Maclean’s magazine has published a list of the top 20 universities in Canada by reputation. Institutions from coast to coast are represented in this 2017 ranking, but which one comes out on top? Let’s find out . . .
Founded in 1925, Memorial University of Newfoundland is Atlantic Canada’s largest public university. With multiple campuses and facilities in St. John’s, Corner Brook and Essex, England, Memorial University is one of the region’s leading post-secondary institutions. More than 18,000 students attend Memorial in both undergraduate and graduate studies.
Signature programs: Maritime Studies, Marine Management, Engineering, Physics and Physical Oceanography, Business Administration
- Learn more about Memorial University of Newfoundland.
- Explore your options for studying in Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Got a question? See this studying in Newfoundland and Labrador FAQ page.
The University of Sherbrooke (Université de Sherbrooke) is a French language institution with a truly global outlook, offering students international opportunities in an increasingly connected world. Its main campus is located in the city of Sherbrooke itself, which is located in the Estrie region of Quebec. The university has another campus in the Montreal suburb of Longueuil. The university has more than 100,000 alumni and offers 46 undergraduate, 48 Master’s and 27 doctoral programs. Sherbrooke is noted for its practical and hands-on approach to education, with small class sizes and plentiful co-op opportunities.
Signature programs: Medicine and Health Sciences, Administration, Education, Engineering, Law, Sports and Physical Education
- Learn more about University of Sherbrooke.
- Explore your options for studying in Quebec.
- Got a question? See this studying in Quebec FAQ page.
Also in Quebec, Concordia University is located in the heart of downtown Montreal. This primarily English language university also has another a campus located just west of downtown. Concordia is one of the largest universities in Canada, offering more than 500 programs across the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is popular among international students, bringing eager learners from around the world to its shiny campuses.
Signature programs: Business, Building engineering, Intermedia, Engineering, Computer Science
- Learn more about Concordia University.
Known for its football team as much as for its academic achievement, Laval University (Université Laval) is located in Quebec City. This French language institution has a heavy research focus, with three federal centres of excellence in photonics, geomatics, and Arctic climate change, respectively. Among its alumni are former Prime Ministers Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien.
Signature programs: Law, Architecture, Science and Engineering, Social Sciences, Medicine
- Learn more about Laval University.
Situated on beautiful Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the University of Victoria offers idyllic surroundings of mountains, ocean, and lush forest. The University of Victoria has a reputation for groundbreaking research that has carried itself around the world. It has also become known as one of Canada’s most comprehensive universities, which shows it values a balance of teaching and research and offers programs at all levels. Students also remark that a small teacher-student ratio and an emphasis on co-op and practical experience make “UVic” a good option for potential students.
Signature programs: Biomedical Engineering, Economics, Social And Political Thought, Health Information Science
- Learn more about the University of Victoria.
- Explore your options for studying in British Columbia.
- Got a question? See this studying in British Columbia FAQ page.
A diverse, bilingual university located in the heart of Canada’s capital city, the University of Ottawa is home to Canada’s largest law faculty. It has a heavy research emphasis, as well as a medical school with a strong reputation. The University of Ottawa has more than 250 undergraduate programs and nearly as many graduate programs spread across 10 faculties.
Signature programs: Biomedical Sciences, Law, Medicine, Management
- Learn more about the University of Ottawa.
- Explore your options for studying in Ontario.
- Got a question? See this studying in Ontario FAQ page.
Soon to celebrate its 200th birthday (it was founded in 1818), Dalhousie is noted for its inclusivity — its original (and ongoing) purpose was to allow people of all classes to obtain higher education. Today, international students are joining their ranks. Located in Nova Scotia, Dalhousies main campuses are all in the Halifax area. While “Dal” maintains a strong research focus, teaching is also highly regarded. More than 50 Canadian Research Chairs are here, more than any other university in Atlantic Canada.
Signature programs: Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Sciences, Agriculture, Arts and Social Sciences
- Learn more about Dalhousie University.
- Explore your options for studying in Nova Scotia.
- Got a question? See this studying in Nova Scotia FAQ page.
Guelph University’s history is seldom mentioned without reference to its strong agricultural and veterinary roots — it grew out of the Ontario Agriculture College and Ontario Veterinary College — but over recent years it has also gained a reputation for its arts programs. Students at Guelph benefit from state-of-the-art labs and large research funding.
Signature programs: Agriculture, Food Sciences, Biomedical Engineering
- Learn more about Guelph University.
Not surprisingly for a university located in the energy capital of Canada, the University of Calgary has a strong focus on engineering and energy-related programs. It is also a centre for political science and public policy. The University of Calgary recently scored first in Canada and 13th in the world in the “Top 50 under 50”, a system which evaluates universities less than 50 years old.
Signature programs: Engineering, Business, Medicine
- Learn more about the University of Calgary.
- Explore your options for studying in Alberta.
- Got a question? See this studying in Alberta FAQ page.
A multi-disciplinary university located in Toronto, Ryerson has recently gained a well-earned reputation for business incubation and innovation. Its Digital Media Zone Innovation Hub opened in 2010, helping to launch start-up projects and create jobs. This is a truly urban institution, in the heart of the financial district.
Signature programs: Biomedical Sciences And Biomedical Engineering, RTA School Of Media, Urban Sustainability, Journalism, Aerospace Engineering
- Learn more about Ryerson University.
Located just outside Vancouver in Burnaby, BC, Simon Fraser University (SFU) consistently ranks among the top three comprehensive university spots in Canada. SFU also has smaller campuses in Surrey and downtown Vancouver itself. Students combine courses across disciplines and at their own pace. A three semester system means that students can work or travel and still continue getting credits towards their degrees and finish on schedule.
Signature programs: Kinesiology, Criminology, Computer Science, Business, The Humanities
- Learn more about Simon Fraser University.
The University of Montreal (Université de Montréal) was where former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (father of the current PM) went to university. This bustling university, located on the north slopes of Mount Royal near downtown Montreal, is known for its health sciences and business programs.
Signature programs: Medicine, Social Sciences, Health Sciences, Business
- Learn more about the University of Montreal.
Western is a leading research university in many fields, not least of which are health sciences, wind engineering, neuroscience, and biomaterials. This is where Sir Frederick Banting, Nobel Prize winner for medicine, discovered insulin in the 1920s, and Western continues to arrive at significant breakthroughs in research to this day. Western also has a reputable background in law, business, and engineering programs. The campus is located in London, Ontario.
Signature programs: Social Sciences, Business, Medicine and Health Sciences, Engineering, Law
- Learn more about Western University.
Located in Hamilton, just west of Toronto, McMaster gives its 30,000 or so undergraduate and graduate students a range of programs. One of the founding members of the U15 (Canada’s Association of top research universities) McMaster has a well-deserved reputation as a foremost research institution moving billions of dollars through the Canadian economy every year. Its stunning campus is reminiscent of the old world, with beautiful buildings and sprawling lawns.
Signature programs: Health Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, Social Sciences
- Learn more about McMaster University.
Located on the shore of Lake Ontario in beautiful Kingston, Queen’s is known for its old world architecture, a vibrant student life, and outstanding programming and research. Queen’s has six libraries, several museums and galleries (including the Agnes Etherington Art Centre), and is exceedingly progressive. Computational science and engineering, globalization studies, new approaches to mental health, clinical biomedical sciences, healthy environments and sustainable energy systems are among the items that Queen’s can show for itself.
Signature programs: Business, Health sciences, and Applied Arts
- Learn more about Queen’s University.
The research-intensive University of Alberta, located in Edmonton, offers more than 200 undergraduate programs and 170 graduate programs. U of A is largely known largely for its engineering, science, and medicine programs, but also offers popular programs in law and education, among others. Considered among the the top 100 universities globally, U of A combines excellent instruction, state-of-the-art facilities, well-funded programs, and world-renowned research.
Signature programs: Engineering (Especially Chemical, Biochemical and Nanoscience), Law, Education, Pharmacy
- Learn more about the University of Alberta.
McGill has for years attracted international students from around the world, and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it offer a wide range of programs, but it is also situated in the heart of Montreal, an enticing factor for anyone who wants to experience the famous joie de vivre of Quebec’s metropolis. McGill has become an centre for research and instruction, known internationally for its top-tier medicine and law programs (it was voted Canada’s best doctoral program many times over).
Signature programs: Medicine, Law, Music, Dentistry, Management
- Learn more about McGill University.
UBC has a deserved international reputation for leading research and academic programs at all levels. the school really has something for almost everyone, with 14 faculties offering more than 200 programs in undergraduate, graduate and continuing education studies. It is also home to BC’s only medical school. Located on a large peninsula just south of downtown Vancouver, UBC is set in idyllic surroundings.
Signature programs: Commerce, Sciences, Medicine, Film, Law
- Learn more about the University of British Columbia.
The University of Waterloo incubates and drives innovation in the ‘Technology Triangle’, a network of more than 1,000 tech companies in the area. For this reason, entrepreneurial students and companies, both domestic and international, flock here. Meanwhile, the University of Waterloo has the largest co-op program in the world, with more than 18,000 participating students in a 96% co-op employment rate. Its campuses are innovative, well-funded, and hands on, with a clear mission to become one of the world’s most innovative learning destinations.
Signature programs: Actuarial Science, Architecture, Nanotechnology, Commerce
- Learn more about the University of Waterloo.
The university with the top reputation in all of Canada, according to the Maclean’s 2017 rankings, is the University of Toronto. Why? Well, with more than 8,000 faculty and around 83,000 students spread over three campuses, the U of T can boast an unparalleled array of research labs and resource centers. Among them is Canada’s largest library, as well as Olympic-class athletics facilities. Much of its desirability is reflected in an international student body comprised of aspiring academics from over 150 countries. Its main campus location in downtown Toronto also makes it a compelling option for external opportunities and culture. Having affiliations with 10 metro area hospitals, U of T produces a large part of Canada’s doctoral graduates.
Signature programs: Architecture, Commerce, Medicine, Engineering, Education, Public Health
- Learn more about the University of Toronto.
Maclean’s canvassed the opinions of university faculty and senior administrators, guidance counsellors, asking for their expert insight on quality and innovation at universities in order to create this list.
To learn more about your options for studying in Canada, click here. There is also a range of tools and resources available for prospective students in Canada, including Canada School Search and School Match Canada.
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