graduate program in alberta, canada, postgraduate, graduate, study, university, courses

Study in Alberta, Canada

Population: 3,645,257

Province overview

Alberta is Canada’s most prosperous province, with almost limitless opportunities available to those who have chosen it as the area in which to undertake a postgraduate course. From the Rocky Mountains to artistic downtown Calgary to snowboarding in Banff, there is always a new activity to grab your interest. It is an area that is as diverse as it is vibrant.

Alberta’s multicultural population is welcoming, meaning that as a postgraduate student here you will immediately feel at home – whilst still experiencing the traditional Canadian lifestyle of sports, healthy living and the outdoors that has made the country such a popular destination.

Education profile

Alberta has a small number of universities that cater to those looking to take up postgraduate courses. They are:
The universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge are all public and research intensive, giving them a good reputation worldwide. All of these universities offer a wide range of graduate programs in a number of academic areas. Masters degrees generally take one year, whilst PhDs take between three and five years.

DeVry University is a private institution; its Keller Graduate School of Management offers various business related masters degrees.
There are also a number of private Christian universities, offering undergraduate and graduate programs to those who follow the faith.

Immigration and visas

Most foreign nationals will need a study permit to study on a graduate course in Canada and others may need to apply for temporary residence in Canada.

Generally people taking a postgraduate course in Canada that lasts less than six months will not be required to gain a student visa. Regardless of whether or not you need a permit everyone must demonstrate:
  • Acceptance from a university or educational institution in Canada.
  • Ability to pay tuition fees, living expenses and return fares to their home country.
  • Satisfy health requirements.
You can find out more about students visas and immigration in Canada at Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website -

Life in Alberta

Calgary, Alberta’s largest city, is ethnically diverse and has a student population of over 30,000. Those studying on graduate programs are attracted to Calgary’s eclectic mixture of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as cultural spaces such as the Arts District.

In the student cities of Edmonton, Albert’a capital, and Lethbridge, you will find Canadian history surviving alongside modern commercial centres. There are large numbers of international students in both cities. Edmonton is also home to North America’s largest shopping mall.

Like many other places in Canada, Alberta is well known for its snow sports – especially skiing. Popular ski locations in the province include Banff, Jasper, Edmonton and Sylvan Lake. Ski tourists from across Canada and further afield flock to Alberta for some of the best off piste action in the world.

Working in Alberta

If you are thinking of staying in Alberta after the completion of your postgraduate course you will have a wealth of opportunities to choose from.

Alberta is the richest of Canada’s ten provinces, with one of the country’s strongest economies – in 2007 its GDP was 61% higher than the national average. The province also encourages investment in new business, so would be a good location to consider if you have an entrepreneurial streak. Despite this, and the fact that the quality of life enjoyed by residents is some of the highest in all of Canada, the cost of living remains low.

Top industries in Alberta include petroleum, agriculture and technology, and the tourism sector is also hugely important to the province’s economy.


One of the most popular areas for those on graduate programs in Calgary is the downtown area of the city, which has an artistic and vibrant culture. Alternatively if your postgraduate course is at the University of Alberta you may choose Upper Edmonton, which has a number of student rentals.  

The majority of universities offer accommodation on campus for those who are studying postgraduate courses. If you live on campus you will benefit from being very close to the lecture halls, and all your bills and utilities will be included in your rent. You will live with other students, usually in a shared flat. Depending on your choices and the amount you want to pay you may share a double room.

If you decide to live off campus in a shared flat or house it is likely you will be responsible for paying utilities and bills yourself.

Weather and climate

Alberta’s climate is continental, meaning it has cold winters and warm summers. The province’s large size and varied climate means that in the far north the temperature has been known to reach as low as -54 C, whilst in the south in summer it has reached a high of 40C.

What to do next

If you would like more information on studying a graduate program in Alberta, sign up for our Free Application Service. We'll provide you with tailored information, courses to suit you and the option to apply online.