Best Universities for Computer Science in Canada
Are you in high school and want to get into the best universities for Computer Science in Canada?
The CampusRankings team has created the most comprehensive analysis on the web of the best universities for computer science in Canada. To see our unfiltered, student-generated ratings on Canadian universities, visit the latest University Rankings on our rankings page.
We evaluate each school based on four criteria; (1) level of undergraduate education, (2) reputation, (3) career preparation, and (4) university life & happiness. This will ultimately result in a final score based on equal weightings. The top 5 best universities for computer science in Canada are as follows (in no particular order). Please either read through or click on each school to jump there.
– University of Waterloo
– University of British Columbia
– McGill University
– University of Toronto
– University of Alberta
UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE QUALITY – 9.5/10
According to CampusRankings.com, Waterloo came second amongst universities in having the most academic oriented students, which checks out as Waterloo hosts the biggest hackathon in Canada.
Waterloo’s best in class co-op program makes this undergraduate education even more appealing and can put the theory into practice.
According to CampusRankings.com, Waterloo came 6th among universities for research. Coupled with the fact that MacLean’s lists Waterloo as the second best university in Canada for Computer Science, and QS World Rankings rated Waterloo as the 3rd best in Canada and 26th best in the world for Computer Science, it’s fairly clear that the quality of education in Computer Science is quite strong.
REPUTATION – 9.5/10
Waterloo and technology are almost synonymous, and for good reason. The University of Waterloo has one of the best reputations in Canada, even the world, for computer engineering, but that reputation extends to Computer Science as well.
According to CampusRankings.com, University of Waterloo came fourth for reputation out of all institutions in Canada, and first out of the universities in this list. Also according to CampusRankings.com, University of Waterloo came second in Canada for attracting the best employers which is an indication of the strong reputation the school has.
Other rankings back this up as it came number two in Canada for Computer Science according to MacLean’s Magazine whose methodology is heavy on reputation as it accounts for 45% of the total weighting. Moreover, in MacLean’s Magazine’s rank of university reputations, Waterloo also finished second in Canada. US News also ranked Waterloo as the second best computer science program in Canada, just behind UBC, and 15th best in the world.
Thus, from a reputation point of clear, it’s very clear that University of Waterloo is one of the best universities for Computer Science in Canada.
CAREER PREPARATION – 10/10
Strong academics and world class reputation usually result in great career prospects, and Waterloo is no different. Thanks to these factors, according to Campusrankings.com, students ranked Waterloo #2 university in Canada for attracting the top recruiters. Given that Bill Gates himself is quoted as looking to Waterloo for top tier grads, this isn’t much of a surprise. Students also ranked Waterloo as having the 8th best alumni network in Canada, further making it easier for Waterloo grads to jump start their career.
The real differentiator though for Waterloo is its co-op program. It is well known that Waterloo has a terrific co-op program and CampusRankings.com surveys echo this as it came 2nd among universities in Canada. The co-op program is the largest of its kind in the world and according to Waterloo, 70% of its students choose the school because of this program. To date, 6,700 organization hire Waterloo co-op students in 60+ countries. This results in 87% of students getting a relevant job within 6 months of graduation, compared to 69% for the Ontario average.
This co-op program undeniably not only prepares students for their future careers, but helps them jump start it. This is a huge reason why Waterloo is one of the best universities for Computer Science in Canada.
STUDENT LIFE & HAPPINESS – 5.5/10
Student experience and student life is an important aspect of the university experience and Waterloo seems to perform adequately in this respect, but nothing special.
Waterloo failed to make the CampusRankings.com list of top 10 universities in Canada for fun, and according to the Globe and Mail Report on University 2017, Waterloo was rated as average for student experience. Moreover, it also failed to reach the top ten in most recommended universities in Canada. Thus, this may be the single biggest reason why some may avoid Waterloo, but then again, Wilfred Laurier University is close by for those who want to party.
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UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE QUALITY – 9/10
UBC has many strong programs, and Computer Science is one of them. With over 100 computer science courses to choose from, ranging from robotics to medicine to finance, there is top quality education for all types of people interested in Computer Science.
In 2016, UBC was ranked by CampusRankings.com as having the 6th best academic research in Canada. QS World Rankings ranked it 2nd in Canada and 24th in the world for Computer Science. MacLean’s also listed it as tied for second (with Waterloo) for best Computer Science program in Canada.
For those that want more than just Computer Science, you can get a double degree in Computer Science and Business from the equally highly ranked Sauder School of Business.
Due to all these factors, UBC is definitely one of the best universities for computer science in Canada.
REPUTATION – 9/10
Sometimes student from Eastern and Atlantic Canada do not think of UBC as one of the most reputable universities in Canada, but make no mistake, in Central and Western Canada, as well as in Asia, UBC is highly reputable.
According to CampusRankings.com, UBC was the 6th most reputable university in Canada. MacLean’s goes a step further and ranks UBC as the 3rd most reputable behind U of T and Waterloo. QS World Rankings also puts UBC third in Canada and 51st in the world. Times Higher Education goes even further rankings puts UBC as second in Canada and 40th in the world in its World Reputation Rankings. US News ranked UBC as the best Computer Science program in Canada (based on research and reputation) and 27th best school in the world.
Therefore, from a reputation perspective, UBC is definitely one of the best universities for Computer Science in Canada.
CAREER PREPARATION – 7/10
Although not as big or well known as Waterloo’s, UBC’s co-op program is well established and gives students tremendous work opportunities. They have a science specific co-op, which includes Computer Science, but there are only hundreds of employers that are part of the program as opposed to thousands at Waterloo. There are also a host of career and job fairs on campus, and a website that has many job postings for students.
Aside from the co-op and the services listed above, our student surveys have shown some frustration with the career services offered by UBC and the employers recruiting aren’t what some students would have thought coming to a school with a reputation like UBC. Some of the feedback received was that its not very personalized or have the same personal attention that you might get from a smaller school with a well developed co-op program.
STUDENT LIFE & HAPPINESS – 7/10
This is where UBC differentiates itself a bit from other super prestigious universities in Canada – it has pretty good student life. This could very well be a combination of the stunning landscape, the comparatively good weather, and the amazing city UBC is near, but it’s also because UBC has been actively trying to keep a community feel while still being one of the biggest universities in Canada.
Although its Globe and Mail student experience score was the same as McGill or Waterloo, its CampusRankings.com ranking for most fun school was best out of schools on this list, just ahead of McGill.
Is UBC a good fit for you? You can find out in 2 minutes by taking our signature MatchU™ quiz.
UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE QUALITY – 8.5/10
In CampusRankings.com’s rankings, McGill was in the top 10 for most credentialed professors in Canada and they, along with students, generate some of the best Computer Science related research in the world as it came 4th in Canada in the same rankings.
MacLean’s magazine has pegged McGill as the fifth best Computer Science program in Canada, while the QS Rankings puts McGill as 4th best in Canada and in the top 100 in the world.
If research is your thing and you like Computer Science, McGill might be one of your best choices.
REPUTATION – 9/10
From a reputation perspective, it is tough to beat McGill. It is a well known fact (thanks to McGill’s marketing team) that McGill has had the most Rhodes Scholars and most Nobel Laureates in Canada.
CampusRankings.com has McGill listed as the most reputable university in Canada. The Times Higher Education rankings put McGill as third most reputable university in Canada while MacLean’s ranks McGill #4. US News rankings had McGill as the 5th best computer science program in Canada and just out of the top 100 in the world, while being 49th best university in the world.
Travel abroad, and if you say you went to university in Canada, more often than not, the only university people known in Canada is McGill, making this easily one of the best university in Canada for Computer Science due to its reputation and the power of a McGill degree.
The only reason why this isn’t a 10/10 is because Computer Science is just not one of the degrees McGill is known for, which may give people with Waterloo or University of Toronto degrees a slight reputational edge.
CAREER PREPARATION – 8/10
Similar to Waterloo and University of Toronto, as a result of McGill’s reputation, students have an advantage over other grads by having the McGill diploma. Unlike Waterloo and University of Toronto, McGill isn’t particularly known for their computer science program as a result of being known for many other programs. However, the first ever internet search engine was built by McGill computer science students and that legacy lives on.
Being the 2nd most funded computer science program in Canada, McGill certainly pumps a lot of money into the program but even that doesn’t result in attracting the top comp sci employers. Moreover, not having a co-op program is also a very drawback with the program.
This is all backed up by the fact that CampusRankings student surveys don’t have McGill in the top 10 anything related to career.
STUDENT LIFE & HAPPINESS – 8/10
Despite being a large university with prestigious reputation, the student life and happiness levels are quite high. The school has a rich culture and many traditions. The students are also quite involved in extra curriculars as the school offers many. According to CampusRankings.com, McGill came 5th out of universities for best EC’s, and 7th for the most.
The activities aren’t limited to on campus as McGill, being situated in Montreal, offers what few universities in Canada can offer – a vast array of world-class entertainment. McGill came first out of all schools in Canada (college or university) for things to do and best restaurants/nightlife and 4th for most convenient location.
As such, McGill was the most recommended by students of any university on this list.
Is McGill a good fit for you? You can find out in 2 minutes by taking our signature MatchU™ quiz.
UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE QUALITY – 10/10
MacLean’s puts U of T as the best Computer Science program in Canada, as did QS World Rankings, but it also gave it the distinction of being the 10th best Computer Science program in the world!
With a brand new AI research facility called the Vector Institute, the university is attracting substantial funding from the public and private sector that makes U of T unmatched in Canada. This is reflected as being ranked best university in Canada for academic research by CampusRankings.com. When it comes to undergraduate degree quality, University of Toronto is definitely one of the best computer science schools in Canada.
REPUTATION – 10/10
University of Toronto and McGill often compete for the most reputable university in Canada, but the rankings are fairly clear. Times Higher Education puts U of T number 1 in Canada, and 24th in the world for reputation while MacLean’s also gives it the distinction of the most reputable university in Canada. US News had U of T ranked as 3rd best Computer Science program in Canada, 25th best in the world, and 20th best university in the world.
CampusRankings.com ranks it 5th, but this also includes the Scarborough campus reviews, thus this ranking is likely higher just for its St George campus.
Its reputation for Computer related programs, be it Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Software Engineering is second to none with its only true competitor being Waterloo. This is one of the driving reasons why this is one of the best universities for Computer Science in Canada
CAREER PREPARATION – 9/10
With a reputation like U of T, you’ll have an automatic advantage over other Computer Science grads. Moreover, located in the centre of one of the biggest tech hubs of North America, U of T attracts recruiters like few other schools.
Although U of T’s co-op program isn’t as strong and big as Waterloo’s, for computer science it offers some of the best co-op opportunities in the country.
There is also the Research Opportunity Program (ROP) at U of T so those interested in research related computer science jobs can get a head start.
As a result, career preparation at University of Toronto for Computer Science is pretty strong and helps make it one of the best universities in Canada for computer science.
STUDENT LIFE & HAPPINESS – 5/10
This is where U of T doesn’t do so well. Globe and Mail report card by students listed U of T as considerably below average student experience. The student life rankings on CampusRankings.com also reflect that as U of T didn’t crack a top 10 in any category related to happiness or recommendations. This doesn’t and shouldn’t take away from the fact that U of T is definitely one of the best universities for Computer Science in Canada
Is U of T a good fit for you? You can find out in 2 minutes by taking our signature MatchU™ quiz.
UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE QUALITY – 8/10
The University of Alberta offers a good, customizable program at the undergraduate level, but overall, it’s not the most innovative program in Canada.
Undergraduate students have a decent amount of flexibility in personalizing their undergraduate experience from an intense focus on the core aspects of computing science, to explorations of interdisciplinary connections with other fields.
Maclean’s ranks it as the 4th best Computer Science program in Canada but the QS World Rankings has it pegged as 7th best in Canada. CampusRankings.com had U of A as the 5th best university in research in Canada which aligns well with his research based reputation and curriculum. This research based reputation is evident by placing 4th in Canada and 97th in the world in Computer Science according to US News University rankings (which are based on research and reputation).
The quality of education here is strong though and is one of the best universities in Canada for Computer Science, not to mention the oldest computer science program in Canada.
REPUTATION – 8/10
University of Alberta is quite well known as a strong research university and as such has a pretty good reputation although it didn’t make Times Higher Educations top 50 most reputable. It did however make QS World Rankings top 100 and ranked 4th in Canada – similarly ranked as previously mentioned in US New rankings. It also came 8th in CampusRankings.com’s ranking of most reputable universities in Canada.
CAREER PREPARATION – 7/10
The University of Albert’a Computer Science does a good job of preparing students for their career, however, U of A being a research facility might be more suited for those who want to pursue more of an academic career path.
STUDENT LIFE & HAPPINESS – 5/10
University of Alberta is predominantly a commuter school and as such, doesn’t particularly have the best school culture. It is also heavily focused on graduate degrees so from an undergrad perspective, it may not be ideal. Globe & Mail did put is as having an average student experience though, although the rankings on CampusRankings.com were not as kind.
Is University of Alberta a good fit for you? You can find out in 2 minutes by taking our signature MatchU™ quiz.
As explained above, all of these criteria are equally rated so our finally score may not reflect what you need so please read the entire article. That being said, our final score of the best universities for Computer Science in Canada is below:
At the end of the day, the University of Waterloo’s co-op program put it over the top, making it the best computer science program in Canada.
If you’re still unsure where to go to university, make sure to take our MatchU quiz. It’s free and takes just 3 minutes!