Dear Mentor:

For my engineering masters, should I go to US or Canada?

I am in the final year of my Engineering degree. As I contemplate the possibility of going abroad for my masters degree, I am not sure how to decide between the US and Canada. Do you have some idea?

Iqbal, Lahore, Pakistan

Dear Iqbal:

The selection between the US and Canada for a Masters degree in Engineering really depends on your circumstances. So there is no straightforward recommendation for the US or Canada. Some criteria for selection would include the quality and quantity of universities, your prospects of getting into a good quality school, your financial situation, future education and career opportunities, support structure, etc. Obviously you can add more criteria for the evaluation that are more specific to your circumstances.

Letís first consider the quality and quantity of relevant schools. The US has some world-renowned Engineering schools, but also has some not-so-great schools. So does Canada. The quality of education in Canada is very good. In our view, however, top Engineering schools in the US are truly world-class. In terms of quantity, the US obviously has many more schools than Canada does, basically because the US population is roughly 10 times that of Canada.

Your prospects of getting into a good engineering school depend on your own academic performance and your performance on entrance exams. Typically you would be required to take the GRE, and perhaps TOEFL. To get into some top US schools, you truly have to be a part of the elite, cream-of-the-crop of the world. We refer you to the iMahal section on Colleges and Universities in the US and Canada for admissions requirements, and the iMahal section on Entrance Exam Requirements for the US and Canada for more details.

Financial aid opportunities are more numerous in the US, however the cost of education in the US is much higher that it is in Canada. Again, it depends on the school. We refer you to our Financial Aid section for the US and Canada.

Your future prospects for education and career are more dependent on the quality of your school and your own performance than on the country. However, the US does grant a training visa to international students for employment of up to one year, which Canada does not. Job opportunities for Engineering graduates are more numerous in the US and thus you may have a better chance of staying on past your education, should you choose to do so.

If you have relatives and friends in the US and/or Canada, it may also influence your decision of selecting the country. They may offer you an instant support system that could be helpful in your transition to a truly foreign place.

We hope this information helps. Good luck Iqbal.

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