Canada has remained a top choice for many students around the world when it comes to an affordable education with high chances of a buoyant career after graduation. It explains why 28 Canadian universities have made their way into the QS World University Rankings 2023.
With over 96 public universities and 15,000 academic programs offered, it won’t be a daunting task to find what you love.
But with extensive options of public universities with their respective practical teaching, training methods, financial aid & scholarship, and academic excellence, it can be confusing to know which one is best for you.
In this article, we have reviewed and ranked some of the top-leading public universities in Canada that are ideal for both domestic and international students based on their academic excellence, cultural diversity, research-based projects, internships, group activities, one-on-one mentoring, and a few other relevant metrics that are sure to help you stand out in employability assessment
List of the best public universities in Canada
If you are looking to study at a public university in Canada, we strongly recommend you consider any of the following schools:
In the rest of this post, we’ll show you why they are the best, and then the general requirements you will need for a smooth admission process into any of these Canadian public Universities
- University of Toronto
- University of British Columbia
- McGill University
- University of Regina
- University of Alberta
- Université de Montréal
- University of Waterloo
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto has a solid global reputation of being a research institute. It boasts a large student population of 93,000, of which 30 percent are international students.
With more than 980 undergraduate and graduate programs, the university of Toronto ranks among the top 50 world universities according to the QS ranking.
Most students who study at the University of Toronto are in either of these popular programs: Master of Business Administration, Master of Architecture, Master of Nursing, M. A Economics, or B. Sc in Data Science.
Despite being a public university, students are expected to pay tuition fees which vary depending on your program but the average tuition fee at this university is between 58,000 CAD and 68,000 CAD.
University of British Columbia
- University of British Columbia Admission Requirement Page
- The University of British Columbia Tuition Details page
Another fantastic option for students looking to study at a Canadian public university is the University of British Columbia. It has over 200 academic programs that are administered in two different schools and through 12 faculties.
The university offers academic programs leading to the award of certificates, diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. Students pay an average tuition fee of CAD 6,000 to 34,000 CAD annually.
While the University of British Columbia remains a top choice for most students who dream to study in Canada, the admission rate is quite competitive as it rests between 40 and 50 percent. Students will also have to face an entrance test before a successful admission.
The university is based in Vancouver and the top course offered here is M. Sc in Business Analytics, Master of Management, Master of Applied Science in Civil Engineering, Master of Applied Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Master of Business Administration.
We would recommend McGill University as a top choice for students who are looking to study at a public university in Canada, particularly to focus on medicine programs. The university ranks 31st in the QS World University Rankings and offers a series of undergraduate and graduate programs in biomedical engineering, nursing, anthropology, chemistry, business analytics, and chemical engineering.
Located in Montreal, Canada, the average tuition fee at McGill University is between CAD 18,000 and 50,000 which is quite mid-range for such a highly-ranked medical institute.
The top courses offered at this university include M. Sc Computer Science and B.Sc. Computer Science, M.A Economics, B.com Accounting, and B.Eng. Civil Engineering
University of Regina
With about 90 international country students, the University of Regina is a highly-ranked option for international students coming to Canada to study with a budget in mind. It is a solid pick for students who are interested in a comprehensive university cross-border research liaison.
The University of Regina offers academic courses in more than 15 fields including engineering, media, social work, health, and even business administration.
University of Alberta
With an average tuition fee of CAD 15,000 to 21,000, the University of Alberta is another affordable public Canadian university. It is best known for its proficiency in forestry, paleontology, transplantation, geology, petroleum, and sports.
What makes this university stand out is the study-abroad opportunities it offers to students, allowing them to further research universities around the world.
With a large student population of 40,000 students from 156 countries, the University of Alberta is known for its cultural diversity and vibrant school environment.
Located in Edmonton, the research university offers 200 undergraduate programs and more than 500 graduate programs. Some of the popular courses in this school include an M. Sc in Integrated Petroleum Geosciences, a Master of Accounting, an MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health, a Master of Business Administration, and an M. Eng. in Mechanical Engineering.
Université de Montréal
With over 69 students enrolled, the University of Montreal remains one of Canada’s largest higher education institutions. It has three student campuses – Udem (the main campus), HEC Montreal, and Polytechnique Montreal where they house 45,517, 14,169, and 9,486 students respectively.
With an average tuition fee of CAD 2000 and 10,000, the University of Montreal is a very affordable option for school in Canada and the top courses offered here are M.Eng in Biological Engineering, M.Sc Computer Sciences, M.Sc in Economics, and Master of Law Taxation
University of Waterloo
If you want to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or engineering at a public university in Canada, we would recommend the University of Waterloo in a heartbeat.
It is a popular choice for computer students and holds the record of being the first university in the world to allow students to use high-end computers for academic purposes.
With over 100 undergraduate programs and 190-degree programs, the university of Waterloo charges an average tuition fee of CAD 40,000 to 50,000 CAD which makes it a mid-range option in terms of affordability.
The popular courses student enroll in at this university include M. A Economics, Master of Taxation, Master of Architecture, Master of Management Science, and B. ASc. Electrical Engineering, and even Bachelor’s in Statistics.
What are the requirements for public Universities in Canada?
The exact requirement you will need to study at a public university in Canada will depend on the specific institution. However, for international students, most of these public universities will require slightly different credentials in contrast to citizen students.
No matter what the case is, here are the general admission requirements for Canadian public universities:
- A copy of your diploma, high school, or Bachelor’s degree
- English language proficiency (IELTS – 6.5, TOEFL-IBT – 90, PTE – 45)
- Standardized test scores (GMAT: 500-600, GRE: 305-320)
- A scan of your passport
- Your CV
- All transcripts of your previous qualifications
- Portfolio and writing samples
- Evidence of scholarship or funding
- 2 to 3 Letters of recommendation
There is no doubt that Canada is an ideal place to look at when it comes to private and public universities. We have combed through the 96 public universities that offer more than 15,000 academic courses to shortlist the above seven best.
Overall, we would recommend you consider the University of Toronto or McGill University before looking somewhere else, especially as an international student. These two public universities appear to be at the forefront when it comes to quality of education, student-tutor ratio, international student experience, and employability score.
It is also important to stress here that unlike in Germany, public universities in Canada are not tuition-free, but they are super affordable with an average annual tuition of 35,000 CAD.