Canada Universities for Americans

Although Canada has no universities in the top 20, it has three in the top fifty.

23University of TorontoToronto, OntarioEnglish
34McGill UniversityMontreal, QuebecEnglish
38University of British ColumbiaVancouver, British ColumbiaEnglish
101University of AlbertaEdmonton, AlbertaEnglish
123McMaster UniversityHamilton, OntarioEnglish
163University of CalgaryCalgary, AlbertaEnglish
166University of WaterlooWaterloo, OntarioEnglish
170Western UniversityLondon, OntarioEnglish
175University of OttawaOttawa, OntarioEnglish/French

All the top universities have their programs in English except the University of Ottawa, making Canada a great place for Americans to study.


Canadian universities generally expect you to take challenging major-related high school classes and perform well. However, you should check your desired university’s requirements for the major you are interested in to know which junior and senior classes to take.

The ACT and SAT are usually not required.

The Canadian GPA can vary by province, and although some may be out of 4.0, they may award a 4.3 for 92-100 or a 3.7 for 80-84.

SchoolSATACTInt. Tuition (USD)FAFSA?
University of Toronto1330 – 150029-34$46,750Yes
McGill University*1250 – 143026-32$19,550 – $49,050Yes
University of British Columbia*N/A**N/A**$29,700 $40,950Yes
University of Alberta1200+26+$23,400 – $31,300 Yes
McMaster UniversityN/A**N/A**$31,500Yes
University of CalgaryN/A**N/A**$16,300Yes
University of WaterlooN/A**N/A**$33,000 – $48,400Yes
Western University1190+24+$30,500 – $41,500Yes
University of OttawaN/A**N/A**$19,300Yes
*different requirements for different majors
**requirements not listed on their website


Canadian universities may be cheaper than many higher-end private institutions in the United States. Still, besides Calgary and Ottawa, they are comparable to out-of-state tuition for most public schools. For example, Toronto and McGill are cheaper than Harvard and MIT, but their rates have increased significantly over the last few years.

A surprise, however, was learning that all of the top Canadian Universities will accept American students’ financial aid via FAFSA. This means you can apply for tuition assistance the same way you would for an American university and not need to seek out a private loan.

Other Tips

  • Canadian universities are focused mainly on academics. A good GPA should help you get into most schools regardless of your extracurricular activities.
  • In general, universities expect applications from pupils planning to start in September to be submitted by the middle of the preceding January.
  • All Canadian schools are on semester schedules, except for Quebec, which is on trimesters.
  • Some Canadian universities offer three-year bachelor programs.
  • Canadian schools are large and cannot hold all students in student housing. Expect to try to find apartments nearby and to have less of an American college campus feel.
  • The University of Toronto has over 70,000 students, larger than any American university.
  • Canadian Universities are treated relatively equally among employers in Canada. There is no Ivy League.
  • Many Canadian student unions offer healthcare plans. However, free healthcare is not extended to non-citizens.

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