When you move to a new city, it’s always interesting to know what kinds of colleges and universities are in the area. Whether you’re planning to attend school or not, the universities can add a great deal of liveliness and diversity to a community. In Montreal, you’ll find some of Canada’s most reputable and prestigious institutes of higher learning.

A city of remarkable cultural diversity, Montreal is a melting pot of North American, French Canadian and international immigrant languages and ethnicities. The official language of commerce, government and education in the province of Quebec is French. But for all practical purposes, the city is very much bilingual. The English speaking province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York are each just minutes away. Meanwhile, roughly a quarter of Montreal’s 3 million residents were born outside of Canada. No surprise then that you’ll see this same level of diversity reflected in the city’s numerous colleges and universities.

In fact, Montreal has five major universities and more than 2o public and private colleges and CEGEPs within the greater metropolitan area. The city has the highest proportion of post-secondary students of any metropolitan area in North America. So if you’re considering a higher education in Canada, you’ll definitely want to explore Montreal. And if you’re coming to Montreal for any other reason, you still need to be aware of the university influence, because you’ll certainly be interacting with university students, faculty and staff on a regular basis.

For further reading, you might also be interested on our articles on the CEGEP system in Quebec , Universities in TorontoMoving to Canada as a student, and 6 Reasons to Study in Canada.


What are the Universities in Montreal?

Montreal has five major universities including a some of the very best in Canada, comprising a population of more than 200,000 students. Being a bilingual city, some of the schools are primarily French and others are primarily English, although students will hear a mix of both languages on any campus.

McGill University

One of Canada’s oldest universities, established in 1821, McGill’s main campus is located in downtown Montreal. This public research university now has two campuses on the island of Montreal, serving more than 40,000 students with English as the primary language. McGill offers degrees and diplomas in more than 300 subjects, including advanced degrees in law and medicine. With some of the highest standards of any Canadian university, the school is ranked 33 in the world and number 2 in Canada. McGill medical school is consistently ranked the best in the country. Full time students from Quebec pay about $4,300 a year to attend McGill. Canadian students from other provinces pay about $9,500 a year, and international students pay between $22,000 and $42,000 in annual tuition fees.

Concordia University

One of only two universities in Montreal (and three in Quebec) where English is the primary language of instruction, Concordia has two campuses within the city, and more than 45,000 graduate and undergraduate students. The young, public university, established in 1974, offers degrees in over 300 undergraduate and more than 100 graduate areas of study. Concordia enjoys a very high ranking among universities, especially for the John Molson School of Business. Local students pay around $2,300 to attend Concordia and Canadians from outside of Quebec pay about $7,200.

University of Montreal

Ranked number three among Canadian institutes of higher education, this French-speaking public and secular university is located on the north-facing slope of Mount Royal in Montreal. The school offers more than 650 undergraduate diplomas and degrees, and PhDs in over 70 areas of study. Université de Montréal has about 45,000 graduate and undergraduate students from around Canada in the world. The medical school has an especially high reputation.

University of Quebec

Based in Quebec City, with 10 independent universities across Canada, the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) is the largest school in this trans-Canadian network. With a student population of about 43,000, the University of Quebec provides instruction in French, offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in arts, education, communication, political science and law, science, social science and management. In 2005, UQAM annexed the Télé-université, a public, French-speaking distance learning school, bringing the total number of student to more than 60,000, making UQAM the largest French speaking university in the world.

University of Sherbrooke

Established in 1954 as a French-speaking, Roman Catholic, public university, the University of Sherbrooke now has five campuses serving roughly 40,000 students in and around Quebec, but primarily in the Montreal suburbs of Sherbrooke and Longueuil. The school has an excellent reputation and offers 46 undergraduate, 48 master’s and 27 doctoral programs.

University of Laval

The oldest university in Canada, and the oldest French language university in all of North America, the University of Laval has been serving students in Quebec City since 1663, when it began as a seminary school under the aegis of Francois de Laval, the first bishop of New France. The Montreal campus opened in 1878, and in 1920 it separated from Laval and became the University of Montreal (Université de Montréal).

Colleges and CEGEPS in Montreal

Secondary education in the province of Quebec goes through grade 11. Students planning to attend university must first complete two years of CEGEP or junior college. Most colleges also offer continuing education and vocational training for older students, professionals and life-long learners.

Here’s a directory of colleges in the Montreal area.

Champlain Regional College 

An English-language CEGEP with 2,500 students at St. Lambert Campus, in addition to two other campuses in Lennoxville and Quebec City. Offering pre-university education, technical diplomas and vocational training.

Dawson College 

An English-language CEGEP located in the Westmount neighbourhood, with 11,000 students. Covering 12 acres, it’s the largest CEGEP in Montreal.

John Abbott College 

An English-speaking public college at the western tip of the island of Montreal with about 7,000 students.

Vanier College 

An English-language public college with 6,100 students located in the Saint-Laurent borough, just next door to CEGEP Saint-Laurent. Offering two-year pre-university programs and three-year vocational programs.

Collège Ahuntsic 

A French-speaking public college situated in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough of Montreal with 10,100 students. Offering pre-university programs, technical-career programs, and a variety of work-study programs.

Cégep André-Laurendeau 

A Francophone college in the LaSalle borough, with around 5,000 students. Offering two-year pre-university programs and three-year vocational programs.

Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne 

A French-language CEGEP offering pre-university and professional-career programs for about 2,700 students.

Collège Édouard-Montpetit 

A French-speaking public college in the suburb of Longueuil. Offering pre-university and technical programs for about 16,000 students.

Collège Gérald-Godin 

A public CEGEP college located in the Sainte-Geneviève neighbourhood, on the west island of Montreal. The small school serves about 1,200 students.

Collège de Maisonneuve 

A French-language public pre-university and technical college with about 6,700 students.

Collège Montmorency 

A French-speaking public college in Chomedey, Laval, just north of Montreal. Offering pre-university and technical programs for about 7,000 students.

Cégep Marie-Victorin

A small public Francophone college in the borough of Montréal-Nord.

Collège de Rosemont 

A small public Francophone college with about 2,800 students.

Cégep de Saint-Laurent 

A public Francophone college with about 3,000 students located in the Saint-Laurent borough of the city, not far from the English-language public college of Vanier. Offering pre-university and technical programs.

Cégep du Vieux Montréal 

A Francophone CEGEP in central Montreal with about 9,000 students.

Marianopolis College 

A private Anglophone college in the Westmount neighbourhood with about 2,100 students. Offering two-year pre-university programs and three-year vocational programs.

Collège André-Grasset

A private Francophone college offering technical and vocational training.

Collégial international Sainte-Anne

Part of a network of private primary, secondary and pre-university schools in Montreal, considered one of the best private schools in Quebec. The Francophone college offers a wide variety of academic and athletic programs.

Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf 

A private, Francophone, formerly Jesuit college, offering pre-university curriculum. Recognized as one of the most prestigious private colleges in Quebec.

LaSalle College

Offering a variety of pre-university and professional training programs in both French and English.

Herzing College

A private, for-profit college with to small campuses in Montreal, offering a variety of professional and technical programs.

TAV College

A private college offering pre-university and vocational training in Montreal.

Enjoy your stay in Montreal, and never stop learning! If you’re relocating to Montreal or any other city in Canada for any length of time, reach out to ARIANNE Relocation Specialists. We’ve been helping families and professionals move to Canada for more than 20 years, and we have a range of products and services to help your move go more smoothly and successfully.

Photo Credit: University of Montreal seen from the Montreal Metro Station (Wikipedia)