Masters in Oncology in Canada: Universities and Research Topics

Oncology in Canada is one of the most cutting-edge research domains both in the academic and industrial sectors. Cancer alone is responsible for 30% of deaths in Canada. This poses a huge burden to its healthcare system. Going by the current and earlier trends, statistics expects 1 out of 4 Canadians to die from cancer. In this article, we will look at the trending research topics, job market, and top universities for Masters in Oncology in Canada.

Why pursue a Masters in Oncology (Cancer Biology) from Canada?

Canada is one of the top destinations when it comes to higher education in biomedical sciences, including cancer research. The standards of education are higher, Canada also ranks in being one of the most immigrant-friendly countries when it comes to job prospects for expats. The course curriculum is extremely well-structured consisting of laboratory research, coursework, presentation, and research seminars.

Masters in Oncology in Canada

Cancer research is a leading industry with several universities providing masters courses to international students. It is a two-year full-time curriculum.

Top universities offering Masters in Cancer Biology:

  • University of Toronto
  • McGill University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Montreal
  • McMaster University
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Calgary
  • Western University
  • University of Manitoba


The eligibility criteria include:

  • Overall 65-70% and above or corresponding CGPA | 70 – 78% in final two years of Bachelors
  • A 4-year undergarduate/Bachelor degree in Biology, Biomedical Science, Biotechnology or any related field
  • TOEFL/IELTS: minimum score of 100 (internet based TOEFL) / 6.5 overall in IELTS (no band less than 6.0)

For some universities, it is a pre-requisite to contact potential supervisors before getting enrolled into the program, hence one needs to check with university requirements. 

Thesis is a Key Component for Masters in Oncology

The masters degree is officially completed once the student defends his/her thesis. Cancer research in Canada is extremely multidisciplinary and funded by several public and private organizations encompassing different disciplines.

Students pursuing masters can approach potential supervisors for their thesis both within and outside their respective universities. The duration of the thesis is usually 12-15 months, subject to prolongation (depending on progress and/or outcome). Thesis offers are often available at the university websites to which students can apply or email professors individually, depending on their areas of interests.  

Cost of Studying and Scholarship

The tuition fee is around CAD $8-9K per annum. Need-based financial aid is available for international applicants including partial fee-waiver. However, the amount of financial aid is different depending on the university. There are also admission-based scholarships available based on overall student-profile.

Trending Research Topics for Masters in Oncology and Cancer Biology in Canada

Cancer biology is a vast subject with a myriad of sub-specializations. The most popular research areas are:

  • Cancer Gene Therapy
  • Clinical Research
  • Molecular Oncology
  • Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Drug Delivery and Nanotechnology
  • Cell Signaling and Carcinogenesis

Oncology Job Market in Canada

Cancer Biology in Canada

Canada ranks in the top ten when it comes to the pharmaceutical global market, Montreal being home to several biotech companies. Most prominent among the companies are Apotex and Bausch Health. The growth in the oncology market has grown from $1.4 billion in 2010 to $3.9 billion in 2019.

According to a report published in 2019, the total pharmaceutical sales in Canada exclusively from cancer drugs have increased by 35.3% over previous numbers. There are plenty of positions one can decide on after completion of their masters in cancer biology in Canada. They can choose to remain in academic research or shift to the pharmaceutical sector. Possible outcomes are:

  • Graduate Research Assistant
  • Lab Manager/Technician
  • Research & Development Specialist
  • Quality Control Analyst (Government/Industrial)
  • Research Auditor
  • Bioinformatics Data Science Analyst

Oncology and Cancer Research Salary in Canada

The salary ranges between CAD $50-70K depending on level of experience with an average of CAD $60K per annum. Some of the leading pharmaceutical companies are Abbott Laboratories Limited, Accord Healthcare Inc. and Advanz Pharma.

Related Articles:

Top Universities for Masters (MS) in Biotechnology in Canada

Masters (MS) in Canada – Cost, Eligibility, Scholarships, Top Universities, and Job Prospects


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