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8 Top-Ranked Canadian Universities for International Students

8 Top-Ranked Canadian Universities for International Students

As 2023 draws to an in depth, we’re highlighting some Canadian universities recognized for their achievements by two prestigious lists: Times Higher Education’s (THE) World University Rankings 2024 and the 2024 Maclean’s University Rankings. This list features universities positioned across the country, and each is renowned for various things. If you’re a future international student considering Canada, these eight top-ranked Canadian universities are excellent options.

ApplyBoard can make it easier to find one of the best Canadian university program for you, organize your documents, and prepare you to reach in Canada, all on one platform. 

The Classics

When talking about top-ranked Canadian universities, the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Toronto (U of T), or McGill University often come up. These universities placed on this planet’s top 50 on the 2024 THE list, with the U of T at 21, UBC at 41, and McGill at 49. They were also the highest three universities on the Canada’s Best Medical Doctoral Universities list by Maclean’s; McGill took the highest spot, followed by U of T, then UBC. It’s inspiring to see these institutions proceed to excel.

Below, nevertheless, we’re taking a look at eight top-ranked Canadian universities that international students may be less accustomed to. We’ve listed them within the order they seem on the 2024 Times Higher Education rankings. Read on to learn more. 

Want to learn more about McGill, U of T, or UBC? Check out our list of the top Canadian universities for international students.

Short on time? Click on the links below to leap ahead.


A red brick building at the back of a lush green lawn, framed by leafy green trees (Edwards Hall, McMaster University)

Image Credit: jockrutherford from Owen Sound, ON, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

McMaster University

Ranked at 103 in THE’s 2024 global list, McMaster University can be consistently noted amongst Canada’s top research-intensive universities. Its essential campus is in Hamilton, Ontario. McMaster’s medical school is very respected; as their Maclean’s profile notes, “universities around the world, including Harvard, continue to use [McMaster] as a model.” 

Additionally, McMaster ranked fourth in Maclean’s 2024 Best Medical Doctoral Universities list. Its nursing program was fifth on Maclean’s 2024 Best Nursing Programs list. McMaster also offers well-respected engineering programs, rating seventh in Canada in Maclean’s 2024 Best Engineering Programs list.

Students from over 90 countries study at McMaster in a student body of just about 35,000. Plus, international first-year undergraduate students are guaranteed on-campus residence, which might make it easier to settle in and construct your peer network.

Study health science in Canada to arrange for a profession in a rewarding and in-demand field.

A tall, modern concrete building on the University of Alberta campus

Image Credit: WinterE229 WinterforceMedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

University of Alberta

The University of Alberta (U of A) is tied at 109 in 2024’s THE rankings. International students will excel in undergraduate classes taught by more 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award-winning professors than you’ll find at every other Canadian university. 

To make it easier to settle in, all international students entering their first yr on the U of A through the fall term qualify for guaranteed student housing.

As a part of Canada’s U15 Group, students on the U of A’s campuses across Edmonton, Alberta have access to research opportunities in programs that rank amongst one of the best across Canada, and sometimes, the world. 

Top-ranked programs include nursing (#1 in Canada, #5 globally), petroleum engineering (#1 in Canada, #5 globally), instrument science and technology (#1 in Canada), chemical engineering (#1 in Canada), chemistry (#1 in Canada), and agricultural science (#2 in Canada). The U of A’s education schemes also rank highly, reaching #3 in Canada on this yr’s Maclean’s Best Education Programs list.

Take a have a look at our blog to see how university rankings work, and the way you should utilize them to arrange to check abroad. 

A photo of the University of Montreal.

Image Courtesy: Universite de Montreal

Université de Montréal

The Université de Montréal (UdeM) is considered one of the world’s most respected French-language universities with essential campuses in Montréal, Québec. UdeM is at 111 (tied with Germany’s University of Göttingen) on THE’s 2024 rankings, and tenth in Canada on Maclean’s Best Medical Doctoral Universities list. 

In addition to excellent medical programs, UdeM is Canada’s fourth-largest research university and is understood for its collaborative, cutting-edge artificial intelligence work through the Mila laboratory.

Not fluent in French yet? Take a four-month, online language learning program for non-French-speaking students. It will make it easier to reach the communication level needed for most UdeM programs.

Montreal is commonly called Canada’s cultural capital. Learn about what being a student is like in Montreal.

A landscape view of modern university buildings (lots of steel and glass) on the University of Waterloo campus

Image Credit: Victor Vucicevich, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

University of Waterloo

This yr, the University of Waterloo (UW) climbed up a minimum of 42 spots on the 2024 THE list. It rose from the 201–250 cohort to take a seat at 158th on this planet. UW could also be best known for its comprehensive co-op opportunities, where students gain paid work experience and a first-class education through alternating in-class and co-op terms. 

While co-ops began in UW’s top-ranked engineering programs (tied for #2 in Canada), co-ops at the moment are a component of over 120 programs at UW. This evolution has made it North America’s largest post-secondary co-op program. Mixing theory and practice is effective; a 2022 survey found that six months after graduation, 96% of latest UW co-op grads found work related to their studies, higher than the 79% Ontario-wide average.

Plus, if you should start your individual business or are working on research, UW’s mental property (IP) policy is a bonus. If you create something on campus, the concept remains to be all yours. (In short, all IP is owned by its inventor.)

A three-storey university building with a columnaded entry sits on a green lawn framed by trees. A more modern university building on the UOttawa campus rises behind it.

Image Credit: RobCA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

University of Ottawa

As a bilingual institution in Canada’s capital city, the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) offers international students a classic Canadian experience at a top-ranked Canadian university. Students may take classes in English, French, or each languages on campuses that welcome students from over 150 countries.

At 177 on the 2024 THE World University Rankings, and fifth on Maclean’s Canada’s Best Medical Doctoral Universities list, uOttawa offers students excellent academic opportunities. Some of its top-ranked programs include:

  • Public, Environmental, and Occupational Health 
  • Cardiac Systems
  • Radiology 
  • Social Sciences 
  • Optics 

Plus, student support services, including international mentorship, on-campus primary care and walk-in clinics, and academic guidance help make sure you’re at your best, each out and in of sophistication.

A modern glass-fronted university building rises up out of a group of leafy trees. (University of Calgary)

Image Credit: Jgcab, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

University of Calgary

The University of Calgary (UCalgary), in Calgary, Alberta is ranked within the 201–250 cohort within the 2024 World University Rankings, and tied for seventh in Canada on Maclean’s Medical Doctoral Universities list. With a 94% graduate employment rate, and as the highest startup creator amongst Canadian research institutions, UCalgary students are arrange for success. 

Plus, as Canada’s youngest (by median age), and third most-diverse city, Calgary is an outdoorsy, multicultural environment. It was also ranked the world’s seventh-most livable city this yr! 

To help latest students settle in, UCalgary campus housing offers a First-Year Guarantee, where all students applying directly after highschool graduation who’re 21 years old or younger are guaranteed a spot in residence

Some of UCalgary’s programs rank in the highest 50 worldwide. These include: 

  • Anatomy and Physiology 
  • Petroleum Engineering 
  • Hospitality and Leisure Management (#1 in Canada) 
  • Nursing 
  • Sports-related Subjects 
  • Veterinary Science 

UCalgary’s archaeology, education, and medical programs also rank amongst the world’s top 100.

Drawn to a fast-paced, global profession that needs strong interpersonal skills? Learn if studying hospitality may be right for you.

Aerial photo of Western University campus

Image courtesy of Western University

Western University

Western University, in London, Ontario, ranks in the highest 250 within the 2024 World University Rankings. Its students have also ranked Western #1 for student living quality for the last seven years in Maclean’s University Rankings. So, should you’re considering of living on campus, Western offers quite a lot of great options. Western also guarantees residence to single, first-year international students coming from highschool.

Business and medical programs are a few of Western’s hottest options, whether the highly-respected Economics and Business programs (ranked fourth in Canada’s Best Business Programs 2024), or Gastroenterology and Hepatology. The Energy and Fuels program also ranks on this planet’s top 75. Other students excel in programs like Library and Information Management, Sports-related Subjects, Nursing, and Mineral and Mining Engineering.

Take a more in-depth have a look at life at Western University in our Partner School Spotlight!

Photograph of Gordon Hall, Queen's University

Image Courtesy: Queen’s University

Queen’s University

Rounding out our list is Queen’s University, which placed ninth in Maclean’s Canada’s Best Medical Doctoral Universities list, and in THE’s top 300 for 2024. 

Queen’s attracts students from over 100 countries to check at its Kingston, Ontario campus. In fact, greater than 90% of Queen’s students come from outside Kingston, whether from across Canada or world wide. This meeting of cultures and perspectives is a component of what makes Kingston considered one of the world’s best university towns.

Entering undergrad studies? First-year students could also be “undeclared,” which implies you may try classes from across Queen’s faculties before deciding where to specialize. There are many great options; the university’s nursing, education, computer science, and business programs all ranked in Canada’s top 10 within the Maclean’s 2024 Program Rankings. 

Considering postgraduate studies? As a member of Canada’s U15 Group of research-intensive universities, Queen’s offers a leading-edge research environment.

Learn more about Queen’s University’s study programs and scholarships for international students. 


Two international students studying abroad.

From coast to coast, Canada’s universities have lots to supply future international students. We hope this list has helped you cut down which top-ranked Canadian universities may very well be a match for your academic goals!

Ready to look for study programs? ApplyBoard can make it easier to find one of the best options, organize your application, and get you able to land, all on one platform.


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