Five Canadian universities rank among the top 50 worldwide in the Times Higher Education list of most international universities for 2017. International universities are those that actively pursue international student and staff recruitment, and develop support networks for their international community.
A university’s international characteristics may also include research collaborations with foreign institutions and scholars, and partnerships with institutions and businesses overseas. Students at such universities may receive a global education, with opportunities to work or learn abroad. Career preparation at highly internationalized universities prepares students to enter a globally connected workforce.
Canada was particularly singled out in the analysis of the ranking data for its International Education Policy, established in 2014, with the intention of doubling the number of international students in Canada by 2020.
Speaking of the ranking, Times Higher Education data scientist Billy Wong said, “If [universities] can have more international collaboration and become better known internationally, that can help them in areas such as student recruitment, academic recruitment, attracting international funding and so on.” Canadian colleges and universities are active in recognizing the benefits of internationalization activities for all these reasons, in addition to intangible benefits such as developing a more diverse learning environment.
The following five universities ranked within the top 50. Read the full list and accompanying analysis here.
British Columbia is a popular destination for temporary and permanent newcomers alike, and Vancouver is ready to welcome them. As one of Canada’s most diverse cities, the area is home to dozens of nationalities and languages. UBC is a large university, but the many student groups on campus help international students feel at home. Its research strengths across arts and sciences, and its stunning natural setting, all add to its appeal for prospective international students. UBC has the highest proportion of international students among the universities on this list.
- Learn more about studying in British Columbia
McGill University achieves name recognition worldwide. As one of the oldest universities in Canada, and the oldest on this list, it has had almost 200 years to establish that reputation. Yet its teaching and research are entirely up to date: the institution hosts major research institutes in areas as diverse as aviation, biotechnology, public policy, languages, and much more. It is not simply the academics that attracts international students: the downtown location in a bilingual, vibrant city — frequently described as a “playground” — ensure students can easily enjoy their downtime.
- Learn more about studying in Quebec
The University of Alberta recently came into the news for waiving application fees for citizens of the seven countries affected by U.S. President Trump’s Executive Order banning entry into the U.S. of citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. This action is in line with its approach towards international students in general: it already waives graduate fees for applicants from many of the countries on the United Nations list of least developed countries. Located in Edmonton, a thriving city known as the Gateway to the North, the University of Alberta hosts international students from more than 150 countries.
- Learn more about studying in Alberta
The University of Toronto is a powerhouse in the Canadian higher education scene. It has partnerships and offices around the globe, offering its domestic and international students alike the chance to learn in a globalized environment. The central downtown location in Canada’s most diverse city is a strong lure for international students. Moreover, its 700 study programs ensure a vast range of choice.
- Learn more about studying in Ontario
The University of Waterloo is popular not only for its strong study programs, but also for its work opportunities. It can boast the largest co-op education program of its kind in the world, with approximately 96 percent of students participating in work internships that may contribute credits towards their degree or diploma. International students value this opportunity to gain relevant Canadian work experience during their studies. Given the university’s location in a technology hub, home to big-name companies like Google and Blackberry, as well as more start-up companies than anywhere in North America outside of Silicon Valley, employment opportunities here are also enticing.
How the universities were ranked
The ranking is based on one criterion of the overall rankings for 2017, the “International Outlook” factor, which assesses the ratio of international students and staff, and the level of international collaboration. Institutions with a high international-to-domestic student ratio and a high international-to-domestic staff ratio did well in this category. In addition, institutions with a high proportion of research journal publications featuring at least on international co-author were rewarded in this factor.
The ranking also took into account the international reputations of universities, as assessed by the Times Higher Education Academic Reputation Survey. This survey asks scholars to give their opinions on research and teaching at institutions they know well, and within their academic discipline. The most recent survey received 10,323 responses from 133 countries.
Learn more about studying in Canada. 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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