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Top universities in Canada

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Holly Hemmings

Updated May 21, 2024
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This year, the QS World University Rankings 2024 included 31 top Canadian universities, ranked based on a methodology which assesses each university on its academic and employer reputation, research impact and more. 

Read on as we count down the top 10 highest-ranked universities in Canada, plus a look at how the other 21 institutions performed. 

QS World University Rankings 2024 – Top 10 universities in Canada 

Canada rank 

Global rank 

University 

21 

University of Toronto 

30 

McGill University 

=34 

University of British Columbia 

111 

University of Alberta 

112 

University of Waterloo 

114 

Western University 

=141 

Université de Montréal 

182 

University of Calgary 

=189 

McMaster University 

10 

=203 

University of Ottawa 

10. University of Ottawa 

University of Ottawa

Rising into the top 10 this year is the University of Ottawa which came in at joint 203rd place worldwide. The University of Ottawa scored most highly in the international faculty indicator, coming in 12th place in the Canadian rankings and 203rd in the world rankings. 

It also scored highly in the international research network indicator, ranked fifth in Canada and 111th worldwide. 

9. McMaster University

McMaster University

After dropping three places in the rankings this year, McMaster University is now in 189th place in the world university rankings. The international faculty indicator is where McMaster University earns its highest ranking, placing second in Canada and 93rd worldwide. The university is located in Hamilton, Ontario, and is best known for its prestigious medical school. 

8. University of Calgary

University of Calgary

Rising one place to be the eighth highest-ranked university in Canada this year, the University of Calgary is 182nd in the world with its highest score in the citations per paper indicator. For this indicator, it’s ranked eighth in Canada as well as being within the top 125 in the world.  

The University of Calgary was founded in 1944 as the Calgary branch of the University of Alberta and has since separated into an independent university with five campuses including one campus based in Doha, Qatar. The university has over 34,000 students and offers more than 250 courses. 

7. Université de Montréal

Université de Montréal

Dropping three places to number seven is the Université de Montréal. A French language public research university based in Montreal, the Université de Montréal was founded in 1878 and has almost 67,000 students including around 10,000 foreign students. 

It’s highest score, however, came in the sustainability indicator, where it’s ranked as the fifth most sustainable university in Canada and 50th globally. 

6. Western University

Western University

Western University climbs two places this year to become the sixth most highly-ranked university in Canada and the 114th most highly ranked worldwide. One of Canada’s top research universities and a founding member of the prestigious U15 research group, Western University was founded in 1878 and has over 43,000 students with around 10,000 international students coming from 129 different countries. 

The university’s highest score was in the international faculty indicator where it ranked first in Canada and 86th worldwide. 

5. University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo

Rising again this year is the University of Waterloo which came out in fifth place in Canada and 112th in the global rankings. Like the Université de Montréal, it also scored highest in the sustainability indicator, placing the University of Waterloo as the fourth most sustainable in Canada and the joint 36th most sustainable worldwide. 

The University of Waterloo was first established in 1956, has three campuses and is a member of the U15 research group. 

4. University of Alberta

University of Alberta

Rising to fourth place in Canada and ranked 111th globally is the University of Alberta. The University of Alberta has over 44,000 students from 156 countries and a total of five campuses offering over 200 programmes. 

The University of Alberta scored most highly in the international faculty ratio indicator, where it’s ranked fourth in Canada and 116th worldwide. 

3. University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is ranked as the third-best university in Canada this year. It’s also ranked in joint 34th place globally and scored most highly in the sustainability indicator sharing the title of the most sustainable university in Canada. The University of British Columbia also ranked very highly for academic reputation, where it’s second in Canada and 24th globally. 

The University of British Columbia aims to embrace innovation and challenge the status quo. It has over 70,000 students and has produced eight Nobel Laureates, 65 Olympic medal winners and 74 Rhode scholars. 

2. McGill University

McGill University

Located in Montreal, McGill University remains in second place in Canada this year and climbs one place to 30th in the world rankings. McGill University has produced 12 Nobel Laureates and 145 Rhodes scholars among its alumni as well as Canada’s current prime minister, Justin Trudeau. 

1. University of Toronto

University of Toronto

The top university in Canada once again this year is the University of Toronto which also rose to 21st place worldwide. The university scored highly across all indicators but particularly in academic reputation where it also topped the Canadian rankings and came 11th in the world rankings. 

The university has three campuses across Toronto with over 1,200 student clubs, organisations, and activities. It has a student population of over 97,000. It also has a total of 42 libraries, making it the largest library system in Canada. 

The other 21 top universities in Canada are:

11. Queen’s University at Kingston – ranked 209th 

12. Dalhousie University – ranked 298th 

13. Simon Fraser University – ranked 318th  

14. University of Victoria (UVic) – ranked 322nd  

15. University of Saskatchewan – ranked joint 345th  

16. York University – ranked 353rd  

17. Concordia University – ranked joint 387th  

18. Université Laval – ranked joint 441st  

19. University of Guelph – ranked joint 486th  

 

=20. Memorial University of Newfoundland – ranked 641-650 

=20. University of Windsor – ranked 641-650 

=22. Carleton University – ranked 671-680 

=22. University of Manitoba – ranked 671-680 

24. University of New Brunswick – ranked 711-720 

25. Université du Québec – ranked 751-760 

26. University of Northern British Columbia – ranked 781-790 

27. Université de Sherbrooke – ranked 801-850 

28. Toronto Metropolitan University – ranked 851-900 

=29. University of Regina – ranked 1001-1200 

=29. Vancouver Island University – ranked 1001-1200 

31. Brock University – ranked 1201-1400 

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