Canada scholarships promise a fully or partially funded path to study, work and build a life in one of the most popular countries in the world.
Official data from the Canadian Bureau for International Education showed more than 800,000 international students had active student visas in 2022, up from 275,000 in 2012.
With its welcoming immigration policies and top-ranked universities, it’s little wonder Canada has become a popular study abroad destination.
It is so popular that there is now not enough decent, affordable accommodation for international students, with 25 students reportedly resorting to sleeping in tents on the side of the road.
In response, there is ongoing discussion to limit the number of international students allowed into Canada — the first of its kind.
Canadian Housing Minister Sean Fraser says this limit was “one of the options that we ought to consider,” BBC reports.
Many universities rejected this idea swiftly, saying that tying international students to the country’s housing crisis is “deeply concerning.”
Canada targets to welcome 1.5 million new immigrants by 2025 — students are a key group it recognises for bringing “tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits” to the country.
By offering high-quality educational institutions and opportunities to work (for up to three years after graduation) or immigrate, it has attracted hundreds of thousands to the country, like Nakul and Nishul Juneja.
Being able to stay and work in Canada was a big factor for the identical twins, who pursued their MBA at the University of Toronto Rotman’s School of Management after completing their bachelor’s degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Today, with a Canadian MBA in hand, Nakul is an Associate with McKinsey & Company and Nishul is a Senior Product Manager at Amazon.
Canada scholarships offer international students a clear path to similar success.
10 Canada scholarships for international students in 2023/24
1. University of Waterloo
The University of Waterloo is a public research university ranked eighth in US News and World Report’s Best Global Universities in Canada.
It offers Canada scholarships to join its undergraduate, master’s, and PhD programmes.
The University of Waterloo International Student Entrance Scholarship is open to any programme.
Twenty scholarships (worth 10,000 Canadian dollars) are awarded annually to outstanding international students entering Year One of an undergraduate programme. Recipients will be selected based on academic achievement and faculty-specific entrance scholarship criteria.
The University of Waterloo Graduate Scholarship funds everything and is valued up to CA$10,000.
The recipients will enjoy benefits such as the International Master’s Award of Excellence valued at CA$2,500 per term for a maximum of 6 terms.
The application deadline for these scholarships varies depending on the specific programme you are enrolled in.
2. University of Saskatchewan
The University of Saskatchewan is ranked #1 in Canada for water research.
It provides several international student awards which are based on academic achievement, including University of Saskatchewan International Excellence Awards (valued at CA$10,000), International Baccalaureate (IB) Excellence Awards (valued at CA$20,000), and more.
Postgraduate students apply for the University of Saskatchewan Graduate Scholarship, open to all international students enrolled in a master’s or PhD programme.
The best part? This fully funded scholarship provides up to CA$20,000 for PhD students over 36 months.
Upon enrollment, you will be automatically considered for the scholarship based on your academic performance and financial circumstances.
3. McGill University
Ranking #31 globally in QS World University Rankings 2023, McGill strives to make its prestigious programmes more accessible to students facing financial difficulties.
To that end, it offers scholarships for international students pursuing undergraduate, master’s and PhD programmes.
McGill’s University offers merit-based entrance scholarships to first-time university students entering a full-time undergraduate degree programme.
PhD students also receive modest bursaries to assist with their financial needs. Scholarship deadlines at McGill are determined by your admission status.
4. University of Montreal
The University of Montreal (UdeM) is Canada’s second-largest university, boasting an enrollment of 36,000 students.
UdeM’s exemption scholarship programme was designed to ensure students from all over the world can attend one of the top research universities in Canada.
This scholarship programme is open to all international students pursuing undergraduate, master’s, or PhD degrees.
Montreal University scholarships will provide up to CA$21,593.35 per year.
For additional details on other scholarships, visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies page.
5. University of Toronto
NTU rates universities based on their overall output of scientific publications, in addition to scoring performance in specific fields and subjects.
The university provides a diverse array of scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students. These scholarships are available to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and international students.
The university also offers many scholarships based on various criteria, including merit, leadership, financial need, and more.
Meanwhile, PhD students will receive a base funding package covering up to five years of their study period.
If selected, international recipients will receive CA$28,970, including a University Health Insurance Plan (a mandatory health care coverage for registered international students) of CA$756.00.
To remain eligible for funding throughout the five-year period, applicants must maintain their academic performance in their programme.
6. University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa offers scholarships to all undergraduate, master’s, and PhD students.
For undergraduates, you’re eligible for the Differential Tuition Fee Exemption Scholarship if you enrol in a bachelor’s or master’s programme in French or the French Immersion Stream.
All eligible students will automatically receive this scholarship when they enrol.
For those enrolling in a PhD programme, you can apply for the International Doctoral Scholarship which is available to full-time international students and carries a value of CA$45,000 distributed over a span of five years.
7. Concordia University
Being one of the top public universities in French-speaking Montreal, Concordia University offers awards and scholarships to all students pursuing undergraduate and graduate programmes.
Entrance Scholarships are available to full-time students entering university studies for the first time. Students are automatically assessed and may be eligible for scholarships based on academic excellence and other criteria.
8. The University of Lethbridge
The University of Lethbridge is one of Canada’s top three research universities, ranked among the 6% of world universities for research performance.
The university offers external scholarships for undergraduate and graduate programmes worth up to CA$10,000. Click here to discover more about these scholarships for undergraduates.
For graduate students seeking financial assistance in the university, they can apply for the Graduate Research Award. This financial support is available to all students except those enrolled in the Faculty of Education.
Applicants will be considered upon admission and can receive up to CA$21,000.
9. University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is recognised as one of the world’s top universities, holding the #40 position in the 2023 Times Higher Education rankings.
UBC automatically considers all international students for the merit-based International Major Entrance Scholarships and Outstanding International Student Awards, totalling a maximum value of CA$35,000 annually.
If this amount does not cover your needs for tuition and basic living expenses, you are eligible to apply for the International Scholars Programme.
The Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF) is an excellent option for students pursuing a PhD. This programme guarantees that students with a track record of academic excellence will receive annual financial support of at least CA$18,200.
This scholarship is open to all international students and is ongoing based on admission.
10. University of Alberta
The University of Alberta, founded in 1908, is a prominent academic and research institution.
The university is consistently ranked among Canada’s top choices for international students, largely because of the many funding opportunities it offers.
International students will be automatically eligible for admission-based scholarships such as the International Admission Scholarship (valued up to CA$5,000), Regional Excellence Scholarship (valued up to CA$5,000) and Gold Standard Scholarship (valued up to CA$6,000) when they apply for admission.
Students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral programme can take advantage of the Graduate Entrance Scholarship.
Recipients of the scholarship pursuing a PhD will receive a stipend of CA$21,000, and an additional CA$10,000 will be given to international students to help cover the cost of their fees.
The deadline for the scholarship varies throughout the year, depending on your admission period.
Tips to win scholarships from a winner of scholarships
Sutherland’s proven tips for scholarship triumph include:
- Start early: Start extremely early if you want to get a competitive scholarship.
- Know your deadlines: Sutherland always had an Excel document with all the deadlines. As he explains, some scholarship applications take up to 15 minutes, while he spends a longer time with other applications.
- The more, the merrier: Think about your other “identities.” Some organisations like the United Nations offer scholarships or jobs if you’re working for one of those organisations. Some companies may say the benefit of working for them is getting a master’s degree for free.
- Make your application unique, but don’t do twice the work: Try to make your application relevant to how your career has developed currently and relevant for the times. If there’s a political movement happening at the time or you’re involved in activism or public service relevant to a particular scholarship, mention these in your scholarship applications.