Adetoyese Oyedun Profile picture
May 24, 2018 65 tweets 12 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
A thread on #PhDinCanada application process. This is targeted to those still in Nigeria or outside Canada to a large extent. If you are in Canada, I will follow a different approach.
Here we go....
@OgbeniDipo @BTDTHub
First, PhD requirements.
While the requirement will vary between universities & field of program, but you generally need the following:
1. A master’s degree in a related field, with strong grades and proven research ability and potential. [This is key from my experience]
2. English Language Proficiency scores such as IELTS, TOEFL, etc. (if applicable).

Most universities in Canada recognize English as the official language of instruction in Nigerian universities but some have specific universities listed. So you may need to check this.
For example in #UAlberta, the ff universities are exempted from English Language Proficiency;
Abia State Uni, ATBU, ABU, AAU, American University of Nigeria, Bayero, DSU, ESUST, FUTA, FUTO, FUT Minna, FUT Yola, Igbinedion, LAUTECH, LASU, Nnamdi Azikiwe, OAU, OSU, AAU, RSUST,
UniAbuja, Ado-Ekiti, UNAAB, UA Makurdi, UniBEN, UI, UniIlorin, UniJos, UNILAG, UNIMAID, UNIPORT, NSUKA, UYO. If ur university is not listed for #UAlberta, then you may need your registrar to write a letter for you that your program is in English Language.
3. Additional requirements include;
- CV, statement of intent, writing samples
- GRE, GMAT,other test scores [This is a most for most Business Schools in Canada for PhD in Business]. They also have min score.
- References (name of referees, title and email addresses)
There are exceptional cases, where you can get an accelerated admission to study a PhD, this is without a master's degree. For this, you’ll need to have outstanding grades in the last two years of your bachelor’s degree (a first-class average)
and other demonstrations of your high academic potential, such as research publications. While this is possible, it is very competitive and most professors will want you to have at least one year in maser's degree program before upgrading you to PhD.
Before I explain how to apply for a PhD in Canada, I want to quickly explain briefly the funding process.

In the past, funding from government and industry are mostly given to the departments and Faculties so when applying for your PhD, you apply straight to the dept.
The procedure have slightly changed. Nowadays, it is the professors that received the funding and therefore decide on how many HQPs (highly qualify personnels) to recruit for the research.
So the decision to hire you as a PhD or not, mostly lies with the professor that got the funding. Although there are still other approach which I will explain later. But up to 85% of PhD funding are through the professors.
So the question, how do I apply for a PhD in Canada. Stay tune.

Second Step.
PhD application process.
1. You need to decide which PhD course you will like to apply for. Which field, what area.
For this, I will say be flexible.
It is not a must that you must continue in the same specific streamlined area of your MSc for PhD
If you have funding, yes, that is sometimes the best, but if you don't have personal funding, you may need to be flexible. Why? I will explain later when I get to Identifying potential supervisors (professors).
2. Identifying potential supervisors (professors).
To the best of my knowledge, this is the most important aspect of the application. This is where everyone gives up due to lack of response from the professors.
The key to passing this stage is patience & persistence.
How do you identify potential supervisors?
1. Through search on the department or faculty page. For example, If I am interested in PhD in #Bioenergy area, I will search through the following departments in any university's website; Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering,
Civil Engineering (If there is no separate environmental engineering dept), mechanical engineering, energy department, etc.
Then read through the professor's profile on their research area, recent papers, courses, etc.
2. Through journal papers or research articles. As master's degree student, I believe you must have read a number of journal articles in your research field, the name of their universities will be indicated on the article.
3. Through conference. Though I know must of the time due to lack of funding, most MSc students from Nigeria may not be able to attend foreign conference but the few that can should leverage on this to identify and chat with potential PhD supervisors in their field.
The 3rd point noted above is one of the best approach to get a potential supervisor and funding for your PhD. Anyone abroad doing MSc should take not of this.
After identifying your potential supervisor, then you need to draft a straight to the point and convincing email to them. Indicating an interest in their research group and what you can contribute to his research group. Also state what you have done in the past.
If you have a journal paper, conference paper or a symposium abstract, please attach it to the email. It is key because "writing journal paper " is a key output of any research. Some field may not agree but in Engineering and physical sciences, you must publish paper.
Remember to also attach your CV. For the CV, it should be an academic CV and must state important skills for research. My friend @OgbeniDipo and @BTDTHub are very good with that.
Your email must also shows that you have done a little research on the professor to an extent. Therefore each email must be tailored to individual professors. [Hard work, yes I know. PhD application is more serious than a job application most times]
When you send the email, please note, most of them will not reply [Ah, is this a curse? No, not a curse but a reality]
This is where alot of people contact me and says, this is not working. Sincerely, while I emphasize that your email is catchy, it is not all that will reply.
From my interactions with most professors here in Canada about recruitment, most of them actually read all emails that they receive but decide to read on just after reading the first two lines (10 seconds). Why? They are all very busy.
So they decide whether to continue reading or delete the email after 10-20 seconds. Some just open your CV and scan through and if there is nothing that interests them, they delete your email immediately.
Unfortunately many of them like the CV and see you as a potential student but there is no funding. So they just save your CV & email, however, only 15% or thereabout reply to let you know that they are interested in you but they do not have funding at the moment.
Others just bank your CV and come back to it when they get funding.

So now, you must have understand why alot of then have not reply all your emails.
So how do I get a professor to reply my email?
- Look out for Assistant/Associate Professors. They may not have much funding but they are very hungry for papers. Most of the times, they reply your email because they are not that busy (Not busy like that, U understand?)
- Tailored your email and CV to what they are currently working on (if that information is on their website).
Just note that this procedure is for non-advertised structured PhD. For advertised PhD, it is similar but you already know what to write based on the advertisement and there is a deadline to that.
When you send the email and no response in two weeks, resend the email and politely ask for feedback from them and acknowledge that they are busy.
If I sent the email 3 times, and no response, I move on to other professors.

So have it in mind that not all of them will reply to your email.
So the next steps, potential scholarships for Nigerians, personal funded research etc... I will continue later tonight... Stay tune.

All questions will be answered tomorrow or later tonight if time permits.

Bear with me, I am not an expert in twitter thread. Time for research
We are back….. Going through the thread, pls bear with me with the grammatical issues. Just want to run through the thread and be as detailed as possible.
How to get advertised PhD position?
Majorly by search on…, each department website, university career page or the professor research website.
There are also some cases when U can apply for an open PhD. This is most times when U have personal funding or scholarship. U’ll need to submit a research proposal following d guidelines set by the university & outlining what U want to research, & why this is a worthwhile project
So when the professor is interested in you. He ask for more information about you and your past experience (especially as related to the research area). Some professors are interested in your industrial experience too not only in how many papers you have published.
Immediately the professor ask you to apply for the PhD. Then you are 70-85% in into the program.

The next phase is to go through the application process.
Most universities will ask you to pay around $100-200 for online application using your credit card.
During the online application, most of the following will be needed;
a. Statement of purpose – this should outline your background and academic/professional experience, including any awards, publications or relevant experience you can offer.
You should also discuss your career goals and anything else stipulated by the university, keeping to the word limit.
b. Two or three letters of reference. Your referees should be mostly academic, where possible. But one non-academic is also fine unless otherwise stated.
Academic transcripts and degree certificates – Canadian universities may require that your university mails an official transcript, which should be in English or accompanied by a perfectly translated document.
Canadian Universities use the service of the following for foreign credential assessment;
World Education Services (WES),
International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS),
Comparative Education Service (CES),
International Qualifications Assessment Service, and
International Credential Evaluation Service.

You may google them to search for more information on their procedure.
d. Writing sample (most likely for arts and humanities PhDs)
e. Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)
f. Language test results, if needed
g. Portfolio of creative work (if applying for an arts/humanities PhD)
Once your application is accepted and marked “complete” by the university, the next step is to apply for your study permit, which acts as your student visa for your stay.
The next phase is what PhD scholarships and other funding opportunities are available for me as an international student from Nigeria?
many PhD scholarships are available to help make studying in Canada more affordable to international students, with many awards based on academic merit {Ope oooo. Ope factorial… LOL]
The Canadian government runs a useful website with a search tool (…) to find scholarships based on your country of origin. Select Nigeria in the drop-down box.
Some scholarships include;
- African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship Program by Global Affairs Canada.
- Banting Postdoctoral Fellowshipsby Government of Canada
- Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarshipby Government of Canada.
Search for more in the link above.
Next phase is Research/Teaching assistantships….
Most of the PhD fund also come by taking part in a research or teaching assistantship – in these, you can work as a research or research assistant in exchange for a stipend/allowance and/or have your tuition fully or partially covered.
As a research assistant, you’ll work to help a faculty member (which may be your supervisor) by assisting with data collection, analysis, report writing, lab/office organization and other tasks.
As a teaching assistant, you’ll support your department with its undergraduate programs, teaching one or more sections of the course, conducting laboratory sections, holding office hours and grading undergraduate reports.
To become a teaching assistant, you’ll need to demonstrate your mastery of the course and ability to effectively facilitate students’ learning.
To apply for a research or teaching assistantship, you’ll need to check the information posted by your university and likely fill in an online application form.

Note all these take place after you are already in the PhD program.
The question of can I work in Canada part-time during my studies?

Yes, all full-time students with a valid study permit can work part-time on or off campus for up to 20 hours per week during university semesters and full time during semester breaks.
Note: Some PhD courses may stipulate that you shouldn’t work for more than 10 hours per week during term time – particularly if you’ve been granted funding to study in Canada.
You may also important to consider that your PhD will take up a considerable amount of time and challenging work, so you might prefer to focus entirely on your studies.
Another point to note is that you will be required to take some courses during your PhD program, mostly in your first and second year of your program.
So this is the end of the thread. I know there will be questions. If I noticed that I have mentioned the answer to your question in the thread, I will just direct you to read through the thread again.

Thanks. In the coming weeks. I will be doing threads on the following;
#PhDinHongKong, #PostDocinCanada, and other interesting areas.

Thanks for following this long thread.
A quick note; for #PhDinCanada for business school, the GMAT or GRE scores is more important. Mailing the potential supervisors only help where you have competition and few PhD slots in the department.
If you assistance, please send email to

I reply all #PhDinCanada related issues once a week on this platform.

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