Canada has an extremely high quality of education. According to the World Population Review, Canada consistently ranks in the top 5 countries with the best education in the world. With significant government funding for education, well-paid staff, and a general culture of completing post-secondary education, it's no wonder that international students flock to colleges and universities in Canada. One of the significant aspects of studying in Canada is, unlike many other countries, many of the top universities in Canada are public or government-funded.
Public universities are often hugely subsidized, meaning Canadian students have no tuition fees. Tuition fees are also heavily discounted for international students. As a result, Canada is seen as a top destination for students looking to study overseas. However, studying in a foreign school can be difficult for an international student, especially in the beginning. Adjusting to a new culture, campus, and environment without the support network you have back home can put you under massive pressure while trying to achieve your best possible results in the classroom.
However, many universities in Canada go out of their way to ensure they welcome, support and aid international students through this transition. Some universities are more open to internationals than others and have well-renowned support networks for thousands of international students who walk through their doors. Below, we've compiled the top 10 public universities in Canada for international students to help you find the best place to spread your wings in a whole new world.
Canada’s Top 10 Public Universities
Choosing the right university is a critical decision that can impact your academic and professional future. In Canada, many exceptional universities offer high-quality education, diverse campus life, and numerous personal and professional growth opportunities. With its welcoming and inclusive environment, Canada has become one of the top destinations for international students pursuing their academic and career goals. Let’s explore some of Canada's amazing universities and why studying in Canada can be an excellent choice.
University of British Columbia (UBC)
UBC is one of Canada's largest and best universities for international students. The university is consistently ranked in the top 20 public universities in the world. In addition, it boasts 17 225 international students from over 150 countries in its student body, making it one of the most diverse universities in Canada.
As a result, the university has top-notch facilities to aid its thousands of international students. In addition, UBC has a complete International Student advisory to help internationals with immigration protocol, adjusting to life in Canada, mental and physical health, getting oriented to campus life, and ensuring they're coping with their course work.
UBC is a fantastic place for international students, not only from the outside but also from the international students. So many students have incredibly positive things to say about their time and support at UBC. Discover what UBC has to offer.
McGill University prides itself on being Canada's most international university, with almost one-third of the student body comprising over 11 000 international students.
As a result, McGill has a vast array of student support services via their International Student Service (ISS). The ISS offers webinars and workshops to help internationals get to terms with studying at McGill. On top of this, McGill has a buddy program which pairs new international students with current students to provide them with a friendly face around campus who can help them with any issues they may face when adjusting to McGill.
On top of this, McGill has their iStep program, which helps international students start their careers in Canada after graduation.
University of Alberta (U of A)
Situated in the provincial capital of Edmonton, U of A has made its name a premier public research university in Canada over its 114 years. As a result of its extremely high research standards, quality teaching and fantastic student facilities, U of A consistently ranks as one of the Top 5 universities in Canada. This prestige has caused it to be one of the best universities in Canada for international students, and their 8 000 internationals make up over 20% of the student body.
The University of Alberta (U of A) has implemented comprehensive international student programs to support the large number of international students on its campus. One such program is the U of A+ International Undergraduate Success Program, specifically designed to assist international students in adjusting to the Canadian post-secondary education system. Additionally, the university offers the I-Work work placement program, which aims to help international students secure employment after graduation. The I-Advise student advisor team also assists international students in navigating both formal and informal aspects of campus life. These programs demonstrate U of A's commitment to promoting its international student community's academic and personal success.
University of Toronto (U of T)
The largest and widely regarded as one of Canada's best universities for international students, U of T is currently ranked as the 20th university in the world, according to the World Report. With a global student base of 27 130, U of T is also the primary hotspot for international students. This is due to the prestige of the university and the fact that it is Canada's primary entrepreneur university, with over 500 startups created by U of T alums.
As it is such a massive university, U of T has an enormous array of facilities for internationals. This includes their Global Skills Development program, designed to help students prepare for career opportunities. On top of this, U of T has services to help students with learning English, orientation, building connections, handling homesickness, and acclimating to Canadian culture.
University of Waterloo
The University of Waterloo is a top-tier research institution located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It is renowned for its strength in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, consistently ranking as one of the best universities in Canada and worldwide in these disciplines. The university has numerous research centers and institutes, including the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Institute for Quantum Computing. Waterloo is also known for its innovative cooperative education program, which provides students valuable work experience alongside their academic studies.
With over 7,000 international students enrolled, the University of Waterloo is a diverse and inclusive community, offering a welcoming environment for students from all backgrounds. Attending this institution provides students access to world-class academic programs, cutting-edge research facilities, and vibrant campus life.
The university boasts a wide range of extracurricular activities, clubs, and a lively arts and culture scene. Students can also take advantage of Waterloo's location in the heart of Ontario's Technology Triangle, where they can engage with industry leaders and take part in hands-on learning experiences that prepare them for successful careers.The University of Waterloo is an excellent choice for students seeking a dynamic and enriching educational experience.
At present, more than 5,800 graduate students are enrolled at the university. Among them, 40% are international students representing 84 different countries.
University of Montreal
The University of Montreal, located in Quebec, Canada, is one of the top French-speaking universities in the world. It is known for its excellence in research and education, particularly in arts, humanities, and social sciences. The university also has a strong reputation in health and sciences, with many cutting-edge research facilities and academic programs. The university's beautiful campus is in the heart of Montreal, a vibrant and multicultural city with a rich history and thriving arts and culture scene.
The University of Montreal is home to over 9,000 international students from 150 countries. Attending this institution provides students access to world-class academic programs, a diverse and inclusive community, and a rich cultural experience. The university offers numerous opportunities for international students to engage in campus life, including clubs, sports teams, and cultural events. Additionally, the university's location in Montreal provides students with unique opportunities to immerse themselves in the vibrant French-Canadian culture and explore the many attractions of this cosmopolitan city.The University of Montreal is an excellent choice for students seeking a high-quality education and a rich cultural experience.
The University of Calgary
The University of Calgary, located in the province of Alberta, Canada, is a leading research institution that is internationally recognized for its excellence in education and research. The university strongly focuses on innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability, with top-ranked programs in engineering, business, and health sciences. The university's beautiful campus is situated in the city of Calgary, a dynamic and cosmopolitan metropolis known for its thriving economy, outdoor recreational opportunities, and cultural attractions.
Currently, the University of Calgary has over 6,000 international students enrolled from more than 150 different countries. Attending this institution provides students access to a diverse and inclusive community, world-class academic programs, and numerous opportunities for experiential learning. The university's strong ties to industry and its focus on innovation and entrepreneurship provide students with valuable skills and experience that prepare them for successful careers.
Additionally, the university's location in Calgary offers students a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies while also enjoying the cultural attractions and amenities of a vibrant urban center. The University of Calgary is an excellent choice for students seeking a high-quality education and a rich cultural experience. Find out more.
McMaster University is a prestigious research institution located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The university is renowned for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education and research, with top-ranked health sciences, engineering, and social sciences programs. McMaster is also home to numerous research centers and institutes, including the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging and the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics.
Currently, McMaster University has over 3,000 international students from more than 120 different countries. Attending this institution provides students access to world-class academic programs, cutting-edge research facilities, and a diverse and inclusive community. The university offers numerous opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning, including co-op programs, internships, and community-engaged research. Additionally, the university's location in Hamilton provides students with easy access to the greater Toronto area's vibrant cultural and recreational opportunities. McMaster University is an excellent choice for students seeking a dynamic and innovative educational experience.
University of Ottawa
Located in the heart of Canada's capital, the University of Ottawa is one of the top ten research-intensive universities in Canada. It ranks among the top 200 universities in the world. As the largest English-French bilingual university in the world, the University of Ottawa offers students the unique opportunity to study in English, French, or both. With ten faculties and over 450 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs to choose from, the university welcomes over 40,000 students from across Canada and 145 countries, including more than 7,000 graduate students.
The University of Ottawa is also home to over 160 graduate programs, ranging from diplomas to doctoral degrees, and more than 160 research chairs and 1,600 researchers who are approved to supervise theses. Attending this institution provides students with access to world-renowned labs and institutions and a dynamic and diverse community of scholars and researchers. With its commitment to research excellence and innovative bilingual education, the University of Ottawa is an excellent choice for students seeking a high-quality and unique educational experience.
Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser University (SFU) is a top-tier university located in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is widely regarded as one of the top 10 universities in Canada and is renowned for its academic excellence and cutting-edge research. SFU has three campuses - Burnaby, Surrey, and Vancouver - and offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
What sets SFU apart from other universities is its focus on interdisciplinary education, which allows students to explore different areas of study and gain a well-rounded education. The university has a diverse student population, with students from over 130 countries, which creates a vibrant and inclusive learning environment. Located in Greater Vancouver, SFU offers students a unique opportunity to live and study in one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in Canada. The city has a thriving arts and culture scene, world-class restaurants, and breathtaking natural scenery, making it an ideal destination for students who want to experience the best of both worlds.
Why Study in Canada?
Canada has become one of the top study-abroad destinations for international students and for good reason. Here are five compelling reasons to consider studying in Canada:
Excellent Study-Life Balance
Canada is known for providing students with an excellent study-life balance. This is because the country values the importance of extracurricular activities, sports, and other hobbies that help students relax and take a break from their academic commitments. This balance is essential for students to maintain their well-being and overall academic success.
Work Full-Time While You Study
Another significant advantage of studying in Canada is that you can work (in certain circumstances, even full-time) while pursuing your education. This unique opportunity helps students manage their finances and gain practical work experience. The country also offers post-graduate work permits to students, which can provide them with excellent opportunity to gain work experience in their field of study after graduation. Find out the best-paid jobs after completing your studies.
Experience a New Country
Studying in Canada provides an excellent opportunity to experience a new country and culture and explore life in Canada. Canada is known for being a welcoming and inclusive country, and studying here will expose you to new perspectives and experiences that will enhance your personal growth and development.
Canada is home to some of the top universities in the world, known for their exceptional education quality and research programs. The country has a strong reputation for providing students with a high-quality education that prepares them for career success.
Safe and Welcoming Environment
Canada is known for being one of the safest and most welcoming countries in the world as well as for celebrating its multiculturism. The country's diverse population creates a welcoming environment for international students, making adjusting to life in Canada easy. The country also offers many support programs and resources to help international students navigate the challenges of studying abroad.
Studying in Canada offers an excellent opportunity to gain a high-quality education, experience a new country and culture, and develop important life skills. With its focus on work-life balance, practical work experience opportunities, and inclusive environment, Canada is an ideal destination for international students pursuing their academic and career goals.
Do You Need a Student Visa to Study at a Public University?
Yes. All international students studying in Canada need a student visa. To find out how to get yours, look at this article or click the button below to have an RCIC help you reach yours as soon as possible.
These are Great, but What are the Best Colleges in Canada?
For a full breakdown of Canada's best colleges for international students, look at this article.
What Can I Expect from Student Life in Canada?
This will always depend on the school you choose to study in and the area in which the school is based. However, for a general idea of what student life in Canada is like, look at this breakdown.
Can I Get a Scholarship to One of these Universities?
Canadian universities offer a wide array of scholarships, even ones geared explicitly to international students. For a full breakdown of how to get scholarships in Canada, look at this article.
Become a Canadian Student
Now that you know the top 10 public universities in Canada, it's time to get started on your journey. If you'd like to know your eligibility to study in Canada or help with your application and moving process, click the button below to talk to an RCIC who can evaluate you and guide you through your next step.