Top universities in Canada 2020 | Top Universities

Top universities in Canada 2020

By Sabrina Collier

Updated June 1, 2023 Updated June 1, 2023

The newly released QS World University Rankings® 2020 includes 26 top Canadian universities, ranked based on a methodology which assesses each university on its academic and employer reputations, research impact and more.

Read on as we count down the 10 highest-ranked universities in Canada, plus a look at how the other 16 institutions performed.

QS World University Rankings 2020 – Top 10 Universities in Canada

Canada Rank
Global Rank
University of Toronto
McGill University
University of British Columbia
University of Alberta
Université de Montréal
McMaster University
University of Waterloo 
Western University

University of Calgary 
Queen's University

10. Queen's University


Queen's University


Retaining its position of joint 239th in the world and 10th in Canada, Queen’s University is located in Kingston, Ontario and is one of the oldest universities in Canada, with its 1841 establishment predating the foundation of Canada itself by 26 years.

9. University of Calgary


University of Calgary


The University of Calgary is down four spots to rank 233rd in the world in 2020. Originally founded as the Calgary branch of the University of Alberta in 1944, it now consists of five campuses, including a branch campus in Doha, Qatar which focuses on nursing. 

8. Western University


Western University


Up three places to rank 211th in the world in 2020, Western University, located in London, Ontario, achieves the highest score among the top universities in Canada for the citations per faculty member indicator, at 77th.

7. University of Waterloo


University of Waterloo


The University of Waterloo falls 10 places to rank joint 173rd in this year’s world rankings, but remains in the top 100 globally for the citations per faculty member indicator. It’s one of the younger universities in Canada, having been established in 1956.

6. McMaster University


McMaster University


Up six places to rank joint 140th in the world in 2020, McMaster University, located in Hamilton in Ontario, is well known in particular for its prestigious medical school.

5. Université de Montréal


University of Montreal


The French-speaking Université de Montréal climbs one place among the best universities in Canada and 12 places in the world this year to rank 137th. Originally founded as a satellite campus of the Université Laval in 1878, it now has around 66,768 students including those at affiliated schools.

4. University of Alberta


University of Alberta


The University of Alberta is down four places to rank 113th in the world this year but continues to be fourth among the top universities in Canada. The university is mostly based in Edmonton but is a huge economic driver for the entire province of Alberta, contributing five percent of its annual gross domestic product (GDP).

3. University of British Columbia


University of British Columbia


Also down four places to now rank 51st, the University of British Columbia has two main campuses in Vancouver and Kelowna in British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province. It currently has around 65,000 students, including almost 16,200 international students.

2. McGill University



McGill University is ranked joint 35th this year alongside the US’ University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), achieving the best score out of all Canadian universities for the percentage of international students indicator (71st in the world), with international students accounting for roughly 25 percent of the student population of 40,000.

1. University of Toronto


University of Toronto


And finally, coming in first place among the best universities in Canada is the University of Toronto, down one place this year to rank joint 29th in the world alongside the Australian National University. As you might expect from the highest-placed institution in the country, it gets the highest scores in Canada for the academic and employer reputation indicators, at 17th and 27th respectively.

The other 16 top universities in Canada are:

  1. Dalhousie University – ranked 280th in the world
  2. University of Ottawa – ranked joint 281st
  3. Simon Fraser University – ranked joint 314th
  4. University of Victoria – ranked joint 364th
  5. Laval University – ranked 416th
  6. University of Saskatchewan – ranked joint 439th, up 22 places.
  7. Concordia University – ranked joint 462nd
  8. York University – ranked 511-520
  9. Université du Québec – ranked 561-570
  10. University of Guelph – ranked 571-580
  11. University of Manitoba – ranked 601-650

=22. Carleton University – ranked 651-700

=22. Université de Sherbrooke – ranked 651-700

=22. University of Windsor – ranked 651-700

  1. Memorial University of Newfoundland – ranked 701-750
  2. Ryerson University – ranked 801-1000

Find out more about studying in Canada with our complete guide, including advice on applications, visas, fees and more.

For information about ranking categories, and answers to other frequently asked questions, click here.

This article was originally published in June 2019 . It was last updated in June 2023

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

Written by

The former Assistant Editor of, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

+ 60 others
saved this article

+ 61 others saved this article


Get assisted by higher education experts

Our expert teams can help start your academic journey by guiding you through the application process.

Related Articles Last year

Most Shared Last year

Most Read Last year