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QS Best Student Cities ranking: Joint 26th

The capital of Canada, Ottawa was a new entrant in the QS Best Student Cities index in 2016, and makes an impressive leap of 23 places this year to rank joint 26th alongside Prague.

A diverse and dynamic city, Ottawa is also multilingual, with many residents fluent in both English and French. Ottawa is home to the Rideau Canal, the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, which is also a world heritage site. There are countless other cultural and historical spots of interest to explore, including the most-visited museum in Canada, the Canadian Museum of History. The city is also home to the impressive neo-gothic parliament building ‘Centre Block’.

The two top universities in Ottawa are both ranked within the top 600 in the world, with the University of Ottawa at joint 291st in the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017. As well as ranking highly in the Desirability category of the QS Best Student Cities index, Ottawa receives a high score for Student Mix, with a high percentage of international students, reflecting the vibrant and multi-cultural study environment on offer.

Ottawa also has the distinction of ranking 1st in the entire index for the new Student View category, which can at least partly account for its impressive leap in the Best Student Cities index this year. Ottawa’s perfect score in this indicator reflects the city’s lively student life, diversity and friendliness. It received praise in our student survey, with one respondent saying: “I love the opportunities and the diversity as well as the student-centered culture” while another commented, “The quality of education is one of the top in Canada.”

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Internationally ranked universities in Ottawa


More about Ottawa

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Ottawa (joint 291st)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student Experience rank



To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

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Written by Sabrina Collier
Sabrina is a content writer for, providing guidance on a wide range of topics. A graduate of Aberystwyth University, Sabrina is originally from the West Midlands but now lives in London. 

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Hi Habib, our complete guide on how to study abroad in Canada might help to get you started, which includes advice on applying for Canadian universities. :)