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Best universities in Canada 2023

Find the best universities in Canada using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data 2023

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October 12 2022
Best universities in Canada 2018

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Top 7 universities in Canada 

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in Canada

Canada Rank 2023 World University Rank 2023  University Province City
1 18 University of Toronto Ontario Toronto
2 40 University of British Columbia British Columbia Vancouver
3 46 McGill University Quebec Montreal
4 85 McMaster University Ontario Hamilton
5 111 University of Montreal Quebec Montreal
6 118 University of Alberta Alberta Edmonton
7 =137 University of Ottawa Ontario Ottawa

Canada is home to some of the world’s top universities. In fact, 31 Canadian institutions are counted among the best in the world, according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2023.

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With seven universities in the top 200, Canada offers plenty of opportunities for a world-class education for international students.

Compared with the US, Canada can also provide cheaper tuition fees, simpler application processes and more opportunities for permanent residency after graduation.

Canada’s top two institutions – the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia – score particularly highly for research impact, which means that these schools produce high-quality academic work that is well respected.

Many of Canada’s universities are renowned for promoting a global outlook by recruiting international students and staff and encouraging international collaborations, so there will be a large community of international staff and students at any university in Canada.


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Top 5 universities in Canada

5. University of Montreal

The University of Montreal’s main teaching language is French.

A quarter of all students at the university are international.

The University of Montreal is the second-largest university in the country in terms of student numbers, with more than 36,000 students enrolled.

The university has a students’ union that represents undergraduate and postgraduate students, and it has three affiliated fraternities and sororities.

The university offers full-time housing for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

University sport is popular – the teams are known as the Carabins and compete in badminton, Canadian football and hockey, among other sports.

The university counts former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and 10 premiers of Quebec among its alumni.

4. McMaster University

McMaster University is located in Hamilton, Ontario. Students and faculty come from more than 90 countries.

The university is named after William McMaster, a prominent Canadian senator and banker who donated C$900,000 to found the institution.

McMaster’s medical school is world-renowned, and there are also faculties of engineering, business, humanities, social sciences and science. The university places a strong emphasis on research working to target some of the most urgent needs in society, particularly in the field of health sciences.

The university holds some 70 international exchange agreements with institutions around the world.

3. McGill University

Students at McGill University come from more than 150 countries. 

The university was founded in 1821.

The main campus is at the base of Mount Royal in downtown Montreal. First-year students have the option to live on the park-like campus.

In 1829, McGill University founded the nation’s first faculty of medicine, and to this day the university scores particularly highly in world rankings for clinical subjects.

The university offers more than 300 degree subjects to more than 31,000 students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.

There is a range of services for students including the Career Planning Service, the Office for Students with Disabilities and the Academic Advising Service.

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and the actor William Shatner are graduates of McGill. The university also educates more Rhodes scholars than any other Canadian institution.

2. University of British Columbia

Some 33 per cent of students are international at the University of British Columbia.

Eight Nobel prizewinners are associated with the university, as are 71 Rhodes scholars and 65 Olympic medallists.

There are two campuses at the University of British Columbia: one in Vancouver and one in Okanagan.

The university is organised into 12 faculties on the Vancouver campus and a further seven on the Okanagan campus. The university offers a special joint undergraduate programme with Sciences Po in Paris.

Faculties at the university include applied science, education, music, nursing, the arts, law and medicine among others.

The university offers a number of scholarships for international students, including the Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award for candidates from war-torn countries.

Three Canadian prime ministers have been educated at UBC, including current prime minister Justin Trudeau, who graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree.

1. University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is the only Canadian university to feature in the top 20 of the World University Rankings 2023.

Notable alumni include five Canadian prime ministers and the writers Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood. In total, 10 Nobel laureates are affiliated with the university.

The University of Toronto is structured as a collegiate system, much like prestigious universities in the UK such as the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The seven colleges all have distinct histories and traditions.

Some 25 per cent of students at the university are international.

More than 700 undergraduate degrees and 200 postgraduate degrees are on offer, and the university is one of the best in the world for medicine.

There are more than 1,000 different student associations and clubs available for students to join across the university’s three campuses.


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Best universities in Canada 2023

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2023 profile.

Canada Rank 2023 World University Rank 2023  University Province City
1 18  University of Toronto Ontario Toronto
2 40 University of British Columbia British Columbia Vancouver
3 46 McGill University Quebec Montreal
4 85 McMaster University Ontario Hamilton
5 111 University of Montreal Quebec Montreal
6 118 University of Alberta Alberta Edmonton
7 =137 University of Ottawa Ontario Ottawa
=8 201–250 University of Calgary Alberta Calgary
=8 201–250 University of Waterloo Ontario Waterloo
=8 201–250 Western University Ontario London
=11 251–300  Université Laval Quebec Quebec City
=11  251–300  Queen’s University Ontario Kingston
=11  251–300  Simon Fraser University British Columbia Burnaby
=14  301–350  Dalhousie University Nova Scotia Halifax
=14  301–350  University of Victoria British Columbia Victoria
16  351–400  University of Manitoba Manitoba Winnipeg
17  401–500  York University Ontario Toronto
=18  501–600  University of Guelph Ontario Guelph
=18  501–600  University of Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Saskatoon
=20  601–800  Carleton University Ontario Ottawa
=20  601–800  Concordia University Quebec Montreal
=20  601–800  Memorial University of Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador St John's 
=20  601–800  University of New Brunswick UNB New Brunswick Fredricton
=20  601–800  Ontario Tech University Ontario Oshawa
=20  601–800  Université du Québec Quebec Quebec City
=20  601–800  University of Regina Saskatchewan Regina
=20  601–800  University of Windsor Ontario Windsor
=28  801–1000  Lakehead University Ontario Thunder Bay and Orillia
=28  801–1000  University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) British Columbia Prince George
=28  801–1000  Toronto Metropolitan University Ontario Toronto
31  1201–1500  University of Lethbridge Alberta Lethbridge
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