Jump to content
splinter111

Phd in Canada (UoT, UBC...)

Recommended Posts

Hi guys,

I am an international student considering also applying to Canadian universities.

First of all, do you have any clue, how do Canadian universities fare in terms of reputation, academic rigor, etc. compared to American unis?

On a similar note, how 'difficult' is to get in ? I haven't been able to find any admissions statistics (number of applicants, admission offers)

Is getting into UoT, UBC, McGill, Western, let's say as difficult as getting into top US 25 ?

Moreover, I have heard some rumors that (for whatever reasons) Phds from Canada are considered inferior to American Phds.

Is this true? and does this also apply to outside of North America ?

Last but not least, Canada is supposed to be a very 'livable' country, how does it compare with America ? ; and sorry for being so blunt, is it a better place to live?

Please feel free to offer any insights/ comments.

Cheers !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys,

I am an international student considering also applying to Canadian universities.

First of all, do you have any clue, how do Canadian universities fare in terms of reputation, academic rigor, etc. compared to American unis?

On a similar note, how 'difficult' is to get in ? I haven't been able to find any admissions statistics (number of applicants, admission offers)

Is getting into UoT, UBC, McGill, Western, let's say as difficult as getting into top US 25 ?

Moreover, I have heard some rumors that (for whatever reasons) Phds from Canada are considered inferior to American Phds.

Is this true? and does this also apply to outside of North America ?

Last but not least, Canada is supposed to be a very 'livable' country, how does it compare with America ? ; and sorry for being so blunt, is it a better place to live?

Please feel free to offer any insights/ comments.

Cheers !

I'm hesitant to offer a reply, but as you are soliciting "any insights/comments", I'll have a go.

There are a couple of issues with your question, and these appear to mostly stem from the fact that you are not couching your inquires in a nuanced appreciation of the application process/post-PhD routes/quality of life. This is exacerbated by your insistence on knowing which is "best", which, frankly, I find misguided and antagonistic.

Why are you pre-occupied with the reputation/rank of schools comparative to the US?

Rank does not equate to best experience/opportunities; it is better to go where your research interests will be supported, challenged, and permitted to thrive, and this has to do with "fit", not rank. I feel as though you might get skewed responses, as the prioritization of "rank" is not as dominanat in Canada as it is in the US; but this should not be construed as an inferiority (again, a bit of an antagonistic word choice).

That being said, you can garner insight from the Times Higher Education Top University Rankings. But, again, these are nuanced, it's not just a matter of what's better.

Here's a regional list, with a focus on North America:

http://www.timeshigh...th-america.html

Here's a social sciences discipline-specific list:

http://www.timeshigh...l-sciences.html

Here's one that focuses on reputation:

http://www.timeshigh...n-rankings.html

You see what I mean? You don't want name brand just because it's name brand. You need to balance considerations of a school's overall reputation with it's capacity to support you in your specific disipline and is suited for the career that you want to end up in.

If your value of reputation has to do with having ample name recognition and international opportunities post-PhD, then it is possible to find out this kind of information by looking at PLACEMENT statistics, instead of admissions ones. You can find out this info from departmental websites that usually pre-offer details regarding where alumni end up.

As to whether it is difficult to get in...

UBC, U of T and McGill are known as top schols within Canada (if you must see this by the numbers, a popular reference is the Maclean's Rankings, though there are assessments are not universally accepted or endorsed): http://oncampus.macl...ity-rankings-2/)

That being said, I guess it depends on what you mean by "difficult".

I mean, many programs don't require a GRE score, which may or may not be a bonus for you.

BUT, many programs also require that you have an MA first before you gain entrance to the PhD; again, this may or may not be a big deal for you.

For other admission requirement insights (acknowledging, of course, that attaining the minimal requirements is no guarantee of aceptance AND falling short does not mean an automatic rejection if you can display other elements that compensate), you need to look at each institution on its on merits.

Let's take U of T's Poli-Sci Department, for example:

Admission requirements for MA/PhD studies are outlined here:

http://politics.utor...n-requirements/

To check where your internationally-granted credentials fit, you can look here: http://portal.sgs.ut...intdegequiv.asp

However, you have to consider, with all of this, that the departmental cohorts consist of only 20-30% international students (this is clearly outlined on the department's grad studies home page, along with a brief allusion to placement, as I emphasized above):

http://politics.utoronto.ca/graduate/

NOW, consider that one of the reasons that the cohorts are constituted as they are is because of U of T funding arrangements, which are amplified for international students given higher costs:

http://www.artsci.ut...raduate/funding

So you see, there is a need to be more nuanced in your assessment. I've heard that entrance into Canadian programs is hyper-competitive for international students, because spots in the program are often funded... IMO, a non-funded program is simply a deal-breaker (indicating both quality of experience in program as well as quality of life), but you might feel differently, again, NUANCED.

This also goes for whether or not you deem a city to be "livable". You should look at each city, as I encourage you to look at each institution, on its own merits with a mind for what you want to get out of your own lived experience. You simply can't say "Is the US more liveable than Canada?"; you understand that both of these countries are massive right?! There is incredible variance within the nations, to say nothing of comparing the two. And, it all hinges on what you value.

For example, speaking within Canada, U of T and UBC are located in Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia, respectively. These are opposite sides of the country (!), though they usually share the dubious honour of being the most expensive cities in Canada. However, compared to the US, LOTS of places in Canada have a higher cost of living (our taxes, food, booze, gas and electronics are, often, a good deal more expensive); but, you know, free-ish health care!

What does "liveable" mean to you? It's largely subjective. I was talking to someone coming to Toronto from Istanbul and she was worried that she's be bored because, comparatively, Toronto is so much smaller! I love Toronto and find ample opportunities to entertain myself, but it is still a good deal smaller than, say, New York. What kind of climate do you thrive in? It does get kind of cold in many parts of the country (though, again, I totally wilt in the heat and welcome the cold!) Can you speak French? You mention McGill University (and, truely, one can live at this uni and in the city as an Anglophone), but the whole province's dominant first language is French and some would value this structure and have more opportunities therein than others!

You haven't given any detail on what you value or what your thresholds are, so I can't recommend one city over another, OR one country over another.

You need to articulate what you want out of these experiences (both institutionally/departmentally, and in terms of living conditions and quality of life); and THEN you need to assess each place on its own merits.

And, if you're coming to Canada, you need to be more polite about it :P

I do hope that some of that is helpful and that it doesn't lend itself to defensiveness! I have many colleagues in both the US and Canada, and the happy ones are the ones that are getting what they need from their institutions, departments and supervisors, and this is regardless of region, it just depends on what you value, what you need, and where you can contribute (or, "fit").

Best of luck!

Edited by surefire

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. In general Canadian and American Universities are invested in two different schools of teaching political science. US- much more quantitative and Canada much more qualitative (in general). decide what you want.

2. It seems to be much easier to get a job with US degree in Canada than with a Canadian in the US. (again think about where you want to work. if it is your country this does not matter)

3. Most PhDs enter with an MA in Canada- so the emphasis is much less on taking classes.You will start on with your research and have one on one interaction with your advisor. It is really important that you had a clear idea what you want to do and have an advisor (or more interesting people) that you want to work with before getting there. You will have few classes to figure these out. Again if you had enough of classes this may be what you want.

4.Look at placement in general and funding for international students carefully. Even big universities are not very clear about this! When do you have to start TAing? Living expenses? Size of cohorts/placement (do you want to work in jobs like the placements)

5.If the above post is correct - 20-30% of international students is a good ratio anywhere. you can ask the departments for admission statistics though. Asking for no GRE is good and bad at the same time probably. A lot of people may try who wrote a weak gre.(although I do not know this for sure)

6. Canada is a very livable country. There are great and diverse cities with a lot of cultural events. I think though that most American college cities are nice too.

Edited by kaykaykay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kaykaykay: just as a note, I did not mean to downvote your post, I meant to upvote it. Gradcafe will not let me fix this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to be a jerk... however... with internet anonymity at my back I am going to put the following out there in the universe. Take it or leave it.

Do not apply to any university in any country for any reason other than that you want to go to that university. By that I mean - no one should apply to universities in Canada just because they don't think they will get in to a top 25 programme in the states.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for the late reply but there are a few things I may like to add if everyone will permit me.

After an unfortunate year in the application cycle I have begun to look at Canadian schools given the fact that they, with the exception of UBC, does not require GRE scores. Since I did not do well on my GRE scores, a 1040 as a general reminder of my idiocy since I have not been online here in awhile, I do not think I can garner admittance into a top 25 school despite my academic credentials.With that said, sorry to disagree with FleetFoxes, both Toronto and McGill have faculty that meet with my research interests and from what I see both school have decent placement in the states and tend to offer good financial packages.

So to cut a story short Canadian schools are not bad but just be careful and carefully research each schools before applying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.