The 10 Best Computer Science Universities in Canada

With the increasing pace of technological development resulting in rapid advancement in fields such as artificial intelligence and smart technologies, more and more students are choosing to major in computer science or related fields to shape future technologies. 

The success of companies like Meta, Google, Apple, and Microsoft brings to mind images of creative entrepreneurs developing world-changing technologies and building companies out of garages and dorm rooms.

Dreams of being the next such success story draw many aspiring minds to seek an education in computer science. 

Many universities in Canada offer incredible opportunities for obtaining a degree in computer science. World-leading companies seek graduates from these institutions to join their workforces and bring new ideas and innovative approaches to problem-solving. 

Part of what gives Canadian schools their edge is their co-operative education, or co-op, programs. 

These programs allow students to explore potential career paths in their fields of study and form valuable networks with employers while simultaneously pursuing their degrees.  

One of the first difficulties facing those who wish to enter the field is answering the question of which school can offer them the best education and opportunities for the cost of attending. 

Tracking and comparing the programs offered by one school or another can be a difficult and time-consuming task. 

In order to make the choice easier for prospective students, we have compiled a list of the ten best computer science universities in Canada. 

The methodology for this list was created as an “averaged” ranking. 

We looked at four top Computer Science Universities in Canada lists, assigned a score to each school on every list based on their position in each ranking, then created this list based on which schools had the highest score with all rankings considered. Sources for the rankings are available at the end of the article.

Here are the 10 best computer science universities in Canada.

10. McMaster University (Hamilton, ON)

McMaster University
Jokehoe, McMaster University campus, CC BY-SA 4.0

The undergraduate computer science program at McMaster University is administered by the school’s Faculty of Engineering. 

Students begin their level 1 studies with five computer science classes, enabling them to be more competitive as they seek the best co-op positions out of a limited pool. 

McMaster’s CS program offers students the chance to add a minor to their degree, as 25% of the program courses are open electives. 

Undergraduate computer science students complete their studies with a year-long capstone project that takes them through the entire lifestyle of a piece of software. 

The university has also established the McMaster Center for Software Certification, which promotes ways to develop reliable, secure, private, and safe software for all applications where the failure of critical systems can have dire consequences. 

9. University of Quebec (Quebec City, QC)

The headquarters of ten institutions located throughout Quebec, the Universite du Quebec en Quebec is the hub of the university system in Quebec. 

The University of Quebec at Montreal, one of the main campuses of the system, offers computer science programs of study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels

Its programs are the recipients of numerous grants, and its faculty maintain valuable relationships with over 40 public and private companies. 

Options for graduate-level study at UQAM include artificial intelligence, computational biology, and theoretical and quantum computing. 

Graduate students pursuing master’s degrees or PhDs are eligible for financial aid from the school. 

The National Institute for Scientific Research is another significant institution under the Universite du Quebec en Quebec offering master’s and doctoral programs in applied computer science, among other fields. 

Students and researchers here apply artificial intelligence to the study and resolution of major societal problems. 

8. University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)

University of Ottawa
Jeangagnon, Advanced Research Complex – University of Ottawa, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Ottawa offers its computer science programs through the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science under its Faculty of Engineering.  

Undergraduates are offered a Bachelor of Science degree and can choose an entrepreneurship and management option or a data science option, among others. 

The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science further provides students the option of seeking a joint degree in computer science and mathematics. 

Students who wish to obtain their degrees while using the school’s experiential learning option will find the opportunity to seek jobs with employers such as Amazon, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft Entertainment a compelling reason to study through its co-op program. 

Students who wish to pursue graduate studies in computer science will complete their programs through the Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Computer Science, a joint program between the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. 

7. Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC)

Simon Fraser University
JeanFrankso, Simon Fraser University, CC BY-SA 4.0

The School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University is administered through the school’s Faculty of Applied Sciences. It has 42 tenure-track faculty in addition to a number of adjunct professors and other program associates. 

Many of these faculty members are internationally acclaimed, holding such distinctions as Canada Research Chairs and IEEE Fellowships. 

The School of Computing Science has 2,200 students at the undergraduate level and 400 at the graduate level. 

Undergraduate students can choose from programs in computing science and software systems, as well as a dual degree program jointly offered by SFU and Zhejiang University.  

Graduate students at the school can pursue research in fields such as computer networks and systems, artificial intelligence, and graphics through SFU’s PhD and Master of Science Thesis programs. 

6. McGill University (Montreal, QC)

McGill University’s School of Computer Science, administered through the Faculty of Science, provides many alluring opportunities for undergraduate and graduate studies alike.  

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to earn bachelor’s degrees in arts, science, engineering, and arts & science. 

Furthermore, at McGill, students do not have to wait for graduate-level studies to perform research and work closely with professors on exciting topics. 

Students can choose from a wealth of research courses, ranging from independent work in areas in which no classes are offered, to partnering with a professor or performing research over the summer after being awarded paid research assistantships. 

The school’s Undergraduate Computer Science Research Symposium, or UCORE, allows students the chance to present their summer research to peers and the broader department.

5. University of Montreal (Montreal, QC)

University of Montreal
Jeangagnon, Complexe des sciences – Universite de Montreal – 030, CC BY-SA 4.0

Undergraduate students at the University of Montreal interested in computer science can choose from degree programs such as the Bachelor’s in Computer Science and the Bachelor’s in Bioinformatics.

Those choosing the Bachelor’s in Computer Science can specialize in areas ranging from internet programming to multimedia. 

The other three bachelor’s degrees available are interdisciplinary degrees that afford students an excellent background in computer science while also studying its application in other fields. 

Graduate students work with professors in areas such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing while pursuing a master’s degree or PhD in computer science or bioinformatics, among others. 

The school’s master’s degree students are also allowed to study abroad at France’s Université Pierre et Marie Curie. 

4. University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

University of Alberta
Public domain photo by WinterforceMedia via Wikimedia Commons

The Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta offers students the ability to customize their computer science degrees to maximize their potential and enable them to succeed in their future endeavors.  

The school’s undergraduate Computing Science degree track allows students to either concentrate on the field, or combine it with another area of study, depending on their interests and goals. 

Computer science students with an eye toward entrepreneurship may consider adding a business minor to their degree, while those dedicated to software development can specialize in this area. 

Graduate students pursuing a master’s degree with a thesis at the University of Alberta are directed to choose from the wide range of research areas at the school, while those who are interested in interdisciplinary studies can choose programs jointly offered with the school’s Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Arts. 

3. University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

University of British Columbia
Dllu, New Student Union Building of the University of British Columbia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Computer science undergraduates at the University of British Columbia have multiple degree paths and types. 

The school offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees and combined majors and further specializations.  

One of the most exciting options available to undergraduate students is the Cognitive Systems program, which is considered a computer science specialization. 

This program is taught jointly by the school’s Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology Departments and gives students an interdisciplinary understanding of the methods through which intelligent systems operate in the world. 

Graduate students who intend to pursue a PhD in computer science are provided multiple paths to their doctorates while obtaining their master’s degrees. 

Students can specialize and develop their research skills through these tracks, or they can survey a wider area of the field with the essay track. 

2. University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON)

University of Waterloo
Maplefirst, Tatham Centre UWaterloo, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science boasts perhaps the greatest academic concentration of researchers in computer science in all of Canada. 

This is backed up by the impressive list of researchers who are fellows in institutions such as IEEE, the Royal Society of Canada, and the Association for Computing Machinery. 

Undergraduates in computer science can choose between pursuing a Bachelor of Computer Science Degree or a Bachelor of Mathematics (Computer Science) Degree. 

As the University of Waterloo provides computer science courses through its Faculty of Mathematics, graduate students interested in computer science will be awarded either a Master of Mathematics (Computer Science) or a Master of Mathematics (Quantum Information) upon completion of their programs. The school also offers PhDs in the same fields. 

1. University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)

University of Toronto
Maksim Sokolov (Maxergon), The Old Vic, Toronto, CC BY-SA 4.0

Our top choice for the best computer science university in Canada, the University of Toronto offers students various undergraduate computer science programs

Undergraduates can choose to specialize in areas such as data science and artificial intelligence or focus in game design or computer vision. 

The graduate program at the University of Toronto offers students the opportunity to obtain a Master of Computer Science degree and a PhD in Computer Science.  

Also provided through the graduate program, the Master of Science in Applied Computing degree program has four concentrations from which students can choose. 

Any student interested in quantum computing, data science, artificial intelligence, or applied mathematics will find this program particularly appealing. 

The school’s reputation for its research in areas like neural networks and artificial intelligence is another part of what has led to its ranking as one of the top computer science universities in Canada.

This ranking was created as an aggregation of multiple ranking sources. Here are the ranking sources used for this article.

US News

Scimago Institution Rankings

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