A Comprehensive Guide On The 10 Most Popular Degrees In Canada

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Written by Pareeshti Rao

It all started with an impulsive urge to befriend Enid Blyton and be a part of the famous five! Writing since then has been my magic wand and I've used it to sprinkle words like fairy dust and express myself thereat.

August 8, 2021

There are several reasons why Canada should be considered one of the top global study destinations. It provides a diverse range of courses, from undergraduate degrees to Master’s degrees. Research is an important part of Canadian institutions that students usually continue to pursue after their graduate degrees, and it helps them stay on the cutting edge of technology. This guide comprises the most popular degrees in Canada commonly pursued by international students, inclusive of parameters such as costs, average salaries post-study, and universities offering these degrees.

A substantial percentage of international students identify the quality of education, post-study employment opportunities, and Canada’s multicultural society as the major reasons for choosing to study there. It’s easy to understand why, with seven universities ranked among the top 200 in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2021. You’ve undoubtedly considered studying in Canada and are curious about Canada’s most popular degrees for international students. We’ve examined the statistics, scrutinised the findings, and compiled a guide on the most popular degrees in Canada for you.

5 Most Popular Bachelor’s Degrees In Canada

most popular degrees in Canada

#1 Business or Management Sciences (MS)


About: Undergraduate business courses, widely known as Management Sciences, are one of the most popular degrees in Canada to pursue. These degrees are more tied to math than commerce and will teach students about theories and models in statistics and programming, and how to apply them to a variety of business problems. According to the 2016 Statistics Canada report, an MS degree offers on average the highest salaries for women.

Average Salary: $110,000 – $115,000 (USD)
Tuition Fees: $5,400 – $8,000

Popular Universities:

Some of the top universities offering this course for international students include:

  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • McGill University

Potential jobs include administrative services, budget, and management analysts, and marketing managers.

#2 Petroleum or Chemical Engineering


About: Chemical engineering students will study the same basic math and science courses as students in other engineering fields. This is one of the topmost valuable degrees in Canada where students will study fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, and process modelling in order to develop operations that will turn raw materials into specified products for the many sectors in which they may be employed, such as oil and gas, medicines, or energy. 

Average Salary: $104,000 (USD)
Tuition Fees: $6,000 – $15,000

Popular Universities:

Some of the top universities offering this course for international students include:

  • University of Alberta
  • University of Regina
  • University of Calgary

Petroleum and chemical engineers can expect employment from energy companies, research institutes, and the government.

#3 Finance


About: Students who specialise in finance will learn how to organise, manage, and evaluate the financial elements of corporations, banks, and other organisations after two years of basic business courses. 

Average Salary: $103,376 (USD)
Tuition Fees: $5,400 – $7,632

Popular Universities:

Some of the top universities offering this course for international students include:

  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • McGill University

An undergraduate course in finance is one of the most popular degrees in Canada wherein, upon graduation, you will be eligible to work in a variety of financial roles such as security analyst, market research analyst, bank manager, mortgage broker, or portfolio manager.

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#4 Pharmacology


A Bachelor’s degree in pharmacology is just the initial step for your education as a pharmacist, but the payoff may be significant. After earning a degree, you must additionally pass a test administered by the Pharmacy Examination Board of Canada, complete an apprenticeship, and register with your province’s college. The Government of Canada anticipates a shortage of pharmacists until at least 2024, thus job prospects are plentiful.

Average Salary: $102,398 (USD)
Tuition Fees: $7,600 – $20,000


Popular Universities:

Some of the top universities offering this course for international students include:

  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • Dalhousie University

#5 GeoSciences


About: A Bachelor’s degree in geosciences is one of the top courses to study in Canada for international students that can open many doors to mining and petroleum exploration, environmental consulting, and urban development, among other fields. These abilities are highly prized in Canada’s mining industry, which has lately faced some difficulty due to decreased commodity prices. According to COPS, it is anticipated to grow considerably over the next several years due to the recent rise in exploration.

Average Salary: $100,006 (USD)
Tuition Fees: $5,800 – $8,000


Popular Universities:

Some of the top universities offering this course for international students include:

  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Calgary

5 Most Popular Master’s Degrees In Canada

most popular degrees in Canada

#1 Medicine


International postgraduate students rank medical degrees at the top of the list of most desired qualifications in Canada, mirroring undergraduate demand. Postgraduate medical degrees are intended for professional growth, research, and skill development in a medical specialty. Clinical oncology to biological research, are all examples of this. There is no doubt that having an advanced degree in the medical profession improves your job chances and, in certain circumstances, is required for practising in specific medical fields. Medicine is one of the most popular degrees in Canada for Masters’, offered in the following Canadian institutions:

  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Fraser Valley
  • Wilfrid Laurier University

#2 Psychology


International postgraduate students have expressed a strong interest in postgraduate degrees in psychology. One of the major incentives is that an advanced degree in the topic is frequently required for professional certification and the ability to work as a psychologist. A master’s degree in the field sharpens critical thinking and analytical abilities. Although you may desire to work as a psychologist, your abilities may be utilised in a variety of sectors such as business, social work, and even market research. In Canada, the following universities offer postgraduate psychology programmes:

  • Trent University
  • Royal Roads University
  • Queen’s University

#3 Accounting


Advanced accounting degrees continue to stand amongst the top degrees that guarantee a job in Canada for overseas students. Not only do these degrees improve your professional skills, but they are also sought after by companies. With the applicability of this knowledge in numerous work settings and areas, you will be able to expand the breadth of your job opportunities. Professionalism is emphasised in these programmes with a significant real-world focus. Three of Canada’s most prestigious universities that offer postgraduate accounting programmes are:

  • McGill University
  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia

#4 Civil And Mechanical Engineering


Students who want to advance their professional abilities or specialise after completing a basic undergraduate engineering degree or a programme in a related subject prefer civil and mechanical engineering specialisations. With a high need for these abilities, it’s a fantastic career move that boosts your employability. These courses may also count toward or be required for your professional engineer qualification and accreditation. The top three engineering universities in Canada are:

  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Waterloo

#5 Public Health


Public health rounds out the top five most popular degrees in Canada for postgraduate studies. Students pursuing this certification will be exposed to a degree with an international focus that will seek to solve major global health issues. You will gain analytical skills as well as be exposed to knowledge from different topics such as economics, international relations, and politics. These degrees can lead to jobs in the humanitarian industry, with governments, and with international organisations such as the United Nations. Take a peek at some of the most popular institutions that offer this course:

  • McGill University
  • University of Calgary
  • McMaster University

Scholarships & Funding Opportunities In Canada


Tuition fees aside, as international students, you will come across several other expenses such as accommodation, cost of living, transportation, and miscellaneous costs. There are possibilities that it may be difficult to manage your finances all at once. To make it easier for you, UniScholarz is a platform where you can apply for scholarships to study in Canada for free and relax your financial burdens. You can either go for university-funded scholarships, or funds and grants provided by external organizations. There are 2 main types of scholarships that you can apply to, namely:

Merit-based scholarships are given to students who have performed extremely well academically or have achieved an excellent score in their entrance tests like IELTS, GMAT, GRE, etc. These scholarships can either be partially, or fully funded and can contribute towards your tuition, accommodation, and living expenses.

Need-based scholarships, on the other hand, are given to those who aren’t able to pay for their degree studies without external help. This is why there are many scholarships offered to students from under-represented backgrounds. However, you will have to show proof of your requirement of funds if you wish to apply for need-based scholarships.

Thank you for reading this blog on the most popular degrees in Canada. If you’d like to read more, here are some blogs that might be of interest to you:

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