Top 10 Universities for Civil Engineering in Canada

Civil engineering students study the built environment, specifically how its various structures are designed, constructed, and maintained. A basic understanding of how static objects, such as buildings, behave is required to succeed as a civil engineer.

Civil engineering students in Canada are required to go through four years of a basic undergraduate education. Students will learn about material properties, environmental science, mapping and drawing skills, and even surveying. After the students finish their undergraduate degree, they can work as an EIT (Engineer in Training) for several years before receiving their professional engineering designation in Canada. Here we list the top universities for civil engineering in Canada.

Looking for a civil engineering degree and none of these places take your fancy? Check out our program listings.

the best civil engineering universities in Canada

1. University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo is a public research university located in Waterloo, in the eastern province of Ontario. Its civil engineering programme is one of Canada’s largest programmes of its type, in which students can learn how to design infrastructure elements such as bridges, highways, and dams.

Once admitted, students get the opportunity to participate in six co-op terms where they can test various career options. What’s more, the average student earns $17,800 per co-op term to help pay their tuition costs. Some additional highlights of the programme include access to high-tech simulation labs as well as the opportunity to build a concrete canoe for an international competition.

2. University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is a public research university located in downtown Toronto, Canada's largest city. The civil engineering department here has, since 1873, grown to offer a large variety of research programmes as well as undergraduate specialisations. The school’s strategic location at one of Canada’s largest urban centres provides students with more opportunities for hands-on research and study opportunities.

Once accepted, students of the programme can choose from a variety of courses such as structural engineering, transportation planning, and geomechanics to enhance their knowledge in the civil engineering field. Admission is highly selective and all students must achieve at least 70% in the required courses to be considered for admission.

3. McGill University

McGill University is a public Canadian university located in the eastern Canadian city of Montreal. The civil engineering department provides an opportunity for future civil engineers to receive a sound education via courses such as soil mechanics, fluid mechanics, environmental engineering, structural engineering, and more.  

After finishing their basic foundational courses, students can choose an area of specialisation to obtain in-depth knowledge in an area of their choice. Some of these areas of specialisation include environmental engineering, transportation engineering, and water resources engineering. Students interested in learning a broader range of subjects can also combine complementary courses offered by other engineering departments for an interdisciplinary set of skills and knowledge

4. University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is a public research university located in the western Canadian city of Vancouver. To enter the civil engineering programme, the student must have completed one year of general engineering studies at the University of British Columbia or at another college with a transfer program.

Once admitted, students can choose between various supplementary programs such as the co-op programme, which provides students with opportunities for relevant paid work experience, and the option for a dual degree in arts and engineering. Opportunities to spend a semester at another university is also available for those interested in exchange programs.

5. University of Alberta

This is another public research university with a large engineering school. The main campus of the University of Alberta is based in the city of Edmonton, in the western Canadian province of Alberta. The school of engineering is home to several faculties, including the faculty of civil engineering. The faculty’s state-of-the-art research equipment has attracted over 900 undergraduate students as well as 500 graduate students to pursue their civil engineering careers.

Undergraduate civil engineering students have numerous opportunities to learn from the best in the field. Students are admitted after the second year of engineering studies, as they must complete a year of common core engineering classes first. Students can also choose between a traditional four-year degree programme and the cooperative education programme – which adds an extra year to the degree and lets the student work in industry for 18 months.

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6. Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University is located in the Maritime province of Nova Scotia, in the capital city of Halifax. It is a public research university with a large engineering programme. The civil engineering department is home to around 300 undergraduate students and 70 graduate students working to obtain their MEng, MASc and PhD degrees.

Similar to other engineering schools, all engineering students must complete a year of common first-year engineering courses before they can apply to a specific discipline of their choice. Students who are accepted into the civil engineering programme must choose between an infrastructure option and an earth and environment option. In addition, a choice between a traditional four-year degree and a five-year co-op degree is also offered, giving students the chance to decide if they want to complete their degree faster or find relevant work during their studies.

7. Concordia University of Montreal

This is another university based in the eastern Canadian province of Quebec, in the city of Montreal. The school offers a typical four-year civil engineering degree with the option to specialise in three different options after three year of studies. These options are civil infrastructure, which focuses on the design of foundations of bridges, dams, and other large structures; the environmental option, which focuses on designing water treatment systems; and construction engineering and management, which teaches engineering knowledge essential to the construction industry.

Admission to the programme is based on select high school courses such as maths and physics. Once admitted, students can also choose to minor in another subject as long as they meet the minimum GPA (grade point average) requirement of 2.7. A co-op option is also offered for those interested in gaining relevant and paid work experience between their periods of study.

8. Western University

Western University is a public research university based in the province of Ontario, in the city of London. The civil engineering school is known for its excellent research programmes on an international level as well as its outstanding academic courses. In fact, one of the highlights of studying civil engineering here is the fourth-year design project all students must complete. The project itself is held in partnership with the City of London, Ontario, and students receive the mentorship of professional consulting engineers and other faculty advisors during the duration of the project.

Additionally, a range of civil engineering options is offered. They are the structural engineering program, the environmental engineering program, as well as dual degrees where students can specialise in law and civil engineering as well as business and civil engineering.

9. University of Calgary

This is a public research university located in the city of Calgary in the western province of Alberta. The university’s civil engineering programme is part of the Schulich School of Engineering and offers four areas of specialisation, which are structural engineering, transportation engineering, entrepreneurship, and management.

Prospective civil engineering students must apply to enter the Schulich School of Engineering first. Once accepted, they must complete common first-year courses before applying to enter civil engineering. Acceptance is based on first-year grades and can get competitive depending on the number of applicants and the number of available spots.

10. Queen’s University

Queen’s University is another public research university located in Kingston, Ontario. The university’s civil engineering programme strives to give students strong foundational knowledge in a variety of areas. Emphasis is also put on the sustainability of both the natural and built environment, which is a field of focus for those working in civil engineering research.

Additionally, the civil engineering school is home to multiple high-tech research facilities such as the Kennedy Field Station (a water facility), the Coastal Engineering Laboratory, and more. Class sizes are small compared to other engineering schools and an additional Job Network is available to help students find employment after graduation.

None of these universities appeal to you? Check out our program listings to find your perfect university.


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