Top 50 Universities In World Includes Canada’s Toronto, McGill and British Columbia

Top 50 Universities In World Includes Canada’s Toronto, McGill and British Columbia
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Three Canadian universities once again made the top 50 of the QS World University Rankings 2024 and another 16 made the cut of being in the top 500.

Those latest rankings by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a provider of analytics and insight to the global higher education sector, reveal McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the University of British Columbia are all among the best 50 universities in the world.

The University of Toronto (UofT) was the highest-ranked university in Canada, placing 21st with a score of 86.3, barely nudging out McGill University which scored 83.7 and placed 30th. The University of British Columbia (UBC) took the 34th spot with a score of 81.5.

The 2024 ranking places UofT higher than at any other time since 2015, moving it up 13 spots from 34th last year.

But while UofT has improved in the rankings, McGill’s standing has dropped, falling from the 21st spot in 2015 to the 30th place showing this year. Last year, the university in Montreal was ranked 31st.

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QS Quacquarelli Symonds has in the past described McGill as based in the most student-friendly city in the world with 50 research centres and institutes, more than 400 programs, and an alumni network of more than 250,000 around the world.

“Based in Montreal, McGill University ranks among Canada’s most prestigious universities, attracting thousands of international students from over 150 countries every year, and the highest percentage of PhD students of any Canadian research university,” noted Quacquarelli Symonds.

The biggest improvement in Canada’s top three universities this year was UBC which leapfrogged 13 spots in the rankings, rising to 34th from the 47th spot last year. Since 2017, that university on Canada’s West Coast has risen from the 45th rank.

Other Canadian universities which ranked in the top 500 on the QS world ranking include:

Rank University Score

111 University of Alberta 58.3

112 University of Waterloo 58.1

114 Western University 57.4

141 Université de Montréal 52.1

182 University of Calgary 47.9

189 McMaster University 46.8

203 University of Ottawa 45.2

209 Queen’s University 44.5

298 Dalhousie University 34.9

318 Simon Fraser University 33.3

322 University of Victoria 33

345 University of Saskatchewan 31.5

353 York University 31.1

387 Concordia University 28.3

441 Université Laval 25.9

486 University of Guelph 23.7

Most of the roughly 800,000 foreign nationals who come to study at Canadian universities must apply for study permits.

International Students Can Work In Canada While Completing Studies

A study permit, once issued, allows a foreign national to study in Canada at an approved institute for the duration of the specified course or program.

There are exceptions. Foreign nationals do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada under the following conditions:

  • the course or program of study is less than six months in duration;
  • the student is a family member or staff of a foreign representative to Canada, or;
  • the student is a member of a foreign armed force.


To be eligible to study in Canada students must:

  • have been accepted by a school, collegeuniversity or other educational institution in Canada;
  • have proven they have enough money to pay for their tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation for themselves and any family members who come with them to Canada.
  • be law-abiding citizens with no criminal record and not a risk to the security of Canada. They may have to provide a police certificate;
  • be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary, and;
  • satisfy an immigration officer they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay.

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also be required if the student is a citizen of a country from which such visas are required for entry into Canada. This is not required for citizens of visa-exempt countries.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) allows students to work while studying in Canada.

A student may be able to work in Canada during his or her studies under the following categories:

Spouses or common-law partners of foreign students are also eligible for work permits for the duration of the study permit.

Upon graduation, a foreign student may apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Under this program, the work permit may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.