Canada vs USA for Masters: Find Out Top Courses, Universities & Cost for MS in US vs Canada Image
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Canada vs USA for Masters: Find Out Top Courses, Universities & Cost for MS in US vs Canada

Yocket Editorial Team
8 mins read

The US and Canada are the two most sought-after countries for students wishing to study MS abroad. However, the question remains Canada vs USA for masters, which one is better? Well, masters’ programs in both these countries are quite well recognised and a student must understand the major differences before taking their pick.

In this article we’ll help you with this decision by providing a comparative look into MS in US vs Canada on several notable attributes.

Why Choose Canada or US for MS?

We’ll get into the discussion of MS in US vs Canada, but before that, let’s take a quick look at why these countries are so popular for MS courses.

When we talk about masters and STEM courses in particular, no other country can beat the United States. The excellent research facilities, comprehensive curriculum, a wider choice of specialisations and internship opportunities are some of the factors that contribute to its supremacy as a top destination for MS. Moreover, obtaining a degree from top-ranked US universities opens the door to innumerable employment opportunities.

Canada is also considered one of the best MS destinations for students. The number of international students in Canada has been increasing over the years owing to its academic excellence and internationally acclaimed education system. Affordability and extensive research are two very important factors that make Canada a favorable option to pursue MS.

Apart from this, top-quality schools and a welcoming immigration policy all contribute to the country’s attractiveness – while some countries are raising barriers, Canada is rolling out the red carpet to international students, demonstrating its commitment to education and an openness to immigration.

Quality of Masters Education in US and Canada

The first factor to consider in deciding Canada vs USA for masters is comparing the quality of education.

The US is world renowned for its quality of education. This makes it one of the most preferred destinations for MS abroad, especially for the STEM fields. The country has a strong reputation for highest standards of teaching, research, technology and innovation. This makes it an ideal spot for students with a research bent. Not only this, some of the most influential tech and research universities in the world are located in the US.

Canada is being increasingly seen as one of the top MS destinations. The MS degree obtained from a Canadian university is acknowledged worldwide as being one of the best. Canada’s quality of education in both thesis and non-thesis masters’ programs is extremely research oriented.

Key takeaway: Although the US has the best quality education for Masters programs, Canada is slowly catching up.

MS in US vs Canada: Comparing Course Structure

Any student who is considering Canada vs USA for MS, must first understand the course structure. A student who wants to pursue a Master’s degree in the USA or Canada has to go through a rigorous schedule. Here is a look at the course structure in the 2 countries.

An important thing to remember here is that these attributes may differ between courses and institutions.

MS Course Structure in US

MS Course Structure in Canada

1.5-2 years

(May take up to 3 - 6 years for some courses)

1-2 years

(There could be additional internships)

Course- Based or Thesis-Based

Course- Based or Thesis-Based

Requires about 30-36 credits

Requires about 36 credit hours

Regular assessments and training programs

Interactive teaching such as site visits, projects and group work ‘co-operative education option’.

Students can also opt for Co-operative education programmes, that enables current students to gain hands-on, paid experience in placements related to their field of study.

Academic Year: September to June

Academic Year: September to April

Key takeaway: The Curse structure for MS programs in the US and Canada are quite similar with very few differences.

MS Admission Requirements for International Students in US vs. Canada

The admission requirements for masters change for every course and University in Canada and US.

While the requirements for Master's programs are quite similar in both the countries, there are a few differences here and there.

MS Admission Requirements in US

MS Admission Requirements in Canada

3 to 4 years of a bachelor’s degree

1st Class in Bachelor's degree (4 Years)

Minimum GPA – 2.50 to 3.50

TOEFL -78 to 100


Minimum GPA - 3.0 or above

TOEFL- 88-100

IELTS (Overall 6.5 to 7.5 with no sections less than 6.0 or 6.5)


Application Essays / Statement of Purpose

Academic transcripts

2-3 Letters of Recommendation

Extracurricular activities

Statement of Purpose

Academic transcripts

Letter of Recommendation

F-1 Student Visa

Study Permit

Key takeawayStudying in Canada requires a better education profile, while US Universities focus on an overall student profile including academic and extracurricular aspects.

Application & Admission Process for Masters Courses in US Vs Canada

In both the US and Canada, the admission and application process for master’s courses is quite similar. However, the main point of difference lies in what is needed with the application form.

While admission to most Canadian universities are mainly based on your grades, in US colleges may require a set of documents such as a set of essays, statements of purpose (SOP), proof of extra-curriculars, Letters of recommendations, etc. as a part of the application process.

Admission Process in US

Admission Process in Canada

Choose your master’s course


Find a college or university of your choice


Submit your completed application along with requirements like transcripts, essays, SOP, etc. for individual institutions.


Wait for a response


Accept and start the F1 visa application

Choose your master’s course


Find a college or university of your choice


Fill in the application for each of the institutions along with the required documents


Wait for a response


Accept and begin the application for a study permit



Key takeaways: The admission process is simpler in Canada when compared to the US.

Masters in US vs Canada: Comparing Tuition Fees for International Students

If we talk about Canada vs USA for MS, we must also take the cost aspect into consideration. The US is known for its relatively expensive fee structure which is also the reason for its infamous student loan problem. In Canada, on the other hand, the cost of pursuing masters is relatively less when compared to the US.

It is important to know that the amount of tuition fees varies between universities and programs. Given below is a comparison between tuition fees for MS and MBA programs in the two countries:


Tuition fees in US  per year

(US $)

Tuition fees in Canada per year

(US $)


20,000 - 45,000

10,000 - 35,000


32,000- 1,10,000

16,000 - 80,000

Key takeawayCanadian institutions are much more affordable compared to US universities for MS and other graduate level programs.

Cost of Living for International Students Pursuing Masters in US vs Canada

Talking about the cost aspect further, let us also compare the cost of living for a student pursuing masters in the two countries. These add a substantial amount to the overall expenses. Considering this and the factor above, we see that the total expenses of studying in Canada are relatively lower than in the US.

Here is a tentative look at these costs:


Cost of living per year (US $)

Cost of living per year in Canada (US $

On-campus accommodation



Private Accommodation



Public Transport









Books and academic supplies



Household & other bills



Key takeawayThe average cost of living in Canada is lower compared to the US.

Top MS Universities in US Vs Canada

When comparing MS in Canada vs MS in USA, a look at the top universities provides a good point of comparison. Some of the best universities for MS in the world are located in the US and Canada. However, the US leads in terms of the ranking when compared with Canada. According to World QS Rankings 2021, following are the top universities in the United States and Canada.

Top 5 Universities in the US for MS

University in US

Popular Programs

World QS Rank

MS in Finance

MS in Computer Science

MS in Business Analytics


MS in Computer Science

MS in Management Science

MS in Data Science


MS in Computational Science and Engineering

MS in Computer Science

MS in Data Science


MS in Mechanical Engineering

MS in Aeronautics

MS In Electrical Engineering


MS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

MS in Computer Science

MS in Chemical and Biological Engineering


 Top Universities in the Canada for MS

University in Canada

Popular Programs

World QS Rank

MS in Computer Science

MS in Applied Computing

MS Pharmaceutical Sciences


MS in Civil Engineering

MS in Computer Science

Ms in Mechanical Engineering


MS in Computer Science

MS in Chemical and Biological Engineering

MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences


MS in Management

MS in Finance

MS in Data Science and Business Analytics


MS in Computer Science

MS in Nursing


Key takeaway: For masters level programs and MS courses, US universities have much better worldwide ranks compared to Canadian universities.

Top Masters (MS) Fields in US Vs Canada

When comparing MS in Canada vs MS in USA, a student must acquaint herself/himself with the best Masters programs in US and Canada.

Here’s a look at the these:



Computer Science




Life Sciences

Data Science

Business Management


Mathematics & Computer Sciences

Artificial Intelligence

Physical & Life Sciences



Human Resource Management



Key takeaways: Both US and Canada provide a range of MS programs. However, they differ when compared on which ones are the top MS fields.

Career Opportunities for MS Graduates in US vs. Canada

A lot of students prefer working in the same country after their masters program is over. This not only helps them gain relevant experience but also helps them gain exposure.

The US offers one of the highest-paid jobs. It is home to a large number of tech companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. that provide ample job opportunities to graduates.

Canada also offers a number of job opportunities as more and more big tech companies are opening their offices in the country. However, the average salary in Canada is relatively low.

Job Opportunities for MS Graduates in US

Job Opportunities for MS Graduates in Canada


Graduates can opt for OPT, optional practical training 12-month temporary work permit

in a company related to the field of their study.


Graduates from eligible Canadian Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) can secure a 3-year Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Top high-paying domains for masters include Business and Management, Nursing, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science & IT and Electrical Engineering advertising, finance

Top high-paying domains for masters include country include Architecture, Engineering, Hospitality and Tourism, Data Science, Computer Science & IT, and Marketing

Average salary of MS Graduates is 70,000 USD

Average salary of MS Graduates is 40,000 USD

Key takeawayThe job opportunities and average salaries for MS graduates is higher in the US. However, in Canada getting a post study work permit is easier.

Permanent Residency - US vs. Canada

Permanent residency can be obtained in both the US and Canada. However, the process varies in terms of ease and time taken.

In the US the process is long and slow. A student needs to reside in USA for at least 5 years with employment to be eligible.

In Canada it is relatively easier and you can apply for PR. Students can apply for permanent residency in continuation with their post study work permit.

PR in US

PR in Canada

One option is a Green Card. You can also ask your company to sponsor you. It is called employer sponsorship. The company shall fill EB-2 or EB-3 basis your employment status.

There are many ways of finding permanent residency in Canada such as Express Entry, Provincial nominees among many others.

Key takeaway:  In the US, citizenship can be obtained after 5 years of residence through employment. In Canada, one of the PR options called Canadian Experience Class allows international graduates to become permanent residents after 1 year of skilled occupation.

Student Life - US vs. Canada

Last but definitely not the least, when discussing Canada vs USA for masters, one attribute that needs to be discussed is student life. Both the countries are quite similar in terms of student life experiences.

Student life in the US is considered to be one of the best in the world. A student will experience true diversity in the US, as students here come from various parts of the world. Most students here also enjoy their life on campus, food and nightlife.

Canada too has plenty of experiences to offer to its international students. Since the immigration rates are pretty high, you get a chance to peek into an amazing blend of cultures. The only aspect where Canada takes a hit is the harsh winters, which might get difficult for students to bear.

Key takeaways: bothUS and Canada provide immense opportunities for students to grow and learn from their university experiences.

Therefore, considering all the parameters discussed above, it is safe to state that both the US and Canada present wonderful opportunities to graduates. Your choice completely depends on what you want from your MS program. If you are looking for affordable MS options, Canada is the best choice but if you wish to pursue masters in top universities in the world, USA is definitely the way to go. So, make sure you consider every aspect before taking the final call.

All the best!

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