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Best Universities in Toronto for International Students in 2023

Jan 31, 2023Date Published
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UniSearch - Best Universities in Toronto for International Students in 2023

Planning to study in Canada? Why not consider these top 10 universities in Toronto? The largest city in Canada, Toronto is a dream destination for students. One of the best student cities in the country - and in the world - Toronto's multicultural population, vibrant lifestyle, high employer activity, and wonderful quality of life make it a honeypot for international students. And out of the top-ranked universities in the world, three happen to be right here, in this city!

  • The University of Toronto
  • York University
  • Ryerson University

All three of the above appear on the QS and THE World University Rankings. Toronto university rankings are plenty impressive on a national level, too! Several smaller universities and colleges stand out as excellent institutions in their own right. So, which of these places is the right study abroad destination for you?

Studying in Toronto

International students are right at home in this multicultural hub. According to the United Nations, Toronto is the most diverse city in the world! Almost half of Toronto’s population are foreign-born. QS Top Universities' corroborates this, with Toronto's impressive 93.2 score for student mix helping make it one of the world's best student cities. The city is very welcoming and accommodating to international students as a result! Its people have a deep appreciation and respect for different cultures and ethnicities. If you’re worried about settling down in a new country, you’ll definitely find a piece of home in Toronto.

Vibrant neighbourhoods with diverse cuisine and cultures thrive close to university campuses. Everything is a bus or train ride away, thanks to Toronto’s dense transport network. From art galleries to science museums, sports events to concerts, there’s plenty to do.

Convinced? Or are you looking to learn more? Let’s take a look at the best universities in Toronto for you!

Which is the Best University in Toronto?

University NameQS World University RankingTHE World University RankingNo. of Undergraduate ProgramsNo. of Graduate ProgramsInternational Student Population
University of Toronto#26#18+700+30023,000 out of 93,000 students
York University#494#401-500+200+10,000 out of 55,000 students
Ryerson University#801-1000#601-80062551,365 out of 30,000 full-time students
Humber College

+8506,500 out of 33,000 full-time students
George Brown College

+1724,000 out of 25,000 full-time students
Centennial College

+16014,000 out of 26,000 full-time students
Trent University

+60+201,070 out of 11,750 students
Ontario College Art and Design University

207980 out of 4,700 students
Seneca College

3007,000 out of 30,000 full-time students
Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences

+14Varies yearly

Universities in Toronto for International Students

1. University of Toronto

This institution isn't just first place in the top 10 universities in Toronto. The University of Toronto ranks as #1 out of all Canadian universities! It appears in the top 30 of many global university rankings as well. Plus, the university is a global research leader. Between 2018-19, it spent almost $1.38 billion in research funding!

Among the things the University of Toronto is famous for is the development of insulin. It's also involved in groundbreaking work around artificial intelligence (AI). With state-of-the-art facilities, co-op and student start-up programs, it produces leaders and entrepreneurs at the forefront of the 21st century.

Looking for universities in Toronto for Master’s or PhD with a research focus? This is the best place to be. The University of Toronto offers over 300 graduate programs across many disciplines. It also offers over 700 programs for undergraduates! 

Below are the QS World University Subject Rankings for the University of Toronto for 2023
  • =16 in Arts and Humanities
  • =34 in Engineering and Technology
  • #12 in Life Sciences and Medicine
  • #24 in Natural Sciences
  • #21 in Social Sciences and Management

And yes! U of T is also one of the best universities in Toronto for international students! The school hosts over 23,000 international students from almost 160 countries.

The university has three campuses featuring gorgeous architecture and natural landscapes. Fringing the campuses, you’ll find neighbourhoods flush with student activity. Open markets at St Lawrence Market, affordable restaurants in Chinatown, shopping at Yorkville? There’s something for everyone, and much to explore. You may be within walking distance of these hubs, or at the very least a couple minutes away by subway!

2. York University

This is another institute ranking within the top 500 global universities! York University is well-known for research. It's also famous for hosting the annual York Festival for Ideas! This series of free events combines education and entertainment in an innovative, engaging way. The goal is to spark new ideas and innovations and inspire change.

York University is one of the best institutions in Toronto for masters and PhD. With over 25 research centres, York’s research community spans several disciplines. The university ranks #3 worldwide for research in biological and computational vision!

York offers over 200 programs at undergraduate and graduate levels. And there is much to choose from. Among these are Canada's biggest liberal arts program, as well as the country's only space engineering program! 

A quarter of York’s students are international, from almost 180 countries. With two campuses located in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, there’s plenty to see and do here for international students!

3. Ryerson University

Are you looking for a lively, dynamic university that never seems to stop moving? Got a business mind and innovative spirit? Ryerson University, at the heart of downtown Toronto, may be the perfect place for you!

Ryerson is famous for its innovative Zone Learning network, an experiential learning model. It gives students hands-on experience in building startups, ventures, product launches and more! Ryerson hosts ten of these incubators on-campus. The most prominent of these, the DMZ incubator, has helped launch over 500 start-ups! Since 2010, it has raised over $1.3 billion in funding. The DMZ ranks as the top tech incubator in the world! Ryerson also stands out as an exceptional research institution. It has over 125 research institutes and labs.

Ryerson offers 62 undergraduate and 55 graduate programs across many disciplines. These range from biomedical programs to creative industries like communication, media, and entertainment. There’s great emphasis on first-hand experience and keeping up with industry trends. This, with the proximity to Toronto's industrial hub, guarantees you’re ready for work by the time you graduate. Alongside our #1 and #2 universities, Ryerson also lands a spot on world university rankings!

But the top 3 are not the only great universities in Toronto. The city has many smaller colleges and universities worth considering too.

Take a look at the rest of our picks for top 10 universities in Toronto.

Humber College

Humber College places 6th in Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges 2020. Its Centres of Innovation (COI) encourage collaboration across fields like technology and health.

With two main campuses, the college hosts over 6,500 international students from more than 130 universities. There are over 180 programs to choose from for diploma, undergraduate and graduate studies! Some standout programs include health and medicine subjects, like addiction and mental health. The college also offers popular programs like nutrition, music, media, and communication!

George Brown College

George Brown has three campuses across the bustling economic hub of downtown Toronto. It partners with industry experts and organisations to offer students hands-on experience as part of its curricula! Meanwhile, facilities like the Chefs’ House for culinary arts students simulate real work experience too.

Over a quarter of the student population here is international students. Popular programs span fields like hospitality, graphic design, healthcare, nursing and more.

Centennial College

Centennial College sprawls across the Greater Toronto Area with five campuses. It's Ontario’s first community college! Centennial has one of the largest international student populations among Canadian colleges. In fact, Centennial attracts over 14,000 international students a year.

Centennial works with industry experts for programs and placements responsive to workplace needs. It has almost 800 Program Advisory Committee (PAC) member organisations! These include industry leaders like Samsung, Air Canada, Harley Davidson and more.

Among standout programs are aviation and aerospace, computer sciences, healthcare, and much more.

Trent University

Trent is one of the top 10 universities in Toronto, and Canada, for undergraduates. It offers over 60 undergraduate programs and over 20 graduate programs. As a liberal arts and science school, there’s a variety of excellent programs to choose from. These include top-tier undergraduate programs in business, education, environment, forensics, nursing, and more.

The university branches into two campuses. There's one close to downtown Toronto and another within the Greater Toronto Area. Are you looking for intimate classroom settings with more of a community feel? Trent University is the perfect choice.

Ontario College of Art and Design University

Looking for a career in a creative field? OCAD U ranks within the top 200 art and design universities in the world! With 20 undergraduate and 7 graduate programs, you get specialized training in art, design and science. OCAD U combines creative, aesthetic, technical and studio-based learning. Programs range from advertising to industrial design and everything in between.

The campus is perfectly located within the artistic epicentre of downtown Toronto. It's close to the Art Gallery of Ontario, to which students get free admission! The Faculty of Design sits within the Sharp Centre for Design, an architectural landmark in Toronto.

Through OCAD U’s Experiential Learning Program, you sign up for field placements and work programs. The practical experience and one-to-one guidance enhance your skills and build your portfolio!

Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology

Seneca College is Canada’s largest public college! Along with four main campuses, Seneca College has plenty more campuses across Toronto. The college offers over 300 undergraduate, graduate, part- and full-time programs. It is also home to HELIX, the college’s innovation and entrepreneurship incubator. HELIX offers resources to students and graduates to develop and launch start-ups!

Along with these entrepreneurial opportunities, Seneca also offers co-op programs and field placements. You get plenty of real-world work experience. Standout fields include cybersecurity, computer and data science, education, nursing, and more. The college has 7,000 international students from over 150 countries!

Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences

Michener Institute is Canada’s only post-secondary school for applied health sciences. It’s part of Canada’s largest hospital, the University Health Network (UHN). Michener’s programs focus on training students to meet the needs of Canada’s top-quality healthcare industry. Located within Toronto’s hospital district, students get plenty of hands-on experience. Simulations, labs and clinical rotations in hospitals teach you necessary skills first-hand.

Programs range from anaesthesia assistant training to genetics and radiation therapy. Though the school is smaller in size, it’s very specialized. While Michener Institute accepts international students, the number of available seats may vary. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Toronto good for international students?

Absolutely! Toronto is, according to the United Nations, the most diverse city in the world. Almost half its population is foreign-born! The people here appreciate and respect individuals of different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities. And as you'll see when exploring downtown Toronto's diverse neighbourhoods, they love celebrating them too. Most schools in Toronto have thousands of international students, from hundreds of countries. You'll not only find people from your own country, but make friends with an amazing global community. And as for where international students will study - the world-class universities in Toronto speak for themselves!

Which university is the best in Toronto?

If we're looking at the best university overall, the University of Toronto ranks #1 nationwide on global university rankings. But what the best university in Toronto is depends on you! Are you looking for the best college for undergraduate students? Then you might be interested in Trent University. Are you looking for the best design and arts college? Then OCAD University might be the right place for you.

There are plenty of other options to consider, like campus size, location, classroom size, and tuition. It's important you do your own research to figure out what suits you the best! Our breakdown in the article above can help you narrow your options down. 

Our Final Thoughts

These top 10 universities in Toronto earn their place with excellent education, graduate employability, and diversity. In many ways, these schools reflect the creative, innovative, and dynamic city they reside in. There are hundreds of programs to choose from, tailored to meet the needs of the economy. You get to have industry experience and learn from industry experts, while living in the most diverse city in the world! From classroom and campus sizes to tuition, you have a wide range of options to choose from.