If you are looking at universities in Edmonton, you should know that there are as many post-secondary schools in the city as there are universities in Calgary, so, your choice will come down to which city you prefer or which school offers the best learning experience. Edmonton hosts the main campus of the University of Alberta, which is also home to the province’s second medical school, as the other medical school in Alberta is the Cumming School of Medicine located in Calgary. Aside from U of A, the city also plays hosts to three other universities that are affiliates of out-of-province institutions, such as Concordia University in Montreal, or private universities that offer a diverse set of programs and degrees, from technical schools to faith-based universities. This blog will give you important details on admission requirements and what you need to get into one of many universities in Edmonton. 

Disclaimer: 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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11 min read

Universities in Edmonton University of Alberta MacEwan University Concordia University of Edmonton The King’s University NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) How to Apply to Universities in Edmonton Why Study at Universities in Edmonton Tips for How to Get int Universities in Edmonton FAQs

Universities in Edmonton

  1. University of Alberta
  2. MacEwan University
  3. Concordia University of Edmonton
  4. The King’s University
  5. NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology)

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1. University of Alberta

Acceptance Rate: 58%

Average GPA of Admitted Students: 70-80% (program-dependent) 

Minimum GPA to Apply: 60%

First Year Tuition: $10,000 (in-province, out-of-province); $31,895 (international student)

The University of Alberta is often ranked among the top 5 in Canadian universities rankings for many reasons. It is the oldest university in the province, and has spread out to five campuses across Alberta and is home to almost 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The school accepts applications from all types of students including Canadian, out-of-province students, international and mature students, but the admissions requirements are fairly uniform.

If you are applying as a Canadian high school student (in-province or out-of-province), the general admissions requirements are:

  • Completed at least five Grade 12 courses
  • Completed them with an 60% grade average or higher
  • Meet other, program-specific requirements

If want to apply for university in Canada as an international student, you need to also demonstrate English language proficiency, which is a standard requirement of most all universities in Canada. The school participates in the Apply Alberta program that is the province’s equivalent of the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC), which accepts all undergraduate university applications in the province from all types of applicants, including international students.

There are fifteen different faculties within the University of Alberta with over 200 different programs among them. The school’s nursing program is often ranked among the best nursing programs in Canada, and has one of the most competitive nursing school acceptance rates in Canada. But whatever you decide to study, you can choose up to three different programs in your application, or leave your major undecided during your first year as you explore the school’s various offerings.

Given the breadth and diversity of Alberta, you can opt to take courses related to the major industries in the province, such as agriculture or energy studies. But you can also use the opportunity to learn more about Indigenous culture in Alberta and the rest of Canada through the Faculty of Native studies, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as combined degrees.

But there are several professional programs available at the University of Alberta. Both the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, and the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta are highly ranked programs and are among the best in Canada for either profession.

2. MacEwan University

Acceptance Rate: 59%

Average GPA of Admitted Students: 65-70% (program-dependent) 

Minimum GPA to Apply: 65%

First Year Tuition: $11,348 (in-province, out-of-province); $32,840 (international student)

Located in the middle of downtown Edmonton, MacEwan University is one of the youngest post-secondary institutions in Alberta having recently celebrated 50 years. Despite its youth, the school offers a wide-variety of different programs through its six faculties, which include a business school, nursing school, and a faculty of arts. There are three distinct pathways to apply, which are applying as a Canadian high school graduate, an international or mature student; the latter being for applicants to the School of Continuing Education.

The school does not participate in the ApplyAlberta program, so you have to apply through its proprietary online application portal for all 12 of the school’s degree programs that range from a Bachelor of Arts to a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Social Work. There are six distinct faculties at MacEwan that have the standard liberal arts, science and technical programs usually offered by a mid-size university, and the school does not have any professional schools (law or medical school) other than the previously mentioned nursing program.

The application requirements are not that stringent, and you must meet the same admission prerequisites that most other programs ask for, such as:

  • Minimum grade average of 65% (although meeting the minimum does not guarantee admittance)
  • Completion of at least four different Grade 12 courses across three main disciplines (Humanities, Fine Arts, Sciences)
  • No courses completed with less than 50% grade average

What’s unique about MacEwan is that it is relatively new, compared to other universities in Edmonton, so the program and degree offerings may increase in the future. The school may also be a draw for you if you are a mature student, as MacEwan’s School of Continuing Education has several degree programs for older students who either want to obtain a certificate or diploma in a professional subject, such as palliative care and office management.

If you want to apply, you also need to know that the school groups its programs into two categories: competitive and non-competitive, which is similar to the way other universities in Canada categorize their offerings. Programs such as the technical, trade or certificate programs are not usually classed as “competitive” so they are much easier to enter. But you need to understand the requirements of the competitive programs before you apply and make sure you meet them.

3. Concordia University of Edmonton

Acceptance Rate: 50-60%

Average GPA of Admitted Students: 65-70% (program-dependent)  

Minimum GPA to Apply: 65% 

First Year Tuition: $11,348 (in-province, out-of-province); $32,840 (international student)

Styling itself as a “small university”, Concordia University of Edmonton started as a seminary to train Lutheran ministers, but it has since evolved into one of the more unique universities in Alberta, and Canada. The school only has five faculties that range from Management and Education to the Arts and a graduate school. You can choose from various degree with varying lengths, as some bachelor degrees take only three years compared to the standard four-year degrees offered at most schools.

Although not explicitly a business school, Concordia’s Faculty of Management offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees specifically related to managing in both small, mid-size, and large operations. It also offers many international and dual-degree options, if you want to take your studies global or participate in an exchange program with partner universities in China and Southeast Asia.

The admission requirements for MacEwan are also program-based, but the school requires all applicants to have completed:

  • One Grade 12 English course
  • Four additional Grade 12 courses with a competitive grade average
  • Minimum grade average of 60% for completed courses

If you’re an international applicant, you have to present the same requirements, but remember, meeting the minimum requirements is often not good enough to get into most programs, so you need to have competitive averages to make sure you are admitted. The school also offers an early admission program to qualified Canadian and international students who meet another set of requirements, which include:

  • Completing five Grade 11 courses related to their program
  • Minimum grade average of 65% (Arts, Sciences) or 75% (Management)

Concordia is also a destination for graduate students, specifically in Management, Arts, Education and Sciences. Should you pursue a Master’s or PhD, the school has you covered, although it only recently introduced its first doctorate program for a Doctor in Clinical Psychology. But it has four other master degree programs, as well as two after-degree programs for Education and Environmental Health students.

4. The King’s University

Acceptance Rate: 60-70%

Average GPA of Admitted Students: 65-70% (program-dependent)  

Minimum GPA to Apply: 60% 

First Year Tuition: $9,205 (in-province, out-of-province); $12,370 (international student)

One of the only Christian universities in Edmonton, the King’s University was also started as a seminary in the early 70’s but has grown to become a liberal arts school with a faith-based perspective. If you are interested in attending a Christian school and being supported through your studies by clergy and other faith-based supports, then King’s University is an ideal location for you.

The school is also located in downtown Edmonton, so you can also benefit from all the amenities that an urban-based campus offers. A lot of King’s University students attend from out-of-province, which is why the majority of students opt to go into one of the many students' residences the school has throughout the city. The school has a little less than 1000 undergraduate students, so if you want to be a part of a university that prides itself on small class sizes (average class size is 26) and a good student-to-faculty ratio (15:1) then King’s University offers both.

Since the school is small, it has only five undergraduate degree programs spread out over its various faculties (Arts, Science, Music, Education and Commerce), and you can choose from a bachelor degree in all of the various faculties. Another advantage of being such a small and new school is that the school gives you the option to take classes in-person or remotely.

Of course, you will not be able to take most classes online, and there are currently only two, non-degree programs available online. The school uses the Apply Alberta service, so you have to apply through the online portal by creating your account and submitting your necessary application materials, from your transcripts to your personal statement and other supplemental application materials.

5. NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology)

Acceptance Rate: 60-70%

Average GPA of Admitted Students: 65-70% (program-dependent)  

Minimum GPA to Apply: 60% 

First Year Tuition: $8,775 (in-province, out-of-province); $24,535 (international student)

Operating as both a university and a technical trades school, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology has a limited number of baccalaureate degree that it confers, and it is more well-known as a technical school where you can earn diplomas in various trades. You can also apply to be an apprentice in various fields, and the school also helps other obtain professional certification in all of the major industries that operate in Alberta from agriculture to the energy industry.

You can apply for a bachelor’s degree from each of the four faculties at NAIT, which are:

  • JR Shaw School of Business
  • School of Applied Sciences and Technology
  • School of Health and Life Sciences
  • School of Skilled Trades

The bachelor degree can range from a bachelor of commerce to a bachelor of technology, but are mostly restricted to fields such as business administration, technology and systems management. The school also offers several Work Integrated Learning courses that prepare you for working in a specific field, trade or industry in Alberta, as the school has many private partnerships with employers across the province.

Since NAIT is mostly a technical school, the admission requirements differ from most liberal arts universities in Canada. You typically have to have training or a certificate of completion in an associated field. For example, the Bachelor of Applied Information Systems Technology requires you to have a completed a two-year certificate diploma in a similar field, as well as having a GPA of 2.3 as a minimum.

There are also various sub-specialties or concentrations within these degree programs, so you won’t take only a bachelor of business administration, but a bachelor of administration in a specific field such as management, human resources, or marketing. If you’re looking to join a trade or industry specifically in Alberta, then NAIT is a good choice, as almost 99% of all graduates find employment related to their studies within two years.

How to Apply to Universities in Edmonton

Depending on the school you are applying to, some universities in Edmonton use the ApplyAlberta application service, while others use in-house, online platforms to accept applications from all types of students (high school, continuing, or international). The University of Alberta does not use the service, although the other major university in the province, the University of Calgary does use it, but has other application platforms depending on what kind of student you are.

The system for university applications is not uniform in Alberta as it is in other provinces, so you have to check what your school or program uses to accept applications. You can also ask a college admissions consulting firm what are the various ways you can apply to universities in Edmonton, if you plan on living and studying in the city. Whether you are applying as a resident of Alberta, a Canadian high school student or an international student, there are various pathways to apply to universities in Edmonton, and they all have different application requirements so you need to check first with the program, school and application platform to ensure you apply correctly.

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Why Study at Universities in Edmonton

One of the biggest draws of applying to any of the universities in Edmonton is the capital’s proximity to major businesses and industries. Edmonton itself is home to one of the largest economies in Canada and the fact that Alberta has one of the lowest tax rates of all other provinces and territories in Canada also makes it an attractive place to live and study. The number of bursaries, scholarships, and other financial assistance provided to you as a student is another major consideration.

The amount of free scholarships in Canada, as well as the various unclaimed scholarships in Canada makes it more financially feasible to study in Alberta, either in Calgary or Edmonton, even if you are an international student. Each province determines the amount of assistance it gives out each year, so you need to familiarize yourself with the requirements of your home province, as well as that of Alberta, if you plan on applying for government-backed student loans.

Tips for How to Get int Universities in Edmonton

Make Sure You Exceed all the Requirements; Don’t Just Meet Them

You need to make sure, well before you actually apply, that you have done more than meet the program requirements for your specific program; you need to do better than the minimum. How do you this? Use your last two years in high school to focus solely on school (forego distractions and study hard), but you can also increase your grades by upgrading or taking summer courses before you apply, or while you application is being processed. But make sure you give yourself enough time to submit these new scores; some schools will wait until these grades are available if you tell them, you are taking more courses to increase your grades.

Send Supplemental Application Materials (if allowed)

The school you are applying to may let you submit additional information through its online application platform, or not. Each school in Edmonton has its different application system, so they may not let you upload these documents, which means you would have to mail supplemental application materials such as college essays, or college recommendation letters directly to the school. But make sure you are allowed to do this, and if you are, choose teachers who know you well for your letters of recommendation.

Familiarize Yourself with the School’s Mission and Values

This mostly applies to what kind of school you are applying to, as in Edmonton, as well as in Calgary and other cities in Alberta, there are many schools that are faith-based and espouse Christian values. If you want to make religious observance a part of your post-secondary education, you can choose a school like King’s University or Ambrose University in Calgary, which are both Christian-based. But if you want a non-denominational education at a public school, then you are better off choosing a traditional liberal arts school such as U of A, or MacEwan University.

Make Sure you Can Cover Your Costs

If you’re an out-of-province or international student, tuition, fees and living expenses can add up quickly, especially if you have to live on residence. You should create a budget based around your basic needs and living costs and apply for as many scholarships and bursaries as you can. Some of the schools on the list provide scholarships and assistance specifically for international and out-of-province students, so make sure you are eligible for these awards as they can come in handy.


1. How many universities are in Edmonton?

There are five public universities in Edmonton, although there are 26 different universities in Alberta. 

2. What can you study at universities in Edmonton?

Universities in Edmonton can offer you everything from a traditional liberal arts education in various fields from economics to psychology and commerce, but given the city is located in the energy capital of Canada, many universities in Edmonton are geared toward training and educating people who want to enter the energy, timber, agricultural and other resource-based industries. 

3. What are the best universities in Edmonton?

The University of Alberta and MacEwan University are the two choices that stand out most for the variety of degrees offered, the programs, and the amount of research money, and in turn, student enrollment each of these institutions has. 

4. What is the best university in Edmonton for international students?

The University of Alberta is the university in Edmonton that receives the most international applications for the breadth of its programs, its reputation, and its facilities for international and out-of-province students. 

5. What GPA do you need to get into universities in Edmonton?

You need at least a 60% grade average for at least five of your Grade 12 courses to apply, but each program and university will have their own minimum GPA requirements. 

6. How do I get into universities in Edmonton as an international student?

If you are an international student, you will need to submit an official copy of your high school transcripts (translated into English if applicable) meet the English language proficiency requirement (TOEFL scores), having a student visa or other permission to live and work in Canada and meeting the requirements of your specific program. 

7. How do I apply to universities in Edmonton?

Although many universities in Edmonton, and Alberta, are making the switch to using the Apply Alberta online application, some schools still have their own application service. 

8. Is it hard to get into universities in Edmonton?

No, it is not hard to get into universities in Edmonton. If you meet the requirements of your program, distinguish yourself in writing your application essays and have a record of high academic achievement, it should not be hard. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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