Masters Scholarships in Canada – 2023 | FindAMasters.com
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Masters Scholarships in Canada

Written by Mark Bennett

Masters fees in Canada are usually cheaper than in many other English-speaking countries. It's one of the reasons for Canada’s popularity with international postgraduates, as well as the fact that Canadian universities are routinely found towards the top of international rankings.

On this page you can find detailed information about scholarships for Masters degrees at Canadian universities. This includes guidance on the cost of a Masters in Canada for international students (as well as domestic), as well as a range of Canadian funding opportunities.

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.

Masters scholarships for international students in Canada

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 (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.

Scholarships administered by Global Affairs Canada and provinces / territories

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) is the Canadian government department that oversees its foreign affairs. GAC maintains and administers a wide variety of international scholarships for Masters in Canada from the 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.

Funding from international partnerships

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:

  • The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) is a network of francophone higher education providers around the world. If your country is a member, you may be able to apply for a bursary to study a Masters in Canada for up to 10 months.
  • Fulbright Canada supports education exchange between Canada and the USA, including funding for US students to study 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.

International scholarships from individual Canadian universities

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.

Masters funding from Canadian research councils

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.

Canada Graduate Scholarships-Masters Program

The Canada Graduate Scholarships-Masters Program (CGS-M) is offered by Canada’s three main research councils, in collaboration. It provides merit-based support of CAD $17,500 for up to 3,000 Canadian students each year, studying postgraduate courses at eligible Canadian higher education institutions. A broad range of subject areas are supported, including some professional qualifications.

Accelerate Programe

The Accelerate Program provides opportunities for fully-funded, four-month research and development business-oriented internships for Masters students with a stipend of CAD $10,000. Domestic and international students are eligible.

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.

Government funding for domestic Canadian Masters students

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.

Regional availability

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:

  • Students from the Yukon may only apply for grants or loans from the federal government.
  • Students from Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Quebec may only apply for grants or loans from local finance authorities.
  • Students from Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island may apply for funding from the federal government and / or local finance authorities.
  • Students from British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and Saskatchewan may apply for funding jointly offered by the federal government and local finance authorities.

You can read more about government loans and grants for Masters students in Canada below.

Provincial and territorial grants

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:

Loans for Canadian Masters students

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

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.

Availability

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).

Eligibility criteria

In order to be entitled to a Canada Student Loan you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen (or otherwise have the right to live and remain in Canada).
  • Be a permanent resident of a province or territory in which the Canada Student Loans system is offered.
  • Be studying on a full-time or part-time basis at a recognised university.
  • Demonstrate financial need. Amounts for Canada Student Loans are calculated using need-based criteria. The amount you can borrow will take into account your economic circumstances and background.
  • Pass a credit check if you are over 22 and have not previously taken out a Canada Student Loan.

Payment of loan instalments in successive years of your programme may also depend on your making satisfactory academic progress.

Loan amounts

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

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.

Repayments and interest rates

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:

  • During your programme your loan is interest-free and repayments are not required.
  • Upon completion (or termination) of your programme the interest-free period for your loan will end and interest will begin to be charged on your loan debt.
  • Six months after you complete or exit your programme you will be required to begin repaying the loan principle and any interest it is accruing.

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.

Provincial and territorial loans

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.

Availability

Seven of Canada’s provinces and territories offer their own student loans:

  • In Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, provincial and territorial loans are offered alongside the federal government's Canada Student Loans.
  • In the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec, provincial and territorial loans are the only student loans available.

Eligibility criteria

Exact eligibility criteria vary slightly for different provincial and territorial loans systems. However, you can normally expect the following requirements to apply:

  • You will need to be a Canadian citizen or have the right to reside indefinitely in Canada.
  • You will need to be a permanent resident of the province awarding the loan. This does not necessarily mean you will need to be studying in that province.
  • You will need to be studying at an institution recognised by the provincial or territorial authority you apply to. This does not mean that the institution must be within that province.
  • You may need to demonstrate financial need.
  • The total amount you can borrow may be subject to a cap or lifetime limit, shared with previous levels of study.

Further information

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:

Masters fees for Canadian students

As a Canadian citizen you’ll benefit from substantial government investment in higher education. This keeps Masters fees in Canada relatively low for domestic students, at around half the rate paid by international applicants.

In the 2022-23 academic year, the average cost of a Masters in Canada was CAD $7,437 (USD $5,467). 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 $53,227 (USD $39,129).

As you can see in the table below, an MS in Canada in a subject like Engineering is more expensive than a Humanities degree. By contrast, on average Veterinary Medicine is the cheapest Masters programme in Canada.


Canada Masters fees by subject
Subject CAD USD
Executive MBA $53,227 $39,129
Regular MBA $30,464 $22,395
Business, Management and Public Administration $14,823 $10,896
Dentistry $13,223 $9,720
Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences $8,902 $6,544
Engineering $7,454 $5,479
Physical and Life Sciences and Technologies $6,935 $5,098
Nursing $6,956 $5,113
Education $6,747 $4,959
Architecture $6,979 $5,130
Law $6,589 $4,843
Social and Behavioural Sciences $6,056 $4,451
Agriculture, Natural Resources and Conservation $6,045 $4,443
Visual and Performing Arts, and Communications Technologies $5,681 $4,176
Personal, Protective and Transportation Services $5,839 $4,292
Optometry $4,508 $3,313
Pharmacy $4,403 $3,236
Veterinary Medicine $4,018 $2,953
Information in this table is based on data from Statistics Canada.

Continuation fees

Most Masters in Canada 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 $735), but may be more.

Supplementary fees

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.

Health insurance

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 $150-220). 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.

Masters fees in Quebec

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.

Masters fees for international students in Canada

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. Masters fees in Canada are higher than those for domestic students, but they’re often lower than other major Anglophone study abroad destinations.

Generally speaking you can expect to pay more than twice the tuition fee rate of an equivalent domestic student: the average international fee for a graduate programme in Canada is CAD $21,111 (USD $15,521).

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.


Canada Masters fees for international students
Subject CAD USD
Ontario $27,149 $19,961
Nova Scotia $23,275 $17,112
British Columbia $21,750 $15,991
Quebec $19,288 $14,181
Alberta $16,833 $12,376
New Brunswick $13,123 $10,477
Manitoba $13,427 $9,872
Prince Edward Island $10,889 $8,006
Saskatchewan $7,790 $5,727
Newfoundland $5,327 $3,619
Information in this table is based on data from Statistics Canada.

Health insurance for international students in Canada

Health insurance is compulsory for international students in Canada. The following Canadian provinces cover international students under their normal public healthcare plans:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Saskatchewan

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 $440-735)

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.

Other costs

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 an average of CAD $955 (USD $730

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 $75-125) but is not required by all universities.

Cost of living in Canada

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 budget approximately CAD $12,000 (USD $8,825) per year to cover your living costs, excluding tuition fees. This should be sufficient to cover accommodation, food and travel expenses. See our guide to life as a Masters student for more information on the cost of living in Canada.

Search for a Masters in Canada

Ready to start looking for your ideal study abroad opportunity? Browse and compare Masters degrees in Canada on FindAMasters.com


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Last updated: 02 November 2022