Want to explore more possibilities for your life? Studying for a master's degree in Canada is an extremely cost-effective option. Compared to an undergraduate degree, a two-year master's program can save you a considerable amount in tuition and living expenses. Applicants tend to be more reflective about their learning goals and future plans, and can gain more in their experience studying abroad.
Today, UtoCanada will tell you about what must know when you come to study in Canada.

Do I have to apply for a graduate program in the same field as my undergrad?

First of all, coming to Canada to study for a master's degree requires that you already have a bachelor's degree. Secondly, most masters’ programs in Canada require students to have relevant undergraduate prerequisites. Students graduating from a liberal arts program in China are unlikely to apply for a master's program in science and engineering. However, having said that, even if you have a relevant educational background from China, the required prerequisites for the undergraduate courses in that same major in Canada are not the same. For some majors, an undergraduate degree obtained in China is not necessarily recognized, such as accounting and medical science majors.

However, there are some programs that do not require an undergraduate background. The most common ones are the MBA and education programs.

What is the difference between thesis-based and course-based programs?

The first thing that needs to be clarified is the type of master’s degree that can be obtained. Most graduate programs are divided into thesis-based and course-based. Both types of programs can be available for some majors. Students can choose according to their academic plans. However, some program courses are only offered in one type of program.

The course-based master's programs are often employment-oriented, focusing on the development of students' practical abilities, such as the master's degree in accounting, finance, engineering and so on. The main focus is on the content of the course, which upon completion of assignments and exams, you can get your degree. The main concern here, is that content of the course will be more in-depth than the undergraduate level.

Many students are interested in diving deeper into a major they are interested in after finishing their undergraduate studies. However, if they are uncertain about their academic path, or if they have difficulty applying for a doctoral program, they tend to take a graduate program as a stepping-stone first. Because course-based programs are often similar to those at the undergraduate level, students are still not required to determine their academic interests and research directions yet. In contrast, thesis-based programs, as the name implies, only allow for students to graduate after writing a dissertation. What does this mean? First of all, you must choose your own research direction while studying, and often times, you will need to provide a description of your research interests when you apply. Secondly, you must choose and contact a professor as your thesis supervisor during your studies. Second to that is your class attendance. Communication with the tutor is a crucial part of your graduate studies.

Do I choose a university or a major? In fact, you need to choose a tutor.

Before answering this question, students must first clarify their purpose of studying abroad and studying for a master's degree – whether they want to complete a degree to get credits for immigration, or they really want to develop themselves academically.

If you are just thinking of doing a masters program as a transitional method, then as long as the program meets your interests and employment direction, you can definitely consider it. As for academic quality, your purpose of studying may just be to graduate and find a job successfully, and to explore the possibility of future immigration to different cities. In this case, the program’s employment prospects and the school’s location are more important than its university ranking.

If you are serious about academics, then you must already have a major in your mind. What should you base your decisions on at this time? Also think about your plans for the future. If you want to return to your home country to teach at a university after completing your doctorate’s degree, then the reputation of the university needs to be considered. If you are determined to stay abroad to do research and make some academic achievements, then it is does not matter which university you choose. The important thing to consider is where you can find a good tutor most relevant to your research interests.

Each university’s website publishes information on their professors. Important information you need to know includes their research areas and thesis publications. If a high-level of papers is published every year, then this proves that the professor remains active in the field. You are also likely to gain more from them as an advisor. Want to understand the level of professors? Read the professor's thesis!

What are the necessary application materials?

The necessary application materials will be clearly listed on the program’s website, generally including the following items:

  • Undergraduate transcript (Chinese and English)
  • Two or three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • bachelor’s degree diploma
  • English proficiency certificate
  • GRE scores (Canadian postgraduate programs rarely require this, but it may be possible depending on the program)
  • GMAT scores (depending on the program, but many business schools require this)

There are several aspects needed:

  • Many programs have requirements for your average grades in the undergraduate-level, so undergrads should not view their grades too lightly. Particularly, the grades from the last two years of the undergraduate program are particularly important.
  • Letters of recommendation generally require academic referees. So, try to find professors who you know well. It does not matter how high his position is, but the better the relationship you have with the professor, the more promising the reference letter. Many schools allow students to fill out the e-mail address of the referee, so they can send the recommendation letter directly to the school. Be sure to remind your referee to submit it in time before the deadline.
  • Personal statements are the best way to highlight your personal character, academic achievements and experience. If your academic performance is slightly weaker, you must use your own experience and strengths in other aspects to make yourself stand out. UtoCanada has extensive experience in this area. If you are confused about how to write your personal statement, feel free to ask us.

It is said that there are "hidden tricks" in the application process?

For applicants who are interested in academics, there is actually another hidden weapon that can help. As mentioned above, you should have a full understanding of the tutor in your research field, and you have roughly selected a number of professors as your desired tutors. At this time, it is necessary to take a moment to communicate with the tutors privately.

The professor’s email address can be found on the school’s website. You can send an email to express your intention to apply for the master’s program. Briefly describe your academic background, research interests and results (such as the undergraduate thesis), indicating that you hope to do research with him/her in the coming term. Make sure to ask the professor if he/she has any plans to take on an advising role. If the professor expresses interest, your normal application is likely to be promoted by the professor ’s willingness to accept the role.

Work experience is a plus!

Many students in China go into their graduate studies after graduation from university, but local Canadian students often work for a period of time after university, and then continue to study. Many people decide to return to school for graduate studies after working for several years. Therefore, work experience is a very convincing point in the application, and it strongly proves your abilities. If you have internship or work experience during your undergraduate studies or after graduation, you must state it, without a doubt.

What is the application process?

Step 1: choose a school and a major, and start applying (September 2019 to January 2020). Determine the application deadline for your program, and you can start applying for admission. During this period, you need to gather your materials, process your documents, and submit your IELTS / TOEFL / GRE / GMAT scores. Although all major schools have online application platforms, some materials still need to be mailed to the school.

Step 2: Wait for an acceptance letter (January to March 2020) Wait for notifications from the school. If you need to submit additional materials, you must provide them in time.

Step 3: Receive an acceptance letter (April to June 2020). Major universities will send out admission results one-by-one.

Step 4: Apply for a visa (May-July 2020) After getting your admission results, you can start applying for a Canadian student visa. Canada has opened the Student Direct Stream (SDS) to citizens of four Asian countries, including China, and requires you to meet the following requirements:

  • have an IELTS minimum score of 6.0 in each section
  • have an acceptance letter from any DLI designated college/university
  • prove that you’ve paid the tuition fees for your first year of study
  • have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 CAD

Step 5: Prepare for the journey (July-August 2020)
Book a flight ticket, contact and confirm your accommodation, if you have received a conditional offer, you need to submit any missing materials in time.

Brief Summary

Some people may think that graduate programs are easier to get into than undergraduate programs, making a graduate degree seem less authentic. However, in Canada, students do not have to worry about this, because whether it is teachers, curriculum, or supporting resources, the high standards of the overall education quality in Canadian universities can definitely guarantee your academic achievement.

For students who have successfully completed a bachelor's degree, application to a Canadian graduate program is definitely not a problem. Through our guidance, your vision may have become clearer. If you require more information, please feel free to contact us.