The Best Colleges in Montreal, Canada

Montréal, in Quebec, Canada, offers prospective students a wide range of options for post-secondary education. 

The city hosts institutions ranging in focus from closing achievement gaps through francophone instruction in vocational and pre-university training, to graduating leaders in engineering and politics. 

Students from rural Quebec mingle with those from all over the globe in this cosmopolitan city, and all are joined in their pursuit of higher learning. 

Montréal has been a seat of education in Canada since 1821, and it has seen leaders in science and engineering, medicine, sports, and business pass through its colleges and universities. ranked Montréal as the best city for students in 2017, and the city is home to some of the highest- ranked colleges in Canada and the world. 

Several school buildings in Montréal have earned LEED gold level certification for sustainability in construction and design. Other colleges in the city have environmental responsibility as a main focus of their missions and offer certificates in the field. 

With its scenic location alongside Canada’s Saint Lawrence River and atop Mount Royal, Montréal offers its citizens and students beautiful vistas to complement its status as Canada’s most trilingual city, its cosmopolitan culture, and the opportunities for an excellent education at its many colleges and universities. 

Here are our picks for the best colleges in Montreal.

University of Montreal

University of Montreal
Jeangagnon, Complexe des sciences – Universite de Montreal, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Montréal, known to many of its students and faculty as UdeM, offers students a wide range of academic opportunities through its partnership with Polytechnique Montréal and through its graduate business school, HEC Montréal.

The university was founded in 1878 and is one of Montréal’s many French-speaking institutions of higher learning. 

Offering 17 fields of study and 350 programs at the graduate level, students attending UdeM can choose any path they like on their educational journey while being confident they are receiving one of the best educations Canada has to offer. 

With its notable alumni including one of Canada’s most influential prime ministers, Pierre Trudeau, students attending UdeM can be proud of the position their alma mater holds in the world. 

Times Higher Education ranks the university number 88 in the world as of 2022, so it is no surprise that 70,000 students attend the University of Montréal. 

McGill University

McGill University
Public domain photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

Boasting a history spanning more than 200 years, McGill University has hosted pioneers in fields ranging from atomic physics to sports and athletics. 

With its 17-year-long ranking by Maclean’s University Rankings as the best medical-doctoral school in Canada and its 2021-2022 student aid contribution of CAD 39.3 million, McGill ensures that the next 200 years will continue to see it among the foremost institutions of higher learning in the world. 

Ernest Rutherford, winner of the 1908 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, is only one of the illustrious faculty members that have called McGill home while pioneering research across a multitude of academic fields. 

Current and former faculty members have made outstanding contributions to business, law, philosophy, and neuroscience. 

Along with academically minded students, athletes should be proud to attend McGill as it had a seminal role in the creation and evolution of football, hockey, and basketball. 

HEC Montreal

HEC Montreal
Colocho, Campus UdeM, HEC Montréal, CC BY-SA 3.0

The first business school founded in Canada, HEC Montréal is the University of Montréal’s graduate business school. It offers over 100 programs in business from the undergraduate to PhD levels. 

HEC also has the distinction of having the largest bilingual business library in Canada, offering excellent resources for French and English-speaking students from Canada and worldwide. 

This school is one of only two institutions in Canada accredited by three international business associations: AMBA, AACSB International, and EQUIS. Such recognition places HEC Montréal among the most prestigious business schools in the world. 

Also contributing to its international distinction, noted economist Danny Miller is a tenured researcher and the Director of the Center for Research on Organization, Strategy, and Governance at HEC Montréal. Miller also acts as a strategy consultant for major companies such as Goldman Sachs and Citicorp. 

Concordia University

Concordia University
Jeangagnon, Concordia University 02, CC BY-SA 3.0

For students concerned about climate change and its impact on the environment and society, Concordia University is an excellent institution to attend. 

Its “Electrifying Society” initiative brings together over 140 researchers from various disciplines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by developing resilient energy and transportation systems and engaging the community and government in green and equitable programs. 

The school is also the focal point of the Quartier Concordia, an urban revitalization program that combines Concordia University’s pledge to sustainability with diverse culture to encourage the exchange of ideas in downtown Montréal. 

Concordia was formed in 1974 by the merger of Loyola College and Sir George Williams University and is the home of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Canada’s first women’s studies program. 

Concordia University emphasizes inclusion and sustainability and strives to create a better world for all. 

Polytechnique Montréal

École polytechnique de Montréal
Laurent Bélanger, École polytechnique de Montréal, CC BY-SA 4.0

Closely affiliated with the University of Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal attracts some 9,930 students, with 29% coming from outside of Canada. 

The school is a powerhouse of Canadian industry and technology with its CAD 105 million research budget, 56 patents, and 31 industrial research chairs. 

Students interested in nuclear physics will be enticed by the opportunity to work with the school’s SLOWPOKE non-power nuclear reactor. 

Others interested in sustainable building design will jump at the chance to study inside the Lassonde buildings, the first in Canada to obtain gold LEED certification from the U.S Green Building Council. 

Polytechnique Montréal is a member of Canada’s group of research-focused universities, the U15, and contributes to Canada’s efforts to maintain its competitive standing in the world. 

Alongside its acclaimed research efforts, the school has seen notable figures such as Justin Trudeau, Canada’s current prime minister, and astronaut David Saint-Jacques pass through its doors. 

University of Quebec in Montreal

The University of Quebec in Montréal was founded in 1969 in order to close the educational gap between Quebec’s francophone and English-speaking populations. 

It is a proudly French-speaking university that remains committed to its founding principles of educational accessibility. 

UQAM celebrated 50 years of audacity in 2019 and awarded its 400,000th degree in 2021. 

An amazing 36,960 students attended the school in 2021, with 4,387 coming from 95 other countries. These students chose from 335 programs of study across 41 departments and schools to become one of the 289,366 graduates who call UQAM their alma mater. 

Students wishing to add an international element to their education will have a difficult time finding a better school than the University of Quebec in Montréal. 

Vanier College

Vanier College
Pierre5018, Cégep Vanier College, CC BY-SA 4.0

As a CEGEP, a French word for “General and Vocational College,” Vanier offers students the opportunity to transition from secondary education to university studies or to prepare for careers in vocational fields. 

The CEGEP program began in Quebec in 1967 in an effort to close the educational gap between the French and English-speaking populations in Quebec. 

Vanier College traces its roots all the way back to 1837 in Le Mans, France, with the foundation of the Sainte-Croix Congregation by Father Basile Moreau.

A small group of sisters from Moreau’s congregation established Maison Saint-Marie in what would later become part of Montréal. Since then, it has evolved into one of the 48 CEGEPS in Quebec.

Over 8,700 students are currently pursuing post-secondary education at Vanier. 

Whether pursuing a career in technical fields after obtaining a vocational education or planning on attending university for more advanced studies, students at Vanier College leave well-prepared for any job. 

École de technologie supérieure (English: Superior Technology School)

The École de technologie supérieure is partnered with the University of Quebec, and it is one of Canada’s leading engineering schools. 

Its mission is to promote technology and provide practical engineering experience to its students. 

25% of engineering students in Quebec attend ETS, and the school is proud to offer more lab sessions and practicums for undergraduate students than any other engineering program in Quebec. 

As part of its mission to promote Canadian industry by developing and transferring technology, ETS arranges more than 3,500 internships across 1,200 different companies yearly. 

The school has been listed as one of the world’s top 20 accelerators by UBI Global and produces approximately 1,000 scientific publications and contributions annually. 

These achievements illustrate how the Superior Technology School has been able to award the second largest number of undergraduate engineering degrees in all of Canada. 

Dawson College

Another of Quebec’s CEGEPs, Dawson College distinguishes itself by offering a range of programs of study from pre-university programs in creative and applied arts, engineering, and business technologies, to career and technical programs in the same. 

Dawson’s diverse population and location in cosmopolitan Montréal enable its students to study with others who bring unique experiences and perspectives to their education. This helps to further the school’s mission to promote sustainability, recognize and support Canada’s First Peoples, and advocate for peace.

In service of its goal to ensure access to quality education for all, the school created the Dawson College Foundation in 2006 to provide awards and scholarships to its students when government funding is not enough. 

Students attending the school can rest easy in its Three Sisters Garden, knowing that their studies at Dawson prepare them well for the future. 

LaSalle College

LaSalle College was established in 1959 by Jean-Paul Morin and is the largest private bilingual college in North America in addition to being the largest fashion school in Canada. 

Students from over 110 countries study in one of LaSalle’s five schools. 

LaSalle’s international reach is further enhanced by its membership in the LCI Education network, which spans the globe with its mission to provide quality education while respecting local cultures. 

With 40% of its student body composed of international students, LaSalle is able to offer a truly global educational experience. 

Not just a fashion school, LaSalle proudly offers its School of VFX and Video Games, which is the first in Montréal to integrate virtual reality technology into its curriculum.  

No matter what creative field a prospective student wishes to enter, LaSalle College is an excellent choice of school to attend.