Masters in Geography in Canada: Complete Guide for International Students

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    The Masters Program in Geography is a 2-3 years graduate program offered as an MA or MSc degree in Canada. Masters in Geography in Canada can cost you around 10,000 to 50,000 CAD where students can choose to complete a thesis or a major research paper. 

    Masters in Geography in Canada is either offered as mainstream or as a specialization of the related fields such as Geographical Information Systems(GIS), Planning, Geosciences, Environmental Studies, Meteorology Climate Change, and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences.

    • The Intake sessions of the master's program are university dependent. 
      • 1 intake/year: Fall(September) – UBC and UToronto where applications close by end of January
      • 2 intakes: Fall and winter – University of Waterloo, University of Alberta 
      • Some universities offering education in French have 3 intakes/year, like University of Montreal and University of Laval. 
    • Potential employers for geography graduates are consultants in environment/social/economic development, research centers, colleges, municipalities, etc. 

    Why Study Masters in Geography in Canada?

    • UBC, UToronto, and McGill University are ranked in the top 50 global universities offering geography programs. 
    • 8 Canadian Universities rank within the top 100 global universities offering the program. 
    • The demand for geography professors in Canada will lead to 30,200 job openings within 2017-2026. 
    • Geographic information System (GIS) mapping is in high demand. There will be around 21,600 job openings for technicians. 
    Masters in Geography in Canada

    Masters in Geography in Canada: Top Universities

    The table details the list of top universities in Canada offering a Masters program in Geography according to QS World University Rankings 2019 by Subject: Geography

    QS World University Geography Rankings University Program Duration Program cost
    5 University of British Columbia* MSc
    1 8952
    11 University of Toronto MSc(Thesis /Research)
    MA (Thesis /Research)
    1 years 35,066
    32 McGill University MA
    18 months 22276
    51-100 Queen's University at Kingston MA
    2 years 29796
    51-100 Simon Fraser University MA
    2 years 18922
    51-100 University of Waterloo MA
    2 years 14084
    101-150 University of Calgary MA
    Master of GIS
    2 years
    1 year
    151-200 Western University MA
    2 years  14498
    151-200 University of Ottawa MA  2 years  54,485
     –  University of Saskatechwan  MA
    2 years
    2 years

    Masters in Geography in Canada: Course Curriculum

    Masters in Geography is structured to study the processes creating our social and physical environments with the expertise to tackle the interdisciplinary research across a wide range of social and natural sciences. The fields of specialization in Research include the following:

    • Physical Geography and Natural systems
    • Environmental Geography and Resource management
    • Urban/Economic Geography
    • Historical/ social/ cultural Geography
    • Spatial Information Systems
    Overview MA MSc
    Program Type Social science program Natural sciences program
    Specialization Human geography Physical geography involving Environmental Science and Earth Science, spatial information systems and some areas of environmental studies
    Focus Issues relating to human communities and cultures The Earth’s physical materials and processes.
    Areas of study Population Geography, Public Health, Urban Planning, Urban Environments, Geopolitics, Social Research, and International Development. River Environments, Waste Management, Occupational Health, Environmental Management, Pollution Management, Environmental Health, and Ecology
    Duration University dependent Nearly 2 years

    Masters in Geography in Canada: Admission Process

    As an international applicant plans to study in Canada, they are required to ensure that they fulfill the following minimum criteria for making applications with the universities offering the choice of program. 

    How To Apply: International students should complete the online application on the official website or complete the application portal of the corresponding universities before the application deadlines.

    Steps To Be Followed:

    1. Submit your application online including application fee
    2. Upload scanned transcripts and supporting documents online
    3. Keep checking the portal/ID for updates about the decisions. 

    Masters in Geography in Canada: Eligibility Criteria

    Prospective international students fulfilling the listed criteria can apply directly to the university for admission to the program:

    • Education: 16 years of education with a mandatory breakup of 10+2+4
      • Minimum 4 years of bachelors study or completion of both a Bachelor's (three-year) and a Master's degree
    • Submit scores of various entrance tests required for studying in Canada like TOEFL/IELTS/GRE, etc. 
    • Work experience in a related field (if required)

    University Specific Eligibility Criteria

    Given below is the details of the specific admission requirements for admissions at top Canadian Universities: 

    University Minimum UG Grade Equivalents English Language requirements
    University of British Columbia Overall average: B+
    First Class/Division 1 (65%)
    Minimum GPA:8/10
    TOEFL iBt:100
    University of Toronto B+ in final two years of bachelors (or) Minimum GPA 8.5/10 TOEFL iBt:93
    McGill University Minimum second division, upper with minimum CGPA: 3.3 TOEFL iBt:86
    Queen's University at Kingston Minimum second class standing/B+ TOEFL iBt:88
    Simon Fraser University Minimum CGPA in Geography:3.25 TOEFL iBt:93
    University of Waterloo Honors undergraduate/ minimum 75% average TOEFL iBt:100
    University of Calgary First Class Division, or 8/10 TOEFL iBt:86
    Western University 80% in UG TOEFL: 20 listening, 22 listening & reading, 24 writing
    IELTS: 7.0 
    University of Ottawa B+ grade in UG  TOEFL: 92
    IELTS: 6.5
    University of Saskatechwan 70% in UG honors degree TOEFL: 86
    IELTS: 6.5

    Note: TOEFL and IELTS tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time the application is submitted

    Document Submission

    International students must submit all necessary supporting documents to the university to be considered for the admission process in the appropriate admission sessions of the desired program of study.

    • Official academic transcripts of all post-secondary institutions attended
      • Officially certified English translations of the transcripts
    • 2-3 Reference letters
    • Applicant statement form including research and personal history statements
    • Updated CV/resume highlighting academic achievements and professional experience
    • English Language Facility test scores reported electronically by the testing agency to the university 
    • GRE scores (if required). If you have taken the test, it is suggested that you submit the score. 
    • Financial Affidavits to provide proof of funding
    • Official Id including Passport

    Admission Decision

    Prospective students should submit the completed online application along with the receipt of the application fee and all supporting documents of the application package. They are reviewed by the graduate faculty members of the Department of Geography and the admissions committee within 4-6 weeks from the time of submission of all the documents and the status of the application is updated accordingly. 

    Admission is based on the strong undergraduate record in geography or a related discipline. Other criteria for selection include grades, awards, publications, work experience, research statement and letter of references. 

    Masters in Geography in Canada: Cost of Study

    Prospective international students should take in to account the pre-admission and post-admission costs apart from the tuition and other academic-related fees of the corresponding universities

    Pre-arrival cost

    Planning to study abroad? There are certain expenses that you have to make before landing in your desired country for pursuing higher studies. 

    Expenses Cost (CAD)
    Application Fee 95 – 156
    IELTS Fee 309
    TOEFL Fee 210 – 330
    GRE fee 272
    GMAT fee 332
    Air travel 350 – 1200
    Health Insurance 600 – 800

    Note: Make sure you make arrangements for your Canadian Study Permit on time. Looking for interview preparation tips, click here.

    Masters in Geography in Canada: Tuition Fees

    The cost of pursuing geography from popular Canadian universities have been depicted in the graph given below:

    Masters of Geography in Canada

    Cost of Living in Canada

    The immigration requirements mandate funding of 10,000 CAD outside of Quebec and 11,000 CAD within Quebec for international students pursuing their master's program in Canada on top of tuition fees. However, the cost of living in Canada is largely dependent on the university opted, type of accommodation, city, and lifestyle of the students.

    Expense Type Monthly Cost (CAD)
    Accommodation (single, non-shared) 900 - 1,200
    Food 200 -300
    Utilities 240 - 450
    Internet & Mobile Phone 150
    Miscellaneous 100
    Clothing 50
    TOTAL 1,640 - 2,160

    Masters in Geography in Canada: Scholarships

    Deserving international students are funded by universities in Canada and other external funding agencies in the form of scholarships, loans, grants and bursaries during their course of study in Canada. The enlisted table details the scholarships offered by Canadian universities.

    University Award Details
    University of British Columbia International Tuition Award
    Department of Geography Award
    Up to 3,200/year
    Up to 23,000/year for 2 years
    University of Toronto Base funding Package+ Tuition fees
    Ontario Graduate Scholarship
    Total funding=43,546 CAD
    15,000 CAD/year
    McGill University Theo Hills Memorial Fund
    Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship
    Support graduate students' field-work research in developing areas
    50,000 CAD/year for 3 years
    Queen's University at Kingston Departmental support
    International Tuition Award
    20,000 CAD/year for 2 years
    International students with 1st class standing pay domestic fees
    Simon Fraser University Mackenzie King Open Scholarship
    Robin P. Armstrong Memorial Prize for Excellence in Indigenous Studies
    8500 CAD/year
    500 CAD
    University of Waterloo International Masters Award of Excellence
    Bruce Mitchell Graduate Scholarship
    Emily Ruston Mann Memorial Graduate Scholarship
    2500 CAD/term
    1750 CAD/year
    1800 CAD/year
    University of Calgary Mackenzie King Open Scholarship 8500 CAD (variable)

    Looking for scholarships to study abroad? Click here to find scholarships for studying masters in Canada. 

    Masters in Geography in Canada: Scope

    Graduates on completion of a Master's program in Geography are hired as professionals in government, consulting agencies, non-governmental organizations, business and as instructors at colleges and universities. Some students also choose to continue their doctoral studies after graduation.

    Learning Outcomes 

    • The ability to view problems from several angles, effective verbal communication, prepare professional standard documents and producing a report in foreign conditions.
    • The ability to work in a group meeting deadlines gained from projects and fieldwork.
    • The independence gained from working abroad and an aptitude for management and an analytical approach to people and their environment.

    The graduates with a Masters in Geography discover emerging careers in the following potential sectors:

    • Energy and Utilities
    • Construction, Civil Engineering, and surveying
    • Charity and not-for-profit
    • Engineering, design, and manufacture
    • Business, HR, and Finance
    • Public sector
    Designation Roles and Responsibilities Average annual salary (CAD)
    Cartographer Developing, producing and restoration different types of maps, related diagrams, charts, spreadsheets and travel guides 85,263
    Environmental Consultant Ensure if commercial/government clients comply with regulations, and address a variety of environmental issues 64,249
    Town Planner Management and development of towns, cities, villages and rural areas 80,677
    GIS officer Gathering and examination of geographical data generated by Geographical Information Systems(GIS) 52,410
    Conservation Officer Work to protect a natural environment and raise awareness among the local community  42,334
    Recycling Officer Plan and develop environmental, waste reduction policies & schemes to reduce waste by promoting recycling. 44,812
    Landscape architect Create, design and manage the open spaces around ensuring safety, sustainability and aesthetic appearance. 87,011
    Geography University Professor Pass on the geography skills and knowledge to the next generation  78,427

    Environmental science is one of the most popular areas of Geography for study to promote a greener and more sustainable world. The master's program in Geography with a specialization in Environmental studies had 30.5% of students with job offers before they graduated. The outlook of the energy efficiency sector is positive with a projection of 8.3% employment growth resulting in 36,000 new jobs for geography related majors. Many disciplines of Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geology, Computing, Ecology, Anthropology, Palaeontology, Economics, and Politics overlap with areas of Geography, hence it is a versatile field with potential openings in diverse sectors.