Last Updated on March 19, 2018
Canada just changed its immigration system so that international students who study and graduate here stand a good chance of getting permanent residence at the end of their courses.
Specific points are now awarded under the Express Entry System to graduates – 15 for one or two year courses and 30 for course lasting three years, a master’s, doctorate or professional degree such as medicine.
With a Postgraduate Work Permit also available to former international students, Canada is sending a clear message that the pathway is clear to young people who want to study here, then live and work after their courses have concluded.
As two of the main competitors for international students prepare to slam their doors shut, America with Donald Trump becoming president and the U.K. with its exit from the European Union, Canada is ready to pick up that slack.
But where should you study? The U.S. may have the ‘big name’ universities, but Canada has its fair share of excellent institutions churning out some of the most employable graduates in the world.
In this article, immigration.ca lists 10 of the best.
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
Located in downtown Montreal, McGill is the 24th best university in the world and perhaps Canada’s most prestigious. The reputation of its medical school and research facilities are second to none – but one of the huge draws of McGill is its location. Montreal is culturally vibrant, boasts affordable housing and is a place where young people can thrive. The winters are cold, but open students up to another host of genuine experiences. The dominant language is the city is French, but most people also speak English.
University of Toronto, Ontario
The University of Toronto already draws students from all over the world, and saw a huge spike in traffic to its website the day Trump was elected in the U.S. Toronto is Canada’s largest city, and provides every experience a young person could hope for. The university offers a multitude of degree programs, has a world-renowned business school in the Rotman School of Management and top-level computer science and engineering options. If you are looking to work during and after your degree, you will find opportunities everywhere. Housing is expensive, but if you can get beyond this, you are in for a life-changing experience.
University of Calgary, Alberta
The youngest university on the list, Calgary is an oil town school with a focus on degrees related to energy and engineering. A unique selling point is its campus in Qatar for a truly unique experience, while is also has four separate campuses in Calgary itself. Public policy and applied sciences are also strengths. Calgary is another Alberta city that has struggled with the oil slump, although it is in recovery mode. It hosts the Calgary Stampede each year and has good access to the Rocky Mountains. Housing affordability is mid-range, certainly below the likes of Toronto and Vancouver.
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
The problem-based teaching on its health care and health sciences courses are what makes McMaster University stand out. There is also the DeGroote School of Business, which has a top-level reputation. Hamilton is a less trendy city than those mentioned so far, but is undergoing a slow transformation from its history as a town reliant on the steel industry. You are also just a couple of hours away from Toronto, which is another benefit. However, being close to Toronto does drive up property prices somewhat.
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is cast in the character of Vancouver, the city in which it is located. The vibe is entrepreneurial and informal, in a school that prefers not to conform to conventional classroom delivery. Vancouver’s arts scene is thriving. Canada’s most expensive city to live has a top-notch film industry. There is also an unusual admissions process for a large university, that gives more weight to non-academic factors.
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta
Another among the world’s top 100 universities, the University of Alberta excels in English language and literature, education and pharmaceutical degrees. It has just added an online mountain studies degree for those with a bug for exploration. The economy in Edmonton – and Alberta in general – has taken a hit from the recent oil slump, but the city still has a lot to offer, including access to the Jasper National Park. House prices are lower than Vancouver and Toronto, but more than Montreal.
University of Montreal, Quebec
Montreal is Canada’s city of universities, and it becomes the first to have two on this list, with the school that takes the city’s name. It is a Francophone research university with top business and engineering schools. It also boasts partnerships with blue-chip universities from all over the world. And it’s in Montreal, which you should already have read about in the McGill University entry on this list.
Western University, London, Ontario
Western has a multitude of options for study and research, located in London, one of Ontario’s mid-sized cities and far enough from Toronto for house prices to remain low. Proudly one of the top 10 research universities in the country, it pumps the associated funding into work on life sciences, the environment, public policy and cultural analysis. London has a thriving economy and can provide an excellent start to the working life of a graduate. You are close enough for a slice of Toronto action if you want it, but also far enough away if you do not want it.
University of Waterloo, Ontario
The University of Waterloo focuses on co-operative education, meaning students combine their academics with time spent gaining work experience. This has allowed the university to grow a reputation for entrepreneurship. Waterloo is home of BlackBerry and was once known as Canada’s answer to Silicon Valley, although that reputation has slipped along with turnover of the one-time cutting-edge smartphone maker. People of German descent originally inhabited the city, so expect plenty of European beers at the annual Oktoberfest party.
University of Concordia, Montreal, Quebec
A third entry on the list for Montreal, Concordia has cutting-edge research facilities in fields as diverse as aerospace design, oral history and digital storytelling. It boasts a large undergraduate cohort, which means a huge range of courses and has a focus on professors with real experience in their fields. And it’s in Montreal, so expect a vibrant city with relatively low property prices.