Due to their extremely high standards of education, exceptional care for their students and abundance of life-changing opportunities within their walls, Canadian universities are regarded as some of the best in the world. With the amazing possibilities of a fantastic educational experience in Canada, international students are flocking to study at Canada's universities. But which of these amazing universities are the best and which ones are right for international students?
To make things a little easier for you, we’ve compiled the top 5 best universities in Canada for international students, and how you can become a student in Canada.
What makes a Top University?
Canada's universities are of an extremely high standard across the board. As so many Canadian universities are of such a high standard, determining which ones are best can be a difficult or confusing task. To simplify this process we have based this list on where Canada's top universities rank in comparison to other top universities based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings list, as well as the facilities at each university specifically, to help international students reach their potential in Canada.
University of Toronto
- Times Higher Education Ranking: 18
- Number of Students: 97,000
- Location: Toronto
The University of Toronto (UofT) is widely recognized as the jewel of Canada's educational crown. Founded in 1827, UofT has spent the last almost two centuries providing world-class tertiary education in a wide and growing array of subjects. With over 700 academic programs, UofT gives students a fantastic start, no matter what career pathway interests them. Both leading academics and Canadian employers have rated UofT as one of the best universities in the world.
Not only does UofT provide students with opportunities to start their career in the best possible way, but the university also provides students with the tools to build their own careers. UofT alumni have gone on to create over 500 startups worldwide.
UofT is also one of the best universities in Canada for international students. Around 20,000 of their 97,000-strong student body are foreign nationals and the university has extensive resources such as the International Student Support Program to ensure new students can easily transition to life in Canada.
Due to the sheer size and history of the university, student housing is abundant with new students guaranteed a place of residence, provided they're interested.
University of British Columbia
- Times Higher Education Ranking: 40
- Number of Students: 70,757
- Location: Vancouver, Kelowna
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a global center for teaching, learning and research. As one of the world’s top 40 universities and one of the top 20 public universities, UBC was founded in 1908 and is home to over 65,000 students at its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. UBC is one of Canada's premier places for continuing education in Canada. Many UBC graduates have the opportunity to follow research careers through the university.
With campuses both in the booming metropolis of Vancouver and in the heart of the gorgeous Okanagan in Kelowna, UBC gives students the chance to experience the vibrant lifestyle of one of the largest cities in North America or get the true college town experience.
UBC is one of the most sought after and best universities in Canada for international students due to itsit's extremely high education standards, opportunities for furthering their education, the chance to live in Vancouver; and the extensive international student services and programs the university presents. As it currently stands, approximately 27% of UBC's student body are international students.
- Times Higher Education Ranking: 46
- Number of Students: 39,267
- Location: Montreal
For those wanting to further their education in the beautiful French-Canadian center of Canada, Montreal, McGill University is for you. The university offers more than 300 courses in over 40 fields ranging from undergraduate to doctorate programs. McGill is widely regarded as one of the best universities in Canada for international students wanting to work in Canada's world-renowned healthcare industry. McGill is widely regarded as the best medical educational institution in Canada. McGill University’s medical school is affiliated with three hospitals, namely Montreal General Hospital, Royal Victoria Hospital and Montreal Children's Hospital.
On top of its medical prowess, McGill is also a fantastic place to build your career in Canada as it offers many programs with experiential learning and on-site training programs. This ensures students not only build their necessary theoretical knowledge but also gain the hands-on experience to get the perfect start to their career in Canada.
McGill is a major hotspot for international students, with around 30% of the student body being international. As a result, the university has a fantastic array of support systems and bursary programs for international students.
- Times Higher Education Ranking: 85
- Number of Students: 37,370
- Location: Hamilton
Located deep in the city of Waterfalls, Hamilton, McMaster boasts Canada's high standard of tertiary education at an affordable price. McMaster is a current holder of a Global Teaching Excellence award from the UK based Higher Education Academy. Across its hundreds of internationally-recognized academic programs, McMaster ensures the spectrum of career opportunities open to its students are catered for.
McMaster also has a massive support network for international students in Canada such as the McMaster Office for the Development of English Language Learners ( MODEL ) and the Success Coaching program, designed to ensure international learners can assimilate effectively to campus life in Canada . This makes it one of the best universities in Canada for international students.
University of Montreal
- Times Higher Education Ranking: 111
- Number of Students: over 66,500
- Location: Montreal
The University of Montreal is one of the largest and most respected universities in Canada. It's a public research university that offers over 650 undergraduate programs and graduate programs. The largest French-Canadian university in the world, the university of Montreal is welcoming to those looking to build their future both within and outside of French Canada.
Part of the University of Montreal's mission is to "shape the future by educating leaders who will bring knowledge and skills to their communities." It has several affiliated hospitals, including three teaching hospitals and four research centers. It also has two affiliated schools namely; the Polytechnique Montreal and HEC Montreal.
The university also has an extensive support system for international students, helping newcomers to get to grips with both the Canadian and Quebecois way of life.
If these universities aren't what you're looking for in Canada, look at our full Canadian universities list to see what options are available for international students in Canada.
How to Get a Study Permit in Canada
Studying in Canada can open the door to a fantastic wealth of opportunities, worldwide. However, to be allowed to study in Canada, you need a Canadian study permit. A study permit will allow you to study, live and work in Canada for the entire length of your study program plus an additional 90 days .
The process of getting a Canadian study permit is relatively straightforward, provided you follow every part of the process correctly. Here's a quick breakdown of how the process works:
The process of getting a Canadian study permit, can be a long, often confusing process. Talking to an expert can help you ensure your eligibility and how to improve your eligibility to increase your chances of studying in Canada as soon as possible. Our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) will help ensure you know what exactly you need to do to become eligible for a Canadian study permit today.
What is it like to study in Canada?
While life at each university is different, there are certain central aspects of student life in Canada that are universal. Here's a guide explaining student life in Canada and how you can prepare.
How long does it take to get a Canadian study permit?
Getting a study permit takes approximately between 9 to 11 weeks. The processing timing starts from the day the IRCC receives your completed application and ends when you receive your application results. However, there is a stream in which you can receive your results faster. It’s called the Student Direct Stream. Find out how you can be eligible for the Student Direct Stream here.
Am I allowed to work as a Student in Canada?
Working as a student in Canada good way not only to earn extra money but also to gain Canadian work experience in your field of study or in general. The law in Canada used to be that, as an international student in Canada, you may work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week. However Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that there will be a temporary lift in the current work hour restrictions placed on international students in Canada. As it stands, international students that are authorized to work off campus are currently allowed to do so for less than 20 hours per week, this number will now grow to 40 hours per week.
Does studying in Canada mean I get a work permit after I graduate?
While it isn't necessarily guaranteed, the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) allows you, as a graduate, to work in Canada with an open work permit. This means that you can work anywhere in Canada and for any employer for anywhere between eight months to three years. This gives you plenty of time to gain as much Canadian work experience as possible, and with that apply for permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) of the Canadian Express Entry System.
Take Your Education to the Next Level In Canada
Now that you know the best places to start your journey and how to start your journey, it's time to take the first step. To ensure you do everything you need to start your future in Canada, you may want expert help. Our RCICs can evaluate your eligibility, fill in your application forms, guide you through every step of the application process and even represent you for certain processes.