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Masters in Geography in Canada: Complete Guide for International Students

Bhavya Rawal 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 Canadaoffering a Masters program in Geography according to QS World University Rankings 2019 by Subject: Geography

QS World University Geography RankingsUniversityProgramDurationProgram cost
5University of British Columbia*MSc
11University of TorontoMSc(Thesis /Research)
MA (Thesis /Research)
1 years35,066
32McGill UniversityMA
18 months22276
51-100Queen's University at KingstonMA
2 years29796
51-100Simon Fraser UniversityMA
2 years18922
51-100University of WaterlooMA
2 years14084
101-150University of CalgaryMA
Master of GIS
2 years
1 year
151-200Western UniversityMA
2 years 14498
151-200University of OttawaMA 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
Program TypeSocial science programNatural sciences program
SpecializationHuman geographyPhysical geography involving Environmental Science and Earth Science, spatial information systems and some areas of environmental studies
FocusIssues relating to human communities and culturesThe Earth’s physical materials and processes.
Areas of studyPopulation 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
DurationUniversity dependentNearly 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: 

UniversityMinimum UG Grade EquivalentsEnglish Language requirements
University of British ColumbiaOverall average: B+
First Class/Division 1 (65%)
Minimum GPA:8/10
TOEFL iBt:100
University of TorontoB+ in final two years of bachelors (or) Minimum GPA 8.5/10TOEFL iBt:93
McGill UniversityMinimum second division, upper with minimum CGPA: 3.3TOEFL iBt:86
Queen's University at KingstonMinimum second class standing/B+TOEFL iBt:88
Simon Fraser UniversityMinimum CGPA in Geography:3.25TOEFL iBt:93
University of WaterlooHonors undergraduate/ minimum 75% averageTOEFL iBt:100
University of CalgaryFirst Class Division, or 8/10TOEFL iBt:86
Western University80% in UGTOEFL: 20 listening, 22 listening & reading, 24 writing
IELTS: 7.0 
University of OttawaB+ grade in UG TOEFL: 92
IELTS: 6.5
University of Saskatechwan70% in UG honors degreeTOEFL: 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. 

ExpensesCost (CAD)
Application Fee95 – 156
IELTS Fee309
TOEFL Fee210 – 330
GRE fee272
GMAT fee332
Air travel350 – 1200
Health Insurance600 – 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 TypeMonthly Cost (CAD)
Accommodation (single, non-shared)900 - 1,200
Food200 -300
Utilities240 - 450
Internet & Mobile Phone150
TOTAL1,640 - 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 of British ColumbiaInternational Tuition Award
Department of Geography Award
Up to 3,200/year
Up to 23,000/year for 2 years
University of TorontoBase funding Package+ Tuition fees
Ontario Graduate Scholarship
Total funding=43,546 CAD
15,000 CAD/year
McGill UniversityTheo 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 KingstonDepartmental support
International Tuition Award
20,000 CAD/year for 2 years
International students with 1st class standing pay domestic fees
Simon Fraser UniversityMackenzie King Open Scholarship
Robin P. Armstrong Memorial Prize for Excellence in Indigenous Studies
8500 CAD/year
500 CAD
University of WaterlooInternational 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 CalgaryMackenzie King Open Scholarship8500 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
DesignationRoles and ResponsibilitiesAverage annual salary (CAD)
CartographerDeveloping, producing and restoration different types of maps, related diagrams, charts, spreadsheets and travel guides85,263
Environmental ConsultantEnsure if commercial/government clients comply with regulations, and address a variety of environmental issues64,249
Town PlannerManagement and development of towns, cities, villages and rural areas80,677
GIS officerGathering and examination of geographical data generated by Geographical Information Systems(GIS)52,410
Conservation OfficerWork to protect a natural environment and raise awareness among the local community 42,334
Recycling OfficerPlan and develop environmental, waste reduction policies & schemes to reduce waste by promoting recycling.44,812
Landscape architectCreate, design and manage the open spaces around ensuring safety, sustainability and aesthetic appearance.87,011
Geography University ProfessorPass 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.

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