Graduate School in Germany Webinar

Applying to Grad School in Canada - The Main Steps

Preparing University Application

All graduate programs have to applications. One on the university level (this is where you pay the fees, build your profile and send your test scores.), and one on the department level (this is where you choose the research domains you are interested in, upload your CV and statement of intent and fill in your references).

  • Check the deadlines and the timeline:

    • Some schools open two rounds of applications, one for the fall admission and one for the winter admission, while some schools open only one round of applications for both admissions.

    • Deadlines differ based on the program and the school, so check each school’s website separately.

    • Fall semester: the deadline ranges between December 15 and end of February. Decisions are usually announced between April and June.

    • Winter semester: If the school opens another round of applications, the deadline is usually between June and August, and the decision is usually announced between September and November.

While most schools accept Winter applicants, it is usually harder to secure funding for PhD programs. Most Professors plan their funding budget on yearly basis starting from the Fall.

  • Book your GRE and TOEFL

    • GRE is typically NOT required for graduate programs, but some programs do require it, so check the program’s website carefully.

    • TOEFL is typically required, but waivers have been made if the language of instruction in your current program is in English. This waiver is not typically stated online, reach out to your program contact person to check about this requirement.

  • Prepare your CV, statement of intent (SOI), and references

    • CV and SOI are critical components of your application

    • Nay Dia can help review your CV and SOP, you can find more resources here

  • Look into funding:

    • Graduate school in the Canada has a lot of funding opportunities. Check the Webinar video above for details about funding opportunities.

    • In general, PhD and MSc applicants are usually awarded funding once admitted, but some MSc programs don’t usually offer this. However, the school will send a list of funding opportunities to apply to.

  • Helpful Resources:

    • Check how to choose the programs you are applying to here

    • Check Kaplan grad school guide here

Preparing Visa Application

To study in Canada, you need to apply for a study permit, to apply you need:

  • a proof of acceptance (admission offer from the school)

  • a proof of identity

  • a proof of financial support (proof of funding from the school is usually enough)

More information available here: Study permit: About the process -

Working as a Student

  • The study permit allows you to work full-time on campus (as a TA for example), and up to 20 hours a week off-campus. This is usually good if you are looking for a part-time job.

  • If you want to do a full-time internship off-campus, you need to apply for another type of permit called co-op work permit. For this permit, you need a letter from the school stating that your intended employment is an essential part of your program of study.

more information on co-op work permit is available here: Work as a co-op student or intern -

Working after Graduation

  • Once you graduate, you can apply for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP):

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) -

  • PGWP is a 3-year open work permit that allows you to stay in Canada without sponsorship and look for jobs. Typically, if you find a job and work for a year, you can apply for a permanent residence through Express Entry.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) -

Settling in

For housing on Kijiji or other rental platforms but be extremely cautious with sending money. Vet the places, and try to ask someone in the city to go. The best case scenario is to find a student in the city who can guide you through the process. Here are important things to keep in mind:

  • Finances:

    • Open a bank account and try to get a credit card ASAP.

    • Managing your finances in Canada may be new to you, make sure you understand how credit cards and credit in general work.

    • Start building your credit score early on; the length of your credit history matters, so do not lose time.

  • Health Insurance:

    • The university will provide health insurance that typically covers most of the medical expenses you need. If you work as a TA, you can get and additional insurance that covers your dental needs.

  • Housing

    • University housing is usually expensive and in many cases reserved for undergrads.

    • You can find on the university resources page the typical neighborhoods where students live; these are usually safe and within commutable distance to the campus.

    • Keep in mind the location of the closest grocery store when choosing a house.

    • Check the place for you before signing any lease or sending money.

    • If you are looking to find roommates (which will probably be needed if you live on the graduate student salary), you can look for Facebook groups for roommate matching.

  • Mobile and Internet:

    • Shop for the best deals for mobile services.

    • Most companies start rolling student plans around August-September, so look for this. Some of the most affordable providers are Freedom and Fido.

    • Make sure to check all options and possible discounts before committing to a plan. Some plans have yearly contracts that are hard to get out of.

    • Internet plans vary a lot depending on location and company. Call all companies operating in your city and get their quotes.

  • Miscellaneous:

    • Get a driver’s license. Even if you do not have a plan to buy a car soon, try to get your driver’s license ASAP for the following reasons:

        • It servers as an ID card.

        • You can rent a car when needed.

        • You start building your driving history: like credit history, the length of your driving history matters. The longer your history, the cheaper your insurance premiums will be when you decide to get a car.