Top 10 Canadian Institutes and Programs

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Canada's most popular universities

Many international students choose to study in Canada. This is because the country is also home to some of the world’s top research, professional learning, and comprehensive learning institutions. Our team of experts have filtered a list of top 10 universities and their top programs based on: 

  1. Location: The university’s proximity to a major city like Toronto or Vancouver directly impacts the employability of the students. 
  2. Reputation: This is based on the university’s years in operations, endowment fund, and alumni network achievements. 
  3. Employment rate two years after graduation: Some universities do not publish this data. But, we have run a comparison and populated the list accordingly of the ones who do.

Top 10 Canadian Universities and Their Top Programs

Based on the criteria mentioned above, here are the top universities and the top programs in Canada. 

1. University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is considered one of Canada’s most revered academic institutions. Its proximity to the Downtown Toronto area means that its students have ready access to some of the largest corporate headquarters and offices in North America. 

While the university houses several graduate, doctoral, and post-doctoral level programs, it is primarily known for its undergraduate programs. Nearly 80% of the students enrolled in the university are enrolled in an undergraduate program. 

Besides the St. George Campus, the university has expanded campuses in Mississauga and Scarborough (a part of the Greater Toronto Area).

Top Programs at the University of Toronto

It is fairly difficult to establish the best program at the University of Toronto simply because most programs are the best in their category across Canada. While comparing on a global scale, undergraduate courses in Surgery, Endocrinology, Oncology, Clinical Medicine, Molecular Biology, etc., are considered the globally revered programs.

That being said, the university’s business school and law school are also ranked at the peak in most competitive rankings. The computer science program at the university boasts a remarkable 98.2% employment rate within two years from graduation. 

2. Queen’s University

Queen’s University was founded in 1841 and had one of the largest endowment funds in the country, with total assets worth over CAD 1 billion. Some programs at its Kingston campus have an acceptance rate of nearly 20% – which might seem high from a distance. However, as one observes more carefully, most of the undergraduate programs at the university have an admission rate of nearly 10%

Undergraduate programs in humanities generally expect students to have scored 80% or above in a recognized schooling curriculum. The same benchmark grows to almost 90% for programs in engineering and business.

Top Programs at Queen’s University

The BCOM program at the Smith School of Business is probably the best undergraduate business course in Canada. It delivers an average employment rate of 98% within six months from graduation. 

3. University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia, popularly referred to as UBC, is one of the largest research wings in Canada. If you aim to pursue a career in academia, public research or consulting, UBC should be on your list of target schools.

Founded in 1908, the university allocates over $750 million to many research projects. With a campus in Vancouver and Okanagan, the university houses over 85% of undergraduate students and spends over $2.6 billion in its budget. The university’s rich culture and heritage are reflected in the number of Nobel Laureates, Olympians, and Royal Society of Canada members who call it their alma mater. 

Top Programs at UBC

The university ranks several of the top 25 programs globally in Plant & Animal Science, Ecology, Biotech & Applied Microbiology, and Public, Environmental, and Occupational Health. However, as per its own published data, the undergraduate commerce program offered by the Sauder School of Business is the toughest to get into. 

4. McGill University

McGill is one of the most revered academic institutions in North America and has been around for close to 200 years. The university has contributed the maximum number of Nobel Laureates, and Rhodes Scholars compared to all other universities in Canada. Even the current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, recognizes himself as one of the university’s alumni. 

Top Programs at McGill University

McGill has the highest endowment per capita (total endowment fund divided by the number of students at the university), which provides a wide range of amenities to its undergraduate and graduate students. The university has one of the best undergraduate programs in arts and sciences; however, getting into the engineering program requires a near-perfect 96% grade. 

5. York University 

York University is one of the youngest establishments compared to the other universities enlisted here. Like the Lassonde School of Engineering, some of the university’s schools have just finished a decade in operations. Much like the University of Toronto, one of the primary reasons why York ranks among the top universities on this list is its proximity to Downtown Toronto. 

However, it offers a unique feature – most of its programs spread across the Lassonde School of Engineering, Schulich School of Business, and Osgoode Hall Law School offer a cross-functional learning experience. 

Top Programs at York University

York University is the home to the best Kinesiology & Health Science program in Canada and the only Space Engineering program in the country. Along with these two, Osgoode Hall and Schulich deliver great career prospects comparable to every other university on this list. 

6. University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo was founded within what is known as the Wilfred Laurier University. Initially founded as an associate college, the institution was granted university status within two years of its initial operations. But why is this important? This difference at the university’s roots shows how it has achieved to run the largest Co-op program in Canada.

Co-op programs are a boon for international students coming to study in Canada. Such programs allow you to practice your newly acquired skills with work arrangements that run parallel to your course. You have developed technical skills, a professional network, and some savings to offset the high tuition fees by the time you graduate. 

Top Programs at the University of Waterloo

Along with UBC and the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo runs the best undergraduate programs in computer science – across Canada. Despite its distance from Downtown Toronto, Waterloo has managed to establish itself as a technology hub, thanks to the commendable CS program at the University of Waterloo. 

7. Western University

Western University, located in London, Ontario, is one of the most underrated universities in Canada. It has a relatively smaller endowment fund and annual budget compared to other similar institutions that have been around since the 1800s. 

However, Western has built a name for itself despite its distance from Toronto. This shows up in the employment rates its students experience. Nearly 96% of Western students are employed within two years of graduation. 

Top Programs at Western University 

Western University’s first business program was established at the Richard Ivey School of Business and is now known as the BA in Honors Business Administration or the HBA Program. The program has a fairly unique structure, allowing students to take up any 2-year undergraduate program at any registered university across Canada and later shift to HBA. However, its competitive selection rate of just 8% nudges the students to apply straight away after graduating high school and get a conditional offer. 

8. Simon Fraser University 

As one of the younger universities, Simon Fraser University has evolved into a platform of comprehensive education in a matter of decades compared to universities that have been around for almost centuries.

The university has a relatively smaller endowment fund. But, its connectivity to Vancouver, Burnaby, and Surrey gives it much-needed proximity with esteemed employers in British Columbia. 

Top Programs at the Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Along with the physiology and health sciences programs, Simon Fraser has industry-revered programs focusing on accounting, economics, and arts. Their Faculty of Health Sciences offers one of Canada’s most comprehensive and integrated health sciences programs. Researchers and students from a broad spectrum of disciplines work together to study health and disease at SFU. They also have an outstanding curriculum of Arts and Social Science. The faculty is home to a range of highly ranked programs across 16 departments and schools, as well as a language institute.

9. University of Alberta

The University of Alberta is the only university in the province. The university’s sheer impact on the province of Alberta is difficult to visualize at first. Still, it can be observed by this number – the university directly impacts about 5% of the province’s GDP.

The university was founded in 1908 and has reached a stage where its endowment fund is big enough to compete with some of the most well-funded universities in Canada. 

Top Programs at the University of Alberta

Alberta has mineral-rich geography. This reflects in the University of Alberta’s top programs, focusing on mining, engineering, energy, and finance. The university has a great mix of professional and research-based courses, allowing students to take applied or academic career tracks. 

10. McMaster University

McMaster has an unnatural mix of attributes. The university boasts one of the largest endowment funds in the country and has an acceptance rate of 60%. While Hamilton is virtually only a few hours away from Toronto, it is fair enough to impact the possible networking opportunities students can have with prospective employers. 

Top Programs at McMaster University

Bachelor of Health Sciences Program with an acceptance rate of just 5% is the most competitive program at McMaster. The program already requires a minimum of 90% in grades to be considered for the program. 

In Summary

The cost of attending the best programs at these universities goes far beyond the tuition fee. Most students have to have a very competitive profile both inside and outside the classroom even to make it to the list of the top applicants. 

If you can arrange for the finances, which becomes a manageable alternative if you receive admission, the investment in studying at these universities will certainly add up in your career. 

Should you require any further information on how to select the best institute and program of study for your profile, write us an email at or give us a call at 778-929-3447. 

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