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Universities in Vancouver, Canada

High rise buildings located next to a body of water
Vancouver has a mixture of modern and historic architecture.

Often recognised as Canada’s most diverse and immigrant-friendly city, Vancouver is located on the western Canadian coast and is home to over 2.5 million residents. In addition to a long history as an important trading centre, port and industrial area, Vancouver offers international students a beautiful and scenic location to complete their education at top-ranked universities.

The nearby Vancouver International Airport allows international students from all over the world to catch direct flights to their top-ranked Vancouver universities, and life in Vancouver is especially convenient for residents due to the city’s excellent urban infrastructure.

Top Universities in Vancouver

Vancouver and its surrounding region are home to three top-ranked universities offering courses taught in English for international students, alongside multiple institutes offering degrees in a range of specialisations and work-degree certifications.

The University of British Columbia

Formerly known as the McGill University College of British Columbia, The University of British Columbia has become one of the world’s top universities for international students since it was founded in 1908.

The University of British Columbia operates mainly on two campuses – its main campus located in downtown Vancouver, and another campus in the nearby town of Kelowna. Although it originally began with a focus on specific subjects including medicine and law, the university of British Columbia now offers more than 500 undergraduate and postgraduate degrees across various subjects to international students.

The university has a sizable international student community to help you settle into your surroundings, as nearly a third or 18,000 of the university’s total enrolment of 55,000 is made up of international students. The University of British Columbia is also home to plenty of world-class research facilities and institutes operated by award-winning faculty, such as the National Laboratory for Particle & Nuclear Physics (TRIUMF).

The university’s Vancouver campus currently hosts 26 faculties, some of which are:

  • Sauder School of Business
  • School of Community and Regional Planning
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Forestry
  • Vancouver School of Economics
  • Faculty of Land & Food Systems

Simon Fraser University

A large-scale university with nearly 37,000 enrolled students, Simon Fraser University was founded in 1965. Simon Fraser University offers international students the chance to conduct world-class research across faculties with the help of top-quality faculty and logistical support.

Simon Fraser University operates research partnerships with over 3,000 institutes across more than 125 countries, and enjoys the fastest-growing research income of all top-ranked Canadian universities. Additionally, you will be able to pursue amazing career opportunities alongside your top-ranked academic degrees at the university, because its co-op program regularly places students in world-class internships at reputed brands such as Tesla and Facebook.

Similar to the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University has a large community of international students totalling nearly 8,500. Courses are taught at the Simon Fraser University across eight faculties:

  • Faculty of Applied Sciences
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Education
  • Beedie School of Business
  • Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology
  • Faculty of Environment
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Faculty of Science

University of Victoria

Located a two-hour drive away from Vancouver in Victoria, the capital of the Canadian state of British Columbia, the University of Victoria is a top-ranked university with nearly 4,500 enrolled international students.

With more than 100 study abroad programmes offered across universities in 25 countries, international students at the University of Victoria can experience the best academic opportunity in both Canada as well as another country of their choosing.

The university offers courses to international students in two divisions – Medical Sciences & Continuing Studies – as well as 10 faculties:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Engineering and Computer Science
  • Fine Arts
  • Human and Social Development
  • Humanities
  • Law
  • Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Graduate Studies

Vancouver Universities World Ranking 2025

Below is a list of the top Vancouver universities in 2025, according to QS world rankings and Times Higher Education:

UniversityQS World Ranking 2025Times Higher Education Ranking 2024
The University of British Columbia3841
Simon Fraser University319251-300
University of Victoria349351-400

The University of British Columbia is Vancouver’s top-ranked university and one of the best universities according to both QS and THE in Canada, whereas the other two top-ranked Vancouver universities all feature in the top 400 of both the QS world rankings and the THE world rankings for 2023.

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Vancouver

Alongside the four top-ranked Vancouver universities, the city and its nearby region also offer international students plenty of high-quality institutes with work-study degrees and English-language courses in a variety of subject areas such as Business, Engineering & Design. Below are a few of the top-ranked Vancouver institutes for international students:

Tuition and Living Costs in Vancouver

Tuition fees for international students at top-ranked Vancouver universities depend on the exact courses you select 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 Vancouver universities are slightly lower at 14,000 US Dollars annually; executive-level MBA programs are the most expensive degrees at about 40,000 US Dollars annually.

As for living costs at top-ranked Vancouver universities, the University Canada West estimates that international students should budget at least 1,200 US Dollars every month. International students should note that Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in, but it is still possible to enjoy your world-class academic experience on a small budget in the city.

Your monthly budget should include at least 600 US Dollars for shared accommodation, 300 US Dollars monthly for transportation and other utilities, and about 300 to 400 US Dollars monthly for food and emergency expenses.

Life in Vancouver for International Students

Vancouver appeals to international students from all over the world not only because of its top-ranked universities, but also the scenic location of the city on Canada’s western coastline. This means that along with enjoying views of the Pacific Ocean from your classroom and residence, you can also make frequent weekend trips to the nearby Canadian Rocky Mountains, giving you the best of both seaside and mountain living.

Below are some of the most visited cultural and tourist sites in and around Vancouver for international students:

  • Stanley Park
  • Granville Island
  • Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Museum of Anthropology at UBC
  • VanDusen Botanical Garden
  • Queen Elizabeth Park
  • Cypress Mountain Ski Resort
  • Kitsilano Beach
  • Museum of Vancouver
  • Burnaby Village Museum
  • Sunset Beach Park
  • UBC Botanical Garden
  • HR MacMillan Space Centre
  • Richmond Night Market
  • Nitobe Memorial Garden

As the above list shows, Vancouver is home to a number of natural parks and wildlife areas where you can relax with friends during your time away from top-ranked universities.

Vancouver’s large student community and population of young individuals also guarantee a vibrant entertainment scene all over the city. Meanwhile, nearby major cities such as Toronto and Ottawa are only a brief flight away from your top-ranked Vancouver university.

Vancouver truly has it all as a top-ranked university city, and despite the relatively high living costs, represents value for money when compared to similar top-ranked university cities in the USA and UK.

See all universities in Canada.

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