2021 Maclean's University Rankings: Comprehensive Schools

By Thomas Meijer Modified on November 05, 2020

Maclean's magazine ranks Canada's best universities for 2021 with an undergraduate & graduate focus.

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2021 Maclean's University Rankings: Comprehensive Schools

Maclean's magazine is a Canadian leader in university rankings. "Comprehensive" universities offer plenty of programs and research activity for undergraduates and grad students alike. Maclean's rankings are based on the school's reputation and measures of student satisfaction.

This year, we've gathered extra info on each top-ranked comprehensive university so you can make an informed choice about your education. Check out the rankings for 2021!

1. Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University is located only 20 kilometers away from downtown Vancouver and offers a vast range of highly accredited programs. With over 100 partner institutions globally, Simon Fraser University not only offers their students great education within the country, but opportunities to study abroad. Simon Fraser is a great school for academic and athlete alike, providing top-of the line athletic facilities and many cycling and hiking trails surrounding the campus. SFU also offers a great co-operative education program, ensuring students get the most out of their degree.

2. University of Victoria

This school is situated in the stunning Canadian west coast on Vancouver Island. The university's area gives the advantage of the picturesque west coast and as well as the perks of city living. It is a 20 minute drive from the heart of downtown Victoria and a 15 minute walk from the Pacific Ocean. The University of Victoria is very well known for publishing research based on international collaboration. The school has a plethora of clubs including Debate Club, Film Society, Food not Bombs, Hellenic Students, Medieval Club, and Students of Colour just to name a few. There are clubs for students with any interest! The arts and culture scene is also very notable as it includes three performing arts theatres, a recital hall, an auditorium, and an art gallery and museum.

3. University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo ranks as the most innovative university in Canada and has held this title for nearly 30 years and counting. With an incredible co-operative education programs, students in UW's coop program are provided with a strong foundation of job experience. University of Waterloo is known for its cutting-edge engineering and computer science programs, but if that's not your cup of tea, Waterloo offers many other programs, as well as offering over 250 clubs to pursue your passions. UW also offers joint programs with Wilfrid Laurier University.

4. University of Guelph

The University of Guelph is like no other university in Canada, with its intense research focused and learner-centered arts and science courses, students are sure to find their calling. The University of Guelph is the school for foodies! According to the MacLean's survey in 2019, 94% of Guelphs students are 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with their food and UoG ranks #1 for best university food in Canada. Guelph also offers many clubs in categories ranging from music and media to recreation and sports.

5. Carleton University

Situated in Canada's capital, Carleton University is at the front line of education in fields relating to public affairs. Carleton has partnered with educational institutions, government, and private businesses to provide their students with practical experiential learning. Carleton University's Student Experience Office is responsible for ensuring students new to university can properly adapt to their new lifestyle and minimizing stress. Carleton also offers many impressive athletic facilities.

6. University of New Brunswick

With two beautiful campuses in the province of New Brunswick, students can get a taste of the old and most historical parts of Canada. The saint John campus may be newer and smaller, but students describe it as a tightly knit community where they can properly get to know the faculty and other students. This school is very attractive to international students and has a very welcoming atmosphere where people from all walks of life can relax and find themselves fitting in. The Saint John campus is also surrounded by acres of beautiful land overlooking the Kennebecasis River, making for lovely scenery and the chance to enjoy the outdoors. The Fredericton campus is home to many interesting clubs from dancing and debating to rock climbing and scuba diving, there's an activity for everyone.

7. York University

York University is Canada's third largest university, but don't be intimidated by the size; York U is still committed to providing every student with a valuable education. With impressive business, technology, and design programs, as well as the largest psychology department in Canada, York University offers a diverse spectrum of programs to suit your interests. York's professors possess the highest qualifications in their respective fields.

8. Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier University offers a selection of programs in business, music, arts, and sciences. Recently making large renovations to their athletic facilities, WLU is a great university for their athletics in addition to academics. You can also find like minded students and peers in one (or more!) of Laurier's 95+ clubs. You can also find the only on-campus music therapy clinic in Canada at Laurier! WLU also offers joint programs with University of Waterloo.

9. Memorial University of Newfoundland

Located in the Canadian Maritimes, Memorial University of Newfoundland is the largest university in Atlantic Canada. Memorial has an impressive selection of clubs ranging from the Archaeology club, to the anime film society, and even the MUN rifle club! These are just to name a few of the many clubs offered at MUN. Memorial also offers over 100 programs as well as multitudes of athletic offerings.

10. Concordia University

With its culturally diverse 46,000 students, Concordia University is one of the largest urban universities in Canada. Its campus is situated near downtown Montreal and offers an interesting array of activities while students are on break. Montreal has been dubbed the best city for students to live in, with super accessible living situations and low rent, students are sure to find themselves immersed in the heart of Montreal's culture and music scene. Concordia's best programs include education, art and design, communication and media studies, accounting and finance, English literature, engineering, linguistics, and psychology. Concordia also offers many exchange programs in 30 different countries if students would like to study abroad.

11. Université du Québec à Montréal

As one of the biggest French speaking universities in Canada, students are able to fully immerse themselves within one of Canada's official languages. UQAM has made many creative innovations and has an outstanding concern for social issues. Located in Montreal, the surrounding city is home to a large and ever-growing arts and culture scene in Canada.

12. Ryerson University

Ryerson University has innovative programs that help students to hone their skills. Their most well-known programs are contemporary arts and science degrees. Each program creates a hands-on learning experience that equips postgraduate students with skills they wouldn't get otherwise that allow them to succeed. Situated in the core of downtown Toronto, students get a firsthand Toronto experience. Ryerson students have the opportunity to learn internationally and obtain an educational experience abroad through study, work, volunteer, and educational travel.

13. Brock University

Located in Canada's Niagara region in the city of St. Catherines, Brock University focuses heavily on making sure that students are career oriented with opportunities like co-op and service-learning options that provide maximum exposure to one's chosen field of study. Incoming students are encouraged to join Smart Start; a transition program including specially designed first year academic advising sessions. This focus on making sure students are able to settle themselves into university with ease. Brock is known for student's success in programs such as Child and Youth Studies, Computer Science, Concurrent Education, Dramatic & Visual Arts, Medical Sciences, Nursing, Political Science, Psychology, and Sport Management.

14. University of Windsor

The small community at the University of Windsor makes it easy for students to connect. The campus is home to the new Forge Fitness Centre, which allows for many recreational and sports opportunities including yoga, Pilates, tai chi, martial art instruction, kayaking, dance pack, and cheerleading. The area also allows for outdoor activities like rollerblading, jogging, cycling, and walking with over six kilometres of parkland at the riverfront front. The school is very student-focused and offers personalized support to all students who attend their programs.

15. University of Regina

Graduates of the University of Regina have a guarantee to find work right after finishing thanks to their UR GUARANTEE. This was the first program of its kind in Canada. The University of Regina specializes in their arts and sciences facilities and ensures students get the most out of their education with free tutoring as a part of their UR GUARANTEE. University of Regina is also home to 12 intervarsity athletic teams who have claimed 3 national titles in their respective sports.

Click here to learn more about the 2021 Maclean's rankings.


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