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Universities in Toronto, Canada

Panoramic picture of city skyscrapers next to a body of water under a blue sky
The city of Toronto sits on the shore of Lake Ontario, and is home to the famous CN Tower, which stands high above all of the surrounding skyscrapers.

Universities in Toronto, Canada

Toronto is the largest city in Canada, the fourth largest city in North America and the capital of the Canadian province of Ontario. With a population of about 2.8 million urban residents, of which nearly 47% are immigrants, Toronto is a multicultural city full of vibrant neighbourhoods and world-class entertainment venues.

Toronto is also home to multiple major industries including real estate, retail and financial services. Many of the world’s largest companies and employers have major operations located in Toronto. The city ranks highly in most global living index reports due to its world-class public facilities, excellent public transport and a strong educational infrastructure.

Top Universities in Toronto

University of Toronto

Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto is undoubtedly one of the world’s best universities. Home to over 75,000 enrolled students, the university is located on three campuses in Toronto and its neighbouring suburbs – St. George, Mississauga and Scarborough. With a large international student population of about 19,000 admits, it provides excellent resources to help you settle in upon enrolling at the university.

The University of Toronto is especially well-known for its strong commitment to world-class research in the humanities, social sciences and scientific subjects. The university is home to multiple leading research centres such as the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking, the Centre for Advanced Coatings Technologies (CACT) and the Centre for Power and Information (CPI). Toronto’s Rotman School of Management is one of the world’s leading institutes for MBA degree programmes.

With over 630,000 alumni spread across 190 countries globally, a University of Toronto degree will allow international students to connect with fellow alumni and identify employment opportunities and exciting internships all over the world after graduation.

McMaster University

Established in 1887, McMaster University is home to over 25,000 enrolled students, of which 5,000 are international students. Situated primarily on a 300-acre campus in the Hamilton suburb of Toronto, McMaster also operates three additional campuses across Ontario in Burlington, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Niagara.

McMaster University is especially well-known for its high-quality medical school as well as its strong research programs across disciplines. World-leading research centres at the university include the McMaster Immunology Research Centre and the McMaster University Centre for Effective Design of Structures. McMaster also maintains exchange partnerships with over top-ranked global universities, allowing international students to experience new cultures abroad on a yearly basis.

University of Waterloo

Located an hour and a half away from downtown Toronto in the nearby city of Waterloo, the University of Waterloo was founded in 1957. The university hosts nearly 42,000 enrolled students, most of them on the university’s large primary campus of nearly 1,000 acres in Waterloo. Additionally, the university operates three satellite campuses as well as four affiliated university colleges.

Founded mainly as an engineering institute, the University of Waterloo continues to offer top-ranked engineering courses taught by award-winning faculty, in addition to world-class research facilities. The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to a professor at the University of Waterloo, showing the university’s excellent research facilities as well as the quality of teaching you can expect to receive in Waterloo. Over 9,000 international students form a large multicultural community at the university, and you can make frequent trips to Toronto during weekends and academic breaks.

International students will be at a major advantage after graduating from the University of Waterloo because it operates the world’s largest co-op program. Through this program, you can work part-time for two years alongside your academic degree at over 7,100 employers which includes some of the world’s leading companies across industries.

York University

Home to nearly 60,000 students from over 170 countries, York University has become well-known for its high-quality research and teaching since its founding in 1959. York University is primarily located on three campuses across Toronto – Glendon, Keele and Markham. Additionally, the university operates satellite campuses and research facilities all over the world in locations such as Costa Rica and Hyderabad, India.

York University is best known for offering top-ranked postgraduate degrees in disciplines such as law and business at the Osgoode Professional Development school. International students can conduct world-leading research across various subjects at any one of the university’s 27 advanced research centres. A 94% post-graduation employment rate shows that international students at York University will be able to find ideal employment opportunities, especially in Canada.

Toronto Universities World Ranking 2024

Below are the top-ranked Toronto universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2024 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2024 Rankings.

For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.

UniversityQS World Ranking 2024Times Higher Education Ranking 2024QS Rank in CanadaTHE Rank in Canada
University of Toronto212111
McMaster University=189=10394
University of Waterloo112=15857
York University353351-40016=12

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Toronto

In addition to the four best Toronto universities mentioned above, the city also offers plenty of top-ranked institutes specialising in subjects such as architecture, engineering and business. Below are a few of the other top-ranked institutes in and around Toronto for international students – 

Tuition and Living Costs in Toronto

Tuition fees for international students at Canadian universities are dependent on the specific courses selected, and whether you are pursuing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

The average undergraduate tuition fee for international students in Canada is about 22,500 US Dollars annually; fees are slightly lower for humanities degrees and higher for medical and engineering programmes.

For postgraduate international students, the average fees at top-ranked Toronto universities are slightly lower at 14,000 US Dollars annually; executive-level MBA programs are generally the most expensive degrees, and cost about 40,000 US Dollars annually.

As for living costs, the University of Toronto estimates that international students should budget between 1,500-1,700 US Dollars per month. This figure includes shared accommodation costs of 1,000-1,200 US Dollars per month, 160-200 US Dollars in utilities, 250-300 US Dollars for food, 60-80 US Dollars for transport and another 80-150 US Dollars for entertainment and miscellaneous expenses.

Living costs can be more expensive in Toronto, and many international students offset their living & tuition expenses by finding part-time employment and internships all over the city. Present Canadian student visa rules permit you to work up to 20 hours a week during the semester, and full-time during academic breaks. International students can find a variety of jobs on popular online portals in Toronto such as Magnet, Workopolis Campus and Talent Egg.

Life in Toronto for International Students

Toronto represents a truly global and youthful city where international students can interact with and learn from people of many different cultures and backgrounds while living in a safe and well-connected urban environment.

Canada is renowned for its awe-inspiring natural beauty, from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the seaside views of Newfoundland on the country’s east coast. International students can take opportunities to explore Canada using the country’s highly-developed train and flight network. What’s more, international students can also travel comfortably from their home countries straight to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, one of North America’s largest aviation hubs.

Many international students choose to use their academic breaks to make exciting trips to the United States of America, with major American cities such as Boston and New York only an hour and a half away from Toronto by air. As for the city itself, Toronto is full of outdoor areas for recreation, historical buildings and cultural monuments, and vibrant entertainment venues.

Below are some of Toronto’s must-see destinations for international students:

  • CN Tower
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Casa Loma
  • High Park
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
  • Toronto Zoo
  • Toronto Islands
  • Canada’s Wonderland
  • Aga Khan Museum
  • Rogers Centre
  • Scarborough Bluffs Park
  • Harbourfront Centre
  • Toronto Bellwoods Park
  • Toronto Botanical Garden
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Rouge National Urban Park
  • Woodbine Beach

Toronto offers a wide range of culture, art, entertainment and outdoor activities – all the things that will help you remove any stress that you may accumulate from your time at a top-ranked Toronto university.

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