When it comes to the quality of living, Canada was named the #1 country in the world for five consecutive years including 2020. It also placed the fifth-best country globally for women and second-best country in general. Yet, there is one more thing Canada is best at, and it’s a well-developed education system. The country has seen a consistent increase in international student admissions, proving its effective teaching methods and high-quality research. In this article, we will be looking at our list of best universities in Canada for international students.

Is Canada Good for International Students to Study in?

International students are more than welcome to study in Canada, especially as the Canadian Ministry of Education is taking active steps to streamline the process. You can choose from top-ranking universities that offer comprehensive programs at the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree levels.

The most popular programs pursued by international students are areas related to business, social sciences, environmental sciences, medicine, and engineering. Universities focus on timely and relevant research, and students’ academic experiences will be based on progressive and innovative practices.

When it comes to languages, Canada is a multicultural country and one of the most linguistically diverse in the world. It is primarily a French and English-speaking country though you can quickly get around in English. The cost of studying and living in Canada is more affordable than studying abroad in the U.S. or the U.K.

Fees will depend on your program selection, but the average cost is around USD $15,000 per year. There are many affordable universities in Canada, and I highly recommend that you check out affordable universities in Canada for International Students. Furthermore, you only need a monthly income of USD $470 ~ $630 for food, accommodation, and other expenses.

Read Also: How to Study in Canada for Free

Can International Students Work in Canada While Studying?

International students can work in Canada as long as their Canadian study permit lists a condition that allows it when their study program has begun. If it doesn’t have such a statement, you can request an amendment to your permit. Students can work up to 20 hours a week on regular semesters and full-time during breaks.

You can work on-campus without a permit as an employee of the school facilities. For off-campus work, you must first verify if you need a work permit for the type of work you do. Check with Canada’s official website, which is the same site you can apply to if you do need a permit. In most cases, however, no work permit is required.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Can International Students Stay in Canada After Graduation?

International graduates who wish to remain in Canada must gain work experience to qualify for permanent residence. You must apply for one of the two types of work permits in Canada: employer-specific work permits and open work permits. Each has specific conditions on employment duration, and all the specific details are outlined on Canada’s official website.

After gaining work experience in Canada, you will be eligible for immigration programs for permanent residence. The type of program suited for you will depend on your work experience, job group, and English skills.

Best Universities in Canada for International Students

1. University of Toronto (U of T)

The University of Toronto is the best university in Canada for international students. It has over 980 programs while most noted for its curricula in communication theory and literary criticism. U of T is spread out in three campuses that house over 18 faculties and divisions, libraries, and sports facilities. Independent departments then commune in the university’s Hart House, its heart of recreational life.

Major scientific breakthroughs happened at U of T, and several examples of such breakthroughs include insulin and stem cell research, the first electron microscope, and the first successful lung transplant. Due to its excellent research output, the university receives the most funding from the private and governmental sectors.

In terms of internationalization, post-secondary rankings placed U of T among the top 20 in the world. Over 20% of its student body are international students, and with their commitment to diversity, the number is likely to increase over the coming years.

2. University of British Columbia (UBC)

Established in 1908, the University of British Columbia is a highly prestigious university among institutions in Canada and is known for its longstanding traditions in multidisciplinary research. Its campus in Vancouver houses the national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, the world’s largest cyclotron, and one of Canada’s largest libraries. The Kelowna campus is recently acquired to accommodate UBC’s growing teaching scope and is a site for over 63 graduate and undergraduate programs.

In addition to all the research equipments located on campus, this top university in Canada manages several research centers, including a 59-acre farm for food research, a center for democratic practices research, and indigenous education. Due to its research prowess, UBC cooperates with over 200 universities abroad, such as UC Berkeley, Seoul National University, Imperial College of London, and many others.

3. McGill University

McGill University bears the name of a successful Quebecer merchant, James McGill, whose bequest made way to establishing this institution in 1813. It founded the nation’s first faculty of medicine and is presently organized into 11 main faculties and schools.

Having over 30% of its student body as international students, most of the enrolled applicants are studying in medicine, engineering, arts, science, and management departments. McGill University has produced notable alumni, including award-winning actor William Shatner, search engine inventor Alan Emptage, and prime minister Justin Trudeau.

McGill University, one of the best universities in Canada for international students, has significant contributions to the scientific community. Ernest Rutherford’s radon, Thomas Chang’s first artificial cell, and William Chalmer’s Plexiglas are some of the institutions’ discoveries. With a first-rate faculty and advanced facilities, McGill students are on the path to future scientific breakthroughs.

4. McMaster University

McMaster University was founded in 1881 when the prominent banker William McMaster bequeathed funds for its establishment. It now manages six academic faculties in business, social science, health science, engineering, humanities, and natural sciences. Across these disciplines, the university follows the McMaster Model, which is its educational policy for an interdisciplinary and student-centered approach to learning.

McMaster University receives accolades for its research pursuits, especially in health science. Their first-rate research facilities include a 780-square-meter biology greenhouse and a brain bank that holds a portion of Albert Einstein’s brain in its collection.

5. University of Montreal (UdeM)

The University of Montreal, or Université de Montréal, is a leading research university and one of the biggest university complexes in North America. It is affiliated with the business school HEC Montréal and the engineering school Polytechnique Montréal.

Fourteen faculties and departments comprise UdeM, including environmental design, kinesiology, and arts & sciences. Notable laboratories also began in UdeM, including the world’s leading research center for deep learning (MILA) and an institute for immunology and cancer.

This top university in Canada for international students consistently ranks in several tertiary education rankings. Its high-ranking subject areas include the medical-doctoral program and courses related to computer science. Furthermore, around 10,000 international students are enrolled in UdeM, which is among the largest in all Canadian universities.

6. University of Alberta (U of A/UAlberta)

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is a comprehensive university offering a broad range of academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It comprises 18 faculties spread out on five campuses – four in Edmonton and one in Camrose.

A regular top placer in university rankings, it has been recognized in various subject areas such as paleontology, forestry, transplantation, and sports-related disciplines. Distinctively, UAlberta has established a faculty of native studies that deal with Aboriginal experiences, culture, and language.

UAlberta has a strong research focus and answers fundamental questions on social change, human health, and advancing knowledge for all. As one of the best universities in Canada for international students, the University of Alberta has the most advanced facilities, with about 40,000 students, including over 7,000 international learners, which can make significant contributions to the world.

7. University of Ottawa (U of O/uOttawa)

The University of Ottawa, or Université d’Ottawa, is the largest bilingual research university in the world. In English and French, the university offers over 450 programs across ten faculties, including medicine, engineering, and social science, and is the largest law school in Canada. The university manages 40 research centers with sponsored research income of over USD $ 300 million. The Ottawa Health Institute and the university’s Heart Institute provide excellent practice, resulting in a high-ranking medical-doctoral program.

UOttawa boasts a 97 percent employment rate of graduates, providing the best minds to various industries. After all, students have the best opportunities to learn practical industry skills with university programs at this top university in Canada. Its cooperative education program introduces students to paid work placements relevant to their subject area.


We hope that this article on the best Canadian universities for international students was helpful. If you’re interested in studying in Canada, make sure to check out the Available Programs in Canada for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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