Top 3 Universities in Canada

By Ella Bergquist August 27, 2018 (Updated July 20, 2020) 8 min. read
University of Toronto, McGill University and University of British Columbia

Deciding where to go to university or where to do postgraduate work can be a stressful  time for many students. Luckily, if you are considering studying in Canada, there are many wonderful  options. Canada boasts three of the top universities in the world: University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of British Columbia.


University of Toronto

University of Toronto

University of Toronto was founded in 1827 and is recognized as a global leader in research and teaching. They offer courses in a range of subjects while still maintaining small classroom sizes. There are three campuses that students can attend: Mississauga, downtown Toronto, and Scarborough.  The city of Toronto is an amazing city that offers students a dynamic and cultural place to explore.

Quick Facts


The University has three campuses. These campuses each host different schools and offer their students a unique atmosphere.


This is the second largest campus and is located to the west of the Toronto campus. It is located near the Credit River.  It is the home of 17 departments, 156 programs and 92 areas of study.

Undergraduate Departments:

Anthropology, Biology, Chemical and Physical Sciences, Economics, English and Drama, Language, Geography, Historical Studies, Management, Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Visual Studies.

Graduate Departments:

Medicine, Anthropology, Cell & System Biology, Chemistry, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Geography, Geology, History of Art, Mathematics, Physics, Physiology, and Sociology.


Mississauga is home to many of the University’s faculty researchers. This provides students studying on this campus to engage in their own research. University of Toronto also goes beyond simple research and has many connections to industry and the local government. Your research may help to find a solution to real-world concerns.

Downtown Toronto

This is campus is located in the middle of Downtown Toronto, one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Your university experience can be enhanced by access to fairs, festivals, sports and culture from the city.

College System

If you choose this campus, you will belong to one of seven colleges. The college system is a University of Toronto tradition and aims to give you a community. Each school has a distinct personality and each offers specific academic coursework. This means that you will need to choose a college that offers a program of study that you are interest in.

Scarborough Campus

This is campus located to the East of Toronto. The students who choose this campus  have an opportunity to participate in University of Toronto’s Co-op program.

Co-op Program

This program aims to prepare students for their jobs after graduation through hands on work experience. Students will have the opportunity to work as research assistants, community volunteers or interns. Find out more about the employers this Co-op program works with. 

Academic Departments:

Anthropology, Arts/Culture/ Media, Biology, Computer and Mathematics, Critical Development Studies, English, French, Historical Studies, Human Geography, Health and Society, Management, Philosophy, Physical and Environmental Sciences, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.

University Organizations and Activities

The University has a large range of activities for students beyond their coursework. There are clubs, sports teams, social activism groups, drop-in classes, research and publication opportunities. You are sure to find an activity that suits you. Find out more about the University’s organizations and activities.

Graduate Opportunities

The University of Toronto offers 200 graduate programs over the three campuses. These degrees can be taught or research based. The program length can vary from degree to degree. Find out more about the areas of graduate study.

McGill University

McGill University

McGill University was founded in 1829 and is one of Canada’s best known institutions. It is ranked 1st in Canada and 32nd in the World. The University’s entering students have the highest average entering grades and 144 McGill students have won the Rhodes Scholarship.

Quick Facts


McGill University is located in Montreal in Quebec. Montreal is the largest city in Quebec and second largest in Canada. Montreal is divided into 19 boroughs and the University is located in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal. This is the largest borough and has been labeled as one off Canada’s most creative neighborhoods. The southwestern portion of Le Plateau-Mont-Royal is known as McGill Ghetto and is the home to many of the University’s students and faculty. Montreal is known to be a safe and affordable city.


Downtown Campus

This campus is home to most of McGill’s programs and is located in the heart of Montreal. It has state of the art labs, recording studios and classroom buildings.

Macdonald Campus

This campus is the home of McGill’s Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. It is located 36 km west of Montreal in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. Approximately 2,000 students enjoy it picturesque scenery.


McGill offers numerous possible degree options. Find out more about their programs.

Internships, Co-op, Study Abroad and Research Programs

McGill is committed to helping students learn by doing. As a result, they offer an extensive Co-op and internship program. McGill students are connected to a vast network of industry contacts which can help them find their dream experience.

Students have the opportunity to participate in an exchange program with 150 different institutions. There are programs that fit any students degree path whether you are an arts student or an engineering student.

McGill prizes its ability to provide students with on campus research options. Students are able to work with top faculty members to gain invaluable research experience. You have the option to work one-on-one with a favorite professor or you can join a research program. McGill offers formal research programs in Agriculture, Faculty of Arts, Engineering and Science.


University Organizations and Activities

The University

Graduate Opportunities

UBC offers 400 graduate programs that range over a wide variety of topics. Find out more about which programs McGill offers to Graduate students.

University of British Columbia (UBC)

University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia was founded in 1915 and fosters an entrepreneurial spirit in its students. UBC embraces innovation and has worked to change the worlds. It supports exceptional research facilities and encourages students to become involved in research that relates to their degree.

Quick Facts


Vancouver Campus

UBC’s Vancouver campus is located on the Point Grey Peninsula in the city of Vancouver. It is surrounded on three sides by forest and the ocean on the fourth side. It is a 30 minute bus ride to Vancouver’s downtown. There are two satellite branches of this campus. Both are located in downtown Vancouver, one in Robson Square and the other in the Great Northern Way.

This campus is home to residences, study spots, recreational facilities, and academic buildings. It includes the TRIUMF which is one of the world’s leading laboratories for subatomic physics. It is is also home to the museum that houses Canada’s largest blue whale skeleton. This campus has something for everyone.

Okanagan Campus

This campus aims to foster an intimate learning experience. It was built in the early 2000’s and opened in 2005 in Kelowna. This campus is home to many of UBC’s research labs. The campus has 8 Faculties and schools. Find out which Faculties and schools call Okanagan their home. 

University Organizations and Activities

The University aims to connect its students to one another and the larger community. UBC does this by creating wonderful extracurricular activities for its students. These include: sports, lunch time workouts, Storm the wall, lectures, concerts, guest speakers, clubs, and volunteer opportunities. Find out more about your extracurricular activity options.

Graduate Opportunities

The University of British Columbia offers graduate programs at both of its campus. Find out more about the Vancouver campus and the Okanagan Campus options.

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Photo Sources

Photo of McGill University

Photo of University of British Columbia