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    Top Universities in Canada - Ranking, Courses, Placements, Admissions, Scholarships

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert


    Ranking among the top five study-abroad destinations for international students and the top three study destinations for Indian students, Canada is home to around 642,480 international students at all levels of education. Top Universities in Canada have made their mark worldwide for academic excellence and excellent research. 

    A total of 26 top universities in Canada feature in QS World University Rankings 2021 and 30 universities feature in Times Higher Education World University rankings 2020. A feat matched by only a handful of other countries. Canadian Universities not only ace world university rankings for their education and learning but also make it to the graduate employability rankings of the world.

    The University of Toronto, University of British Columbia (UBC), and McGill University are the top Universities in Canada among the world rankings. Along with these three universities, there are around 5-7 other universities that make it to the top of the list each year.

    Top Universities in Canada

    Given below are some of the top-ranking universities of Canada recognized by the global ranking agencies such as Times Higher Education and QS, as well as, national ranking agencies like Macleans.

    Maclean’s Ranking University THE World Ranking QS World Ranking
    1 U of T 18 25
    2 University of Waterloo 201-250 166
    3 UBC 34 31
    4 McGill University 42 45
    5 McMaster University 72 144
    6 UAlberta (University of Alberta) 136 119
    7 Queen’s University 251-300 246
    8 Western University (UOW) 201-250 203
    9 Simon Fraser University 251-300 323
    10 University of Montreal  85 118
    11 University of Calgary  201-250 246
    12 University of Guelph 501-600 571-580
    13 University of Victoria 401-500 370
    14 Dalhousie University  251-300 291
    15 Laval University 251-300 420

    Courses in Canada for International Students

    Pursuing higher education in Canada may seem slightly different as the universities are handled by provincial governments. Undergraduate degrees in Canada take up to 3-4 years to complete and postgraduate (full-time) courses may take up to 1-3 years depending on the university and the type of program.

    What makes higher education in Canada outstand from other countries is the variety of short-term courses offered at top universities. These include associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, etc. Associate degrees are usually available to high school pass-outs and diplomas and certificates are available at both UG and PG levels.

    Top Universities in Canada by International Student

    Around 50% (~141,150) of the total study permit holders in Canada were found studying in the province of Ontario for the year 2019. This suggests that Ontario is one of the best cities for international students in Canada. British Columbia and Quebec follow this list.

    The presence of international students in various universities is representative of its popularity among international students. Given below are the top universities in Canada based on the international student percentage along with the province in which these are located:

    University % of International Students Province
    UBC 32% British Columbia
    SFU 30% British Columbia
    McGill University 29% Quebec
    Concordia University 29% Quebec
    UAlberta 26% Alberta
    York University 24% Ontario
    Dalhousie University 23% Nova Scotia
    University of Windsor 23% Ontario
    University of Montreal  22% Quebec
    University of Regina 22% Saskatchewan

    As per the Canadian government, the three major reasons for which international students pursue education are world-class education at the top universities of Canada, the reputation of society as tolerant and non-discriminatory, and the safety of immigrants. This statement is supported by facts like 66% of the total student population apply for a Candian PR.

    Top Universities in Canada by Employability

    Candian universities are known for producing the most employable graduates, nine top universities of Canada appar in the global university employability rankings (Times Higher Education). Given below are the graduate employability rankings followed by the graph depicting maximum and minimum placement packages offered to students of different programs at these universities:

    Employability Rank (THE-2019) University Employability Rank (QS-2020)
    #15 U of T #16
    #17 McGill University -
    #36 Universite de Montreal #171-180
    #61 UBC -
    #78 McMaster University #98
    #120 University of Alberta #87
    #186 University of Victoria #251-300
    #204 Dalhousie University #301-500
    #240 University of Waterloo #25

    Placement Package Offered: 

    Placement Packages at Top Universities in Canada

    Top Universities in Canada for MBA

    Three business schools of Canada were ranked among the top 100 business school rankings by Financial Times, 2020. As per Times Higher Education, top global business school rankings- 20, four of the top universities of Canada made it to the list. QS Global MBA rankings-2020 recognized 9 top universities of Canada among the top 150. Given below are the top universities in Canada for MBA, with program fees, and GMAT score requirement.

    Rankings (QS MBA rankings’20) University Tuition Fees (CAD/yr) GMAT Required
    #54 Rotman School of Management 60,416 550
    #71 McGill University 47,385 550
    #75 Ivey Business School 119,412 550
    #78 Smith School of Business 96,545 600
    #83 Schulich School of Business 52,886 550

    Pursuing MBA in Canada will cost you a lot less than in the USA and yet offer you with returns as high as any US institution.

    Top Universities in Canada for Engineering

    Some engineering schools in Canada are recognized globally by ranking agencies like US News and Maclean’s. Given below are some of the top universities in Canada for Engineering along with the program fees and popular engineering degree offered with those universities.

    Ranking (US News’20) University Program Reputation (Maclean’s) Popular Program Fees (CAD/yr)
    #48 University of Toronto 1 BEng/BASc
    MEng/MASc
    60,000
    30,000
    #58 University of Waterloo 1 BASc
    MEng/MASc
    54,00
     
    #61 UBC 3 BASc
    MEng/MASc
    46,000
    21,00
    #76 UAlberta 5 BSc.
    MSc./MEng.
    39,000
    10,000
    #84 McGill University 4 BEng.
    MEng/MscA.
    45,000
    11,000

    Top Universities in Canada for MS

    Recognized among the top five programs to study in Canada, MS in Canada is a scientifically aligned degree program allowing students an experience that goes beyond academic learning. Some of the top universities in Canada for MS are as follows:

    THE Rankings’20 Universities Popular Program Fee
    #18 U of T MS Computing Data Science
    #34 UBC MS in Computer Science
    #42 McGill University MS in Mineral Engineering
    #72 McMaster University MS in Computer Science
    #85 Universite de Montreal MS Statistics

    Top Universities in Canada for Research

    Group of Canadian Research Universities or U15 consists of 15 Canadian research-intensive universities conducting $8.5 billion worth of research annually. 

    • These universities hold 81% of Canadian university patents. 
    • 79% of all the competitively allocated research funding is offered to these universities. 
    • 85% of the research licenses in Canada are held by these partner universities. 

    Offering students with maximum research opportunities in Canada, these universities are home to 70% of the total full-time doctoral students in Canada.

    The partner universities are: UAlberta, University of Manitoba, University of Calgary, McMaster University, UBC, McGill University, University Laval, Dalhousie University, U of T, University of Ottawa, UWO, Queen’s University, Universite de Montreal, and University of Saskatchewan.

    Top Universities in Canada: Admission and Language Requirements

    International applicants who wish to study in Canada are required to fulfill the following criteria depending on the level of the program applied for: 

    Where to make applications: Applying with the top universities in Canada can be done through some of the application portals available for students such as OUAC, ApplyAlberta, or through university websites. Find out more details How to apply for Canadian Universities, here.

    Bachelors Aspirants

    • Sr. Secondary School Certificate
    • English language proficiency
    • French language proficiency, for universities offering education in French
    • SAT or ACT may be required.

    Masters Aspirants

    • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject
        • Grade required: B/B+
        • Percentile: 65-80%
      • English language proficiency
      • French language proficiency is required for universities where the mode of education is French.
    • Scores of other exams required to study in Canada, such as GMAT, GRE, etc.

    Transfer Credits to Canadian Universities

    Many community colleges and accept students who have completed some post-secondary work at any institution, including career college. Students interested in continuing their studies must make sure they have knowledge about how their career college credits will be transferred to other colleges and universities. Students should also find out if that college has a specific University Transfer program and what are the requirements.   

    Top Universities in Canada: Cost

    The tuition fees vary drastically among the top universities and are also dependent on the program you wish to pursue. Apart from tuition fees aspirants must also be aware of living in Canada. The cost of living is broadly inclusive of accommodation expenses and living expenses like food, entertainment, shopping, etc. These are detailed below:

    Residence at Top Universities in Canada 

    The residence is an important topic. It can make a real impact on your first-year experience. It helps the students to interact and learn via quality programs. With it, students get a home away from home with several facilities such as meal plans, gymnasium, parking, etc. some universities also conduct a test to find out a compatible roommate for you.  

    Name of the University (Top ten) Residence Facility Approx Cost of On-Campus Accommodation (CAD)
    University of Toronto Yes 20,455
    University of British Columbia Yes 17,000
    McGill University Yes 13,000
    University of Alberta Yes 11,200
    University of Waterloo Yes 12,400
    McMaster University Yes 11,100
    Queen’s University Yes 10,100
    UOW Yes 10,000
    SFU Yes 5000

    Living in Canada

    While pursuing your education at some of the top universities in Canada, it is important that you indulge yourself in the amazing and vibrant culture that Canada has to offer. Some of the major student cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, etc offer a wide range of cultural diversity. You can explore art, heritage, food, bars, pubs, etc. The multicultural society offers students with not only the authentic experiences but also find cuisine, movies, and people of their own cultural decent. 

    The cost of living in Canada depends on various factors. Some of the decisive factors include the province of study, accommodation type, lifestyle, etc. Given below is a table detailing the expense of living in Canada:


    Province
    Type of Expense Monthly (CAD)
    Accommodation Food Transportation Miscellaneous
    Alberta 481 282 73 338
    Ontario 600 270 86 290
    Quebec 423 272 42 318
    British Columbia 871 279 108 342
    Newfoundland  495 269 69 234
    New Brunswick 458 245 71 237
    Nova Scotia 500 245 68 247
    Manitoba  495 253 100 307
    Saskatchewan 560 259 83 311

    The above-mentioned expenses are monthly costs in Canadian Dollars. The cost may vary depending upon your choice of accommodation and lifestyle. An additional 10,000 CAD (annually) must be available with an international student living outside the province of Quebec. 

    As the overall expense including tuition fees can be overbearing for international students, it is often suggested that students must look for scholarships available to study in Canada

    Scholarships at Top Universities in Canada

    To study in Canada, one must be prepared to spend a humongous amount of money on their education. In case, you are on a budget you can always look for alternatives like scholarships, loans, and other financial aids available for international students in Canada. Listed below are the top universities as per the total amount of financial aids offered by them for the year 2019.

    University Total Financial Aid (in Million CAD)
    University of British Columbia 329
    University of Toronto 239
    McGill University 135
    University of Waterloo 130
    University of Alberta 113
    McMaster University 109
    University of Calgary 100
    York University 84
    Western University 80
    Queen's University 72

    For the one’s looking for an elite university in a developed nation, applying to top universities in Canada is an attractive option. With an increase of 185% in international students from 2010-2019, and 34% Indian student population Canadian universities are gaining popularity with each passing year. The reputation, research intensiveness, teaching excellence, and career outcomes are close to the world’s leading education provider- USA, making post-secondary education in Canada, climb up the ladder at a fast pace.

    Similarly, with the increasing demand for short courses among students, top universities in Canada are including a variety of such programs available to high school and university graduates and making their mark among the global student population.