Top 10 Universities for Computer Science in Canada 2021

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Computer science (CS) is one of the most popular fields in the world—for good reason! Technology is continually evolving, so there is an ongoing need for innovative computer scientists to develop new and better ways of using systems. Most Canadian universities offer computer science programs. However, it can be challenging to figure out which program is best for you. To make your decision easier, we’re counting down the top computer science programs at Canadian academic institutions with help from Maclean’s Canadian University Rankings 2021.

Note: A * marker indicates a tie.

Still debating your field of study? Here are some great reasons why you should study computer science.


A red brick building at the back of a lush green lawn, framed by leafy green trees (Edwards Hall, McMaster University)

Image Credit: jockrutherford from Owen Sound, ON, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#10 McMaster University

Program Reputation #9*, Research Reputation #10

Entering the list at #10, McMaster University’s computer science program is run by its Faculty of Engineering, where students will learn programming, information systems design, and database development. Hamilton, Ontario’s McMaster University offers a variety of specializations, including mechatronics, software engineering, and eHealth. Best of all, McMaster boasts excellent job prospects. An impressive 100% of computer science graduates find employment within two years of graduation.

A modern glass-fronted university building rises up out of a group of leafy trees. (University of Calgary)

Image Credit: Jgcab, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#9 University of Calgary

Program Reputation 12, Research Reputation 8 

Problem-solving is at the heart of computer science, and students enrolled at the University of Calgary build computers that think like people and mould the future of augmented reality.

Students with a passion for computer science research can also take advantage of the university’s leading research labs, where they will have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience as a volunteer or by enrolling in one of the school’s research courses. Many computer science students at the University of Calgary go on to study medicine, veterinary medicine, law, or education.

Curved and angled concrete walls of a University of Victoria building, against a cloudy blue sky.

Image Credit: Adam Jones from Kelowna, BC, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#8 University of Victoria

Program Reputation #8, Research Reputation #9

Did you know that the city of Victoria, British Columbia’s picturesque capital, is not only home to Canada’s mildest climate, but also one of the country’s very best computer science programs? The University of Victoria recognizes that a degree in computer science opens countless doors for students.

Students can opt to take part in the department’s co-op program to gain the experience necessary to hit the ground running upon graduation. It offers students the chance to build meaningful industry connections, as well as apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios in areas such as machine learning and software development.

Read: Top Reasons to Study Computer Science

Rolling green hills with a pine forest on the horizon. In the foreground are some Simon Fraser University buildings.

#7 Simon Fraser University

Program Reputation #6, Research Reputation #7

Coming in at #7, Burnaby, British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University may not be the first school that comes to mind when you think of computer science, but it is among the best in Canada. Simon Fraser is internationally recognized for its award-winning research facilities.

The university also has a large international student population, which makes up 19% of its student body. The computer science program also has a unique partnership with China’s Zhejiang University. Undergraduate students can earn two degrees and learn Mandarin at the same time!

A classical brick building on the Universite de Montreal campus

Image Credit: Bohao Zhao, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#6 University of Montreal

Program Reputation #7, Research Reputation #6

What if technology could predict that, as a result of climate change, your home faces a serious risk of flooding in the year 2050? A team of researchers at the University of Montréal is using artificial intelligence to accomplish just that.

The University of Montréal ensures that students have the technical, problem solving, mathematical, and cross-collaboration skills necessary to change the world. Graduates work in a variety of areas, including mobile and wireless communication; image synthesis for animated films, TV, and advertising; and robotics and automated physical systems.

A tall, modern concrete building on the University of Alberta campus

Image Credit: WinterE229 WinterforceMedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

#5 University of Alberta

Program Reputation #5, Research Reputation #5

The Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta is one of the largest of its kind in Canada. It’s also the oldest, founded in 1964—more than a decade before the first personal computer hit the market.

Today, the department offers courses and research opportunities in areas such as artificial intelligence, computer games, robotics, and computer graphics. The University of Alberta has even helped develop some of the fastest computers in the world!

Fun fact: The U.S. Department of Energy uses supercomputers that integrate technology developed by a team of University of Alberta computer scientists.

A winter view of the McGill University campus in Montreal

Image Credit: Laslovarga, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#4 McGill University

Program Reputation #4, Research Reputation #4

McGill University is widely regarded as one of the country’s best universities, so it’s no surprise that its computer science program landed on the fourth spot on the list. McGill’s School of Computer Science ranks second in Canada for research funding and has 34 faculty members, 60 Ph.D. students, and over 100 master’s degree students.

McGill students have their choice of 10 program options in computer science. Plus, they have the option of paid work terms to gain valuable experience in their field. Finally, the university’s location can’t be beat: Montréal ranks in the top six on QS’ Best Student Cities list.

Curious about student life in Quebec? Read our blog to learn why you should study in Montreal!

A landscape view of modern university buildings (lots of steel and glass)

Image Credit: Victor Vucicevich, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#1* University of Waterloo

Program Reputation #1*, Research Reputation #1

We have a three-way tie for the top-ranking computer science program in Canada! First up is the University of Waterloo. With over 70 courses to choose from and a faculty of more than 80 industry experts, the University of Waterloo’s computer science department sets students up for success.

Co-op is a major focus at the university, allowing students to graduate with up to two years of paid work experience. The university is located in Canada’s thriving tech sector. That means students have access to hundreds of local companies in need of computer scientists, including ApplyBoard!

Discover: 7 Reasons International Students Should Study at the University of Waterloo

A snowy landscape, with university and downtown office buildings on the horizon. (Toronto in winter)

Maksim Sokolov (Maxergon), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#1* University of Toronto

Program Reputation #1*, Research Reputation #1*

Next up is the University of Toronto. Located in Canada’s largest city—and one of its most multicultural—U of T has been at the forefront of computer science for over 50 years. Consistently ranked among the top 25 universities in the world for computer science by QS World University Rankings, this year it cracked the top 10.

The University of Toronto has seen an increase in international student enrollment in recent years. By 2021, it’s predicted that foreign students will make up 20% of its student body!

A skyline view of a mix of university buildings, framed by a clear blue sky and red and green foliage. (UBC)

Image Credit: jimmy thomas from Seattle, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#1* University of British Columbia

Program Reputation #1*, Research Reputation #3

And, finally, the University of British Columbia. This university boasts one of Canada’s most beautiful campuses and one of its best computer science departments.

Founded in 1968, its Department of Computer Science is also one of Canada’s leading research institutions. Undergraduates can choose from six majors, including a unique combined major in Business and Computer Science. With a diverse student body, incredible location, and excellent reputation, the University of British Columbia is a terrific choice.

Explore top computer science programs in Canada on ApplyBoard.


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