Fri | Mar 5, 2021

Immigration Corner | Should I apply to Canada for postgraduate study?

Published:Tuesday | January 5, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Deidre S. Powell
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Ms Powell,

I recently completed my bachelor’s degree a little early and would like to pursue studies abroad. I was looking at various countries and I can’t make up my mind. My family members are suggesting the USA, UK and various countries in Europe. However, I’m drawn to Canada based on your weekly articles and Facebook posts. My degree is in management studies and I am thinking of a postgraduate professional certificate, MBA or something along those lines. I was looking at the University of Toronto, but I’m still not sure which programme yet. Do you think it would be easy to get a visa to pursue studies in Canada? Is it expensive to study in Canada? Can I work and go to school? Thank you in advance for your time.

– L.L.

Good day L.L.,

Congratulations on completing your first degree early and on your decision to pursue postgraduate studies in Canada. In today’s competitive world, the best thing you can do for yourself is to pursue education that can give you a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

If you choose Canada, you will benefit from a first-class educational system that utilises cutting-edge technology to develop transferable skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, and effective communication. You will also have an enriched cultural experience, plus the opportunity to live and learn in a bilingual environment.

Canada is known worldwide as a nation that is safe, values diversity and inclusion. Additionally, Canadian universities are highly ranked and known for excellence. You mentioned that you are interested in the University of Toronto (UofT). That is an excellent choice, as UofT is known to be one of the top 20 universities in the world. There are many other colleges and universities in less densely populated and competitive provinces such as Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Alberta. Have a look at to see a list of universities and the programmes that they offer.


The visa application process need not be difficult. You simply need to assess what the visa officer is looking for and provide it. The first step is that you must be prepared and provide proof that you can afford to cover your expenses for the duration of your programme.

You will need to examine the tuition cost and the cost of rental, boarding and living in your school community. The average international student needs approximately CDN$25,000 per year to pursue studies in Canada. Can you and/or your parents afford the investment in your postgraduate studies?

While a student will be permitted to work on a part-time basis, there is no guarantee that you will find a job. Therefore, you cannot use your anticipated part-time job as proof that you are able to afford the international studies. Your part-time job should be viewed as a bonus or savings, or to facilitate extracurricular activities, such as trips via rail to explore other provinces, learning to ski and taking on new hobbies. It takes time to adjust to a new environment. What if you never get a part-time job? What if you are overwhelmed with your studies and cannot cope with the demands of a job?


Another critical factor when applying for a study permit, is that you will need to explain why you would like to study in Canada and your choice of studies. Can you pursue an MBA or other suitable studies in your home country? What is unique about the programme that you have chosen? How will this programme help you to achieve your long-term goals? Ultimately, you programme should be one that will have good prospects of employment when you are finished.

Some unique programmes you could look at are master of business administration in community economic development; master of environmental economics and management or masters in operations and research; masters in strategic management, health management or corporate account management. Have a look at for ideas.

A postgraduate diploma at one of the reputable colleges would be less expensive and can be completed in one or two years. If you can matriculate, you should look at a postgraduate diploma in programmes such as brand management, administrative business management, advance business management – alcoholic beverages, advanced security management, analytics for business decision-making, global business management, supply chain management, international business management or brain disorder management, to name a few.


If your desire is to gain international work experience and live permanently in Canada, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate work permit (PGWP) and could live permanently in Canada. If you have the work experience, language skills and other factors to enter the express entry pool, you could be on your way to becoming a permanent resident of Canada. The Express Entry System manages economic programmes and applications from individuals who qualify under the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Federal Skilled Trade Programme and the Provincial Nominee Programme.

The application for study permit and work permit can be simple with the help of an immigration lawyer who has the experience and knowledge of the Canadian immigration laws, regulations, and systems. For more information about application to colleges and universities in Canada or the visa application process, you may request a telephone meeting via my website

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary with office in Ottawa, Ontario. Submit your questions and comments via Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for the latest Canadian immigration news.