Public universities might be of less interest to international students in the education world, but the opposite is true for public universities in Canada. When looking for universities to apply to abroad, international students often look past public universities because of their image of strictness against international students. Still, we urge you to consider the public universities in Canada, as these are some of the best universities that will take care of your education in the best way possible. In this article, we will take you through the 7 best public universities in Canada so let’s get into it.

Top Public Universities in Canada

Following is a list of top Canadian public universities for International students. You will also find interesting information about the universities and their best features. All universities do have varying deadlines by which you can apply, so make sure to check their websites for the exact dates and new announcements.

1. University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is one of the most famous universities in Canada and around the world. This fame is not only because it was built and inaugurated in the 1820s but also because over the years this university has kept the level of its education and administration top-notch. This is not an easy task to do for a university that is a public university and which also caters to more than 1,000 new students each year.

Surely this public university has a lot to offer in terms of courses, diplomas, and other degrees. It happily accepts national and international students through its gates of wisdom and urges every student to apply despite of their location or finances. This university is also very well known for its great and aiding scholarship programs, both for domestic and international students.

2. University of Waterloo

The main campus of the University of Waterloo covers around 898 acres of land which is majestic for a university to cover. This university is a great place for anyone who is looking to diversify their social group and intellect as it is a hub of multicultural students. They have outstanding scholarships for domestic and international students which they can apply for throughout the year.

The university has a great campus and campus life, so if you are looking to live the time of your life, while also getting a degree, the infamous University of Waterloo might be the one for you. As an international student, you can contact their international office and sort out the details of your admission into this public university.

3. York University

York University is a predominantly research university in Canada and is also one of the great public universities in Canada. It offers bachelor, master’s, Ph.D., and diploma courses on its premises. The international students are very warmly welcomed here and their international office ensures they are the most comfortable in their ways.

You can apply to this university via their online portal along with all of your documents and results. You should get a decision soon and all there would be left to do, hopefully, is to apply for a visa.

4. Queen’s University

The full name of this university is the Queen’s University of Kingston but it is most commonly known as the Queen’s University. This university was made for the public and to this very date is a public university. International students are very welcome here as the university has a separate international office in place to help them.

They offer a variety of basic, advanced, and emerging subjects at their bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees. You can head to their official website to look for your desired subject and degree. You will also find that the university has some specific scholarships for international students.

5. McGill University

If there can be only one university to explain excellent Canadian public universities, McGill University will surely be that university. This institution exceeds expectations when it comes to public university education and also welcomes international students. These students apply in the number of thousands each year but the university can only accept the applications based on their holding capacity. It offers all the STEM subjects along with business administration and project management.

McGill University currently ranks number 31 around the world which is a great incentive for any international student to apply here. Other than that, the university offers great international student support through the dedicated international office at the university. The university is credited with many inventions like Plexiglas and modern-day football.

6. Western University

Western University is home to around 5000 students and this number is likely to grow more this year. This university offers great subjects and degrees to national and international students all the while being a public Canadian university. Western University is largely known for its research and development in the field of natural and applied sciences. Students from around 170 countries apply to this university yearly for a chance to sit in its classrooms.

The university, therefore, has a very robust international office that caters to the needs of all international students and applicants. If you are looking to apply to this university as an international student, get in touch with their international office as they will help you through each step of the application.

7. Trent University

Trent University is a leading public Canadian university that is dedicated to the subjects of liberal arts. This university, although a public one, offers small and dedicated classes to its students. You will not find large speech halls and class auditoriums in the university as they believe in giving dedicated education to its students who have done so much to reach the university level. So as an international student, a smaller and more dedicated environment might be the most stimulating for you. Once you get a hold of smaller audiences, it won’t matter if there are a million people standing in front of you waiting for your presentation.

FAQs about Studying in Public Universities in Canada

Can International Students Enroll in Public Universities in Canada?

Yes, international students can enroll in public universities in Canada. It is one of the most famous places for international students in the world because of such universities and also because of their very diverse culture and society. International students can apply to the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and many more Canadian universities. What every student must know is that universities are on the lookout for brilliant international students so if you are one do not hesitate to apply to a Canadian public university.


Here we come to the end of the article about the 7 best public universities in Canada for international students. Please remember that not all universities will have the same starting semesters and dates so for more exclusive information, please visit the given university links in the text. This all being said, if you are looking for a top public university in Canada, the above list should be your starting point.  We wish you all the very best in your search and education.

Hopefully, this article on the 7 best public universities in Canada for international students was informative and helpful. For more details on how to confidently prepare for your next academic pursuit, visit our Study in Canada page! You can also explore these open courses to find the programs available in Canada for international students like you!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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