Best universities in Canada 2023

Find the best universities in Canada using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data 2023

Top 7 universities in Canada 

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in Canada

Canada Rank 2023World University Rank 2023 UniversityProvinceCity
118University of TorontoOntarioToronto
240University of British ColumbiaBritish ColumbiaVancouver
346McGill UniversityQuebecMontreal
485McMaster UniversityOntarioHamilton
5111University of MontrealQuebecMontreal
6118University of AlbertaAlbertaEdmonton
7=137University of OttawaOntarioOttawa

Canada is home to some of the world’s top universities. In fact, 31 Canadian institutions are counted among the best in the world, according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2023.

With seven universities in the top 200, Canada offers plenty of opportunities for a world-class education for international students.

Compared with the US, Canada can also provide cheaper tuition fees, simpler application processes and more opportunities for permanent residency after graduation.

Canada’s top two institutions – the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia – score particularly highly for research impact, which means that these schools produce high-quality academic work that is well respected.

Many of Canada’s universities are renowned for promoting a global outlook by recruiting international students and staff and encouraging international collaborations, so there will be a large community of international staff and students at any university in Canada.

Top 5 universities in Canada

5. University of Montreal

The University of Montreal’s main teaching language is French.

A quarter of all students at the university are international.

The University of Montreal is the second-largest university in the country in terms of student numbers, with more than 36,000 students enrolled.

The university has a students’ union that represents undergraduate and postgraduate students, and it has three affiliated fraternities and sororities.

The university offers full-time housing for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

University sport is popular – the teams are known as the Carabins and compete in badminton, Canadian football and hockey, among other sports.

The university counts former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and 10 premiers of Quebec among its alumni.

4. McMaster University

McMaster University is located in Hamilton, Ontario. Students and faculty come from more than 90 countries.

The university is named after William McMaster, a prominent Canadian senator and banker who donated C$900,000 to found the institution.

McMaster’s medical school is world-renowned, and there are also faculties of engineering, business, humanities, social sciences and science. The university places a strong emphasis on research working to target some of the most urgent needs in society, particularly in the field of health sciences.

The university holds some 70 international exchange agreements with institutions around the world.

3. McGill University

Students at McGill University come from more than 150 countries. 

The university was founded in 1821.

The main campus is at the base of Mount Royal in downtown Montreal. First-year students have the option to live on the park-like campus.

In 1829, McGill University founded the nation’s first faculty of medicine, and to this day the university scores particularly highly in world rankings for clinical subjects.

The university offers more than 300 degree subjects to more than 31,000 students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.

There is a range of services for students including the Career Planning Service, the Office for Students with Disabilities and the Academic Advising Service.

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and the actor William Shatner are graduates of McGill. The university also educates more Rhodes scholars than any other Canadian institution.

2. University of British Columbia

Some 33 per cent of students are international at the University of British Columbia.

Eight Nobel prizewinners are associated with the university, as are 71 Rhodes scholars and 65 Olympic medallists.

There are two campuses at the University of British Columbia: one in Vancouver and one in Okanagan.

The university is organised into 12 faculties on the Vancouver campus and a further seven on the Okanagan campus. The university offers a special joint undergraduate programme with Sciences Po in Paris.

Faculties at the university include applied science, education, music, nursing, the arts, law and medicine among others.

The university offers a number of scholarships for international students, including the Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award for candidates from war-torn countries.

Three Canadian prime ministers have been educated at UBC, including current prime minister Justin Trudeau, who graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree.

1. University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is the only Canadian university to feature in the top 20 of the World University Rankings 2023.

Notable alumni include five Canadian prime ministers and the writers Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood. In total, 10 Nobel laureates are affiliated with the university.

The University of Toronto is structured as a collegiate system, much like prestigious universities in the UK such as the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The seven colleges all have distinct histories and traditions.

Some 25 per cent of students at the university are international.

More than 700 undergraduate degrees and 200 postgraduate degrees are on offer, and the university is one of the best in the world for medicine.

There are more than 1,000 different student associations and clubs available for students to join across the university’s three campuses.

Best universities in Canada 2023

Check each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2023 profile.

Canada Rank 2023World University Rank 2023 UniversityProvinceCity
118 University of TorontoOntarioToronto
240University of British ColumbiaBritish ColumbiaVancouver
346McGill UniversityQuebecMontreal
485McMaster UniversityOntarioHamilton
5111University of MontrealQuebecMontreal
6118University of AlbertaAlbertaEdmonton
7=137University of OttawaOntarioOttawa
=8201–250University of CalgaryAlbertaCalgary
=8201–250University of WaterlooOntarioWaterloo
=8201–250Western UniversityOntarioLondon
=11251–300 Université LavalQuebecQuebec City
=11 251–300 Queen’s UniversityOntarioKingston
=11 251–300 Simon Fraser UniversityBritish ColumbiaBurnaby
=14 301–350 Dalhousie UniversityNova ScotiaHalifax
=14 301–350 University of VictoriaBritish ColumbiaVictoria
16 351–400 University of ManitobaManitobaWinnipeg
17 401–500 York UniversityOntarioToronto
=18 501–600 University of GuelphOntarioGuelph
=18 501–600 University of SaskatchewanSaskatchewanSaskatoon
=20 601–800 Carleton UniversityOntarioOttawa
=20 601–800 Concordia UniversityQuebecMontreal
=20 601–800 Memorial University of NewfoundlandNewfoundland and LabradorSt John’s 
=20 601–800 University of New Brunswick UNBNew BrunswickFredricton
=20 601–800 Ontario Tech UniversityOntarioOshawa
=20 601–800 Université du QuébecQuebecQuebec City
=20 601–800 University of ReginaSaskatchewanRegina
=20 601–800 University of WindsorOntarioWindsor
=28 801–1000 Lakehead UniversityOntarioThunder Bay and Orillia
=28 801–1000 University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)British ColumbiaPrince George
=28 801–1000 Toronto Metropolitan UniversityOntarioToronto
31 1201–1500 University of LethbridgeAlberta
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