Universities in Ottawa boast some of the highest-ranked universities in Canada, as well as offer unique programs not found elsewhere in Canada. Universities in Ottawa are also almost entirely bilingual institutions, offering courses in French and English. Some universities, such as the University of Ottawa, have some of the lowest . However, the colleges and universities in Ottawa are quite welcoming to domestic and international students alike. In this blog, we’ll look at the top universities and colleges in Ottawa, as well as how to apply to universities in Ottawa and tips on how to get in.
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.
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- University of Ottawa
- Carleton University
- Algonquin College – Ottawa Campus
- Collège La Cité
- Saint Paul University
- Dominican University College
1. University of Ottawa
Acceptance rate: 24%
Average GPA: 3.11
Tuition: $6,000-$7,000 for Ontario students and out-of-province students; $40,000 for international students
The University of Ottawa is one of the highest-ranked universities in Canada and one of the top universities in the world. It is also the largest bilingual university in the world, offering hundreds of programs in both French and English.
At uOttawa, students can study in French, English or both and earn bilingual undergraduate degrees. The University of Ottawa allows students to choose their language pathways within different degrees, including taking specific courses in French or English or enrolling in French Immersion pathways.
The University of Ottawa also offers special combined degrees called dual fast-track degrees, allowing students to apply to two programs at once and earn two degrees concurrently, in less time. For instance, students can earn a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Science, or even a Bachelor of Commerce alongside a JD law degree, for those who want to . Students interested in studying medicine can look to the , one of the top .
2. Carleton University
Acceptance rate: 22%
Average Grade: 87.1%
Tuition: $7,300-$10,000 for Ontario students; $8,000-$12,000 for other Canadian students; $30,000-$50,000 for international students
Like the University of Ottawa, Carleton University is highly ranked among Canadian universities and in global university rankings. It is especially well-known for its programs in public affairs, international affairs, journalism and technology, unique undergraduate programs in Canada and opportunities for students. It is the home to the oldest four-year journalism program and the first graduate degree in public administration in Canada. Like many universities in Canada, Carleton has a robust research program in a variety of disciplines.
3. Algonquin College – Ottawa Campus
Acceptance rate: 60%
Minimum GPA: 2.8
Algonquin College, offering over 200 undergraduate programs, is one of Canada’s largest colleges. It is also well-known for a friendly, student-oriented campus and learning environment.
4. Collège La Cité
Acceptance rate: N/A
Minimum Grade Average: 65%
La Cité is a French-language college of applied arts and science. It offers more than 140 programs in both French and English. La Cité’s campus includes the Skilled Trades Institute in Orléans, the Excentricité building for entrepreneurial studies and a satellite campus in Hawkesbury.
5. Saint Paul University
Acceptance rate: 68%
Minimum Grade Average: 70%
Saint Paul University is the founding college of the University of Ottawa, and the two institutions remain sister universities in Canada’s capital. Saint Paul University offers programs in both French and English as a bilingual institution. It is a popular choice for students who are interested in studying the social sciences, humanities, theology or public service.
6. Dominican University College
Acceptance rate: 50-60%
Average GPA: N/A
Dominican University College (DUC) is a bilingual French and English college specializing in philosophy and theology. It is also formally affiliated with Carleton University, so students at DUC have the opportunity to take courses at both campuses. DUC also boasts some of the lowest tuition costs in Ontario.
*To apply to DUC, fill out the online application form on the school’s website.
Want to make the transition to university studies easier? Check out our top undergrad study strategies:
Whether you are an Ontario high school student, other Canadian high school student or international applicant determines whether you’ll need to complete an or . Here are the criteria for OUAC undergraduate applications:
OUAC 101 Criteria
Do you meet all of the following requirements?
- You are taking courses during the day at an Ontario high school (this includes students returning for second semester and graduated students returning to upgrade 1 or more courses).
- You have not, at any point, been out of high school for more than 7 consecutive months.
- You will have received or expect to receive your Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with six 4U/M courses at the end of the current year.
- You have not attended a postsecondary institution (university/college/career college).
- You are applying to the first year of an undergraduate degree program or diploma program at an Ontario university.
- You are under 21 years of age.
OUAC 105 Criteria
Do you meet any of the following requirements?
- You currently reside in Canada and:
o You are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident (landed immigrant) or currently studying in Canada on a study permit or other visa and
o You are not currently attending an Ontario high school day program.
- You currently live elsewhere (not in Canada) and:
o You are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident (landed immigrant) and
o You are not currently attending an Ontario high school day program.
- You currently reside outside of Canada and:
o You are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (landed immigrant) and
o You are not currently attending an Ontario high school day program (in Ontario or abroad).
If you want to know , you’ll need to fill out the OUAC 105 or an application through the university’s online portal. For those who want to know , you can apply through OUAC or apply directly to a university of your choice through its online portal.
Admission requirements and application components for the universities in Ottawa typically all follow the OUAC application requirements and application deadlines. With some exceptions depending on the program or area of study you’re applying to.
The universities in Ottawa are well-known for their educational excellence and offer some unique programs not found anywhere else in Canada. Located in Canada’s capital city, they also boast a diverse and vibrant student life. The universities in Ottawa are almost entirely bilingual institutions, offering courses and programs in both French and English, options which are not available elsewhere in Canada.
For both Ontario applicants and out-of-province applicants, the universities in Ottawa are an excellent choice for students interested in starting their careers in Ontario or Quebec, since they can enroll in a completely bilingual undergraduate program. The universities in Ottawa are also an ideal choice for students interested in studying the social sciences, humanities, applied arts and sciences, journalism and public affairs.
For applicants who want , the universities in Ottawa are an appealing choice for the opportunities and quality of education they provide, the quality of student life in the city of Ottawa and future career prospects. While tuition costs can be high for international students in Ontario, there are many to help you fund your education.
Getting accepted to the top programs at the universities in Ottawa can be a challenge, especially for more competitive degrees or top-ranked programs. While the OUAC application or OCAS application might seem straightforward, there are still strategies you can use to help your application stand out and increase your chances of acceptance. Here are our top 5 tips for how to get into the universities in Ottawa!
1. Keep your grades competitive
For many of the programs at the universities in Ottawa, you’ll need at minimum a 70% grade average to be considered for admission. However, some programs are highly competitive, so a grade average of 85% and over is typically needed to stay in the admissions pool. If your grades are a bit below the average or you want to , you still have some workarounds. The University of Ottawa, for instance, invites students to submit a “declaration of personal experience” that explains any extenuating circumstances that affected your grades. You can leverage this declaration to help offset less competitive grades in your application.
2. Know the admission requirements well
Each program may have unique prerequisite courses, minimum GPA requirements and other application components. For example, a program in the faculty of science will typically have biology and physics prerequisites you need to complete, with minimum grades required.
These requirements also shift depending on whether an applicant is an Ontario high school graduate, a graduate of a high school in another Canadian province or an international student. Check the specific requirements for the program you intend to apply to, not just the general OUAC application requirements. Read instructions and admissions requirements carefully before you submit your final application!
3. Apply early and double-check deadlines
It’s always best to apply early to competitive programs so you grab one of the limited seats in a program. Applying early also means you might have less competition than if you wait until the last moment when all other applicants have had a chance to submit their applications.
When it comes to application deadlines, double check the OUAC application deadlines (or OCAS deadlines) as well as any important deadlines listed by the individual universities, as these may be different!
4. Make your application stand out
Universities in Ontario are primarily evaluating your application based on your grades and completed high school courses. But you can use aspects of the OUAC application, such as the section, to distinguish yourself as an individual and show the admissions committee how you’ll fit into a particular program. Use the qualitative sections of your application to tailor your candidacy to a specific school or program you’re applying to. If you’re applying to an arts program, list the activities or work experience you have in your field and what notable experiences you’ve gained.
5. Apply for scholarships
Lastly, tuition at universities in Ontario can get expensive, especially for out-of-province and international students. Fortunately, there are hundreds of that won’t break the bank. Also check out and the more out there you might be eligible for. If you don’t want to fill out more long applications, there are also that require no written submissions!
1. How many universities are in Ottawa?
There are 6 universities and colleges in Ottawa: the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Saint Paul University, Algonquin College, Dominican University College and Collège La Cité.
2. What can you study at universities in Ottawa?
Ottawa has many colleges of applied arts and science, and well-known programs in the social sciences, humanities and arts. For students interested in studying theology, public affairs, philosophy and architecture, the universities in Ottawa are a good choice. There are also many options for bilingual students to study in French and English, especially at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
3. What are the best universities in Ottawa?
The University of Ottawa and Carleton University are regarded as the best universities in Ottawa, both ranking high among universities in Canada and in the global university rankings.
4. What is the best university in Ottawa for international students?
The University of Ottawa and Carleton University are regarded as the best universities in Ottawa for international students for the quality of education, variety of programs offered, location and student life. The are also ranked very highly for quality of education and student life for international students.
5. What GPA do you need to get into universities in Ottawa?
Depending on the program or faculty you are applying for, your grade average should be around 85% or higher to get into more competitive programs. Most universities in Ontario require at least a 70% average to be accepted.
6. How do I get into universities in Ottawa as an international student?
International students can apply to universities in Ottawa through the OUAC system, or sometimes have the option to apply directly to the university through an online application portal.
7. How do I apply to universities in Ottawa?
To apply to universities in Ottawa, most students can apply through the unified OUAC system. Some colleges in Ontario, such as the Algonquin College and Collège La Cité can be applied to through the Ontario Colleges Application Service (OCAS) instead.
8. Is it hard to get into universities in Ottawa?
The top universities in Ottawa, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, have fairly low acceptance rates around 20-25%, meaning they are quite selective and competitive to get into. Other universities and colleges in Ottawa have less competitive acceptance rates around 60-80%, meaning they are less selective and a bit easier to get into.