I'm interested in going to grad school in Canada. I'm a foreigner but I can relatively easily obtain my PR as I satisfy all requirements.

Admission-wise, would applying to grad school as an international student give me any leverage? Considering that the tuition fees would be far higher and Canadian universities are run with a business mindset.

I did my undergrad in Canada but my GPA is far from stellar (well below 3.0). I'm trying everything to improve my chances of admission.

  • By “grad school” do you mean masters or PhD?
    – Thomas
    Feb 15, 2019 at 5:14
  • I meant masters but information about both would be helpful. Feb 15, 2019 at 5:31
  • I think the answer will be quite different for the two cases. Typically masters students are a source of money for the department, so paying international fees should make such students more attractive. However, PhD students are usually a cost to the department since they are paid through RA/TA, in which case that advantage reverses.
    – Thomas
    Feb 15, 2019 at 6:33

2 Answers 2


In most English-speaking countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand), "domestic student" means "citizen or permanent resident of the country" - regardless of where you graduated.

Please notice this definition may be different in other countries (for example, in Germany, grad school applications by anyone who completed their undergrad in Germany are considered "domestic" for all purposes - barring, in some cases, tuition fees...).

  • The question is regarding the first case - for someone who can potentially apply as either a domestic and an international student, which application would have better chances of admission? Feb 15, 2019 at 14:42

This is admittedly wild speculation and only suggests a way to find the proper answer.

If the university has designated separate categories for admission then it might matter, but it would depend on how competitive each category is. But it is difficult for you to learn the latter, even if you can determine that there are, indeed, separate categories.

But if there are no such definite, separately considered categories, then I would suspect (predict, but not "know") that it would have little if any effect. At best a third level consideration.

In order to obtain admission anywhere, under almost any system, you need to convince the committee that you have a solid background of knowledge, that you are a hard worker, and that you have a good likelihood of success in the program and thereafter. If you can do that, then other things will matter hardly at all. It would only really matter if it were down to the final few applicants in which decisions need to be made on less important criteria.

There are irrational systems, of course, some depending on patronage and such, but not in Canada.

But even the GPA will matter less than you think if you can show other clear indicators of success.

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