International Candidates

International students discussing in front of a white board

University systems are different in the structure of their programs but also in the terms they use to describe them. Canada, like others, has its traditions and its vocabulary. You will find in the Glossary, the definitions of terms commonly used in universities.

Description of our degrees


A bachelor’s degree or the equivalent of a canadian bachelor degree must be held to be eligible for admission into a master’s program. Duration of the program is approximately two years, depending upon if the student pursues a master’s with thesis or research paper, or master’s with coop internship. The first year of studies consists of courses directly relating to the program, while the second year is dedicated to the writing of the student’s thesis or research paper.

Master's with thesis

Students who have completed this master’s program are eligible to continue at the doctoral level.

  • Duration: Typically two years (full time)
  • Structure: Year one: Courses and thesis proposal; year two: research and thesis writing
Master's with major research paper

Similar to the master’s with thesis. However, less time is devoted to the research and writing component.

  • Duration: Typically 16 months (full time)
  • Structure: Eight to 12 months of courses; four to eight months working on the research paper


The highest level of study, the doctoral degree follows the master’s degree and takes approximately four to five years to complete. Typically, the first two years are dedicated to courses relating directly to the subject, while one to two years are used to write the thesis.

  • Duration: Typically four to five years (full time)
  • Structure: Years one and two: coursework, comprehensive exam, thesis proposal; years three and four: research and thesis writing

Graduate diploma

Comprising of 15 university credits (usually 5 courses), diploma programs are intensive thus allowing students to get right to the heart of a subject. Duration is one year of studies typically consisting of two terms (sessions).

International Admission

Admission essentials for international candidates

The International Office has prepared a guide to help candidates considering the University of Ottawa for their post-graduate studies.

Admission requirements

Ensure that you met the minimum admission requirement of your program of choice.

Admission equivalencies

Verify your Admission Equivalencies to find out the degree equivalent you will need in order to do a master’s or doctorate degree with us.

Note that this tool is intended as a general reference and does not replace the admission process to graduate studies. As this tool serves as a guideline, it could occur that the admission requirements may be higher for some graduate programs.

Language requirements

Most courses at the University of Ottawa are given in English, French or both languages. Therefore, you must master one of the two official languages to be admitted.

In the case of applicants whose first language is neither English nor French, evidence of proficiency in the language of instruction, is required in the form of an approved language test.

Application deadlines

Application deadlines vary depending on the program of studies.

Cost of living expenses

You must ensure that you will have sufficient funding to cover university fees, health care costs and living expenses for the duration of your studies, beyond the minimum stipend offered (if applicable) by your thesis supervisor.

You must have a valid study permit before being eligible to enrol to courses.

Useful links

Graduated International Student Testimony

Kushal Gill

"Being an international student, I was a little skeptical when I came to Canada but the support from the staff like Sylvie Deblois (Graduate Studies Academic Administration Officer), Blanche Dinelle (Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM) Department Administrative Secretary) and all others was tremendous.

When I discuss my experience with international students in other Canadian universities, I realize how lucky I am. The Graduate Studies Office of the Faculty of Medicine is very helpful in assisting students with financial aid.

The staff at the Graduate Studies Office are very proactive in finding the academic potential of the students. The Faculty of Medicine provides a great exposure which helps to build a strong foundation. I am loving my stay in Ottawa."

- Kushal Gill, M.Sc.

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