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Top 20 Universities in Canada for Postgraduate Study – Global Rankings

Written by Mark Bennett

Canada is a popular and welcoming destination for postgraduate study. But what are the best universities in Canada for Masters degrees? And which excel in your particular academic area?

We've pulled together three globally recognised university league tables to help reveal the top Canadian universities. We've also looked at Canada's own domestic league tables.

Canadian universities and colleges in global rankings

The following table gives the top 20 universities in Canada in 2022. Information is based on the current rankings published by Times Higher Education, QS and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Each uses its own methodology. You can find out more in our guide to university rankings for postgraduate study.


Top 20 Canadian Universities in 2022
University THE 2022 QS 2022 ARWU 2021
University of Toronto =18 26 22
University of British Columbia 37 46 42
McGill University 44 =27 67
McMaster University =80 140 92
University of Montreal =88 111 101-150
University of Alberta 125 126 101-150
University of Ottawa =162 230 201-300
University of Calgary 201-250 235 151-200
Simon Fraser University 201-250 =298 301-400
University of Waterloo 201-250 =149 151-200
Western Univeristy 201-250 170 201-300
Dalhousie University 251-300 =272 201-300
Universitié Laval 251-300 =414 301-400
Queen's University 251-300 =240 201-300
University of Manitoba 301-350 601-650 301-400
University of Victoria 301-350 =334 301-400
York University 401-500 =494 301-400
University of Guelph 501-600 581-590 401-500
University of Saskatchewan 501-600 458 301-400
Carleton University 601-800 601-650 401-500
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.

So, how good are the top universities in Canada for Masters study?

Canada does very well in global rankings, with several Canadian universities in the world top 100 for each ranking.

This performance is particularly impressive given the comparatively small size of the Canadian higher education system. Canada has around 100 universities, whereas the neighbouring USA has around 4,000.

How do rankings work for Masters study?

International rankings use all sorts of metrics to assess universities and they aren't all equally relevant to postgraduate study. That's why we've put together a guide to university rankings for Masters students.

Domestic rankings

Global league tables and subject rankings can give you an idea of how the best Canadian universities compare to institutions in other countries. This is useful if you're considering destinations for postgraduate study abroad.

But what if you've already settled on studying a Masters in Canada? In that case, you'll probably be more interested in domestic Canadian university rankings.

As their name suggests, these rank universities within Canada. This approach can offer more of a 'level playing field'. Instead of comparing universities across very different national higher education systems, a domestic ranking includes universities operating under similar circumstances.

One of the most widely recognised rankings of Canadian universities is produced by Maclean's, a news and education publisher. They produce annual Canadian university rankings, including a league focussing on postgraduate medicine and research.

Search for a Masters in Canada

Our database includes plenty of Canadian Masters degrees and our listings provide lots of helpful information about specific programmes. Why not take a look?

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Last Updated: 03 November 2021