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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


08 Aug 2017 7.3K Book icon 5 mins Share

Canada or the United States: which country is better for studying an MS?

Are you having conflicting thoughts? – Should I study an MS in Canada or in the USA this year?

08 Aug 2017 7.3K Book icon 5 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


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ms in canada or us

The United States has been a personal favourite amongst many Indian students as a study abroad destination. This could be because most Indians have seen their earlier generations complying with the age-old tradition of studying in the States after completing school or college. There was a time when people used to relate going abroad to going to the USA and settling in there. However, times are changing so are people.

Besides USA, other countries like the UK, Canada or Australia were also equally popular amongst Indian students for their overseas education and have become sought-after destinations with time. Talking about Canada, applications to colleges and universities in Canada have skyrocketed lately and more so because of the changing policies.

In this article, we draw a comparison between USA and Canada stating the various procedures involved in studying an MS in the two countries. It rests on you to decide which country suits your academic needs.

Study an MS in Canada

Canada is a growing market for overseas education, and many Indian students have been eyeing the country for their higher studies.

Popular MS courses in Canada

Canada has nearly 98 universities that confer degrees and nearly 150 colleges that confer diplomas and short courses, to international students. Canadian universities have been reported to educate nearly 1.8 million students annually and the number is quite promising owing to their brilliant higher education system.

Canada offers MS courses for typically 1 or 2 years duration. Although, most courses follow a traditional approach of teaching and learning, there are a lot of projects and group work that are handled by the students, thus maintaining a balance between work and study.

The most popular MS courses in Canada for international students include Computer Science, Information Technology, Electronic Engineering, Healthcare, Biotechnology and Environmental Engineering.

Entry requirements

Each university in Canada has specific entry requirements for international student admissions. The overall criteria are same in most places, i.e., you need to take either IELTS, TOEFL, GRE or GMAT before you start applying for your masters or bachelors in Canada.

Apart from language proficiency test scores, you need to have proper funding and plan your budget accordingly.

A very important requirement to study an MS in Canada is to obtain a study permit. A study permit is granted to a student who wishes to stay in Canada for more than 6 months for his/her higher education. A very critical factor here is the university offer letter that serves as a lottery to your visa!

To study in some provinces, you might require an acceptance certificate by the government of Canada to apply for your study permit. 

Where to apply for an MS in Canada?

The list of universities to apply for an MS in Canada:

  1. University of Toronto
  2. University of British Columbia
  3. McGill University
  4. University of Alberta
  5. McMaster University

Cost of studying & living in Canada

How much does it cost to study in Canada? For a bachelors degree, your tuition fee will be from INR 14,800,000 to 15,12,800 per year, depending on the type of bachelors course you choose to study. For a masters degree, your tuition fee will be from INR 10,56,900 to 23,68,000 per year, depending on the masters course you choose to study.

Visa process

You need to have the following key documents to apply for a Canadian visa:

  1. A firm acceptance letter
  2. Proof of financial support
  3. Tuition fees and living expenses
  4. Vaccination or any health certificates, stating that you’re in good health.
  5. Proof that you don’t have any criminal records.

Post study work options

Canada has encouraged international students to settle in the country after completing their studies. Students can stay back and search for jobs after successfully completing their masters from a recognised university in Canada.

Scholarships for Indian students

Is there any possibility of getting scholarships to study in Canada? Yes, there are plenty of international scholarships in Canada that you can apply for.

Canadian universities that have several scholarships on offer

  1. University of King’s College
  2. Queen’s University
  3. University of the Fraser Valley
  4. Brock University
  5. Trent University
  6. Brandon University

Current living conditions

Current living conditions in Canada are quite decent. Starting from an Indian to a foreigner, everybody feels at home owing to the warm welcome they receive from Canadians. Canadians are polite and jovial people who like to live life the way they want.

Study an MS in the United States

United States is the biggest market for overseas education, and it’s said that every 6th international student in the USA  is an Indian.

Popular MS courses in the USA

Most MS courses at US universities are of 2 years duration. The MS courses that are popular with Indian students include Computer Science, Electronics, Biotechnology, Engineering and Life Sciences.

Find postgraduate courses in Computer Science in the USA.

Entry requirements

Common entrance test scores like IELTS and TOEFL scores are asked by most universities. But depending on the programme you apply for, other exams like SAT or GRE might be mandatory to apply at some US universities. Another important criteria to apply for your studies in the USA are a crisp essay/statement of purpose, letter of recommendation, CV and any other credential information as demanded by universities.

Where to apply for an MS in the USA?

  1. California Institute of Technology
  2. Stanford University
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. Harvard University
  5. Princeton University
  6. University of California, Berkeley

Cost of studying & living in the USA

Please read – the cost of studying an MS in the US.

Visa process

Most students planning to study in the USA need to go through the F1 student visa interview process at the nearest US embassy. Questions that are commonly asked during the visa interview include ‘who will sponsor you? Will you return to India? What’s your IELTS score? Why did you choose USA? Why did you choose this university?’ and so on.

Post study work options

With the changing policies, it might be little difficult to assert anything right now regarding the work options for international students post their studies. But the major decision maker for your work option is the university where you study at, and of course the government.

Scholarships for Indian students

US universities that have several scholarships on offer:

  1. Maryland Institute College of Art
  2. State University of New York College at Cortland
  3. Metropolitan College of New York
  4. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
  5. University of Kentucky

Current living conditions

At the time of writing, we all know what’s happening around the world and that includes the USA. But still people have strong hopes due to the strong civil society in the USA. According to OECD, USA provides some of the best living conditions to its people. A number of students are still moving to the USA for their higher education. In fact on 8 June 2017, 4000 study visas were issued to Indian students for their higher studies in the USA, marking the day as a ‘Student Visa Day’ in India.


Here you go with a brief analysis about the study abroad procedure for an MS in the USA or Canada. Please remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, thus you can’t measure one country against another always. To decide which country suits your academic profile you need to consider where you want to see yourself in next few years − Do you want to return to your native country after completing your education?  Do you want to settle in the country abroad? Do you want to work post studies? What kind of work or lifestyle you look forward to in your life? Will you be taking an education loan? If yes, how are you planning to repay the loan and in how many years?

These are some of the questions you should be asking now so that you can plan better for your MS abroad. You can have a word with our counselling team who can give you some direction on how to plan for your MS admissions this year. 

The reason why we wrote this article- we've received many questions on our forum and on Quora where students asked us about our views on 'which is a better country to study an MS - Canada or USA?'. Our answer was -

Need help choosing a country to study?

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