Canadian universities ranking can play an important role in their overall acceptance rates and admission competitiveness for undergraduate programs. Knowing what the university rankings are and what their acceptance rates are can help you get accepted to Canadian universities of your choice. If you’re an undergraduate student getting ready to apply for university, or an international student who wants to study abroad in Canada, take a look at our list of the hardest and easiest schools in Canada to get into to help inform your decision. In this blog, we’ll look at what it takes to get into universities in Canada, as well as the top 15 hardest and top 15 easiest Canadian schools to get into.

Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa. 

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Article Contents
10 min read

Universities in Canada Top 15 Hardest Canadian Universities to Get Into Toughest Programs to Get Into in Canada Top 15 Easiest Canadian Universities to Get Into Conclusion FAQs

Universities in Canada

Canadian universities rank among the best in the world, and the degrees offered by these institutions are internationally recognized for their academic excellence. Graduates of Canadian universities are highly sought after, and Canada remains one of the top three choices for international students studying abroad.

Canada is also well-known for the excellence of its graduate programs and institutions, including law schools, medical schools and dental schools.

Studying in Canada is also a solid choice for veterinary students, as some of the best-ranked veterinary schools are at the University of Calgary in Alberta and University of Guelph in Ontario.

Canadian undergraduate programs are, in general, easier to get into than in the US, and Canadian universities overall have higher acceptance rates for both domestic and international students. Even so, it’s important to gather as much information as possible on your chosen school and program to give yourself the best chance of acceptance. Knowing the admissions statistics, rankings and admission information on your chosen school will help give you an edge when preparing your application.

Whether you’re applying to Canadian universities as a domestic student or applying as an international student, it’s helpful to know the rankings, acceptance rates and admission statistics for universities in Canada. As of the most recent data, the highest-ranking universities in Canada are:

Below we’ll take a look at the top 15 hardest and easiest Canadian universities to get into, to help inform you when you’re preparing your applications or choosing which schools and programs you plan to apply for.

Top 15 Hardest Canadian Universities to Get Into

Interested in a quick summary of the sections below? Check out this infographic:

1.    University of Toronto

  • Acceptance rate: 43%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.7

The University of Toronto is considered one of the most difficult universities in Canada to get into, but compared to many institutions in the US, it has a much higher acceptance rate. However, University of Toronto is known for having a tough curriculum compared to other schools. The University of Toronto has consistently been rated among the top universities in North America, and sits at number 18 globally. It is the largest university in Canada, housing over 84,000 students.

2.    University of British Columbia

  • Acceptance rate: 52%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.15

The University of British Columbia is another notoriously competitive school to be accepted to. It also has one of the most competitive undergraduate programs in business, the Bachelor of Commerce. The institution is the oldest in British Columbia, and consistently ranks among the top three universities in Canada. Notable alumni from the University of British Columbia includes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

3.    Queen’s University

  • Acceptance rate: 42%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.4

Queen’s University is also among the highest-ranking schools in Canada, and is home to the competitive Smith Bachelor of Commerce program, as well as notable programs in sciences, engineering, health and education. Queen’s University is one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities.

4.    University of Waterloo

  • Acceptance rate: 53%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.7

The University of Waterloo is known as the “MIT of Canada”. The university offers programs in business, engineering, health, humanities, environmental studies and sciences. It is also home to the largest paid co-operative education program in the world. The institution is recognized internationally for its academic excellence.

5.    University of Alberta

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.0

The University of Alberta ranks fifth in Canada and is among the top 150 universities in the world. The University of Alberta is also home to the number one nursing program in Canada, with other notable programs in petroleum engineering, geology, forestry and paleontology. Although it is not the most difficult Canadian school to get into, it is considered competitive, and students should maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to remain competitive.

6.    Simon Fraser University

  • Acceptance rate: 59%
  • Minimum accepted GPA: 2.0

While Simon Fraser is not the hardest school to get into overall, it has several programs which are highly competitive, such as Computer Science, which has an average accepted GPA of 3.8. Overall, the institution has a very good reputation and consistently high ranking both in Canada and internationally.

7.    McGill University

  • Acceptance rate: 52%
  • Minimum accepted GPA: 3.0

McGill University is one of Canada’s best-known universities and a leading institution worldwide. It is a popular choice for international students, and the student body of McGill is made up of more than 30% international students. McGill is an English-speaking school, although some programs and courses are offered in French, as well. McGill is also home to the McGill School of Medicine.

8.    Dalhousie University

  • Acceptance rate: 60%
  • Minimum accepted GPA: 3.0

Dalhousie’s average accepted grades are fairly low for a competitive school but meeting the average does not guarantee admission. To ensure a fair chance of being accepted to the University of Dalhousie, it’s recommended to score above average grades and submit a strong, diverse application. The institution is widely recognized for its outstanding academic programs and teaching, including the Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine.

9.    Carleton University

  • Acceptance rate: 21%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.0

Located in Ottawa’s city centre, Carleton University boasts both a fantastic location, state-of-the-art research facilities and competitive undergraduate programs. The school offers 22 undergraduate programs in arts, sciences, humanities and engineering.

10. Laval University

  • Acceptance rate: 51%
  • Minimum accepted GPA: 3.0

Laval University is Canada’s oldest French-language post-secondary school. It is necessary to have a degree of fluency in the French language in order to attend, although some programs and courses are offered in English. For international students and students applying from outside the province of Quebec, it can be significantly more difficult to be accepted, and may require proof of French language proficiency.

11. University of Ottawa

  • Acceptance rate: 13%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.1

Located in Canada’s capital, the University of Ottawa is among Canada’s top universities. The school also has one of the lowest acceptance rates in the country. Meeting the admission requirements is not enough—a well-balanced and strong application is needed to get the edge on the competition for this school. You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) in order to apply to universities in Ontario, as well as submit SAT or ACT scores as part of your application.

12. McMaster University

  • Acceptance rate: 44%
  • Accepted GPA: 3.9 or higher

McMaster University has some of the toughest admission requirements of any school in Canada. Students need to have a minimum grade average of 88% or higher in order to be considered for admission. In recent years, the acceptance rate of McMaster University has also dropped quite a bit from above 50% to 44% in 2020. It is one of the hardest universities on this list to get into but is also recognized as a prestigious institution with excellent educational opportunities.

13. University of Calgary

  • Acceptance rate: 15%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.3

The University of Calgary is another extremely selective school on the list, with an acceptance rate of just 15%. Although the average accepted grades are in the 80-90% range, above average grades aren’t enough to secure a spot. It’s recommended that you fill out any supplemental parts of your application and demonstrate how you will contribute to the school as a student.

14. University of Montreal

  • Acceptance rate: 40%
  • Accepted GPA: 3.0

Known as the “Harvard of Canada”, the University of Montreal fortunately has a much higher acceptance rate. The admissions process, however, is still very competitive and selective. For Quebec residents, acceptance to this prestigious institution is also considered easier. The city of Montreal is also considered a top pick for international students who want to study abroad.

15. Western University (University of Western Ontario)

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.4

Western University holds the highest national entrance averages of first-year students at just over 90%, meaning admission competition is fierce. The school is among Canada’s most distinguished academic institutions and research universities, as well as being globally recognized.

Toughest Programs to Get Into in Canada

Some of the hardest programs to get into in Canada are at the institutions we’ve mentioned above. These programs tend to admit students with very high average GPAs or admission averages, low overall acceptance rate or fierce competition. The hardest undergraduate programs to get into in Canada include the Bachelor of Commerce at University of British Columbia, Mechanical Engineering at McGill University, Smith Bachelor of Commerce at Queen’s University, Engineering Sciences at the University of Toronto and the McMaster University Bachelor of Health Sciences.

Trying to figure out how to choose the right career path for you? This video will help:

Top 15 Easiest Canadian Universities to Get Into

Canada’s easiest universities to get into also include some well-known and well-regarded schools. While they may not boast the most elite and prestigious programs, these 15 schools are nonetheless known for their excellent academic programs and high student satisfaction rankings.

Below we’ll explore some of the Canadian universities with the most lenient admission requirements or highest acceptance rates overall for undergraduate programs.

1.    Wilfrid Laurier University

  • Acceptance rate: 89%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.0

Wilfrid Laurier University is considered a minimally selective school, with a relatively high acceptance rate. Even so, it is well-ranked for student satisfaction and is considered a good school overall.

2.    Lakehead University

  • Acceptance rate: 83%
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0

Located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Lakehead University is also considered a good choice for many students in Ontario. It is also a less selective school overall, with a wide variety of programs for students to choose from.

3.    Ryerson University

  • Acceptance rate: 80%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.0

Ryerson University is a leading institution for research and innovation. The school provides full-time programs in the arts, sciences, management, design and business. It is also located in the populous urban area of downtown Toronto.

4.    University of Guelph

  • Acceptance rate: 66%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.0

The University of Guelph is one of the more moderately selective schools on this list, but it has a wide variety of undergraduate programs and is still one of the top 20 schools in Canada. For applications to the University of Guelph, it’s a good idea to prepare a stellar and well-rounded application, no matter the program you’re applying for.

5.    University of Lethbridge

  • Acceptance rate: 93%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.0

The University of Lethbridge in Alberta is one of the least selective schools in the country. The school states that students with an average of 3.0 or higher are guaranteed admission, while students with a lower GPA may be accepted in the second round of admissions.

6.    Memorial University of Newfoundland

  • Acceptance rate: 67%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.7

Located in the far eastern province of Newfoundland, the Memorial University of Newfoundland has a high global ranking. It is also a good choice for international students because of its lower tuition costs and international-friendly atmosphere.

7.    University of Manitoba

  • Acceptance rate: 52%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.7

Although the University of Manitoba’s acceptance rate is lower than some, it accepts lower than average grades from its applicants. Along with lower average tuition costs and a solid global ranking for academic excellence, it is an ideal choice for both domestic and international students.

8.    University of Saskatchewan

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.7

The University of Saskatchewan is relatively highly ranked and highly sought after by university applicants. Located in the city of Saskatoon, which boasts a high quality of life, and offering a good education for relatively low tuition costs, the U of S is a solid choice for undergraduate applicants.

9.    Brandon University

  • Acceptance rate: 47%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.7

Brandon University has a lower overall acceptance rate than others on this list, but the admissions process is one of the most straightforward, and students who can meet the admissions requirements have a fair chance of being accepted here.

10. University of New Brunswick

  • Acceptance rate: 67%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.7

Not to be confused with the Rutgers University campus of the same name, the University of New Brunswick (UNB) is located in the Canadian maritime province of New Brunswick. UNB is home to Canada’s first engineering and forestry programs and faculty of computer science. It is a well-regarded institution overall, but not considered the most selective school for undergraduate applicants.

11. University of Victoria

  • Acceptance rate: 63%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.3

The University of Victoria is among the top 1% of institutions worldwide for its scientific contributions and impact. It is also noteworthy for making its scientific research widely available to the public, with more than half of its scientific publications circulating in open access journals. While it is not the most selective school in the list, it is still one of the more competitive options for applications.

12. Concordia University

  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.5

Concordia University, along with Memorial University of Newfoundland, has the one of the highest international student populations among Canadian universities. It is considered a lightly selective school, but still ranks fairly well as an institution on the international scale.

13. York University

  • Acceptance rate: 89%
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.3

York University, located in Toronto, Ontario, is considered one of the most competitive institutions in Canada, as it has an overall acceptance rate of 27%. Its undergraduate programs, however, have a very high acceptance rate. For stellar undergraduate applicants, a degree from York University can be a definite boost for a future career or in pursuit of a post-graduate degree.

14. St. Francis Xavier University

  • Acceptance rate: 75%
  • Minimum accepted GPA: 3.5

St. Francis Xavier, located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, is one of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious universities. As a smaller institution, housing about 5,000 students, it is also known for being a close-knit community with a vibrant student life.

15. Toronto School of Management

  • Acceptance rate: 60%
  • Average accepted GPA: 2.0

Although it has a relatively high acceptance rate, the Toronto School of Management is considered an excellent business school and an award-winning college.


Canadian universities overall may have higher acceptance rates, but many of the country’s most competitive programs and schools are still not a cinch to get into, even with high grades and test scores. When preparing an application to any Canadian university, its essential to familiarize yourself with the application system you need to use, depending on the province. You’ll also want to check if your chosen school requires SAT or ACT scores to be submitted or any supplemental essays or information. Your goal should be to provide a strong, well-rounded application to increase your chances of success.


1. What is the hardest Canadian university to get into?

The University of Toronto is considered one of the hardest Canadian institutions to get into, requiring both a higher than average GPA and an acceptance rate of 44%.

2. What is the easiest Canadian university to get into?

One of the easiest Canadian universities to get into is the University of Lethbridge, with an acceptance rate of over 90%.

3. Is it hard to get into university in Canada?

It is easier to be accepted to university in Canada than the US, although some Canadian universities are considered highly competitive and selective.

4. Are Canadian universities good for international students?

Yes; Canada is among the top three choices for international students for the quality of education, quality of living and affordability of Canadian universities.

5. Is university in Canada expensive?

Compared to many other countries, Canada is a very affordable place to study. Students can expect to spend $20,000 to $30,000 Canadian on tuition.

6. What is the number one university in Canada?

The University of Toronto currently ranks number one in Canada, and 25th globally.

7. How do I apply to Canadian universities?

To apply to university in Canada, you’ll need to select your school and program, and then apply through the designated application program, check admission requirements and gather the necessary documents. If you’re an international student, you may also need to prove English or French language proficiency, depending on the school you chose.

8. Do you need to speak French and English to study in Canada?

No; most universities require English language proficiency only, but if you are applying to a French-language university in Canada, you’ll need to provide proof of French language proficiency instead.

Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!


Ogundokun Dotun Joshua

Concordia University requires unofficial transcripts to be uploaded for applications while official transcripts will be requested for after the admission has been granted. My question is what document can be used as unofficial transcript?


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Joshua! Thanks for your question. You should have access to a record of your grades via an online portal of your school. Otherwise, you can request that your school provides an academic record you can submit.


Nkanga RIchard

Do these acceptance rates apply to their master's programs also?


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Nkanga. Thank you for your question. These are based on undergrad only.


Noordin walangalira

How can easily tell the authenticity of an address for an institution I would like to apply for an academic program?


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hey Noordin, please check their official websites for their contact info. 


Sumaiya Ria

Is Canada is expensive for international students?


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi Sumaiya! Thanks for your comment. Yes, it can get really expensive whether you are a local applicant or an international student.