Are you in high school and want to get into one of the very best engineering schools in Canada?
Or are you already in university and looking to transfer into an engineering program? Either way, the UniversityHub.ca team has created the most comprehensive analysis on the web of the best engineering schools in Canada. If you need help with your application, or just need some advice, feel free to contact us.
To see our unfiltered student-driven ratings on Canadian universities, visit our rankings page. Don’t forget, if you want to find your personalized university rankings for YOU, complete our MatchU quiz — it takes 10 mins and is 100% free. Do the quiz here.
Here, we evaluate each school based on 3 criteria; (1) quality of education, (2) reputation, and (3) university life. This will ultimately result in a final score based on equal weightings. The top five best Engineering schools 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
– University of Toronto
– McGill University
– University of Ottawa
QUALITY OF EDUCATION – 9.5/10
According to Business Insider, Waterloo Engineering was the best engineering school in Canada. This is a pretty good indication of the quality of education at Waterloo, but this is particularly impressive when you consider it was the 29th best engineering school in the world.
For this ranking, Business Insider asks professionals to rank the schools and the most important factor (73.9%) was quality of education. Waterloo also has some of the best professors in the world teaching, therefore enhancing the quality of education. This shouldn’t be a surprise though considering it is the biggest engineering school in Canada and offers 13 bachelor degree programs and 31 graduate degree programs.
Another great part of Waterloo Engineering is the inclusion of co-op in all of the undergraduate degrees. This is great hands-on education for the students and makes them more employable. It is important to note, Waterloo didn’t submit any information to World University Rankings and therefore it is not ranked in that report. For information on how to get into Waterloo engineering, please refer to this article.
REPUTATION – 10/10
Regardless of the quality of education, Waterloo has hands down the best reputation in Canada. This is partly because of the big name graduates that came from Waterloo, but also just because it’s the largest in Canada. That being said, the best employers like Google, IBM and Microsoft extensively recruit from Waterloo Engineering. The second most important value in Business Insiders rankings was the brand value of the university, which essentially just is its reputation.
Waterloo also got an A+ according to Globe and Mail’s rankings when it came to reputation with employers. According to USNews’s ranking of best engineering schools in the world, Waterloo came 2nd in Canada and 34th in the world for computer science. Based on its reputation alone, you have to consider Waterloo as one of the best engineering schools in Canada.
UNIVERSITY LIFE – 6.5/10
Waterloo doesn’t exactly have the most active or exciting campus. Due to the intense nature of the programs Waterloo doesn’t have the same kind of party atmosphere that other schools have that are less work intensive. This is compounded due to the lack of attractions in the city of Waterloo compared to U of T or McGill. Waterloo also got the second lowest ranking of C for Work-play balance on Globe and Mail’s results.
On the Globe and Mail student satisfaction survey (2013), Waterloo scored a B+ for campus atmosphere, putting it around the middle of the pack for the size of the school. On the bright side, students gave Waterloo a B+ for student residences, placing it in second place. The facilities are top notch, but the campus itself isn’t very exciting and it’s quite big, making it difficult to get around. Overall, if you want to have a crazy time at a gorgeous campus, Waterloo isn’t for you.
QUALITY OF EDUCATION – 8.5/10
UBC is an all round good school, but its engineering school is one of the best schools in Canada. It was ranked 2nd best engineering school in Canada according to the World University Rankings behind U of T and ahead of universities such as University of Hong Kong and Duke University.
This alone speaks volumes to its quality of education. Furthermore, UBC has 11 undergraduate engineering programs compared to U of T’s 9 as well as 10 specializations for graduate studies. The university as a whole is also consistently ranked among the best in the world thus you can be assured that the quality of teaching is top notch.
REPUTATION – 9/10
UBC’s reputation is almost as good as it gets in Canada and internationally. The Globe and Mail gave it a grade of A for reputation with employers, finishing just behind McGill and Waterloo. This is illustrated by UBC Engineering being ranked 27th best engineering school in North America and second in Canada according to the USNews World Best University rankings, ranking it even higher than Waterloo. This ranking is based 73% on employer input and therefore this ranking carries some weight with regards to the school’s reputation.
UNIVERSITY LIFE – 8.5/10
UBC is an incredibly fun school. The campus is stunning (making our most beautiful campuses in Canada list) and alumni consistently rave about how much fun they have. The school has all the clubs and societies needed as well as having ten international fraternities making it one the most highly “fraternized” in Canada. Despite this, according to the Globe and Mail student satisfaction survey, UBC got ok reviews for campus atmosphere, student residence, and city satisfaction. We have our doubts on these results.
Quality of Education – 9.5/10
The University of Toronto alone is known for high quality education. With regards to engineering, U of T is consistently highly ranked when it comes to quality of education. The World University Rankings has U of T Engineering ranked 1st in Canada and 22nd in the world. As well, U of T came 13th in the world according to the 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities.
Similarly, it came second in Canada and 35th in the world according to the Business Insider 2013 rankings. U of T offers 9 undergraduate programs and as well as 3 graduate degrees (plus doctorate) and therefore offers a good variety of options. This makes it clear that U of T engineering is most definitely one of the best engineering schools in Canada.
REPUTATION – 9.5/10
According to the 2012 USnews World’s Best University Rankings, U of T was the only university in Canada to make the cut for all of the main engineering areas. As well, in some categories where it wasn’t the only school, it came first in Canada. According to the Globe and Mail 2013 student satisfaction survey, U of T came second in its size for reputation among employers, receiving a score of A. Large employers like Cisco, Microsoft, Amazon, etc also extensively recruit from U of T Engineering.
UNIVERSITY LIFE – 7/10
The University of Toronto can be what you make it. Given its large campus situated in the core of the largest city in Canada, the university life is largely based on the city itself as opposed to many smaller universities that have more a community feel. If you like crowds, big cities, and lots of options outside of the university campus, this university is great for you.
However, the feel is largely similar to living downtown after graduation so it doesn’t really offer a unique university experience. As a result, the ranking here is comparatively low. It also was ranked fairly middle of the pack according to the Globe and Mail with regards to residence and campus atmosphere but proved very poorly for work-play balance.
QUALITY OF EDUCATION – 8/10
It is not unknown that McGill’s offers excellent quality of education. It’s engineering programs are no different. McGill offers 10 different undergraduate engineering programs and 7 graduate degree programs. It did not make the top 50 engineering schools according to World University Rankings or according to Business Insider, but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t have a great quality of education. It still offers a great variety of specializations and a top notch level of education and is definitely one of the best engineering schools in Canada.
REPUTATION – 9/10
It is no surprise that McGill was ranked as having the best reputation among employers according to the Globe and Mail. This claim is backed up by being ranked 47th in the world for engineering (3rd in Canada) according to USNews World’s Best University rankings. As such, McGill attracts some big name employers such as Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft.
UNIVERSITY LIFE – 7/10
The campus is located in Montreal, which is known as a very exciting and fun city. However, as was the case with the University of Toronto, this doesn’t allow students to have a unique university experience. It is however known to be a fairly boring university when not considering the surrounding nightlife.
As such, McGill students gave the city good marks according to the Globe and Mail student satisfaction survey as well as equally good marks for student residences and average marks for campus atmosphere.
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QUALITY OF EDUCATION – 8/10
The University of Ottawa is not always known for having the very best quality of education in Canada, but when it comes to engineering, Ottawa U is one of the best engineering schools in Canada. It was third in Canada and 44th in the world according to the Business Insider 2013 rankings of Engineering Schools.
The school offers 8 different undergraduate programs and 11 graduate programs that can be done in English, French or both languages, making it the only bilingual engineering school in North America. This gives Ottawa U a tremendous advantage over other universities for those looking to increase their opportunities post-graduation.
Ottawa U also offers a co-op for all 8 undergraduate programs which can be greatly beneficial for career preparation. As such, the quality of education at Ottawa U for engineering is quite good.
REPUTATION – 7.5/10
Ottawa U might not have the glamour or huge reputation that Waterloo or U of T do when it comes to engineering, but it does have a fairly good reputation. Being located in Ottawa, many local organizations recruit from Ottawa U knowing that it offers good graduates. This presents tremendous opportunities for graduates since Ottawa has the second-highest concentration of engineering and science employment in North America.
UNIVERSITY LIFE – 7.5/10
Ottawa U came middle of the pack when it came to Campus Atmosphere according to the Globe and Mail student satisfaction survey. Similarly, it also came middle of the pack for student residence. Ottawa isn’t a ‘fun’ city like Toronto or Montreal, but for students, it is good because the downtown region is fairly small compared to those cities and thus the whole city is accessible to students.
Furthermore, the city if safer than Toronto and Montreal making it more comfortable for students to walk home at night. As a result, Ottawa U got an A- for city satisfaction from the Globe and Mail student satisfaction survey. Fraternities are also allowed at Ottawa U thus making it a bit more interesting. The school itself doesn’t offer a unique university experience however as it is large and scattered around downtown Ottawa.
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 engineering schools in Canada is below:
McMaster has a pretty good engineering program but being stuck in Hamilton isn’t always desirable. They also have pretty unique 5 year undergraduate programs that deserve some interest.
U of A’s engineering is one of the best known in Canada, biggest and also one of the oldest. If you are from the Prairies and don’t want to travel far, this is by far your best bet.
Queen’s has one of the best reputations in Canada and it’s not different for their engineering program. A particular strength is their ability to effectively teach communication and interpersonal skills.