Best Computer Science Universities in Canada 2023/2024 (Undergraduate Programs)

You’re investing a TON of time, money, and energy towards your future. 

You’ve gotten the grades, done a bunch of extracurriculars, improved your real-world skills, and become the type of applicant that top-tier computer science programs in Canada look for — you’ve put in the work.

As if doing all that wasn’t stressful enough, now you have to decide where you want to spend the next few years of your life and complete your undergrad degree. 

We get that it can be really stressful to make such a big decision about which university fits your unique interests, goals, and aspirations

That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top computer science universities in Canada with a focus on undergraduate programs (in no particular order).

It’s time to get rid of all the questions and hesitation that might be floating around in your mind. 

Here you’ll find a comprehensive breakdown of the standout features of the best computer science programs in Canada — all in one place — so you can be confident that you’re making the right decision for your future. 

And just remember — you don’t have to go through this process alone! Our Youth Coaches™ are alumni of all the programs listed below and they have helped hundreds of students choose the program that’s right for them (as well as helping them succeed once they’re in university). If you’re looking for an objective mentor to help you through this process, connect with a coach now for support

We also have a ton of FREE resources, including comprehensive program guides, application prep guides, skills building guides, and more. 

To stay up to date on the latest content to empower you to fulfill your potential follow our channel on YouTube and subscribe to our monthly newsletter (by submitting your email at the bottom of this page).

U of T Computer Science (Toronto, Ontario) – One of the Top Computer Science Universities in Canada for Experiential Learning

U of T Computer Science is continually ranked as one of the best computer science programs in Canada. 

With award-winning faculty and a focus on experiential, hands-on learning, the U of T Comp Sci program helps students develop their scientific knowledge and ignite their creativity so that they can advance the technology of tomorrow. 

One of the standout features of the University of Toronto Computer Science program is that you can study at any 1 of the 3 U of T campuses: St. George (downtown Toronto), Scarborough, or Mississauga. 

The curriculum and course offerings are essentially the same across all campuses (except for a few). And, no matter which campus you choose, you’ll earn the same Honours Bachelor of Science (HBSc) degree from U of T. 

Each campus has its own strengths and focuses, and choosing which one you want to go to is a personal choice based on your interests, career goals, etc.  

The flexibility of being able to choose from 3 campuses is unique because you can tailor your university experience to your unique preferences for location, faculty, course offerings, class sizes, etc. Whether you want to live in the heart of downtown Toronto, or you want to live at home while going to university, these options can make that happen. 

DID YOU KNOW?: You only need to submit a Supplemental Application if you’re applying to the St. George campus. If you are applying to UTSC Computer Science (Scarborough) or UTM Comp Sci (Mississauga), you just need to submit your grades (through OUAC). Each program has different requirements, so make sure you do your research before applying (or check out everything you need to know in our comprehensive U of T Computer Science Program Guide!).

Another standout feature about University of Toronto Computer Science is that there is a lot of flexibility about how you want to do your degree

Students have the option to choose a focus area, and they can also decide how broad or general they want that learning to be. 

If you want to become an expert in one area (e.g. Computer Systems, Game Design, etc.), you’d choose a Specialist. If you want to study other topics and research areas, while building a concentrated understanding of a few areas of computer science, then you’d choose a Major or Minor

Depending on which campus you choose, you can choose from a wide range of focus areas and streams that fit perfectly with your interests and anticipated career path. This is good because it gives you the freedom to design the program you want, while also exploring your interests in other areas. 

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St. George Campus, University of Toronto, image credit

Another thing that makes U of T one of the top universities in Canada for computer science is the many opportunities for hands-on learning. Like the curriculum and program options, the fact that you can choose 1 of the 3 U of T campuses also means that you can choose the type of experiential learning that most interests you, as each campus has different options. 

Each of the 3 campuses has its own opportunities for experiential learning. UTSG Computer Science (St.George), has an Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP), where you can explore different career options, gain experience, make contacts, and build skills. With the ASIP, you’ll do 4 mandatory courses as professional development training, work placement opportunities, and personalized support, with 12-month, 16-month, or 20-month placements. Students are typically admitted into the ASIP in the Fall of their second year, but there are also Year 3 entry opportunities as well. 

UTSC Comp Sci (Scarborough) is known for its co-op program and is the reason a lot of students choose this U of T campus for comp sci. As a UTSC comp sci co-op student, you will complete 3 work terms (each is 4 months long), along with the Co-op Preparation Course Requirements before you start. This might seem like a lot of extra work, but many students tell us that these co-op prep professional development courses really helped them learn how to write a resume and do effective interviews, while showing them how to get the most out of their co-op because they learned how to prepare, manage, and integrate themselves into their placement location. Trust us, the extra time is worth it.

Once in the co-op, you’ll earn an hourly wage, get training, and make a network of contacts. Depending on where your placement is, you’ll have lots of opportunities with a variety of companies ranging from bigger companies like IBM and Canadian banks to smaller tech startups (and many students actually continue working at their co-op location when they graduate!).

At UTM Comp Sci (Mississauga), you will get a 12-16 month Professional Experience Year (PEY), where you will gain valuable experience before you graduate. Like UTSG Comp Sci and UTSC Comp Sci, you will get real-world experience as you apply what you’ve learned in the classroom, all while building out your resume and earning money during your studies. 

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Student experience is also a big reason why this program is so popular. U of T Computer Science focuses on creating opportunities for students to meet new people, try new things, and discover who they are. 

Each campus has dozens of student clubs and teams to explore, allowing you to interact with people who have the same passion for computer science as you do and make life-long relationships. 

There’s really something for everyone, like the Computer Science Student Community or Women in Science and Computing (WiSC) at UTM Comp Sci, the Computer Science Enrichment Club at UTSC Comp Sci, or the Computer Science Student Union at UTSG Comp Sci. 

No matter which campus you choose, there are endless opportunities for interacting with fellow students, trying out new things, and making lifelong friends as you take a break from your coursework. It’s this type of student experience that makes U of T one-of-a-kind.

For more info about U of T Comp Sci, read our U of T Computer Science Program Guide and connect with a coach to see if this program is the best fit for you.

Computer Science Waterloo University (Waterloo, Ontario) – Best Computer Science Program in Canada for Co-op and Professional Development  

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The University of Waterloo continues to take a spot as one of the best computer science universities in Canada, and it is a highly respected program — and for good reason!

Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science is Canada’s largest computer science department and has the largest academic computer science research centre in Canada.    

As a student of the computer science program at Waterloo University, you will get a comprehensive education that teaches you both theoretical and practical knowledge

In your first year and second year, you’ll be given a foundational introduction to various areas such as data structures, computational complexity, algorithm design, and more (check out the full list here). This will not only introduce you to the field so you can explore your interests, but it will give you a solid background that will be beneficial for your upper year courses (and various career paths when you graduate). 

These upper year courses will be mostly Comp Sci courses, where you will become an expert in your preferred subject, while being taught by some of the leading faculty in these areas. 

Another benefit of studying computer science at Waterloo is that you’ll be able to take a ton of electives throughout your degree. These don’t have to be comp sci related, but you can take anything from music and philosophy, to art, history, or psychology. These electives make your degree highly personalized and will give you a well-rounded and broad education

Doing courses outside of computer science will also give you a bit of a break and will actually be fun. In fact, a lot of students tell us that their electives were one of the best things about the computer science program at Waterloo because they could expand their knowledge in many different areas while fulfilling the requirements of their degree. 

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Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, image credit

Another reason that Waterloo Computer Science is continually ranked as a top computer science program in Canada is because of the Cooperative Education (Co-op) Program

Waterloo has the largest co-op program in the world. By enrolling in Waterloo’s co-op program, you will graduate with up to 2 years of work experience while turning your theoretical knowledge from class into practical, hands-on learning

DID YOU KNOW?: Most students in the Waterloo Comp Sci program alternate between 4 months of coursework, and then 4 months in their co-op placement (i.e. 8 study terms and then 6 work terms). Most also do their first co-op after 2 semesters in the program. 80% of Waterloo Computer Science students do a co-op — and they earn around $50,000-$120,000 over 6 work terms

For each co-op, you will have to apply to placements, do interviews, and compete with other applicants. This can seem pretty daunting, but it’s actually a great opportunity to develop real-world skills like communication, interviewing, and other important soft skills

Waterloo has many resources to help you prepare for the co-op, including the Waterloo Professional Development Program (WatPD) which will help you enhance your professional skills and make the most of your co-op experience. Even if you aren’t in the co-op program, there are various professional development opportunities available. We highly recommend taking advantage of these because they will make you more competitive as you’re applying for co-op placements (and other jobs in the future).

Apart from applying what you’ve learned in the classroom and building key professional skills through the professional development program, the co-op will give you real-world experience and build a network of industry contacts which you can use to find a job after you graduate. In fact, 92% of the students who do the co-op end up getting hired soon after they graduate (most times at one of the same organizations where they did their co-op placement). 

Student life and the computer science community in general at Waterloo also make this program stand out. Waterloo goes above and beyond to contribute to the computer science community (which in turn strengthens its reputation as one of the best universities in Canada for computer science).

Waterloo runs the largest computer science contest for high school students in Canada, called the Canadian Computing Competition (CCC) and trains the Canadian team for the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). Waterloo teams also placed in the top 10 at the International Collegiate Programming Contest. 

There are also many ways to get involved, like joining the Mathematics Society of Waterloo (MathSoc), Women in Computer Science (WiCS), or one of the 150 clubs at Waterloo. All of these will enhance your student experience because you will have so many unique experiences while making lifelong friends and exploring your passion for computer science

Outside of campus, there’s always something fun to do when you need a break, like festivals (Waterloo is home to the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany), sporting events, restaurants, parks and greenspaces, malls, and more to keep you occupied. 

For more info about the Computer Science program at Waterloo University, read our Waterloo Computer Science App Prep Guide and connect with a coach to see if this program is the best fit for you.

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Computer Science at UBC (Vancouver, British Columbia) – One of the Top Computer Science Universities in Canada for Interdisciplinary, Flexible Program Options

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Computer science at UBC is consistently ranked as one of the top 3 computer science departments in Canada, and is one of the oldest computer science departments in Canada.

So, what makes UBC Computer Science one of the best? Firstly, UBC Computer Science focuses on interdisciplinary learning, so that every student has a well-rounded education as they learn about fields outside their study area. 

There are many unique program options. For example, you can do a Computer Science Major in either the Faculty of Science (BSc) or Faculty of Arts (BA), as well as combined major specializations with other programs (e.g. business or software engineering). All of these options make UBC Computer Science unique because you can explore your interests both inside and outside of computer science, while also gaining experience and knowledge in other areas (and this will increase your career prospects in the future). 

Another unique feature of computer science at UBC is the popular Second Degree Program, where you can choose either the Bachelor of Computer Science Integrated Computer Science (BCS) program or the Bachelor of Science (BSc) program to accompany your computer science degree. These dual degree options will not only expand your interdisciplinary knowledge of your field of interest, but it will also make you a more competitive applicant as you apply to internships, jobs, and other professional positions. 

UBC is also well-known for its Co-op program, which gives students valuable experience for 8-20 months (depending on which degree/program/second degree you do) in areas like data sciences, mobile applications, telecommunications, virtual reality, video gaming, and more.

The UBC Comp Sco co-op program is especially good if you’re interested in the software and computer services industries.

With the co-op, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom and explore career options — all while making a decent salary! You will also be able to build a network of connections which you can use once you enter the job market when you graduate.

DID YOU KNOW?: Whether you are a co-op student or not, graduates of the UBC Computer Science program are highly sought after and some alumni say that they had a pretty easy time getting their first job. A recent survey showed that UBC Comp Sci graduates earned around 38% more money after two years in the workforce, compared to other graduates at the bachelor’s level. 

The Computer Science department at UBC also goes above and beyond to help students apply to get their placement, making it a slightly easier process than some other programs where students are responsible for finding their own co-op placements. It may not seem like it, but this is a game-changer and a lot of students tell us that this was essential in them getting the placement they wanted. 

Vancouver is a software hub, so it is a particularly good place to do your co-op since there are many great placement options. Students tell us that some of the most popular companies where UBC Computer Science students do their co-op are SAP, Hootsuite, and EA, as well as outside the region at IBM, the Department of National Defense, Amazon, Microsoft, and more.

In addition to the co-op program, there are also many other experiential learning opportunities where you can grow your knowledge and build your expertise, as well as attending lecture series and seminars.

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Institute for Computing, Information, and Cognitive Systems, UBC, image credit

UBC also stands out as one of the best universities in Canada for computer science because of its strong research presence. Being ranked within the top 3 in Canada, UBC faculty and students research areas like AI and machine learning, graphics & human-computer interaction, systems & data, and more.

UBC Computer Science has many ways that undergrad students can get exposure to the latest research and research methodologies. For example, you can spend 16 weeks over the summer working with a faculty member. There’s also the Research Experience Program (REX) where you can work on research projects with graduate/postdoctoral students which is then published in an undergraduate paper or presented at UBC’s Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC).

These opportunities are really valuable if you plan on applying to graduate school or pursuing a career in research when you graduate. 

If you’re thinking about applying to UBC Computer Science, connect with a coach to see if this program is the best fit for you. We’ve helped hundreds of students improve real-world skills, stand out on their applications, and get accepted to this top computer science program.

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McGill Computer Science (Montreal, Quebec) – One of the Best Computer Science Programs in Canada for Study Options & Networking Opportunities

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McGill Computer Science is a top computer science program because it lets students tailor the program to their specific interests and career aspirations

There are many programs you can take as a part of the McGill BSc degree. McGill also allows students to combine computer science with other disciplines. McGill Comp Sci offers various combined studies options, like the BSc Liberal Program, where you can take all the foundational courses of computer science (for 45 credits) along with 18 credits of another discipline like Arts, Management, or other Sciences. 

These options will open up many doors for other careers like those in health-related fields, finance, marketing, etc. while providing you with a well-rounded education that you can apply to whichever career you choose.

McGill also has various other joint programs, like Computer Science and Biology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics and Computer Science, or a Minor in Comp Sci. Needless to say, the possibilities are endless, making this program a great fit no matter what your interests and goals are.

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School of Computer Science, McGill University, image credit

Another reason that McGill is one of the best universities for computer science is because of its focus on professional development and experiential learning. As a computer science student, there are many ways that you can explore your interests in computer science and gain valuable, real-world experience as you test out possible career paths

For example, the Internship Year in Science (IYS) is a paid position where you can experience what it’s like to work in the field of your choice and build your contacts in that area. McGill Computer Science is unique because it gives the option for longer internship periods (for 4, 8, 12, or 16 months), compared to other programs where it’s only a few weeks or months. 

One of the benefits of doing a longer internship is that you will be able to take on a lot more responsibility, including projects, assignments, etc. that you’ll complete from start to finish, because you’re there long-term. This will give you the chance to build key skills like time management, teamwork, and problem solving, while gaining deeper experience beyond just a summer or work term. 

This is a gamechanger when you’re applying to jobs because you will have concrete examples of experiences that have made you a more competitive applicant (and if you really prove yourself you could even get hired at your internship company when you graduate). 

McGill Comp Sci also has a short, 4-month (usually summer term) internship opportunity called the Industrial Practicum. This program is great if you aren’t completely sure what career path you want to take and you want to try something out without committing a ton of time to it like you would for the IYS. 

There are also other chances throughout the academic year for professional development and learning. McGill’s TechFair is an engineering and technology career fair held twice a year, where you can connect with top employers and make connections for internships/career opportunities. 

The TechFair is a great chance to build your network and meet leaders in the industry who you’d otherwise never have the chance to interact with, all while building your communication skills. 

That old saying that ‘people get you jobs’ is really true here. In fact, last year there were 200+ companies who attended the TechFair in fall/winter and over 600 students met with and learned from industry experts in consulting, finance, healthcare, IT, manufacturing, and more. At the Winter 2022 TechFair, over 77% of students were looking to make connections to help them get an internship (and 23% were hoping for a full-time position). Unique professional development opportunities make McGill a great place to do your BSc.

DID YOU KNOW?: McGill alumnus, Alan Emtage, created the first internet search engine at McGill’s School of Computer Science in 1987.

Student experience is also a big reason why so many students choose McGill Computer Science. 

There are a ton of opportunities to get involved within McGill’s Computer Science department, like competitive programming competitions, clubs such as McGill Robotics and Women in Tech (WIT), or the Computer Science Undergraduate Society. No matter what you choose, you’ll have memorable experiences and make lifelong friends as you take a break from your studies and try something new.

McGill Comp Sci is also in the heart of Montreal, which makes student life even more fun. When you need to clear your head and get out of your residence, there are a ton of concerts, sporting events, museums, festivals, and more to check out (often free or discounted prices for students). 

There’s always something new to explore and every area of the city will make you feel curious and engaged, no matter what part of the world you’re from. Trying new things and having the freedom to explore is great for your mental and physical health, especially when you’re in such a demanding program.  

If you’re thinking about applying to McGill Computer Science, connect with a coach to see if this program is the best fit for you. We’ve helped hundreds of students improve real-world skills, stand out on their applications, and get accepted to this top computer science program.

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University of Alberta Computing Science (Edmonton, Alberta) – One of the Top Computer Science Universities in Canada for Artificial Intelligence

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The University of Alberta’s Department of Computing Science BSc program has long been recognized as a top computer science program in Canada.

U of A’s Department of Computing Science is well-known as a leader in AI and machine learning (ML) research, especially reinforcement learning, ranking as a world leader for over 25 years for the research that’s taking place in the computing science department and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute.

If AI is your area of interest then UAlberta is definitely a good choice, as U of A Comp Sci graduates are highly sought after by major tech and AI organizations like Google, IBM, Imperial Oil, Amazon, and many more. 

UAlberta Computing Science is particularly good if you want to pursue a career in research, plan on applying to graduate school, want to teach, or want to learn how to apply research to various other professional settings

The University of Alberta focuses heavily on theoretical knowledge in the Bachelor of Science (General), BSc with Specialization, and Bachelor of Science (Honours) programs. Here, you’ll research and explore the real science behind areas like AI and Robotics, Machine Learning and Bioinformatics, Multimedia and Computer Games, and more. 

There are also various research opportunities for students where you can become an expert in your chosen field while learning about research methodologies and the latest theories and breakthroughs.

Even if it isn’t your plan to focus on research or apply to grad school, the foundational and comprehensive knowledge you’ll get at U of A will open the door to many career opportunities in a ton of different industries. 

At the same time, this research focus will also help you develop skills in areas that all employers look for, like organization, time management, problem solving, critical thinking, and communication. All of these will make you more competitive and employable after you graduate. 

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Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences, University of Alberta, image credit

Another thing that makes the U of A Computing Science program stand out is the focus on providing student support and a one-of-a-kind student experience

There are many ways that you can get involved within the department, like the Undergraduate Association of Computing Science (UACS), which hosts many events where you can get to know your peers, try new things, and make friends. 

There’s also Ada’s Team which helps promote diversity and inclusion in the department, as well as outreach programs and programming contests throughout the year. Participating in clubs, events, and contests like this will give you a much-needed mental break from your school work (which in turn will make you a better student).

Outside of the department, there are many student resources to make sure that you always have someone you can go to if you need help — and this is a difference maker, especially if you’re in first year. 

If you’re thinking about applying to the University of Alberta for Computing Science, connect with a coach to see if this program is the best fit for you. We’ve helped hundreds of students improve real-world skills, stand out on their applications, and get accepted to this top computer science program.

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Our coaches have a strong success rate supporting students as they apply to the best computer science universities in Canada like those mentioned above, among other top university programs.

Our 1-on-1 Youth Coaching fills that gap that most high schools miss. We can help you build self-awareness through probing questions and assessments, set bigger goals to elevate your extracurriculars and future career plans, and improve skills that matter on supplementary applications, such as interviewing, written communication, critical thinking, and creativity. 

We use a coaching methodology, called ‘full student’ development, that’s been proven to increase your chances of admission to top-tier universities and obtaining competitive jobs/internships. 

So, what are you waiting for? Fulfill your post-secondary potential with the mentorship and coaching you’ve always wanted! 🙂

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