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The Best Online Universities in Canada, 2021 Rankings

The world is fast evolving, so is everything in it. In recent times, online education has gained popularity and growth, especially in developed countries like Canada. Advancement in technology has made it easier for anyone to study from the comfort of their homes or study online without affecting their jobs.

Since moving to study is a lot of stress and effort, it becomes necessary to seek the best online universities in Canada to learn from a distance. Canada has some of the best universities globally with highly valued degree courses; this also implies that there is a considerable possibility of a wide range of universities in Canada offering good degree, diploma, and post graduate courses to students online.

In place of the latter, which university is best for you to choose an online program? Read the lines that succeed this to discover the top online universities in Canada.


1. Athabasca University

Athabasca university

First in the league of best online universities in Canada is Athabasca University. Established in June 25, 1970, by the Order in Council of the Government of Alberta, AU has since been an outstanding online university through the academic achievement of its students, staff, and faculty.

Initially, Athabasca University was conceived as a conventional institution until 1972 when courses were changed to the concept of a distance and open university. The first distance course, World Ecology, was made available in 1973. At the moment, this university now offers over 700 university courses in social sciences, sciences, humanities, business and administrative studies, interdisciplinary studies, commerce, and nursing.

Interestingly, Athabasca University offers complete online classes to over 40,000 students across the globe. This has helped its students from different races and backgrounds obtain a degree from home even while they keep their full-time jobs. As an internationally recognized and one of the best online universities in Canada, Athabasca University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Secretary of Education.


2. McGill University

Another Canadian university that offers quality online programs is McGill University. McGill is also an internationally recognized leading institution in Canada. This university takes online courses for students from over 150 countries across the globe, thereby having the most internationally diverse student body of any research-intensive institution.

McGill University has consistently stuck to its mission of disseminating and creating knowledge. This has been made possible by offering the best online and physical courses. Besides, the scholarly research activities at McGill University is topnotch and highly commendable.

Furthermore, McGill University is accredited by the U.S. Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS).


3. Thompson Rivers University

Thompson Rivers University is yet another university that offers quality online programs and degrees in Canada. This university has been the desired place of study for both distance learners and in-class students studying in Canada, with over 2,000 students from 85 countries taking the TRU online courses.

In addition, the university has helped students reach their academic goals and potentials by providing countless learning options and materials, including e-books. Some of the factors that makes the university a top choice in Canada includes:

  • High acceptance rate
  • Work and study opportunities
  • IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge exams are not required; although accepted
  • TRU allows for combined work and study programs
  • Students have options to work off and on campus


4. Royal Roads University

Next on the list is Royal Roads University. In one of the nation’s scenic National Historic Sites, Royal Roads has been a leader in online learning for over seven decades.

At RRU, distance learning is an integral part of the teaching and learning model. The institution perfectly combines on-campus and online learning alongside real-life relevance. Also, the team-based online learning strategy make it easy for professionals who work full time to advance their career with academics.

Furthermore, the online programs offered at this university are designed with industry experts’ aid and are taken by leading practitioners. This provides its students with the techniques and tools needed to help them stay effective upon graduation.


5. Laurentian University

Laurentian University is the next on the list. This university is a destination for students within and outside Canada due to its academic achievements in various academic fields. Laurentian University offers a wide range of leading programs and gives students the opportunity of studying either on campus or from a distance (online). Also, students can choose to study in either of Canada’s official languages and have the best employment opportunities upon graduation.

Additionally, the university has over 175-degree programs both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. This does not exclude flexible degree options and distance learning opportunities. Some of the online programs offered by Laurentian University includes:

  • Forensic Science
  • Architecture
  • Midwifery
  • Sports administration
  • Indigenous studies
  • Human kinetics, and more


6. University of Manitoba

Coming next is the University of Manitoba, one of Canada’s leading research institutions. Located on the lands of Cree, Dakota, Anishinaabeg, Oji-Cree, and Dene Peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation, the University of Manitoba was established in 1877, making it the first university in western Canada.

This leading university in Canada has continually created an environment of outstanding and innovative learning. The University of Manitoba has many program options available to students either on campus or from a distance. Amazingly, many of the university’s programs are accredited by provincial, Canadian and international accreditation bodies.


7. University of Lethbridge

The University of Lethbridge has some of the best online programs in Canada, fostering an environment that meets the personal and educational needs of society. This has consistently been achieved through accredited programs, good student to professor relationships, extensive research, and many more.

This academic institution helps students to explore a wide range of online courses in fields like humanities, social sciences, sciences, commerce, and many more. This way, they develop passion and necessary skills (like analytical and critical thinking skills) for future jobs.

Some commendable achievements of the University of Lethbridge include the stepping up of its School of Business (Dhillon School of Business), which joined the world’s top business schools in May 2018 after receiving accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Thereby, making the Dhillon School of Business one of the three accredited institutions in Alberta (out of 21 publicly funded institutions in Alberta). The DELF-DALF Centre was accredited by the Centre international d’étudespédagogiques (CIEP) National Ministry of Education of France in 2010.


8. Lakehead University


One of the universities in Canada with a modern, dynamic, and highly learner-centered place of learning is Lakehead University. This university recognizes the value and importance of education in the society. Hence, it offers courses that allows students to learn while they keep working on their job as well.

Established in 1965, Lakehead University has continually provided students with academic support via ebooks and textbooks to distance learners. Some core areas of online study at Lakehead university includes:

  • Dentistry
  • Architecture
  • Economics
  • Human kinetics, and many more


9. The University of Fredericton

The University of Fredericton is yet another choice on the list. Interestingly, the University of Fredericton is a fully-online degree-granting institution offering diploma, certificate, and degree programs. Established in 2005 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, this university takes pride in the fact that it offers utterly online learning experience, which supports the professional and academic goals of the society.

Furthermore, it should excite anyone to know that students of the University of Fredericton receive the same quality networking opportunities, education, and collaboration as their peers who take to on-campus programs. Students freely interact with professors, participate in discussions, and ask all questions online via video conferencing, chat, email, and other mediums of communication. They also work collaboratively on study materials, which are made available to students online.


10. Yorkville University

Yorkville University is one of the top online universities in Canada with international recognition that offers topnotch distance-learning programs. The institution offers undergraduate and graduate programs leading to a professional career, which aids the development and betterment of the society.

The Yorkville University is a nondenominational and private institution established in 2003 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Since its establishment, this university has been offering on-campus and distance courses that bridge the gap between practice and theory.

The faculty members at this top online university in Canada are recognized and qualified professionals who hold degrees in their areas of specialization. Some reasons to consider an online program at Yorkville University include:

  • Detailed and challenging academic programs
  • Accredited courses by national accreditation bodies
  • Work and study options
  • Provision of e-learning materials


11. University of New Brunswick

Next on the list is the University of New Brunswick. While UNB offers on-campus programs, it also has a good number of online programs. The utmost commitment to one of the best online universities in Canada is to provide a positive working and learning environment that allows everyone to achieve their academic goals.

Established on December 13, 1785, the University of New Brunswick has since provided transformative and exceptional students education. In recent times, UNB now offers online programs across disciplines, which has met with the modern-day academic requirements and helps students make a significant difference in society.

Some support services available to students include:

  • Writing & Study Skills Centre
  • Exam De-Stress Dog Program
  • Financial Aid
  • Student Accessibility Centre
  • Tutor Inventory


12. Université TÉLUQ

The Teluq University Canada is a Canadian public French-language distance learning university that is an integral part of the Université du Québec system. Established in 1972 as the Telé-université, the Teluq University Canada is now a fully online university offering graduate and undergraduate programs across diverse study areas.

With a student body of over 20,000 students, Teluq University offers hundreds of programs across the following departments.

  • School of Administrative Sciences
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Science and Technology
  • Department of Humanities, Languages, and Communication

Amazingly, upon completion of a program at Teluq University Canada, the certificate is usually awarded by the Université du Québec.


13. University Canada West

Another Canadian university coming on the list of accredited online universities in Canada is the University Canada West. Located in Vancouver, UCW is a top-notch online university in Canada with a vision to be a respected, leading, and independent university both in Canada and outside the nation. UCW is well known for its effectiveness and innovation in getting students prepared for societal leadership and professional level careers.

UCW Vancouver is a University with a clear vision – to be a leading, respected independent University in Canada and abroad, known for innovation and effectiveness in preparing motivated students for professional-level careers and societal leadership. UCW,Vancouver’s learning environment is dynamic and practical.

The courses at UCW are flexible as students can decide to study on campus, online, or a combination of both. Some reasons to consider the online program at this university are, but not limited to the following:

  • Intensive teaching strategies via qualified professors
  • A modern-day technology and business-focused university
  • Provision of unparalleled access to a vast number of prospective employers

Also, the University Canada West is accredited by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and The Education Quality Assurance (EQA).


14. Queen’s University

Established on October 16, 1841, Queen’s University is one of the oldest university in Canada that offers excellent online or distance-learning programs. With 175 years of academic excellence, tradition, and extensive research, Queen’s University remains a beautiful waterfront campus composed of limestone buildings and modern facilities.

In respect of academic achievement at this top online university in Canada, Queen’s has students from over 90 countries across the globe taking online courses like:

  • Commerce
  • Astrophysics
  • Music
  • Engineering and more

Furthermore, Queen’s University stands out from other universities due to the following:

  • Alternate formats for course materials
  • Conduction of e-exams
  • Adaptive technology used in taking classes and more


15. Memorial University of Newfoundland

memorial university of newfoundland

Coming last on the list is the Memorial University of Newfoundland. As the only university in Newfoundland and Labrador, the university is at this moment obligated to providing outstanding academic standing to the people of its province and beyond.

About a century ago, this top Canadian university started as a small teacher’s training school. However, it has now grown into a comprehensive institution and one of the largest universities in Atlantic Canada offering over 100-degree programs online and on-campus. Students at all levels of study usually receive practical tools and strategies via the institution’s Career Coaching and Career Learning Series sessions.



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