With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence technologies, the future of work in Canada can seem daunting. For students getting ready to graduate from high school, choosing the right university now can be the first step toward becoming part of the workforce of tomorrow.
Whether students are looking for co-ops and internships, integrated-degree programs, strong athletic departments or innovative research, universities in Canada offer many choices. For the 2019 Canadian University Report, we reached out to schools across the country to see how they are keeping up with the challenges of a rapidly changing work world, and preparing students for a still-uncertain future through research projects, work-integrated learning opportunities, and other initiatives.
To see how the postsecondary institutions in Canada measure up, we collected data on affordability, financial aid, research funding, library spending, retention, degree completion, student satisfaction and other factors. We also focused on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which invites students to rank their experiences at their own institutions in detail.
We reached out to each postsecondary institution listed to request the most recent costs of attending. For those institutions that did not respond, we used the most current information available on their websites. Our tuition calculations are for a full-time course load, as well as compulsory fees, such as health insurance, transit passes and student union fees. Basic Arts and Science tuition fees were used, as opposed to specialized programs. Arts tuition fees were used when different from Science. $$$ indicates a university's tuition is at least $300 above average, average ($$) or at least $300 below the provincial or regional average ($).
Universities allocate a percentage of their overall budgets to scholarships and bursaries. Looking at data from Canada Student Loans and the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO), we determined which schools devote above-average (green), average (yellow) and below-average (red) proportions of their overall budgets to financial aid. Provincial data sets were used for B.C., Ontario, and Quebec, and regional datasets for the prairies and the Atlantic provinces.
We looked at responses in the National Survey of Student Engagement from the 2016 and 2017 academic years that spoke to overall student experience. Colours indicate if student experiences were rated above average (green), average (yellow) or below average (red). (Some schools did not participate or reveal their scores.)
The majority of NSSE results are from 2017, with the following exceptions: University of the Fraser Valley, UNBC, VIU, Athabasca: 2016; University of Regina: 2014. Lack of data indicate no NSSE results submitted or the university does not participate in the survey. National dataset was used.
We looked at funding granted to universities by major national research councils in Canada. Universities awarded $20-million or more in research funds are in yellow; the Top 10 institutions are in green. Top 10 schools were determined by total tri-council research dollars.
Using data from CAUBO, we rated universities based on their per-student spending on library resources. Green indicates that the institution spent at least 50 per cent above the national average, yellow indicates average spending, and red indicates below-average spending.
This report profiles more than 70 public, degree-granting universities across Canada, separated by province. To begin, Select the province you would like to explore. Faith-based and French-language schools are denoted with blue and orange, respectively.
This year marks Capilano University’s 50th anniversary. The university is based out of North Vancouver, and also features a regional centre in Squamish, and a second campus in Sechelt focused on serving British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.
CapU offers almost 100 programs in areas such as arts and science, to the more specialized areas of jazz or film. Capilano is a teaching-focused university, and class sizes are small, averaging around 25 students.
Fall 2018 will see the opening of the Centre for Student Success at Capilano University. The facility will offer resources and amenities, including math and writing support, to help students build their skills.
Alumni and instructors from Capilano University have been nominated for, and won, Juno Awards; alumni have also worked on Oscar-winning animation teams; and, in 2017, Motion Picture Arts student Malibu Taetz was the second Capilano student to be included in the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival.
Emily Carr is one of the smallest universities in British Columbia, and the only one in the province devoted to the fine arts.
The university offers nine undergraduate and three graduate degrees across four faculties. It is also home to three public gallery spaces, including the Libby Leshgold Gallery, which focuses on contemporary art from aboriginal artists, female artists and materials related to the artistic process, such as sketches, studies, prototypes and notebooks.
All undergraduate degrees at Emily Carr begin with the Foundation year, which offers a selection of art, design and media courses. As part of that year, students take some classes in the faculty of culture and community, which aims to provide a framework and knowledge base for integrating continuous community engagement into students’ creative practices.
This year, recent Emily Carr graduates Stephanie Koenig and Emi Webb were part of a team that developed Neighbour Hub, a disaster backup system and public art project that provides essential resources such as drinking water, light, power and radio communications in green spaces across Vancouver.
Located in the Fraser Valley just east of Vancouver, the University of the Fraser Valley has about 100 courses involving undergraduate research.
With small class sizes (averaging 25), the university offers about 100 programs in more than 30 subject areas, and many trades and technology programs. International exchanges to more than 40 destinations give students global experience and the university has more than 1,000 international students.
Work-study experiences include co-op placements locally, nationally or abroad (students compete for opportunities), work on campus, or volunteer positions to help build a co-curricular record.
UVF has Intercollegiate Athletics teams in soccer, basketball, wrestling, volleyball, rowing and golf.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University is Canada’s only polytechnic university, meaning it offers trade and apprenticeship opportunities alongside traditional academics. There are four campuses located throughout Metro Vancouver, with a fifth location slated to open in Surrey this year.
Tuition at KPU is the lowest in British Columbia, and graduates leave with the lowest average debt in the province.
KPU offers more than 120 programs, including Canada’s only graphic design for marketing program, the first brewing program in Canada to be recognized by the Master Brewers Association, and a bachelor of horticulture science in urban ecosystems, the only undergraduate degree of its kind in North America.
This year, Kwantlen Polytechnic is piloting a project that will assess prospective students on the merits of portfolios demonstrating their work rather than grades. In partnership with the Surrey school district, KPU will admit six students in the fall based on digital portfolios they developed in high school.
Situated in and around a castle in Hatley Park on Vancouver Island, Royal Roads University offers most of its programs in a blended learning model that combines short on-campus residencies with online classes.
Many programs at Royal Roads operate through a cohort model, which places students in small groups for the duration of their studies. Initial residencies on campus and digital collaboration tools help cohorts continue working together throughout the program.
In 2017, Royal Roads received the designation Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, demonstrating a commitment to social change and innovation. To further this aim, Royal Roads offers flexible admission that takes into account both formal education and informal learning.
This fall, RRU is opening the Centre for Environmental Science and International Partnership, which is designed to foster research into sustainability and intercultural understanding.
Tuition varies widely by program, but the average cost is significantly higher than at other universities in the province.
Simon Fraser University is British Columbia’s second-largest postsecondary institution. The original campus opened in 1965 on Burnaby Mountain, and the university has since grown to include campuses in Surrey and downtown Vancouver.
The university offers a range of programs across eight faculties, as well as numerous co-op and study-abroad opportunities.
SFU is a research-focused university. In its latest strategic research plan, the school identified as its four focuses: big data; health technology and solutions; new materials and technology for sustainability; and community-based research.
SFU recently launched the KEY initiative, which offers consultation, workshops, partnerships and academic programs in the field of big data, with the aim of expanding the university’s capabilities in research and data application.
Complementing SFU’s commitment to big data research, the Burnaby campus is home to Cedar, Canada’s most powerful academic supercomputer, which will provide new computing resources for researchers working in diverse fields.
Based in the small city of Kamloops in B.C.’s Interior, Thompson Rivers University offers students a variety of options for their postsecondary education. The university provides 140 on-campus programs from trades to traditional academics, as well as 60 online open-learning programs.
Thompson Rivers is also home to eight varsity athletic teams, known as the WolfPack, and more than 100 student clubs.
This September, TRU will open the Industrial Training and Technology Centre, a new space dedicated to trades and technology programs that will make room for another 550 students taking these programs.
Thompson Rivers, which is located on the traditional, unceded territory of the Secwépemc people, recently committed to a campus-wide Indigenization initiative called the Coyote Project. The project aims to improve recruitment, retention and completion for Indigenous students at TRU through such initiatives as changes to curriculum and resources, field trips involving local Indigenous bands, hiring Indigenous staff, and summer science camps for Indigenous students.
The University of British Columbia is the largest in the province, serving nearly 56,000 students at its main campus in Vancouver and more than 9,000 in the Okanagan Valley, as well as others at learning centres and training sites across B.C.
Students can choose programs from the university’s 16 faculties, 18 schools and two colleges, and they can pursue degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and PhD levels.
UBC is renowned for its commitment to research. The most recent QS World University Rankings awarded UBC 47th place globally, making it one of only three Canadian schools to break the international top 50. The school received more than $188-million in federal research funds in 2016, the most in western Canada, and it currently holds 159 active research chairs, more than any other school in the region.
Students can join one of the university’s 370 student clubs, or play varsity sports for the Vancouver campus’s Thunderbirds or the Okanagan Heat.
Tucked amid the forested landscape of northern British Columbia, UNBC made its founding mission to be a university “in the North — for the North.”
The small, research-intensive school offers more than 960 academic courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and it aims to focus its research on the social, economic, environmental and cultural issues of the North, including natural resources and the environment; rural, remote and northern health; and sustainability of communities.
Earlier this year, UNBC opened its new Wood Innovation Research Lab, a facility dedicated to engineering the next generation of tall wood buildings. The lab will offer students an opportunity to test new materials and design sustainable, cost-effective wood building solutions. Notably, the lab itself is built to Passive House specifications — the first industrial-style building in North America to meet this international efficiency standard.
The university will also launch two new undergraduate engineering programs soon, making all four years of civil and environmental engineering programs available in northern B.C. for the first time.
The University of Victoria offers a breadth of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, in 10 faculties and two divisions. UVic is home to one of the largest university co-op programs in the country, offering paid work experience to complement studies in more than 40 academic areas. Each year, it partners with businesses worldwide to complete nearly 3,000 work terms at an average salary of $2,700 a month.
More than half of fourth-year students either have completed or plan to complete some experiential learning opportunity by the end of their degrees, according to the latest national student engagement survey.
New to UVic in 2018 is the world’s first law program combining studies of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous law. Students who complete this program will graduate with two professional degrees, in Canadian common law and Indigenous legal orders.
Starting in September, UVic will be taking on additional enrolment in computer science and engineering programs. Another 500 undergraduate spots will be created over the next five years in such key areas as software engineering; civil engineering promoting green and sustainable buildings and cities; biomedical engineering; computer science; computer engineering; and electrical engineering.
Vancouver Island University’s roots go back to 1936 when local mechanic Jack Macready started training eight automotive mechanics in a shed in Nanaimo. Now, the Vancouver Island-based school offers more than 120 programs across a range of disciplines, including vocational and technical training, First Nations studies, human services and professional development.
This year, VIU launched a learning partnership for Indigenous youth with the goal of removing barriers for Indigenous learners to access postsecondary education. The program is being co-created with the Indigenous communities VIU serves, and will provide financial support to help support another 500 Indigenous students pursuing their education at VIU.
At the Nanaimo campus, construction is under way on a new health and science centre, which will house most of VIU’s health and chemistry program; a marine, automotive and trades complex expansion, which will help increase the university’s capacity in trades programs; and an environmentally friendly geo-exchange system that will be used to heat and cool buildings on campus.
The University of Alberta, located in the province’s capital, is the largest university in the Prairies. The school provides a multitude of options, with 200 undergraduate programs, 500 graduate programs and 450 active student groups.
U of A is home to the second-largest research library in Canada, with a collection that exceeds 4.7 million titles and 8.7 million volumes. In 2016, the university spent almost $25-million on books, periodicals and other reference materials, the most for any university in Western Canada. As one of Canada’s top research schools, U of A also receives the most public research funding of any university in the Prairies.
This past June, U of A graduate Billy-Ray Belcourt became the youngest winner of the annual Griffin Poetry Prize for his debut collection, This Wound Is a World.
The Alberta College of Art and Design, the only school in the Prairies dedicated to the fine arts, is about to undergo a major rebranding. This March, it received official university status from the province, and it will unveil a new name in 2019.
ACAD offers bachelor degrees in fine arts and design, as well as a master in fine arts. The school is home to two professional galleries, the Illingworth Kerr and Marion Nicoll galleries, and nine student-run exhibition spaces.
Class sizes are small, with an average studio class of 15, and students can work closely with professors thanks to a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to one.
ACAD has introduced a minor in 3-D object design and fabrication, which allows students to develop skills with various computer-aided design software, gain hands-on experience with digital fabrication machines, and incorporate these emerging technological tools into existing studio practices.
Athabasca University is an open-admission distance-education university based in Athabasca, Alta. The school offers more than 850 courses in more than 55 undergraduate and graduate programs, and classes are available to students around the world. These courses can be put toward a degree from Athabasca, or credits can be transferred as part of a degree at another institution.
The university has many options available. Students can take group-study courses at one of the school’s four campuses, or work from anywhere through online courses designed for individualized study. The majority of students work while completing their degrees, and half are supporting dependents.
Stefanie Ruel, who received her doctorate in business administration from Athabasca last year, has taken her learning into space, as Canada’s only female mission manager and a leader in the field of women in STEM. Kaetlyn Osmond, a bachelor of professional arts student (communications), is one of more than 40 past and present AU students who have participated in the Olympics. She brought home three Olympic medals in figure skating and the women’s singles world championship.
The University of Calgary, in the heart of Alberta’s biggest and busiest city, strives to be a leader in preparing students for the next-generation economy and workforce.
The university features programs aimed at helping students to develop well-rounded skill sets that will serve them well in the employment market. Micro-credentials and badges, along with embedded and stackable certificates, enable students to upgrade their skills. Institutional supports — such as a program for undergraduate research, study-abroad, the college of creativity, discovery and innovation and campus as a learning lab initiatives — create opportunities for diverse educational experiences.
Nearly half of fourth-year students have participated in work-integrated learning opportunities, and 16 per cent have taken part in study-abroad programs.
UCalgary is more than just an academic hub: Some 500 students compete on varsity teams each year, the Dinos are among the top five in Canada for Academic All-Canadian student-athletes, and the Olympic Oval skating facility is home to the fastest ice in the world.
Located in the heart of Alberta’s capital, Grant MacEwan University has been operating as a teaching-focused university since 1971. It offers nine baccalaureate degrees, two applied degrees and many diploma and certificate programs, as well as study-abroad opportunities through a wide range of international partnerships.
The university prioritizes learning through small class sizes, between 10 and 50, and faculty members who integrate their research interests with class goals and student involvement.
Unique to MacEwan is the interdisciplinary dialogue, an intensive learning experience that brings students from across the university together to explore one topic or issue over the course of a semester. Last year, through a series of lectures, presentations, forums, group projects and writing assignments, students explored the theme of truth and reconciliation. Although the program is not eligible for academic credit, it brings students together to gain a deeper understanding of complex issues.
With a main campus nestled in the southern Alberta coulees, on traditional Blackfoot land, the University of Lethbridge is one of Alberta’s smaller universities. The school offers more than 150 undergraduate and 60 graduate programs, while maintaining an average class size of 34 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to one.
U of L focuses on providing students with a liberal education centred around: breadth across disciplines; the ability to connect and integrate knowledge; critical thinking and problem solving; and civic engagement. In 2017, the university opened a school of liberal education to keep these values at the centre of learning and teaching.
The liberal education program has helped students such as Jamie Lewis build foundations for learning both inside and outside the classroom. Ms. Lewis co-founded uLethbridge’s World University Service Committee (WUSC) chapter, which now annually sponsors a refugee student at the university. In the third year of her undergraduate degree, she is working on research projects alongside anthropology professor Jan Newberry.
In 2019, the university will open a new, sustainably designed science and academic building, its largest construction project since 1971 and one of the country’s most advanced facilities for transdisciplinary research in the sciences.
One of the smaller universities in the Prairies, Mount Royal offers 12 degrees and 32 majors, as well as online and collaborative degree programs. With an average class size of just 29, MRU makes it easy for students to build relationships with their professors and peers.
Mount Royal also offers more than 80 international partnerships in 27 countries, and it plans to further its activities in international learning and research.
All students in baccalaureate or diploma degrees at the university take up to 30 per cent of their courses in the general education department, which aims to provide a well-rounded foundation. Courses focus on themes of numeric and scientific literacy; values, beliefs and identity; community and society; and communication.
The University of Regina provides a diverse learning experience. To accommodate increases in its Indigenous and international student populations over the past several years, it opened a new residence in 2015.
U of R offers more than 120 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs, including interdisciplinary options. Creative technologies, for example, combines computer science and engineering with fine arts disciplines, among them media studies, film production and animation. In 1969, the university became the first in Western Canada to introduce co-operative learning placements, and it now offers co-op and internship opportunities in more than 50 programs.
Unique to the University of Regina is the UR guarantee program, which gives students access to academic leadership and service opportunities throughout their degrees. Those who complete the program are guaranteed employment in their fields within six months of graduation or the university will cover one year of additional undergraduate tuition.
A recent report from Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Advanced Education found that University of Regina domestic graduates have an 85 per cent employment rate in the province within two years of graduation.
Students at this university in the heart of Treaty Six territory have the chance to study with some of the top researchers in the country.
The university is committed to promoting a more sustainable future, and is home to numerous research programs that study food security and water security, including the U of S Global Institute for Food Security, which focuses on improving agricultural practices; the U of S Global Institute for Water Security, which aims for more sustainable management of global water resources; and the U of S–led Global Water Futures, the largest university freshwater research program in the world, which involves hundreds of faculty, researchers and staff from 15 universities across Canada.
In just one example, PhD student Leila Dehabadi has worked with chemistry professor Lee Wilson to develop a new technique that could lead to cheaper gas and alcoholic beverages. Her method uses starch-based materials such as corn to separate water from ethanol, reducing processing costs for biofuel and alcohol production.
Brandon University celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The small school has seen steady growth over the past five years, and is making room for more with a new campus master plan. It aims to expand and integrate the campus across Brandon while retaining a small-town, community-oriented feel.
This fall, the university will also start a co-op program, pairing students with local employers for paid work terms alongside their educational experience.
BU is collaborating with institutions such as Assiniboine Community College to develop new applied-research opportunities. One such program, Western Canada’s first undergraduate degree in public history, combines history classes at BU with media arts classes at Assiniboine to give students both theoretical and practical ways to make history more accessible.
Deep in the heart of Treaty One territory, the University of Winnipeg prides itself on supporting a diverse student body. Thirteen per cent of incoming students identify as Indigenous, and almost one-third of the student body self-identifies as being from a racialized community. Expanded campus daycare, contemporary affordable housing (including for families) and targeted financial assistance are just a few ways this school supports its students.
Despite the university having the highest tuition in the province, and dedicating less than 1 per cent of its operating budget to financial aid, UWinnipeg students graduate with the lowest debt level in the Prairie provinces.
To prepare students for a digital future, UWinnipeg developed an applied computer science course, which gives students the opportunity to work on real-world projects with major industry sponsors.
The University of Manitoba is the oldest and largest in the province, offering more than 100 academic programs and more than 100 service-learning, internship, co-op and exchange opportunities.
As a member of Canada’s U15 Group, U of M provides a research-intensive learning environment for graduate and undergraduate students alike, garnering more than $40-million in public research funding in 2016. The university specializes in the areas of Arctic system science and climate change; immunity, inflammation and infectious disease research; and global and population health.
U of M is the first school in Canada to offer an award for undergraduate research, which gives students a 16-week mentorship in their field of interest, with a professor of their choice, as well as a $7,000 monetary award.
U of M is home to one of Canada’s largest Indigenous student populations, and to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, which opened in 2015. The university has committed to serving these students’ needs; to date, through its unique engineering access program, it has graduated the most Indigenous engineers in Canada.
Algoma University is one of the smallest in the province and among a handful that only take undergraduate students. It offers more than 30 programs in the liberal arts, sciences and professional studies, with research opportunities and hands-on experience across all programs.
Thirteen per cent of students self-identify as Anishinaabe, and another 23 per cent are international students. Algoma is a partner with the independent Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig postsecondary school to foster cross-cultural learning between the Anishinaabe population and other communities in Northern Ontario.
To help students bridge the transition from university into the workforce, Algoma is designing a career link program, which will provide a framework for students to take part in experiential learning and career development throughout their education. It also focuses on entrepreneurship and support for students with disabilities.
Located on the Niagara Peninsula, in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Brock offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate programs in the departments of applied health sciences, education, humanities, mathematics and science, social sciences, the Goodman School of Business and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.
It offers 40 co-op programs, each providing a minimum of 12 months of relevant undergraduate work experience. Fifteen per cent of full-time students are enrolled in co-op programs, and graduates have a six-month average employment rate of about 90 per cent.
The university also offers study-abroad experiences, including student exchange programs. It is home to some 20 transdisciplinary research hubs, institutes and research centres, including the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), which focuses on research into the Canadian grape and wine industry and its future educational needs; and a level 3 containment lab with the only insectary at a Canadian university, used to research vector-borne diseases such as Zika. As well, it has 11 Canada Research Chairs.
Carleton is bordered by the Rideau River and the Rideau Canal, in Canada’s capital. The research-focused university offers an array of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with strengths in journalism, public affairs, international affairs, architecture and high technology.
The university is developing an autonomous-systems institute to enable industries, students and professors to lead research in robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. Carleton recently received federal funding to provide internships and co-op placements for students to work on autonomous vehicle technology.
Carleton prioritizes experiential learning. According to the latest national student experience survey results, 43 per cent of fourth-year students completed or planned to complete some form of experiential learning, while nearly one-third worked with a professor on a research project during their degrees.
This year, the school received funding from the provincial government to develop the Carleton University Accessible Experiential Learning (CUAEL) project, which aims to support students with disabilities by opening up 300 employment opportunities to give them quality hands-on experiences while they earn their degrees.
The University of Guelph opened in 1874 as an agricultural school on a 500-acre farm. Now it has expanded to deliver undergraduate and graduate programs in the physical and life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences, business, agricultural and veterinary sciences.
Though tuition at Guelph is among the highest in the province, graduates hold the lowest average debt in Ontario. Co-op options are available in 40 per cent of programs. In 2017, more than 3,000 students across 35 disciplines participated, and U of G biochemistry student Brianna Guild was named co-op student of the year by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education.
Those who want to get out into nature can head to the Arboretum, 400 acres of plant collections, gardens, walking trails and diverse natural environments next to the main campus. It serves as a living lab for many undergraduates and is vital to the university’s agricultural research.
Lakehead offers a comprehensive range of degrees across 10 faculties. It also offers access to a selection of combined degrees through its partnership with Georgian College. This has resulted in four new program options since 2017, with a goal of launching more than 20 new degree programs over the next five years.
The university is home to 13 research centres and institutes. When the Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering and Science opens this spring, it will include the Ingenuity District, a startup hub for student entrepreneurs.
The Orillia campus offers an interdisciplinary studies program, which allows students to customize their degrees across a range of disciplines, including concentrations in human nature, social justice, and international conflict and human rights.
Laurentian is a bilingual institution, offering degrees in English and French, as well as a certificate of bilingualism to students who take classes in a balance of both official languages throughout their degrees. The research-focused university offers degrees across seven faculties, as well as opportunities for online learning, including a selection of programs accessible entirely online.
Laurentian has one of the highest employment rates in the province. According to the latest data, 94 per cent of undergraduate students find employment within six months of graduation, and 96 per cent within two years.
The Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building will include engineering labs, two research centres and the Jim Fielding Innovation and Commercialization Space learning and entrepreneurial hub.
McMaster is a research-intensive university with a focus on medical-doctoral programs and health research, including chronic disease, aging across the lifespan, sustainable societies, Indigenous knowledge and research, and responding to infectious disease.
The university is home to more than 70 research centres and institutes, and it receives the second-largest sum of tri-council research funding in the province.
This year, McMaster opened the $33-million Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (BEAM) project centre, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology. The centre will provide space for bioengineering research, including a team working to develop new technology for cancer treatments.
The university is also home to the McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI), which focuses on Indigenous ways of knowing and methodologies.
One of Ontario’s smaller schools, Nipissing is a primarily undergraduate institution located in North Bay, overlooking Lake Nipissing in central Ontario.
It delivers programs in three faculties: arts and science, applied and professional studies, and the Schulich school of education, which grants teaching degrees from the undergraduate level to PhDs.
The university introduced a new initiative this year. The Nipissing Promise, the first program of its kind in Ontario, provides one year of tuition-free education to students unable to secure employment in their field within six months of graduation, as long as they have completed their four-year program with a 70 per cent average and met other requirements. Throughout their degrees, participants will work with advisors to navigate the transition from campus to the workforce.
In 1912, the Ontario College of Art became the first school in Canada to exclusively train professional artists in fine and commercial art. It attained university status in 2002 and was officially renamed OCAD University in 2010.
OCAD U offers 17 undergraduate programs in the faculties of art, design, and liberal arts and sciences, with 18 research labs and nine galleries. Its studios are equipped for an array of disciplines, among them painting and photography, etching and screen printing, wood, metal and plastics, and rapid prototyping. It also houses the only foundry in downtown Toronto.
The university is forging connections with employers to give students more work-integrated and experiential learning opportunities. This fall, it will open a learning centre with the goal of expanding OCAD U’s space for research and innovation.
The University of Ottawa is the world’s largest English-French bilingual postsecondary institution, offering more than 450 programs across 10 faculties. As the founder of Canada’s first and largest postsecondary French immersion program, it enables participants to study partially in French in 60 humanities programs. For those interested in pursuing French while taking science courses, uOttawa provides an extended French stream for 26 programs in the faculties of science and engineering.
As one of Canada’s U15 group of research-intensive schools, uOttawa is home to 57 Canadian research chairs with focuses in the areas of health, Canada and the world, e-society, and molecular and environmental sciences.
The university also administers the second-largest co-op education program in Ontario, with 16 months of paid work terms in more than 75 programs in six faculties.
Located in the city of Kingston, in southeastern Ontario, Queen’s provides a comprehensive range of degrees.
As one of Canada’s U15 group of research-intensive universities, Queen’s prioritizes research goals in many areas, including computational science and engineering, globalization studies, mental health, biomedical sciences and sustainable energy systems.
Students graduate with the highest average debt in the province, but the student loan default rate at Queen’s remains well below the provincial average.
Ryerson has pioneered a way to integrate experiential learning and traditional academics through zone learning, which allows students to develop startups, companies and other ventures with the potential for social or economic impact while working on their degrees. Each of its 10 zones focuses on a specific industry. One of these, the DMZ incubator, has developed more than 300 companies and created more than 3,000 jobs in the past eight years.
Students can choose their degree paths from 62 undergraduate and 55 graduate programs. The school also houses more than 125 research institutes and labs.
New to Ryerson this year is the Yellowhead Institute, an Indigenous-led research centre based in the faculty of arts.
The University of Toronto is Canada’s largest postsecondary institution, offering students more than 980 programs at the undergraduate, graduate and PhD levels at its three campuses. QS World University Rankings scored U of T 28th in the world this year, and the university has held its standing as QS 2019’s top school in Canada. It has more tri-council research funding and more Canadian research chairs than any other university in the country.
This year, U of T completed major upgrades to nearly half of its research facilities across the three campuses. The modernization spans nine academic divisions, with upgrades to the medical, dental, biology, chemistry and engineering labs.
Also new this year is the merging of the School of Public Policy and Governance and the Munk School of Global Affairs. This initiative comes in response to growing overlap in the two programs’ subject areas, such as migration policy, cybersecurity and digital governance. The Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy allows for more shared electives, internships and job placements for undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
As one of Ontario’s smaller schools, Trent states it has a student-to-faculty ratio of 18 to one, and prioritizes collaborative learning. Students can choose from more than 100 programs across the arts, sciences, social sciences and professional studies, and athletes can join one of 12 varsity teams and three varsity clubs.
Trent is making some upgrades to its facilities this year, including the Cleantech Commons, an 85-acre research site that will host a cluster of companies and startups engaged in green technology, at the Peterborough campus.
Trent is also updating its library to make more space for research and collaborative learning on campus. The new Bata Library will house an entrepreneurship and social innovation centre, research centres and visualization labs, among other resources.
The University of Waterloo is known for its co-op programs, and has about 60 per cent of undergraduates enrolled in more than 120 co-op programs. The university works with more than 6,700 employers in about 60 countries to give students experience in their fields while they pursue their academic goals.
Founded in 1957, Waterloo was built on the pillars of science, math and engineering. Now students can choose from an array of programs in six faculties, including arts, environment and applied health sciences.
The university has directed substantial resources into researching quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, energy and advanced manufacturing. This year, it launched an institute to advance innovation into every aspect of AI technology, from foundational to operational.
Waterloo invests 9.1 per cent of its operating budget in financial aid, well above the provincial average of 5.6 per cent. Students graduate with one of the lowest levels of average debt in the province, and are among the least likely to default on student loans.
Located in the eastern Greater Toronto Area of Oshawa, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), has more than 70 specialized research laboratories and facilities on its campus.
Its focus on practical, professional degrees means students at UOIT will be exposed to a technology-rich classroom experience, with opportunity for practical experience through co-op and work placement opportunities for many programs. Popular degrees are engineering and commerce.
Research facilities include the Crime Scene House, the Centre for Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation, and a climatic wind tunnel. Research priorities include advanced manufacturing, energy and the environment, IT and informatics, and biotechnology. The university has partnerships with industry, including companies such as General Motors of Canada, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Bell Canada and The Hospital for Sick Children.
The University of Western Ontario, located on a 400-acre campus along the Thames River, offers more than 90 undergraduate, 70 graduate and 50 doctoral programs through its 12 faculties and three affiliated colleges.
The university houses a number of research sites, including the world’s first hexagonal wind tunnel, the Wind Engineering, Energy and Environment (WindEEE) Dome, which allows for large-scale reproduction of wind system dynamics.
This year, the university opened the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, which houses facilities such as the Brain and Mind Institute, BrainsCAN and the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, as well as dry labs and teaching and research space.
For those looking to study abroad, Western offers the International Learning Award. Full-time undergraduates in their second year with a cumulative average of 80 per cent who plan international learning experiences for their third year automatically qualify for $1,000 toward their study-abroad experiences.
Wilfrid Laurier is making experiential learning a central focus of its educational approach. The university provides co-op terms, entrepreneurship and field courses, practicum placements, internships and study abroad, with 4,900 co-op jobs posted every year.
The university offers programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels across its nine faculties and three campuses, with another opening in 2019 in Milton. The school’s game design and development program has gained international attention over the past few years. This spring, students from Laurier were chosen to design a series of escape rooms to present at the season premiere of an Amazon Prime original TV series in Germany. Last year, gaming students were hired to design the first escape room world championships in Budapest.
This mid-sized institution has a student-to-faculty ratio of 25 to one, and 250 clubs and groups with 5,000 registered members. The Golden Hawks have 24 varsity teams, including lacrosse, basketball and cheerleading.
Windsor offers more than 190 undergraduate, 65 graduate and six professional programs across a range of faculties and schools, including law, business, engineering, human kinetics and social work.
The university is engaged in a $1-million curriculum development initiative, to create programs that will be responsive to community and student needs, and to enhance the institution’s capacity for innovative program development. Twenty-six projects are underway, including a possible graduate degree in translational health sciences; clinical practice opportunities in psychology; and expanded simulation-based learning in social work.
In spring 2017, in response to the historical lack of Indigenous leadership on campus, the university allocated five new tenure-track positions for Indigenous scholars through the President’s Indigenous Peoples Scholars Program.
York describes itself as Canada’s third-largest interdisciplinary research and teaching institution, offering more than 5,000 courses and a range of degree programs across 10 faculties. The university is also home to 25 research centres, focused in vision and space sciences, history and refugee studies, health, the environment, sustainability, climate change and digital media.
In 2014, York established the country’s first undergraduate global health program, which allows students to examine how factors such as trade and transportation, climate change, immigration, economics and human conflict interact to influence health and health care internationally. They gain exposure to the latest findings through the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, which brings researchers together to develop solutions for emerging challenges.
At its forested Glendon campus, York offers the only bilingual communications program in the country, as well as a dual-degree program in international studies and business administration, which provides the opportunity to study for two years in Glendon’s international studies program, followed by two years at Emlyon business school in France.
Located in the bilingual area of Lennoxville, a suburb of Sherbrooke (approximately 1.5 hours southeast of Montreal), Bishop’s is known for its smaller class sizes, social sciences programs and community feel. Established in 1843, it comes with a sense of history, charm and beautiful Victorian-era buildings spread throughout its 550-acre campus. Bishop’s largely undergraduate population ranks the student experience here among the best in the country.
Concordia is Quebec’s largest English-language university, serving more than 40,000 students from 150 countries with a comprehensive range of degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. In addition to the arts and science faculty, the school offers degrees in fine arts, business, engineering and computer science.
An applied science research hub is set to open in fall 2019. The centre will provide space for transdisciplinary research into innovative approaches to sustainable products and processes. It will also house the department of chemical and materials engineering, a centre for nanoscience research, and a centre for microscopy and cellular imaging.
The university prioritizes sustainability on campus through numerous programs, including student-led sustainability projects. Initiatives such as an urban agriculture school and a greenhouse project provide hands-on learning and apprenticeships for students interested in sustainable practices.
McGill stands at 33rd in the world, according to this year’s QS World University Rankings. More than half of the students come from Quebec, and a further 29 per cent are international, drawn from some 150 countries. McGill is a competitive university: The average GPA of high-school students admitted to the university is 90.5 per cent, one of the highest in Canada.
The research-intensive English-language institution offers hundreds of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through a number of faculties, schools and institutes. Though the majority of students study in the arts and sciences, the university also has programs in medicine, law, engineering and agricultural and environmental sciences, among others.
Tucked away in a town with about 5,500 residents, Mount Allison University is a small, primarily undergraduate university focused on an interdisciplinary approach to the liberal arts and sciences. All of its five degree programs provide interdisciplinary learning opportunities, and students can choose their degree paths from more than 40 program options.
Class sizes are small: In first year, they average 65, while upper-year classes average just 14, which allows students to develop one-on-one relationships with professors.
A career mentorship program pairs students in their final year with alumni mentors to help graduates transition into life after university. Last year, it matched 61 students with mentors in a wide range of programs and fields.
The University of New Brunswick has more than 7,000 students enrolled at the Fredericton campus, and another 2,000 attend the smaller Saint John campus. The school offers more than 75 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Experiential learning opportunities include fieldwork for earth sciences students, co-op placements with local companies for business students, and digital-game design through the media arts and cultures program.
This spring, the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre at UNB, located on the traditional territory of Wolastoqiyik, launched a voice-based smart phone app to teach the Wolastoqey language. To help users understand Wolastoqey culture and identity, it features seasons, holidays, regions, plants, animals, family, ceremonies and medicine.
Located in New Brunswick’s capital, St. Thomas is a primarily undergraduate institution exclusively focused on the liberal arts. The majority of students take the bachelor of arts degree, which offers more than 30 academic programs in the humanities and social sciences. STU also has post-degree programs in education and social work, as well as bachelor of applied arts degrees in criminal justice and gerontology.
This year, the school introduced a certificate in experiential learning and community engagement to complement the bachelor of arts. Students must participate in course-based experiential learning and community volunteer work to earn the certificate. In 2017, students Navy Vezina and Abbie LeBlanc became the first Canadian team to win the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court competition in Geneva, Switzerland, finishing first of 38 teams from around the world.
Located in the small university town of Wolfville, overlooking the Annapolis Valley and the Bay of Fundy, Acadia is a primarily undergraduate institution that offers more than 200 degree combinations in the arts, pure and applied sciences, professional studies and theology.Class sizes average 32 students, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14 to one.
This year, Acadia will open its renovated science complex and the Huestis Innovation Pavilion, a centre focused on building healthy, sustainable rural economies. Research conducted at the pavilion will include tidal-powered green energy, pesticide-free pest management, and wine testing and analysis.
For athletes, the Axemen have 11 varsity teams, including basketball, hockey, volleyball and soccer. Acadia holds more conference and national championships than any other university in Atlantic Canada.
Established as an independent university college in 1974, Cape Breton is one of Canada’s youngest universities, and the only degree-granting postsecondary institution on Cape Breton Island. It offers a range of undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts, business and sciences.
The master of business administration in community economic development is unique in Canada. It equips students with traditional business skills while emphasizing economic development, leadership, governance, and management of change for local and global communities.
CBU boasts the highest enrolment percentage of Indigenous students at any institution in Atlantic Canada. In 2010, it established Unama’ki College to better meet the needs of Mi’kmaw students at CBU. To date, the university has graduated around 600 Indigenous students, largely through the programs offered at Unama’ki.
Dalhousie is the largest university in the region, with more than 180 degree programs in 13 faculties. Sixty per cent of students come from out of province, while another 20 per cent are international, hailing from more than 115 countries.
As a member of Canada’s U15 group of research-intensive universities, Dalhousie is home to 35 active Canada Research Chairs. In 2016, it received the most federal tri-council funding in the region, at almost $49-million.
Located in the peninsular city of Halifax, Dalhousie is a leader in ocean research. This year, fellow ecologists Boris Worm, a marine biology professor, and Kristina Boerder, a PhD student in biology, worked with an international multidisciplinary team to produce the first data set of global industrial fishing activity, using satellite systems, machine learning and computing power.
King’s College is a small liberal arts school recognized for its undergraduate and graduate journalism programs, as well as for its foundation year program, which allows students to study the fundamental texts, from ancient to contemporary, that have shaped Western thought.
UKC offers a handful of interdisciplinary honours programs at the undergraduate level. As well, it gives students access to program options through the faculty of arts and social sciences, jointly with its sister school, Dalhousie.
This year, King’s launched a new study-abroad program in Berlin, where students will spend a month exploring themes of collective memory, public space and historical trauma.
King’s journalism students won Emerge Media and Atlantic Journalism Awards this year for their coverage of the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
When Mount Saint Vincent was founded in 1873, it was one of the few higher-education schools in Canada to serve women. Today its students are a diverse mix from more than 50 countries, and it offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the arts, sciences, education and professional studies.
In the 1980s, the Mount was among the first universities in the region to broadcast distance learning courses via television. Now it provides 14 degree programs, certificates, diplomas, majors and minors, delivered entirely or primarily online, and it hopes to offer more complete online degrees by 2019.
This fall, the school will launch Atlantic Canada’s first program focused on non-profit leadership, in response to Canada’s growing non-profit sector.
NSCAD University, also called the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, became Canada’s first independent degree-granting art school in 1969. Almost 50 years later, it offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in fine arts, design, media arts, craft, art history and contemporary culture.
The university is made up of campuses and galleries located throughout the city. The Fountain campus is based in interconnected merchant buildings downtown; the Academy campus is housed in a 19th-century former high school; and the new Port campus occupies a modern industrial building on the waterfront.
Students seeking hands-on experience can participate in internships, practicums, studio residencies and learning through community service. They can also display their work at the school’s Anna Leonowens Gallery, a public exhibition space named for NSCAD’s founder, which showcases contemporary art, craft and design by emerging student artists. As well, it features exhibits by faculty members and visiting artists.
St. Francis Xavier recently launched three degree programs to equip students with problem-solving skills suited to the global work force. The interdisciplinary programs — a bachelor of arts in policy and governance, a bachelor of arts and science in health, and a bachelor of arts and science in climate and environment — address contemporary world issues while supporting undergraduate research alongside faculty mentors.
The university takes its approach to experiential learning through its service learning program. More than one-quarter of undergraduates will apply their in-class knowledge to real problems in rural and regional communities, via partnerships with local organizations.
Business student Hannah Chisholm was named the 2018 HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow, for her work on campus to address food insecurity, mental health and wellness.
Nearly one-third of students at Saint Mary’s are international students from 118 different countries. The university offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in arts, sciences, education and business.
Saint Mary’s is home to Canada’s only undergraduate entrepreneurship program, available as a major to students pursuing degrees in commerce and arts. Students in the entrepreneurship program engage in hands-on learning through workshops, events and competitions, as well as participation in Enactus, an international network of student, academic and business leaders.
Last year, Kaitlyn Amell and Ciaro Moxey, students from the Enactus Saint Mary’s chapter, launched an award-winning program to combat food insecurity. Square Roots paired student leaders with local restaurants to provide more than 800 meal tokens to those in need.
Located in PEI’s capital, the University of Prince Edward Island offers undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate degrees in the faculties of arts, business, education, nursing, science and, perhaps most notably, veterinary medicine.
New to UPEI is the faculty of sustainable design engineering, which gives engineering students the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning experiences as early as first year, and to work with industry partners on real-world problems in second year.
Last year, engineering students Dylan MacIsaac, Jordan Sampson and Brett McDermott collaborated with the local aquaculture industry to develop a technology to flip 200-pound oyster cages with ease, ensuring even growth and saving thousands of hours of labour.
Memorial University is the only postsecondary institution in Newfoundland and Labrador, and it serves more than 18,000 students across four campuses as well as online. The university offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs through a comprehensive range of faculties.
This year, the school of human kinetics and recreation introduced a new degree, the bachelor of human kinetics and recreation co-operative, which gives students the opportunity to customize their learning by focusing on one of five areas: community recreation, health promotion, kinesiology, physical education or therapeutic recreation. The degree also includes three co-op work terms, so students graduate with a year of work experience.
More than 40 per cent of research at MUN concerns the ocean. Last year, it launched the Ocean Frontier Institute, a collaborative, transnational centre working to address the negative impacts of changing atmospheric conditions and ecosystems, and to understand how to safeguard marine life and coastal communities.
The system encompasses 10 institutions across the province, which collectively offer more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate programs and have more than 450 research groups and laboratories, including about 200 research chairs. It includes Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC), Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR), Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), the distance-learning school Télé-université (TÉLUQ), the research-based Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), the policy-oriented École nationale d'administration publique (ENAP) and the technology-focused École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS).
Laval was the first French-language university established in Canada, in 1852. It now boasts some 500 programs in a comprehensive range of fields, including at the graduate and doctoral levels.
The school prides itself on its sustainability work. In 2017, it became the first university in Canada to commit to divesting its endowment fund from companies related to fossil fuels. It was also ranked second among participating institutions worldwide and first in Canada by STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System), based on its self-reporting for 2016.
Laval is home to 70 Canadian research chairs, and it received the most tri-council research funding of all French-language institutions in Canada, with nearly $116-million.
Université de Moncton, Canada’s largest exclusively French-language university outside of Quebec, is located on three campuses in the francophone regions of New Brunswick. It boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 14 to one, with 165 programs across a range of faculties, including arts, education, forestry and law. The school also offers close to 20 co-op programs in five faculties.
The university is working with the federal and provincial governments to develop the New Brunswick Centre for Precision Medicine, the first clinical centre for transdisciplinary health research in the province. The facility will specialize in biomedical research, genetic sequencing and population health.
Université de Montréal is a large, research-intensive institution offering programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels in 14 faculties, including law, medicine, veterinary medicine, humanities, music, and public health. Through partnerships with Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal, it also provides programs in engineering and business, respectively. A new science complex, opening in 2019 on the island of Montreal, will house the departments of chemistry, physics, geography and biological sciences.
The university is home to 93 Canada Research Chairs — more than any other French-language university in the country — and it accrued more than $115-million in federal tri-council research funding this year. As part of its research focus on AI, the school is working with the public in to develop the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence, a series of ethical guidelines.
Université Sainte-Anne is the only French-language university in Nova Scotia, and is home to students from more than 37 countries. It offers a range of undergraduate degrees and college certificates in sciences, social sciences, health sciences, education, administration, English and French.
The university now offers integrated French immersion for non-francophone students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies completely in French. They sign an agreement to speak only French, and are housed in residences with other students from the program.
Université de Sherbrooke offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs at its three campuses. More than 80 per cent of students come from outside of Sherbrooke, and the school hosts international students from 88 countries.
Sherbrooke provides robust co-op opportunities, with nearly 5,000 internships completed in 50 accredited programs each year. Its Innovation Park brings together industry and academic researchers, giving students an opportunity to participate in fundamental and applied research.
The university is home to more than 30 research centers and institutes, including the Institut quantique, a research centre devoted to advancing innovation in quantum science and technologies.
In addition to its school of ministry, Ambrose offers accredited degree programs in the faculty of arts and science, including English literature, history, biology, music and business administration.
The university received a three-year research grant from the federal government this year to support a project to assess the health of church congregations across Canada. Over three months, researchers aim to conduct a national survey of 3,000 church leaders and congregants
Burman University offers more than 35 program options in its undergraduate faculties of arts, science, business, and education. Class sizes are small, and the school boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 13 to one.
Students can join more than 30 clubs and groups, and athletes can play on any of eight teams, including the Bobcats.
This year, the university received an $80,000 grant from the provincial government toward improving mental health support for students on campus.
Students attending Canadian Mennonite University can choose their degree programs from 18 undergraduate options, from arts and sciences to international development, to mathematics, to biblical and theological studies.
All bachelor of arts students take a practicum as part of their undergraduate degrees, meaning all students graduate with real-world experience in their fields, via more than 500 local and international community partners.
This spring, the university opened a co-working lab with the goal of developing policy, design and enterprise innovations to improve social equity and environmental protection.
The King’s University offers 22 undergraduate degree programs and more than 600 courses in the arts, sciences, education and music.
Students can participate in community-engaged research, which pairs faculty and students with local agencies to design projects around the organizations’ needs.
This year, King’s received a $1.4-million investment from the federal government to appoint a second Canada research chair. The university also saw its second faculty member in 10 years receive the national 3M teaching fellowship, this year awarded to English literature professor and dean of arts Arlette Zinck.
Alongside biblical and theological studies, Providence offers a range of accredited degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including business, communications and media, counselling and mental health practice. Students who complete the bachelor of arts in aviation receive their pilot’s licence and technical certification as well as flying experience throughout North America.
The Pilots, with eight varsity teams, play in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference, and Providence is the only Canadian university in the North Region of the National Christian College Athletic Association, an American organization with 105 schools.
Redeemer launched an innovation centre for experiential learning in 2017. The facility complements a new interdisciplinary core curriculum that offers co-ops, internships and career guidance.
Professors Edward Berkelaar and Darren Brouwer have been working with students to monitor and analyze water contamination in Hamilton. Runoff from road salts, fertilizers and sewage all trickle into streams within the local watersheds, causing pollution in the wetlands downstream. The researchers presented their findings to community stakeholders, the media and municipal officials.
Established in 1962 as Trinity Junior College, it became a university in 1985.
Eight faculties and schools offer programs ranging from Nursing to Humanities. Research Institutes include the Centre for Equity and Global Engagement, the Centre for Spiritual Formation in Higher Education, the Gender Studies Institute, the Institute for Chronic Conditions and Aging and the Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives.
Canadian Interuniversity Sport opportunities include men's and women's basketball, volleyball, soccer, cross country and track and field.
Alongside biblical and theological studies, Providence offers a range of accredited degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including business, communications and media, counselling and mental health practice. Students who complete the bachelor of arts in aviation receive their pilot’s licence and technical certification as well as flying experience throughout North America.
The Pilots, with eight varsity teams, play in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference, and Providence is the only Canadian university in the North Region of the National Christian College Athletic Association, an American organization with 105 schools.