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Top 20 Canadian Universities for PhD Study in 2021

Canada has a reputation for being one of the friendliest countries in the world, as well as having globally-renowned research universities. But what are the best Canadian universities for PhD study?

One way to decide where to study your PhD is to look at university rankings. So, we’ve collated the rankings from three global university league tables to help you in your PhD search.

Top Ranked Canadian Universities

The following table lists the 20 top-ranked Canadian universities in 2020/21.

Top 20 Canadian Universities in 2021
University THE 2021 QS 2021 ARWU 2020
University of Toronto18=2523
University of British Columbia344538
McGill University40=3178
McMaster University6914498
University of Montreal=73118151-200
University of Alberta=131119101-150
University of Ottawa=145=279151-200
University of Calgary=200=246151-200
University of Waterloo201-250=166151-200
Western University201-250=203201-300
Dalhousie University 251-300 =291 201-300
Laval University 251-300 =420 301-400
Queen's University 251-300 =246 201-300
Simon Fraser University 251-300 =323 301-400
University of Manitoba 351-400 601-650 301-400
University of Victoria 351-400 =370 301-400
University of Saskatchewan 401-500 =465 301-400
York University 401-500 531-540 401-500
Carleton University 501-600 601-650 501-600
University of Guelph 501-600 571-580 301-400
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.

So, how good are the top universities in Canada for PhD study?

In global rankings, Canada does well, with several universities in the world top 100 for each league ranking.

Given that Canada only has around 100 universities (the USA has about 4,000), the striking number of universities ranking high is impressive.

On this page we’ve given a brief introduction to university rankings. For a more detailed overview of how the system works and how to get the best out of it, check our guide to PhD rankings.

Find out more

Search for a PhD in Canada

Ready to start looking for your ideal study abroad opportunity? Browse PhDs in Canada on or read our guide to studying a PhD in Canada.

Last updated - 08/12/2020

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