able to receive a student loan.
There are two main types of student loan available for Masters degrees in Canada: the Canadian government’s national Canada Student Loans scheme and alternative schemes offered by local provincial or territorial student finance bodies.
The type of loan you apply for will depend on the Canadian province or territory in which you are normally resident (not that in which you are applying to study).
Canada Student Loans are awarded by the Canadian federal government. They provide need-based finance for students at all levels of university study, including Masters degrees.
Canada Student Loans are available in 10 of Canada’s 13 territories (Quebec, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are solely covered by their own student loan systems).
Regardless of the system used in your province, your Canada Student Loan will be handled by the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC).
In order to be entitled to a Canada Student Loan you must:
Payment of loan instalments in successive years of your programme may also depend on your making satisfactory academic progress.
Canada Student Loans do not award a set amount to all students.
Instead loans are need-based, taking into account your personal background and financial circumstances. Other factors may include your mode of study, the province or territory you are studying in and the actual cost of your course (together with associated expenses).
Applications procedures for Canada Student Loans vary slightly between participating provinces and territories. You can check the Canadian government’s application guide to find out what process applies in your case.
Unlike student grants, Canada Student Loans must eventually be repaid in full. (Note that this applies even if you do not complete your Masters degree.)
There are three main periods involved in your loan:
Interest rates for Canada Student Loans may be either fixed or variable. You can read more about current rates on the Canadian government’s website.
Some Canadian provinces and territories offer their own separate student loans systems. These may be available alongside, or instead of, the federal government’s Canada Student Loans.
Provincial and territorial loan systems operate slightly differently from the federal government’s Canada Student Loans and from each other.
Seven of Canada’s provinces and territories offer their own student loans:
Exact eligibility criteria vary slightly for different provincial and territorial loans systems. However, you can normally expect the following requirements to apply:
The application process, calculation methods and repayment criteria for Masters loans differs between individual Canadian provinces and territories.
The best way to find more information is therefore to visit the webpage of the student finance body in your province or territory of residence:
Government grants and loans aren’t the only form of funding available to you as a Masters student in Canada.
Like the UK, Canada operates publicly funded research councils, providing support for academic work in specific fields. Their responsibilities include providing support to future researchers – like you!
Most postgraduate funding from Canadian research councils is directed at PhD-level research, but some programmes are available specifically for Masters students:
Other Masters scholarships from the Canadian research councils may also be periodically available. You can check for these on the individual websites of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institute of Health Research.
As an international student in Canada you won’t be eligible for the same public funding as domestic postgraduates. This means you won’t normally be able to apply for loans or grants (though some research council funding may be available).
Don’t worry though – there’s plenty of other funding available for international Masters students in Canada. In fact, several scholarship programmes exist purely to attract and support postgraduates studying overseas at Canadian universities.
Global Affairs Canada (GAC) is the Canadian government department that oversees its foreign affairs. GAC maintains and administers a wide variety of international scholarships from the Canadian government and other providers (including the Canadian research councils).
You can view a list of the scholarships offered by Global Affairs Canada on their website. Note that not all of the options presented will be applicable to Masters students.
In some cases, provinces and territories offer funding for talented postgraduates looking to study in Canada. You can find out more by contacting the appropriate Department of Education or by taking a look at GAC’s list of provincial and territorial awards for foreigners.
Canada maintains academic exchange programmes and academic partnerships with various countries around the world. If your country is included in these, you may be able to apply for funding to study a Masters abroad in Canada:
Scholarships and exchange programmes may be offered in other countries. You may be able to find out about available opportunities by contacting the Canadian embassy or consulate in your normal country of residence. View an official list of international Canadian embassies and consulates.
Some Canadian universities offer their own Masters scholarships to help them recruit high quality international postgraduates.
The availability of these varies between institutions. The best way to find out what’s available to you may therefore be to check the information published by individual universities.
Alternatively, you can use our course search to find a specific Masters programme in Canada and then get in touch to inquire about international scholarships – all of the courses listed on FindAMasters.com have contact details and many also include details of available funding.
Ready to start looking for your ideal study abroad opportunity? Browse and compare Masters degrees in Canada on FindAMasters.com
Last updated - 20/01/2020