McGill University Vs University of Toronto

Deciding to study in Canada is easy. However, this does not mean that it will be simple to choose an institution in the country to make your exchange. To help you in this endeavor, we set up this comparative guide between McGill University and University of Toronto (UofT). Of course, there are many other universities there, but the two are the ones that stand out the most in international rankings . Let’s check in which items each one stands out?

McGill and University of Toronto: a comparative guide


When it comes to international rankings, the differences between McGill and the University of Toronto are small – both are among the top institutions in the world and score well on all indicators used in the QS World University Rankings methodology, for example. The two do particularly well when it comes to international reputation, being ranked among the top 50 in the world by the consulted academics.

The University of Toronto has the greatest diversity among its professors, in addition to a better teacher-student relationship (indicator that provides a rough idea of ​​the proximity that students can expect to have with teachers), while McGill leads the research citations by teacher (which aims to assess the impact of the research produced at the institution) and has a little more international diversity among its students.

In the QS World University Rankings by Subject , which measures the strength of institutions by area, the University of Toronto leads the way in each of the top five thematic areas. Interestingly, these classifications also suggest that the two universities have similar sets of strengths: both have a high score in Arts and Humanities, as well as in Biological Sciences and Medicine. The main point of divergence is in the areas of Engineering and Technology, in which UofT occupies the 22nd position, while McGill University is behind, in the 47th position.

McGill Arts Building


Choosing between McGill and the University of Toronto also means deciding between their respective cities – Montreal and Toronto . Both are in southeastern Canada (Toronto is a little further south) and are the largest cities in the country.

Although Toronto is accepted as Canada’s commercial and financial capital, the two cities can claim the position of the country’s main cultural center. In addition to vibrant music, movie rentals and exciting nightlife, both also feature extremely high levels of international diversity. In fact, Toronto is among the most multicultural cities in the world. According to a 2011 report by the Toronto Foundation, just over half of the city’s residents were born outside Canada.

On the other hand, in the QS Best Student Cities ranking, Montreal is currently in the fourth overall position, above Toronto. The city is also the best in the world, according to the “student view” indicator, which is based on data from a survey that asked students to classify their experience with a city in categories such as accessibility, friendliness, tolerance and inclusion. Toronto also performed well in this indicator, ranking 14th, but nowhere near as impressive as Montreal.

One of the main differences between the two cities is the language. Toronto is English – speaking, while Montreal, where McGill is located, is in the French – speaking province of Quebec. However, most of McGill’s teaching is conducted in English, and proof of proficiency in that language is a requirement for the application.

Also note that although the main campus of the University of Toronto is located in the heart of the city, it also has two additional campuses, one in Scarborough (a district in the east of the city) and another in Mississauga (a neighboring city in the west).

Student body

Currently, McGill University has about 39,600 students, of whom more than 12,500 (32%) are international and about 10,200 (26%) are studying at graduate level. The University of Toronto, in turn, is significantly larger , with a total of 93,081 students enrolled. Of these, 20,296 (22%) are graduate students and 23,019 (25%) are foreigners.

In addition to being divided into three campuses, the University of Toronto also makes its student body more manageable using a system of colleges , similar to that of Oxford and Cambridge, UK. Candidates for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, for example, choose one of seven colleges, each offering a smaller community within the university.

Building on the St. George Campus, University of Toronto

Costs and aid

Because of their great reputation, McGill University and the University of Toronto can charge relatively high fees.

At the University of Toronto, tuition for international students varies between CA $ 21,560 and CA $ 64,810 (~ R $ 85,000 – 255,300) per year, depending on the course chosen. For graduate studies, prices range from CA $ 10,080 to CA $ 46,270 (~ R $ 39,700 to 182,200), depending on the program. The university says, however, that it is committed to providing financial support to those seeking research-based graduate programs.

At McGill University, fees are different for students from Quebec and outside the city. In general, graduation fees are around CA $ 21,500 annually (values ​​2020/2021), or about R $ 84,700 for exchange students. In graduate school, all students can enroll in a master’s program for the same price as graduation fees, while international students pay more than CA $ 8,600 for doctorates (~ R $ 33,900).

The good news is that both McGill and the University of Toronto offer scholarships to exchange students. To take a look at the financial aid available to international students at McGill University, visit the funding page for exchange students.