PhD Scholarships to Study in Canada


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Apr 13, 2023 09:05 AM IST

International students can opt for partially or fully funded PhD scholarships in Canada that cover personal expenses and tuition fees throughout their doctoral studies. Read the article to know the top 10 PhD scholarships in Canada for international students, eligibility criteria, the application process, and much more.

PhD Scholarships to Study in Canada

Translating to love of wisdom from the Greek word for philosophy, i.e. Philosophia, those pursuing the PhDs often are classed as individuals in the pursuit of knoweldge. However, much like everything in today’s century, including Canada, students require funding to pursue their passion for knowledge, which often comes in the form of PhD scholarships in Canada.

In most cases, PhD students require funding, not only to survive, but to also complete their research thesis. The most common methodology opted by PhD students to fund their research and thesis are scholarships and grants, offered by private and government organisations alike. Students will be able to choose from a variety of PhD scholarships in Canada, some of which can also cover both the tuition and living costs as well.

Considered the highest level of education a student can get, PhD courses are also the primary source of innovation, development and modernisation across industries. Therefore, for the sake of advancement, all organisations, i.e. private and public, as well as highly influential individuals also provide financial aid to PhD scholars.

In this article, we will discuss the variety of PhD scholarships to study in Canada that international students can shortlist.

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Want to pursue your PhD at top-tier Canadian universities but are unsure of how to start the application process? Let our experts guide you through the application process of studying at your desired Canadian university.

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Why Study PhD in Canada?

Canada has traditionally been one of the top choices for those seeking higher education abroad. PhD degrees earned here can provide improved employment and research possibilities. There are many advantages to pursuing PhD programmes in Canada, including access to better-paying professions and recognition of academic excellence. Here are some of the convincing reasons why should you study PhD in Canada:

Top-Notch Universities

A majority of universities in Canada are included among the top 100 universities in the world. It delivers top-notch research and academic facilities to international students along with stay-back options in the country.

Affordable Option

The cost of pursuing a PhD in leading nations like the United States or the United Kingdom is somewhat high as compared to that of Canadian universities. The average tuition fees for earning a PhD in USA range somewhere between USD 28,000 to 40,000 per year. While the average tuition fees for earning a PhD in Canada range somewhere between CAD 8,000 to 20,000 per year. In addition to this, there are several PhD scholarships in Canada that international students can avail of.

Work Opportunities

Students enrolled in PhD programmes get paid a stipend during their studies or they are allowed to work within the campus. PhD candidates are also encouraged to take up research-related jobs or internships to cover their daily expenses. As per the Canada post-graduation work permit rules, international students can work up to 10 hours per week and remain in Canada for up to three years after completing their PhD degree.

Scholarships and Grants

Students from around the world seeking a doctoral degree at a Canadian university can find a variety of scholarships offered by the country or universities. Most universities in the country offer PhD scholarships in Canada or other types of financial aid like study grants, or stipend that covers major tuition costs or study expenses of the scholars.

Note: Some Canadian universities mandate financing for PhD students so that each student enrolled in a PhD programme can get at least some financial assistance from their department, graduate school, or research group.

Top 10 PhD Scholarships in Canada for International Students

While pursuing a PhD at a Canadian university can provide students with an excellent education, the cost of study can be burdensome. To cover the overall expenditure of further education in Canada, many doctorate candidates look for postdoctoral scholarships, fellowships, and grants. The following is a list of PhD scholarships in Canada for international students:

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

The Canadian government offers this grant to students enrolled in any Canadian university and pursuing a doctorate. Around CAD 50,000 are awarded each year to international students.

The funds are non-renewable and available for a total of three years. To avail one of the more popular this PhD scholarships in Canada, prospective candidates need to fulfil three equally-weighted eligibility criteria, such as academic excellence, research potential, and leadership (potential and demonstrated ability).

Quebec Provincial Government Scholarship

Students studying in the province of Quebec at the master's degree level or higher are eligible for the Quebec Provincial Government scholarship. This award also allows graduate students enrolled in master's programmes to apply for financial help. PhD students are eligible for grants worth up to CAD 25,000 per year for a maximum period of three years. However, non-renewal funds for postdoctoral candidates are available for up to CAD 35,000 for a single year.

Within the parameters of this grant, short-term research and professional development fellowships worth CAD 3,000 per month are also offered for a period of up to four months. To qualify for the government-offered PhD scholarships in Canada, students must also demonstrate a strong academic record.

Partnership Grants by Social Science & Humanities Research Council in Canada

Under one of the top PhD scholarships in Canada, candidates are provided monetary compensation to continue their research at a Canadian university. An amount of up to CAD 20,000 is offered for a period of four to seven years. However, only international students who are conducting research on topics related to the field of social science and humanities are eligible for these scholarships or awards.

Anne Vallee Ecological Fund

International applicants who are enrolled in a doctoral or master's programme and conducting animal research in British Columbia or Quebec-based university are eligible to apply for this award. A scholarship worth roughly CAD 1,500 is given to each of the accepted applicants.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship

International students who have a valid Canada student visa are eligible for this award. To qualify for this scholarship, the applicant's enrollment at Ontario's public universities must be current and they must be enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree programme. Each candidate receives CAD 5,000 per session as funding. Each scholarship is tenable for one year, which means either two consecutive or three academic sessions.

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

This scholarship is intended for domestic and international doctoral students in the fields of social sciences, economics, natural sciences, and medicine in Canada. The scholarship is non-renewable and worth CAD 70,000 (taxable). Each year, about 70 fellowships are awarded to students and 140 awards are active at all times.

The application deadline for such PhD scholarships in Canada is typically scheduled in September of each year, and the recipients are informed of their status by mid-January or the beginning of February.

IDRC Research Awards

This research award is available to international students from developing nations who already have a full-time work permit (37.5 hours per week) in Canada. PhD students enrolled in Canadian universities or students who have just recently finished their master's degree from an accredited institution within the last three years from the date of application are also eligible.

Active research on the study of inclusive and democratic governance, climate-resilient food systems, science and education, the formulation and evaluation of public policy, the morality of development research, and global health is expected of students. For engaging in research in any of the aforementioned domains of development, students are awarded yearly stipends ranging from CAD 42,000 to CAD 48,000. The deadline for applications for these PhD scholarships in Canada is typically in February of each year.

Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship & Fellowship Plan

This grant is only available to international students from Commonwealth nations who wish to enrol in master's or doctoral programmes at Canadian universities. These PhD scholarships in Canada are aimed at financially supporting talented students to gain the skills and knowledge required for sustainable development.

All living and travel costs as well as the tuition fees are covered by this grant. The award amount depends on the programme and financial background of the recipient.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship Programme

It is a three-year leadership programme designed to equip doctoral candidates with the right skill-set and train future leaders for the betterment of communities, Canada, and the world. The total amount of grant awarded annually is for travel and research purposes. Up to 40,000 as a stipend and up to CAD 20,000 for research and travel allowance per year for three years.

Ontario Trillium Scholarship

Since its incorporation in November 2010, this fellowship has been made available to PhD candidates from all over the world who come to the province of Ontario to pursue their studies. International PhD candidates are chosen by a committee of Ontario institutions based on academic merit. Under one of many PhD scholarships in Canada, 75 students are chosen each year and given awards totalling CAD 40,000 for up to four years.

Interested to apply for any of the scholarships mentioned above? Connect with the team of our study abroad experts who have helped many Indian students to apply for PhD scholarships in Canada!

PhD in Canada Eligibility for Indian Students

Indian students must meet the minimum academic and other requirements for PhD scholarships in Canada. The submission of all these prerequisites, which are based on the standards to pursue a PhD in Canada, will ensure that international students are admitted successfully to Canada's top-tier PhD programmes. The following pointers state the PhD in Canada eligibility for Indian students:

Masters Degree: For Indian students to be eligible for a PhD in Canada, they must first earn a master's degree in any field of study. The majority of Canadian universities require a score of 80% or more.

CV/Resume: Students should submit their Curriculum Vitae or resume when applying for a PhD scholarship in Canada. An applicant's rate of acceptance may also be boosted if they have work experience.

Official Transcripts: International students must staple all of their official academic transcripts from their prior academic institutions.

Writing Sample: Students are required to submit a writing sample that is between 5000 and 10,000 words in length. Anything from a thesis to a research paper to an article submitted for publication, etc., might be included in the sample.

English Language Proficiency Test Scores: Valid English proficiency test scores are a mandatory requirement to be considered for applying to PhD scholarships in Canada. The overall score requirements are as follows:

Research Statement: A maximum of 1500 words must be included in the research statement that students must submit. The statement must be written in essay format and should either discuss your areas of interest in research or highlight any indicators of your passion for a particular topic. Additionally, you can specify the project supervisor you want to collaborate with.

Letters of Recommendation (LOR): Applicants must submit three academic letters of recommendation. This must be from the mentor you studied under at your former higher education institution.

It should be noted that the PhD scholarships in Canada will have individual eligibility criteria that are subject to change at the discretion of the institution or organisation offering the award. Therefore, before applying for any scholarship abroad, it is pertinent to thoroughly read through the requirements and guidelines for the same.

How Do I Apply for a PhD Scholarship in Canada?

There are several procedures that must be followed while opting to pursue your PhD degree at prominent Canadian universities. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for you to study for a PhD through 'accelerated admission', i.e., without first earning a master's degree. For this, you will need to have first-class averages in your final two years of undergraduate study in addition to supporting documents of your strong academic potential, including research publications.

Even though the admissions procedure for PhD scholarships in Canada varies among Canadian universities, in general, you need to follow the steps mentioned below:

Step 1: Visit the university's official website and get to know their admission requirements for PhD programmes.

Step 2: Submit an application to a current PhD programme or project in addition to your research project. Apply for the relevant scholarship as mentioned on the university website.

Step 3: Connect with a professional supervisor or research team.

Step 4: Submit all the necessary documents within the deadlines specified by the university.

Step 5: Provide relevant information about your work, including a research proposal or a personal statement.

Step 6: Submit three letters of recommendation from previous professors or research supervisors.

Step 7: Attend a video interview scheduled by the university.

Step 8: After you clear the interview successfully, you will be given an offer letter along with the scholarship letter. You will require both letters to apply for a Canadian study permit.

Is There An Alternative Funding Opportunity for PhD Scholarships in Canada?

Yes, there is an alternative funding opportunity for PhD scholarships in Canada i.e. research/teaching assistantships. Various international students choose to participate in research or teaching assistantships to pay for their education. In these programmes, you can work as a researcher or assistant teacher in exchange for a stipend.

As a research assistant, you will assist a professor (who might also be your supervisor) with responsibilities including data collecting, report writing, analysis, lab/office management, and more. You will assist your department's undergraduate programmes as a teaching assistant by instructing one or more segments of the course. You might also be leading laboratory sessions, hosting office hours, and grading student work. You must exhibit your comprehension of the area of study and your aptitude to efficiently support students' learning if you want to work as a teaching assistant.

You must review the details provided by your university on its official website and complete an online application to apply for a research or teaching assistantship.

Can I Work Part-Time in Canada During My PhD Degree Programme?

Yes, you can work part-time in Canada during your PhD degree programme. During university semesters, all international students studying full-time and carrying a valid study permit may work up to 20 hours per week on a part-time basis on or off campus. However, during vacations between semesters, they may work full-time. To work in Canada, you also need a Social Insurance Number.

However, if you have been awarded PhD scholarships in Canada, certain PhD programmes may require that you work no more than 10 hours per week throughout the academic year.

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Can I Work and Stay in Canada After Completing PhD?

Yes, you can work and stay in Canada after completing your PhD. For a maximum of three years, the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) enables you to stay and obtain significant work experience if you would like to stay in Canada after completing your study programme to find employment. Additionally, if you choose to stay in the country permanently, your post-graduation work experience makes you eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada through Canada Express Entry.

However, some PhD scholarships in Canada may require candidates to return to their home countries or specify other guidelines as part of the terms and conditions of the scholarships. Therefore, thoroughly check all the guidelines and terms and conditions before applying for PhD scholarships in Canada.

With the information provided on this page, we hope to have helped you narrow down some of the popular PhD scholarships in Canada that international students can apply to. In addition to these scholarships, students will be able to avail a number of different financial aid opportunities apart from scholarships to fund their PhD thesis and research work, or their living expenses in Canada while they complete their course.

Need more information about pursuing a PhD in Canada or, need your profile evaluation by our experts to apply for PhD scholarships in Canada? Reach out to us at

Need Help to Apply for PhD Scholarships in Canada?


Is PhD in Canada free for international students?

No, PhD in Canada is not free for international students. It can be said that PhD in Canada is affordable as compared to other countries like the UK and USA. The tuition fee for pursuing a PhD in Canada can range between CAD 6,000 to 30,000 (INR 3.7 lac to 18.5 lac) which is remarkably less than pursuing a PhD in other countries. Additionally, students can opt for a number of PhD scholarships in Canada or work part-time to support their expenses.

Are PhD scholarships in Canada fully funded?

No, PhD scholarships in Canada are not fully funded except for some specialisations. Fully-funded scholarships are only offered to applicants pursuing studies in the fields of Natural sciences and engineering, Health Research, Social sciences and humanities. These fully-funded scholarships are provided for two years with an amount totalling CAD 70,000.   

Can I work on campus in Canada as an international PhD student?

Yes, you can work on campus in Canada as an international PhD student without any restrictions on the number of working hours. In addition to teaching, you can also work for other services which may include student unions, libraries, and retail facilities.

Can I work off campus in Canada as an international PhD student?

Yes, you can work off campus in Canada as an international PhD student. During the academic year, you are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week for companies or employers off campus with no limit during vacations. However, your study permit must not have any particular restrictions and you must be enrolled in a full-time degree programme.

Can I get permanent residency in Canada after completing my PhD?

Yes, international students can get permanent residency in Canada after they complete PhD only if they find employment in the country. Each year, Canada offers a permanent residency visa to hundreds of skilled people who wish to settle and make a significant economic contribution to the country. International PhD students are qualified to apply for permanent residency if they find employment and gain experience there. 

Can I get a job in Canada after completing PhD?

Yes, to a greater extent it can be said that international students can get a job in Canada after completing a PhD. In the long run, PhD holders do well in the job market, although transitioning to professions outside of academia can be difficult. To make career transitions for PhDs easier, Canadian universities have launched a wide range of graduate professional skills development programmes.

What are the benefits of pursuing a PhD in Canada with a scholarship?

There are many benefits of pursuing a PhD in Canada with a scholarship. This is because you will get enough funds through PhD Scholarships in Canada to cover your research expenses easily without having to worry about the costs of moving there. Furthermore, research fellowships are also a good addition to your CV when you apply for jobs following your studies. To eliminate any further confusion, you may check out how a scholarship differs from a fellowship.

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