Best Universities in Canada in 2024 -

Best Universities in Canada in 2024

  • Canadian universities are renowned for their excellence, with many ranked among the best in the world.
  • Here’s a list of the top 10 universities in Canada based on the Studyportals University Meta Ranking.
  • The country offers thousands of English-taught degrees, making it an attractive destination for international students.
  • Cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are known for their lively student populations, historic sites, and rich cultural scenes, enhancing your overall university life.
  • Many universities in Canada offer part-time and online study programmes, allowing you to balance studies with other commitments or professional work.

    Canada is home to some of the world's top universities, attracting students from all corners of the globe. With its high-quality education system, diverse cultural landscape, and vibrant urban centres, it's no wonder that international students flock to Canadian institutions for their higher education. Among these prestigious universities, the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and McGill University stand out, offering unique programs and research opportunities that prepare students for successful careers in various fields. This guide explores the best universities in Canada, providing insights into their academic strengths, student life, and the vibrant cities they call home.

    How many English-taught degrees are there in Canada?

    There are plenty of study programmes for international students on our portals:

    Top 10 universities in Canada

    1. University of Toronto

    • Top 0.1% in the world
    • Number of students: 97,000
    • City and population: Pickering, 100,000 people

    The University of Toronto (U of T), founded in 1827, is one of Canada's oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning. Located in the vibrant and multicultural city of Toronto, it has consistently ranked among the top universities globally. The student body at U of T is incredibly diverse, with more than 25% of their students being international students coming from over 160 countries. This contributes to a rich cultural diversity on campus. Toronto, Canada's largest city is both vibrant and laid-back, offering students a variety of cultural experiences, outdoor activities, and a thriving food scene. The U of T campus itself is an architectural gem, featuring a blend of historic and modern buildings. The St. George campus, located in downtown Toronto, is particularly noted for its iconic architecture and picturesque setting. U of T boasts an impressive list of notable alumni, including four Canadian Prime Ministers, ten Nobel laureates, and numerous leaders in various fields. Alumni such as Lester B. Pearson, Frederick Banting, and Roberta Bondar (Canada’s first female astronaut) highlight the university's influence.

    Find your Master'sat the University of Toronto

    Best universities in Canada

    2. University of British Columbia

    • Top 0.5% in the world
    • City and population: Number of students: 71,000
    • Vancouver, 670,000 people

    The University of British Columbia (UBC) offers a top-tier education in one of the world's most beautiful and dynamic cities. It consistently ranks among the top 40 universities worldwide and is also a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, emphasizing its role as a research powerhouse. Established in 1908, the university currently has campuses in Vancouver and Okanagan, which are renowned for their beautiful settings and state-of-the-art facilities. The Vancouver campus, situated on the traditional territory of the Musqueam people, features stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the North Shore mountains. Facilities include modern research labs, extensive libraries, and the world-class UBC Botanical Garden. The Okanagan campus, located in Kelowna, offers a close-knit community feel and cutting-edge facilities amid the picturesque Okanagan Valley. UBC has produced many notable alumni, including top politicians and Noble laurates. The university also operates the TRIUMF particle accelerator, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, which is one of the world's leading subatomic physics research centres.

    Find your Master'sat the University of British Columbia

    Best universities in canada

    3. McGill University

    • Top 0.5% in the world
    • Number of students: 35,000
    • City and population: Montréal, 1,7 mil. people

    McGill University, founded in 1821, is one of Canada's most prestigious universities, located in Montreal, Quebec. It consistently ranks among the top universities globally, holding the 31st position in the QS World University Rankings 2024. Known for its strong programmes in medicine, law, and engineering, McGill has produced 12 Nobel laureates and numerous Rhodes Scholars. McGill's main campus, situated in downtown Montreal, is a blend of historic buildings and modern facilities set against the backdrop of Mount Royal. Key features include the McLennan Library and the McGill University Health Centre. Notable alumni include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, astronaut Dave Williams, and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. McGill is renowned for its pioneering role in medical education and research, having established Canada’s first faculty of medicine. The university offers a vibrant student life with over 300 clubs and organizations, emphasizing community service and activism.

    Find your Master'sat the University of McGill  

    Best universities in Canada

    4. University of Alberta

    • Top 0.5% in the world
    • Number of students: 40,000
    • City and population: Edmonton, 1 mil. people

    The University of Alberta (U of A), founded in 1908 in Edmonton, Alberta, is a top public research university. Renowned for its programmes in engineering, business, and health sciences, it ranks among the top 100 universities globally. U of A is renowned for its strong emphasis on research and innovation, and houses Canada's National Institute for Nanotechnology. It has grown significantly since its inception, now hosting five campuses, including the main North Campus in Edmonton and the Augustana Campus in Camrose. Its campuses are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including modern research laboratories, extensive libraries, and world-class recreational and sports facilities. The North Campus is particularly noted for its blend of historic and contemporary architecture. Notable alumni include Prime Minister Joe Clark and Nobel laureate Richard E. Taylor. Edmonton, known as "The Festival City," offers a vibrant cultural scene and natural beauty.

    Find your Master'sat the University of Alberta

    Best universities in Canada

    5. McMaster University

    • Top 1% in the world
    • Number of students: 37,000
    • City and population: Hamilton, 580,000 people

    McMaster University, established in 1887, is one of Canada's top research universities, located in Hamilton, Ontario. Originally founded in Toronto, the university relocated to Hamilton in 1930 and has since developed a reputation for innovation and academic excellence. McMaster is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world, with particular strengths in health sciences, engineering, and business. McMaster's academic reputation is highlighted by its pioneering approach to education, including the development of problem-based learning (PBL) in medical education, which has been adopted globally. McMaster's campus is renowned for its scenic beauty and state-of-the-art facilities. Additionally, the campus is home to the beautiful McMaster Museum of Art and the comprehensive Mills Memorial Library. Notable alumni from McMaster include Nobel laureate Myron Scholes, renowned economist David Dodge, and influential author and public intellectual Marshall McLuhan. Hamilton, home to McMaster, is a vibrant city known for its natural beauty, including numerous waterfalls and conservation areas.

    Find your Master'sat McMaster University

    Best universities in Canada

    6. University of Montreal

    • Top 1% in the world
    • Number of students: 36,000
    • City and population: Montréal, 1.7 mil. people

    The University of Montreal (Université de Montréal), founded in 1878, is a leading French-language public research university in Montreal, Quebec. Originally affiliated with the Université Laval, it became independent in 1919 and has grown into one of Canada’s foremost educational institutions. Academically, the University of Montreal excels in a variety of fields, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence, public health, and environmental sciences. The university is home to the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), a world-leading centre in machine learning research. Additionally, the university’s affiliated hospitals and research centres contribute significantly to advancements in medical and health sciences. The University of Montreal’s main campus is situated on the northern slope of Mount Royal, offering stunning views of the city. Key facilities include the advanced Roger-Gaudry Pavilion, the J.-Armand-Bombardier Science Building, and the state-of-the-art MIL Campus.

    Find your Master’sat the University of Montreal

    Best universities in Canada

    7. University of Waterloo

    • Top 1% in the world
    • Number of students: 42,000
    • City and population: Waterloo, 113,000 people

    The University of Waterloo, founded in 1957, is a leading public research university located in Waterloo, Ontario. Known for its innovation and emphasis on cooperative education, the university has quickly grown into a major institution in Canada. Waterloo’s academic reputation is highlighted by its pioneering co-op programme, which allows students to gain valuable work experience while completing their degrees. This programme has been a model for other institutions globally and is a key factor in the university's strong ties with industry. The University of Waterloo's main campus spans over 1,000 acres and includes state-of-the-art facilities such as the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology, and the newly constructed Engineering 7 building. Notable alumni include Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of BlackBerry, and Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of the PHP programming language. The university hosts one of the largest co-op programmes in the world, with students working at leading companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

    Find your Master'sat the University of Waterloo

    Best universities in Canada

    8. University of Calgary

    • Top 1% in the world
    • Number of students: 35,000
    • City and population: Calgary, 1.3 mil. people

    The University of Calgary (UCalgary), established in 1966, is a leading public research university located in Calgary, the largest city in Alberta. Known for its stunning natural surroundings, including proximity to the Rocky Mountains, Calgary offers a high quality of life with a vibrant cultural scene and a strong economy. The city is renowned for events like the Calgary Stampede and is a major hub for Canada’s oil and gas industry. UCalgary's main campus is a modern, sprawling facility in the northwest quadrant of the city. The campus is designed to support a wide range of academic and research activities, providing students with access to top-tier resources and learning environments. Notable alumni from the University of Calgary include James Gosling, the creator of the Java programming language, Naheed Nenshi. The university hosts several leading research institutes, including the Schulich School of Engineering and the Haskayne School of Business. Additionally, UCalgary is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, supporting numerous startups and fostering a vibrant innovation ecosystem.

    Find your Master'sat the University of Calgary

    Best universities in Canada

    9. University of Ottawa

    • Top 1% in the world
    • Number of students: 40,000
    • City and population: Ottawa, 1 mil. People

    The University of Ottawa, established in 1848, is the largest bilingual (English-French) university in the world, located in the heart of Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario. The student body at the University of Ottawa is diverse, including a significant number of international students. The University of Ottawa’s main campus is centrally located and features a mix of historic and modern buildings. Key facilities include the newly renovated STEM Complex, the Advanced Research Complex (ARC), and the Faculty of Health Sciences building. Notable alumni from the University of Ottawa include Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The university operates the Institute of Official Languages and Bilingualism (OLBI) and has a significant focus on research in public health, law, and social justice. Additionally, it is home to several national research institutes, including the Institute for Science, Society, and Policy.

    Find your Master'sat the University of Ottawa

    Best universities in Canada

    10. Western University

    • Top 2% in the world
    • Number of students: 35,000
    • City and population: London (Canada), 420,000 people

    Western University, also known as the University of Western Ontario, was established in 1878 in London, Ontario. Western University's main campus is expansive and picturesque, featuring a blend of historic and modern architecture. The campus is home to state-of-the-art facilities, including the Richard Ivey School of Business, the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and the Don Wright Faculty of Music. The university offers numerous opportunities for students to engage in internships, co-op programmes, and community service, enhancing their practical skills and societal impact. Additionally, Western is known for its vibrant student life, with over 200 clubs and organizations and a strong tradition of athletic excellence. London, the city where Western is located, is known as the "Forest City". It offers a blend of urban amenities and natural beauty, providing an ideal setting for students. 

    Findyour Master's at the Western University

    Best universities in Canada

    In conclusion…

    Choosing the right university is a significant decision that can shape your future career and personal development. Canada’s top universities not only offer exceptional education and research opportunities but also foster an inclusive and supportive environment for international students. Whether you're drawn to the bustling city life of Toronto and Vancouver or the historic charm of Montreal, Canada's diverse and dynamic academic landscape has something to offer everyone. Explore your options, consider your academic and lifestyle preferences, and embark on an exciting journey at one of Canada’s leading universities.

    How we did this

    The list of best universities in Canada is based on our Studyportals University Meta Ranking, which blends the world's most prestigious international rankings.  

    Other resources


    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Do these universities offer online study programs?

    Yes, many of these universities offer online and blended study programs. The University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and McGill University have extensive online course offerings that allow students to pursue their degrees remotely. It's best to check the university's website for detailed information on available online programs.

    Can I study part-time at Canadian universities?

    Yes, most Canadian universities offer part-time study options. For example, the University of Toronto and University of British Columbia provide flexible schedules and part-time courses to accommodate working students or those with other commitments. Be sure to explore each university's academic policies to understand their specific part-time study options.

    Which universities in Canada are the most affordable?

    Tuition fees in Canada can vary widely, but some universities are known for offering quality education at relatively lower tuition fees. Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Manitoba are known for their affordable tuition rates. Additionally, various scholarships and financial aid options are available to help manage costs.

    Can international students work while studying in Canada? 

    International students in Canada can work part-time while studying. They can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks, provided they have a valid study permit. It's important to check the specific regulations and obtain the necessary work permits from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

    How can I apply to these universities?

    Each university has its own application process, which typically involves submitting an online application, academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. International students may also need to provide proof of English or French language proficiency, depending on the language of instruction. It's best to visit the official website of the university you are interested in for detailed application guidelines.

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