University of Toronto – Acceptance Rate, Ranking, Notable Alumni, and More

Founded in 1827 as King’s College, the University of Toronto is upper Canada’s oldest university. Originally intended to be a religious institution, the University soon became secular in 1850 and has since established itself as one of the best universities in the world. 

With over 700 undergraduate programs and 200 graduate programs, the University of Canada consists of eleven colleges. The school has three campuses: St. George in downtown Toronto, Mississauga, and Scarborough. 

As a tier-one public research institution, U Toronto prioritizes research and innovation. With an endowment of $2.84 billion, the university receives the most research funding of any Canadian institution of higher learning. 

With that money, the school became the founding site for insulin and stem cell research, the first artificial cardiac pacemaker, and the site of the first successful lung transplant and nerve transplant. Additionally, U Toronto housed the world’s first electron microscope, identified the first black hole Cygnus X-1, and developed the theory of NP-completeness.

But it’s their contributions to the field of literary and media criticism for which the University of Toronto is best known. 

Known collectively as the “Toronto School,” U Toronto professors Eric A. Havelock, Harold Innis, Northrop Frye, Marshall McLuhan, and others developed a theory on the relationship between psychological states and communication. The theory has become one of the dominant ways of understanding the relationship between communication and social transformation. 

The school has trained some of Canada’s most influential people, including three Governors-General of Canada, five Prime Ministers of Canada, nine foreign leaders, and seventeen justices of the Supreme Court. 

University of Toronto Acceptance Rate

University of Toronto
SimonP, Munk Centre for International Studies, CC BY-SA 3.0

As you might expect with a school with such an impressive pedigree, a lot of people want to attend U Toronto. And you probably expect the school to be highly competitive. 

In fact, U Toronto is fairly open, taking in approximately 90,000 students each year for a rate of 43%. However, the school values an international student body, offering admission to only about 45,000 domestic students. For that reason, it’s harder than you might think to get into the school. 

But hopefuls can help improve their chances by focusing their interests. As much as schools such as U Toronto value a well-rounded individual, academics themselves emphasize specialization

By specialization, scholars mean that strong academics have their areas of expertise, where they know not only the most important elements of their field, but also the lesser-known and foundational parts. For example, anyone in a liberal arts program will read important works of American literature, such as The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby

However, someone who focuses on American literature doesn’t read just those famous books; they’ll also read lesser-known books by those authors, as well as important foundational books that most people don’t know.

As this description demonstrates, a strong focus means that you’re an expert. The knowledge shows people that you know what you’re talking about and have something to offer the community. With this knowledge – and more importantly, achievements such as awards – your application will show U Toronto that you will contribute to the community. 

University of Toronto Ranking

You can probably guess that U Toronto is one of the best schools in the world. But exactly where does it stand? 

According to the global university list on the highly-respected  U.S. News & World Report, U Toronto sits at #17, tied with the University of Michigan in the States, and #1 in Canada. The magazine also ranks the school near the top of global lists for subjects such as Psychiatry (#8), Arts and Humanities (#8), Endocrinology and Metabolism (#5), Clinical Medicine (#5), and Oncology (#4).

Nearly every other observing outlet heaps similar praise upon U Toronto. According to, the school sits at 26th place globally, with a special commendation for its academic reputation, reputation as an employer, and the ratio of international faculty and students. 

For the Times World University Rankings, U Toronto sits at number 18th overall, a position earned by the school’s excellent research, citations by academics and professionals, and international outlook. 

Finally, the Center for World University Rankings gives U Toronto an overall score of 87.5, which is the twenty-fourth highest in the world. The Center ranks school number one in Canada, third in the world for research, and twenty-first in the world for quality of faculty. 

While there might be some disagreement about specific placements, these lists show that all international organizations agree that the University of Toronto belongs among the best schools in the world. 

Notable Alumni

As the highest-ranked school in Canada, it’s no surprise that U Toronto alumni have gone on to be leaders in their field, including Saturday Night Live founder Lorne Michaels, musician and Late Night co-host Paul Schaffer, and theologian Mary Jo Leddy. 

In fact, the school’s graduates include three Governors-General of Canada, five Prime Ministers of Canada, nine foreign leaders, and seventeen justices of the Supreme Court, twelve Nobel laureates, six Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and a Fields Medalist.

Some of these Nobel laurates include American literary master William Faulkner, chemist Walter Kohn, and peace prize winners James Orbinski and Canadian prime minister Lester B. Pearson. Other prime ministers include William Lyon Mackenzie King, Paul Martin, and Stephen Harper. 

But despite what this list might suggest, not every Toronto grad goes on to serious fields. Some well-known actors and directors went to U Toronto, including host Preet Banjeree, news anchor Heather Hiscox, and children’s television mainstay Daniel McCarthy. 

Some of the most exciting film directors came from the school, such as Norman Jewison, Atom Egoyan, and David Cronenberg. In addition to Faulkner, notable writers include poet Anne Carson, novelist Paul Quarrington, and author of The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood. 

This list is just a tiny sample of the excellent graduates from UToronto, not at all exhaustive. For each name listed here, hundreds of alumni use their education to improve other parts of life.


As with everything else, high quality isn’t cheap. But because it is a public institution, the University of Toronto isn’t as expensive as you might expect from a school of its caliber. 

The cost differs depending on several factors, including the subject you’re studying, your year of study, and the campus on which you’re studying. 

For example, a domestic student who entered in the 2020-2021 year to begin studying for a Juris Doctor of Law at the St. George campus would pay tuition of $33,040 each year. An international student studying for the same degree at the same campus would pay $57,040 each year. 

The course of study can radically alter the fees one will pay. A domestic student in the 2020-2021 school year working toward an arts degree pays only $6,100 in annual tuition, regardless of the campus on which they are studying. If that same person were an international student, they would pay $56,000 each year in tuition. 

Even though UToronto costs less than many other universities of its quality, it can still cost more than your average student can afford. U Toronto offers a wide range of financial aid and scholarships to those who need them. 

Aid can be everything from work-study aid programs to outright scholarships. Of course, financial aid offers change according to several factors, including citizenship, course of study, and campus. So be sure to check often at the financial aid offices to make sure you have everything you need. 

University of Toronto Acceptance Rate for International Students

University of Toronto Hall
Jphillips23, Uoft, CC BY-SA 3.0

As we said earlier, the University of Toronto values a diverse, international student body. Approximately 21% of U Toronto’s student body is global, with students from 168 different nations.

While that is undoubtedly a lot of international students, applicants should keep in mind that many people across the globe apply to UToronto, making it more competitive than it seems. 

So, while 58% of the international students who applied to the school were accepted, these students come from many different countries. No one country has the advantage. If you’re applying from the United States, you’re competing with students from all over the world, including the UK and every Asian country. 

What can international students do to improve their chances of acceptance? 

The most basic answer to that question is to understand the admissions requirements. The requirements for international students can vary, according to the program of study and campus. 

For example, international students wanting to study biochemistry at either the Scarborough or St. George campuses must have equivalent credits to Biology (SBI4U), Calculus & Vectors (MCV4U), Chemistry (SCH4U), English (ENG4U), and Physics (SPH4U). Fortunately, U Toronto offers helpful guides for those who need to confirm those equivalencies. 

In short, UToronto encourages applications from international students, which means more competition, but also more support from the school. 

Is the University of Toronto Right For You?

With such an impressive history of respectable alumni, research, and innovation, the University of Toronto has built its reputation as one of the best schools in the world. 

As we’ve already seen, U Toronto is one of the best schools in North America and in the entire world. Even if its long list of impressive alumni didn’t convince you, there’s plenty of evidence that U Toronto graduates go on to have happy and financially fulfilling careers. 

This fact doesn’t take away from the extra cost and paperwork required of international students, especially coming from outside of North America. But it’s also worth remembering that U Toronto is happy to support international students as much as possible, with everything from scholarships to administrative help. 

Despite all of that information, only you can decide if you belong at U Toronto. The school is a decidedly urban university, and it offers all the accouterments of an internationally famous city. It has a diverse student body, and you’re sure to be exposed to people from all walks of life. 

To be sure, those elements aren’t for everyone. U Toronto isn’t a small liberal arts university in an idyllic town. But if you want a genuinely cosmopolitan experience, the University of Toronto will give you everything you need to succeed and accomplish in your field. 

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