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I've seen several posts on Canadians attending graduate programs in the U.S., but none for the reverse. I'm considering applying to a few PhD programs (in political science) located north of the border, but I'm wary of going through the immigration process, getting a visa, and jumping through the bureaucratic hoops. I'm from the Upper Midwest, and I speak both English and French, so Canada wouldn't be much of a culture shock to me (certainly much less than the South/West Coast/etc. Has anyone here attended, or is anyone here currently attending grad school in Canada? I guess my main questions are:

1) Do Canadian Ph.D. programs prefer to admit local students over U.S. students?

2) As an American with a PhD from a Canadian institution, how difficult is it to get an academic job at a university in Canada? Has anyone here done this?

Edited by northstar22

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After posting this, I realize it would probably fit better in the admissions forum. I apologize. Mods, could you possibly move this thread over there, please?

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I'm a Canadian in a Canadian school (aerospace engineering).

1) I think in general it's easier for all programs to admit local students, but my current department has 30% international students. A few from the states

2) I don't think it would be any more difficult for you as an American than if you were Canadian

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*waves hand*

I'm an American just in my first month of my MA at University of Alberta. (One of two in my department of 12 students.) There aren't a ton of Americans in graduate departments here, maybe a hundred at most?

For the visa/immigration stuff, it's no big deal if you're from the state. You can do the student visa application online (costs $100ish), and you'll get your visa in a couple weeks. You can't apply for a work permit until you've been in good standing and enrolled in a university for at least six months, but you are allowed to work on campus. (So TA/Research Assistant, etc. is all fair game.) I guess the only complicated things are getting Provincial health insurance and your SIN card for working, but it doesn't take very long to do. Oh, and unless you're going to Quebec, French isn't necessary. :D

As for your other questions, I don't think it particularly matters for PhD/MA programs. 90% of my department is international, and nearly all of us have funding. And I'm pretty sure it's not going to make any difference that you're American if you apply for academic jobs in Canada. (Funny enough, none of the profs in my department are originally Canadian!)

Good luck!

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1) Do Canadian Ph.D. programs prefer to admit local students over U.S. students?

Last year our program admitted 3 Canadians and 3 Americans. All the Americans eventually turned us down in favour of American schools. So maybe there's a hint of a "Ugh, why do we keep bothering?" mentality but realistically being American won't hurt you in psych. In politics, however, what are you studying? Is it something that's country-specific like public policy? If so it might be good to indicate somewhere (e.g., statement of purpose) that you're familiar with how Canadian government works.

2) As an American with a PhD from a Canadian institution, how difficult is it to get an academic job at a university in Canada? Has anyone here done this?

Some job ads state that their preference is for Canadian citizens but from what I've seen that's essentially meaningless. There are plenty of American academics here already, at least half of my professors. It won't be a problem.

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Some job ads state that their preference is for Canadian citizens but from what I've seen that's essentially meaningless.

I think they might even be required to put that. I noticed that on a recent job posting in my department, but they would probably just take the best candidate regardless. If there are two equally strong candidates, the Canadian or permanent resident will probably be preferred because it's easier.

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I think they might even be required to put that. I noticed that on a recent job posting in my department, but they would probably just take the best candidate regardless. If there are two equally strong candidates, the Canadian or permanent resident will probably be preferred because it's easier.

I think you're right but in academics it's trivial for the department to make the case to hire a non-Canadian. Our last three hires have been American.

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1) Do Canadian Ph.D. programs prefer to admit local students over U.S. students?

2) As an American with a PhD from a Canadian institution, how difficult is it to get an academic job at a university in Canada? Has anyone here done this?

Replying from Simon Fraser University's perspective.

1. SFU's practice is to admit the best student who matches the faculty's interests, no matter where they come from. In many cases, the decision of who's "best" is based on the applicant's first-contact with a faculty member. (The practice of most of the faculty of science is to discourage applications which weren't sponsored by a faculty member, so that first-contact is incredibly important.)

2. There are loads of Americans teaching in Canada and at SFU. Getting an academic job is as easy here as anywhere else. Which is to say, it's tough here, too, but do-able if you're good. FWIW, there were 30'ish new junior faculty members at the faculty orientation this fall.

Americans actually have the easiest time of all our international grad students, in terms of getting across the border, because of all the free trade agreements.

SFU's tuition is also low compared to the US: $5k per year (based on 3 semesters), no international differential fee for research-based programs. If you TA, the basic health plan is part of your compensation, and the extended health plan (dental, vision) is $400/year through the grad student society.

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1) Do Canadian Ph.D. programs prefer to admit local students over U.S. students?

2) As an American with a PhD from a Canadian institution, how difficult is it to get an academic job at a university in Canada? Has anyone here done this?

1) With regard to your first question, Canadian PhD programmes tend to have more domestic students than U.S. students, but this is usually due to funding reasons, and not necessarily because they intrinsically prefer domestic students, though that ends up being the consequence. A lot of the government-based or gov-administrated funding in Canada is for Canadian students only, and further some university money ends up being dedicated exclusively to Canadian students. This makes it effectively easier to admit Canadians. That said, as a general rule, there are fewer Americans applying to Canadian schools than Canadians, so there is money available for international students.

Further, grad schools are concerned with their 'reach', which is getting applications from diverse places across the country and outside of it, so the fact that you're not local can benefit you

2) In contrast to the above, Canadian universities prefer to hire Canadians, as a rule. There are exceptions, of course, and plenty of Americans do work at Canadian universities, but almost every university in Canada (with the exception of private universities) is required to give preference to Canadian applicants, as they will mark clearly on job postings. This will greatly hinder an American's ability to get the job, unless he/she is without doubt a better fit for the position than any of the Canadian applicants.

That said, if you're doing your PhD in Canada, establish roots in Canada, and become a Canadian citizen or even permanent resident, then you'll have the same fighting chance as the rest.

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