The Best Colleges & Universities in Alberta, Canada

Anyone who looks back fondly on their college days would be the first to say this: college is about more than just education. It’s about an overall experience. 

A truly memorable college experience strikes a balance between work and play. It means taking part in an exceptional educational experience while also taking in all that this unique period of life has to offer.

Though it is hard to go wrong with any providence in Canada, Alberta is doubtlessly one of the best for a balanced, exciting college experience.

On their off days, students in Alberta can take in all the sights, whether that means absorbing the beautiful nature or engaging in the adventure of city life. 

Nothing makes a better study break than a relaxing hike through Banff National Park, where novices can take full advantage of the Sulpher Mountain Gondola to see breathtaking views. Reviewing reading material never feels better than in this sprawling, world-famous landscape.

On the weekends, parents can breathe easy knowing that their children are safe to enjoy themselves in one of the country’s safest and most affordable provinces

Ultimately, a truly remarkable college experience is about finding the perfect balance in low cost, enjoyable opportunities, and – most importantly – high-quality education. Luckily, that balance is easily found in any of these remarkable campuses.

Here are eight of the best colleges & universities in Alberta, Canada.

University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)

University of Calgary
Public domain photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

Since its founding in 1944, the University of Calgary has set itself apart as the ideal placement for students eager to investigate the world around them and become a part of something bigger. 

Originally just a small branch of the University of Alberta itself, the University of Calgary quickly rose to independence and world-renown. 

As of 2022, this university has been named the youngest top-five research university in the nation. As part of its dedication to higher learning, the University of Calgary generates a full $8 million through its research, stimulating the local economy and the future of its students.

Just because this university found its fame through research does not mean the learning stops there. The University of Calgary offers opportunities for advancement for students of all interests, including the arts!

With a focus on practice-based creative research, this university nurtures the best out of every student, leading to such famed alumni as artist Helen McLean and L.R. Wright, winner of the Edgar Allen award.

University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

University of Alberta
Viola-Ness, Corbett Hall at the University of Alberta, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Alberta is more than just one of the top five universities in Canada; it is among the best in the world.

Though based in Alberta, this massive university offers five separate campuses, allowing students all over to participate in this world-class education system. 

One of the oldest premier universities in the country, The University of Alberta has built a reputation for excellence across all major areas of study, from art to advanced mathematics. Of particular note is the school’s program in engineering.

In a ranking of 4,000 universities from all over the world, The University of Alberta’s environmental engineering department ranked ninth. 

Recent years have seen growing success in other areas of engineering studies as well, including mineral and chemical engineering, both of which remain in the top fifty. 

University of Lethbridge (Lethbridge, AB)

University of Lethbridge
Public domain photo by Keegan Mullin via Wikimedia Commons

From the outstanding research facilities to the gorgeous views, the University of Lethbridge continues to wow students with its continuing opportunities. 

It is difficult to discuss the University of Lethbridge without mentioning its signature Arthur Erickson building.  A staple of the Lethbridge campus, this feat of architecture helped establish the famed architect’s career and continues to serve as one of the most stunning features on campus.

The university’s placement in Blackfoot Territory allows it to perfectly balance the beauty of nature with the wonder of scientific achievement.

As of this year,  the University of Lethbridge has been ranked #1 in science and medical grants across the nation, offering real-life opportunities for advancement to its student body.

Though the University of Lethbridge is famed as a research facility, its opportunities for study span across all subjects, earning it the title of the #3 undergraduate university in Canada. 

MacEwan University (Edmonton, AB)

MacEwan University
Mateo m27, MacEwan-University-Clock-Tower-Feb719, CC BY-SA 4.0

MacEwan University may be one of the youngest universities to make the list, but it quickly earned its place among the top in the world. Founded in 1971, this university has already climbed the ranks to reach the top 25% of colleges on the North American Continent. 

In its relatively short lifespan, MacEwan University has already produced some of the most effective and successful alumni imaginable.

A graduate of the class of 1983, Scott McKeen turned a successful journalism career into one of political success. He fought for mental healthcare access and affordable housing, making his mark on underprivileged communities.

In the world of business, Angela Marriot has made her mark with Switch HR solutions, where she helps companies grow in their management strategies. As a board member of the McDougall House, she takes pride in giving back to her community by helping those most in need.

MacEwan University may be small in size, but it has already proven itself big in impact.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (Calgary, AB)

As the name might suggest, the Southern Alberta Insitute of Technology is renowned for its outstanding role in the field of technological study. Without a doubt, this is the ideal campus for anyone hoping to make a name in this growing and ever-changing field.

Though famed for technology, this campus does not stop there. 

In 2022, CEO World Magazine ranked this University– commonly known as SAIT– as 51st in their list of best business schools in the world. Compiled from an assessment of over 14,000 universities worldwide, this outstanding review only increased the draw of the already famed campus.

A similar ranking of hospitality schools placed this university among the top 20 worldwide, with a placement that only seems ready to go up every year.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (Edmonton, AB)

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

For students ready to buckle down and make a difference, there’s no point looking beyond the doors of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Famous for its materials engineering technology program, NAIT offers students from all over the world the opportunity to study in fields branching from construction to research to anywhere in between!

Recent rankings place this renowned university among the top 25% of universities in the entire world, helping draw its population of almost 50,000 students. 

At NAIT, educational leaders respect that learning comes in all forms; as such, they offer opportunities for apprenticeship and continuing education courses as well as traditional classroom education. 

Boasting such alumni as Kris Mauthe and Darren Lunt, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology takes pride in affecting the world one successful student at a time. 

Concordia University of Edmonton (Edmonton, AB)

Concordia University Edmonton
Public domain photo by WinterforceMedia via Wikimedia Commons

With its rich history and close atmosphere, the Concordia University of Edmonton is ideal for any potential student looking for an intimate, introspective college experience.

With an average student-teacher ratio of 14:1, students can feel safe knowing that, on this campus, they are more than just a number. The small environment allows professors the chance to truly get to know and invest in each and every student.

Though small in size, this university keeps its eyes on the larger global picture. They take pride in their encouragement of sustainability and diversity, maintaining strict anti-racist policies and procedures.

Its placement along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River Valley allows students the opportunity to take in the natural views while they invest in their personal growth and educational futures. 

A self-described “boutique” university, Concordia University of Edmonton hopes to encourage every student to become the best versions of their selves.

Ambrose University (Calgary, AB)

As one of the most esteemed private Christian universities in the country, Ambrose University takes pride in being able to nurture the best out of students in both secular and traditional settings.

In addition to offering courses in English, Education, and a variety of other studies, Ambrose University is proud to provide a variety of theological degrees. Potential pastors from all over Canada – and the world – can come together on this campus to grow in their faith and strengthen their theological skills.

Located in the heart of Calgary, this institute offers students the best of both worlds. In the safety of this nurturing environment, students can balance a sense of introspective peace with bold, exciting new opportunities.

In all courses, this university keeps its center on the values of the Christian faith, making it the ideal spot for any student hoping to grow in their walk with Christ without compromising their chances for higher education.

Across the providence, Alberta is proving its potential repeatedly, one outstanding university at a time.