With so many Universities across Canada, it can be tough to know which one is best for international students. Most of Canada’s universities are ranked among the top global universities. Most importantly, the country has amazing cultural diversity. People from various countries and races are living together without any issues. Ultimately, Canada is one of the best options for higher studies. 

If you’re looking for the best universities to study in Canada, we’ve got you covered with this handy guide on the best cities in Canada for international students.

List of Top Universities in Canadian Cities

This list takes into account the popularity of each university, in addition to how easy it is to obtain a student visa. If you’re an international student looking to study in Canada, be sure to give these cities some thought. Other factors included in this analysis are the academic ranking of each, the cost of living, and the cultural and ethnic diversity of each university and city.

Montreal, Quebec – Université de Montréal, McGill University, Concordia University

A pleasant mix of cultural diversity and academic institutions, Montréal is a great destination for international students who want to live and study in a major city. The cost of living is inexpensive compared to other big Canadian cities, making it easier for your wallet to study abroad.

The city’s cultural scene offers an array of exciting options, in both French and English. While it sits just far enough away from Ottawa and Toronto that you won’t be overwhelmed by larger cities. 

Living Cost in Montreal:  You can rent a studio apartment for 1,095 dollars while a bedroom apartment will cost 1,370 dollars. The cost of food is nearly 225 dollars for four-person. 

Best Universities in Montreal

As one of Canada’s largest universities, McGill University has a strong reputation for engineering and business degrees. The academic ranking of the university improved rapidly in past three years. 

Score: In 2019, the university ranked 90th in the world and is ranked 67 in 2021. 

Université de Montréal (UdeM) has five campuses across town with over 200 undergraduate programs available. UdeM also boasts one of Quebec’s most prestigious medical schools which consistently ranks among the top 10 in North America! 

Score: In 2022, the university ranked 88th in Best Global Universities. 

Concordia University is known as Montreal’s polytechnic university with many professional programs available. The university features the latest machines and quality infrastructure to keep you updated with modern technology. 

Score: The university ranked between 601 to 800 in 2022.

Calgary, Alberta – University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, Bow Valley College

Calgary has some of Canada’s most attractive cities for international students, including one of its best schools, the University of Calgary. Overall, universities in Calgary offer over 160 different programs from more than 30 different countries. With a relatively low cost of living and lots to do, it’s no wonder that around 4% of international students come to Alberta each year. 

With a total population of 1.6 million by 2022, Calgary is a multicultural city. About 30 percent population of the city are immigrants. After English, some of the popular languages of the city are Punjabi, Tagalog, and Spanish. Calgary offers a range of work opportunities to immigrants. 

Living Cost in Calgary: The average rent of a one-bedroom apartment is 1,195. The food cost is around 200 for a family of four. 

Best Universities in Calgary 

Started in 1944, the public research university is known for its leadership development in all areas – medicine, arts, science, athletics, volunteerism, business, and engineering.

Score: The University of Calgary is ranked 190th by the Center for World University Rankings for 2021-2022. Moreover, it ranked 8th in Canada. 

Mount Royal University (MRU) is located within walking distance of the downtown core and is easily accessible by public transit. In addition to its Bachelor of Arts program, MRU offers an intensive English program with courses ranging from conversation classes to advanced writing workshops. 

Score: The university ranked 50th in Canada while 1764 in the world. 

Bow Valley College is another great option for those looking to study in Calgary as they offer both English language training and degree programs such as business administration, marketing management, graphic design, interior design, and much more. 

Score: The Bow Valley College ranked 90th in Canada in 2022. 

Toronto, Ontario – Ryerson University, York University, Ryerson Polytechnic University

Toronto, Ontario is a city known around the world as an international hub. The city is most popular among immigrants. With a population of nearly 6.3 million (greater Toronto area) in 2022, there are a lot of opportunities for immigrants. Its city population is nearly 2.9 million. Toronto is one of the most multiracial and multicultural cities in the world. 

In 2017, 47 percent of the total population were immigrants. There is a range of ethnic neighborhoods such as Little Portugal, Little India, Little Jamaica, Little Italy, Chinatown, Corso Italia, and many more. Most importantly, the diverse city offers a range of work opportunities.

Living Cost in Ontario:  Ontario is relatively expensive compared to other cities. One month’s food supply cost about 347 dollars in Ontario. Moreover, you need to pay 1000 dollars rent for a bachelor-style apartment. If you want two-bedroom apartment, you have to spend 1517 dollars each month. 

Best Universities in Ontario

The York University is popular for research excellence, experimental education, and innovative course design. It offers Canada’s largest liberal arts program. With more than 130 available courses, you can easily find a course of your choice. 

Score: Ranked 456th in Best Global Universities, York University is one of the most reputable institutes in Canada. It ranked 17th in Best Global Universities in Canada. 

If you’re looking to study design or computer science, Ryerson University (one of three universities under The Ryerson Project) is perfect for you. Ryerson is considered Canada’s leader in career-focused and innovative education. They offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees with specialized programs focused on art and technology. 

Score: With a global score of 40.7, the university ranked 933 in Best Global Universities. Moreover, it is the 25th best in Canada. 

For those interested in going into medicine or engineering, Ryerson Polytechnic University offers post-graduate courses with full degree accreditation by other Canadian universities. 

Ottawa, Ontario – Carleton University, University of Ottawa, Saint Paul University

Did you know that Ottawa is the 8th best city in the world? 

Ottawa is a great city for international students because it’s bilingual and has easy access to immigration opportunities. The universities here offer not only top programs, but unique international experiences. For example, at Carleton University, one of its highest priorities is diversity; all admitted students are welcome to attend an immigration orientation session, during which they learn about immigration opportunities and how best to take advantage of them. 

Perhaps best of all, Ottawa is also home to immigration-friendly employers like Deloitte and Amazon, who actively recruit internationally educated graduates looking to work in their local offices! 

Living Cost in Ottawa: On average, you need about 200 dollars each month to meet your food demands. Moreover, the rent of a one-bedroom apartment starts from 1399 in downtown Ottawa.

Best Universities in Ottawa

The University of Ottawa offers a range of courses from Immunology to Oncology. It welcomes international students and thousands are already studying there. 

Score: The university ranked 119 in Best Global Universities and 8th in Best Global Universities in Canada.

With over 121 undergraduate programs and postgraduate programs, Carleton University is quite popular among international students. 

Score: It ranked 481 in Best Global Universities and 18 in Best Global Universities in Canada. 

At Saint Paul University, you can enroll in English as a Second Language classes to prepare yourself for your time abroad. The university offers unique courses such as Conflict Studies, Spirituality, Canon Law, Psychotherapy, and Counselling. 

Score: It ranked 17th in Canada and #3501 in the global ranking for 2020.  

Vancouver, British Columbia – Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, Emily Carr University of Art + Design

If you want to be witness multiculturalism, then there’s no better city than Vancouver. The city was rated one of 2013’s top travel destinations. It offers a host of options for international students looking to study abroad. 

There are several universities based in Vancouver including Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. In terms of business, Vancouver is home to more than 1,500 companies. 

Moreover, it has won accolades from around North America as being the best place to live and the most livable city several times over. While there are many perks about studying here, it comes with some drawbacks that may not suit everyone. Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in Canada. 

Living Cost in Vancouver: On average, an apartment in downtown Vancouver cost around 2,200 per month. Moreover, the food cost for 1 person is around 227.35 per month. 

Best Universities in Vancouver

The first on the list is the University of British Columbia. The student-centered learning environment enables you to advance your career in the right direction. More importantly, it is home to hundreds of international students. 

Score: Being the second-best university in Canada and the 35th best in the world, there is no reason why you ignore this university.

With diverse cultures and students from all over the world, Simon Frase University is a perfect place to progress in your career. 

Score: In the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities, Simon Frase University ranked 298th in the world. Moreover, it ranked 13 in Canada.

Named after the Canadian artist Emily Carr in 1978, the university offers a range of courses. The world-class university is dedicated to media, design, and art education. 

Score: According to 4icu, the university ranked 65th in Canada and #2107 in the world in 2021. 

Halifax, Nova Scotia – Dalhousie University

Halifax is a very diverse city that welcomes people from all over the world. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to meet people and have fun here.

Living Cost in Halifax: In Halifax, you can get a one-bedroom apartment on average at 1300 dollars per month. For one person, the average cost of groceries is 250 dollars per month. Halifax is one of the most expensive cities in Canada. 

Best University in Halifax

Dalhousie University is one of Canada’s oldest universities. Its Medical School is consistently ranked as one of the best medical schools internationally. Furthermore, Dalhousie has some major research hubs that make it an ideal choice for an international student who wants to gain a deep understanding of their field. 

The university also recently announced plans to expand by 5% over five years with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship; if you’re looking to start a business or keep up with current industry trends, then Dalhousie might be a great choice. 

Score: When it comes to academic rankings, the university ranked 12th best in the country and 317 best in the global ranking.

Kamloops, British Columbia – Thompson Rivers University

Kamloops is located in the center of British Columbia making it easily accessible by air, rail, and road. From hiking trails to museums, the city is home to various attractions. With a 2021 population of 97,902, the city offers various opportunities to international students. About 90 percent of the population is English-speaking and represents various cultures. 

Living Cost in Kamloops: Kamloops is in the top 23 percent of the most expensive cities in the world. On average, it cost 1,663 dollars per person to live in the city. 

Best University in Kamloops

Thompson Rivers University is a public institution that combines professional education with liberal arts, with career-focused programs like business, computing, psychology, and social work. 

TRU has established agreements with more than 90 international universities for transfer credit recognition and welcomes applications from international students through its own Office of Admissions and Recruitment as well as those from agents representing other institutions. 

The university’s location means it offers outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing in addition to year-round cultural festivals like Shambhala Music Festival. Thompson Rivers University has also been named by Maclean’s magazine as one of Canada’s best small universities.

Score: In Canada, the university ranked 47th best in the country. Moreover, it ranked #1277 in the world. 

Edmonton, Alberta – University of Alberta

Being the capital of Alberta, Edmonton is a modern city with a range of opportunities. In 2021, Edmonton had a population of 1,010,889 and its metropolitan population is 1,418,118. According to State of Immigration and Settlement in Edmonton Annual Report (2021), more than 300,000 Edmontonians have an immigrant background. 

Edmonton is a culturally diverse city with a range of communities living there. From Caucasian to middle eastern, there are many communities living happily in Edmonton. International students usually enjoy the environment of the city. 

Living Cost in Edmonton: It is the second cheapest city in North America. The average cost of groceries per person is 257 dollars. The apartment costs range from 900 to 1200 dollars in the city. Thankfully, the rent cost is far less compared to other cities.

Best University in Edmonton

The University of Alberta is consistently ranked one of North America’s top universities, especially for business and law. Its six faculties feature many nationally and internationally renowned faculty members. The average high school grade is 89 percent, making it slightly more difficult to gain entry. 

That said, most international students pass their first year with a GPA between 3.2 and 3.5. The university has a decent mix of Canadian and international students that come from over 90 countries around the world. It has over 100 cultural clubs, seven language houses (Germanic, Japanese-Japanese-English, Korean-Korean-English), and numerous other programs that celebrate diversity. 

Score: With a global score of 68.2, the university ranked 135th in Best Global Rankings and 5th in Best Universities in Canada.


With thousands of international students moving to Canada to complete their education, it is a great country for everyone. Thanks to its cultural diversity, it is extremely easy to live there. More importantly, native people are humble and you hardly see any sign of racism in the country. 

If you want to study abroad, Canada is one of the best places. From top-level universities to a range of work opportunities, there is everything for international students. 

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