When one thinks of Montréal, it’s easy to get distracted by mosaic of cutting edge culture that keeps the city on the forefront of international hipsterdom or the old world grandeur and cobblestone streets of Old Montréal. But the city’s much more than just a pretty, hip face – with world-renowned higher education institutions all active in research and innovation, Montréal is also a bonafide city of knowledge.
The proof is in the numbers
Over 43,000 degrees are awarded to students in Montréal each year, equalling 25% of new graduates in Canada and the highest number of graduates of any city in the country. There’s 185,000 students who call the city home, and Montréal is Canada’s heart of research with the highest number of research centres and amount of money invested in university research. This focus on knowledge and innovation has put Montréal at the forefront of areas like neuroscience, artificial intelligence, oncology and cancer research and finance, with new hires from each year’s graduating class maintaining the city’s leading edge. But there’s more to it than just end results. In Quacquarelli Symonds’ 2018 worldwide poll, students themselves ranked Montréal as the number one city in North America in which to study (and fourth overall in the world) – and that’s something worth shouting from the rooftops.
Home to four major universities, higher education is woven into the fabric of the city. Where other cities push their campuses to the sidelines, Montréal’s city centre is one punctuated by centres of learning with McGill University, the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Concordia University and the Université de Montréal (UdeM) all taking their place at the heart of the city. Each makes their own important and distinct contributions to research, development and international exchanges (and they’re also perfect locations for meetings and events).
Ranking in the top 100 universities worldwide McGill University is responsible for almost 200 years of groundbreaking discoveries and is a leading light in the “Canadian Ivy League” – even dubbed “The Harvard of Canada” in an episode of The Simpsons. Of its numerous achievements, one of McGill’s most important contributions was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted by John Humphrey (BCom’25, BA’27, BCL’29, PhD’45) who was then a Professor of Law at the school. The picture-pretty campus in the Golden Square Mile is an iconic blend of Hogwarts and Yale.
In February 2019, McGill also announced the launch of a $200-million scholarship fund set up by McCall MacBain family, designed to cover tuition, fees and a living stipend for 75 students every year (50 from across Canada, and 25 international students). The scholarship is unlike many others – in effect searching for students who may not have even applied to McGill, yet demonstrate citizenship and leadership qualities above academic achievements.
With the largest School of Management in North America and one of the leading Arts programs in Canada, the Université du Québec à Montréal is known both for its creativity and cutting-edge finance education. The university also excels in Communication, Tourism Management and Environmental Sciences.
The new kid on the block, Concordia University boasts a renowned Fine Arts school, with alumni making waves in film, dance and theatre. Other areas of expertise include Cyber Security, Journalism, Digital Media and the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurology, and the school also boasts one of the highest numbers of graduates becoming CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in Canada.
The largest research institution in Québec and second largest in Canada, the Université de Montréal’s stately campus dominates the northern side of Mont Royal – in particular the iconic Roger-Gaudry Building’s gorgeous art-deco tower.
Montréal has an additional seven institutions of higher learning all noted for their contributions. HEC Montréal is Canada’s oldest management school, and in affiliation with UdeM is one of only two schools in North America to hold a triple accreditation in management education (AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA). Associated with UQAM, the Institut national de la recherché scientifique (INRS) is a post-graduate university conducting research in four broad sectors: Water, earth and the environment; energy, materials and telecommunication; human, animal and environmental health; and urbanization, culture and society.
And there’s more! The École national d’administration publique, École Polytechnique Montréal, École de technologies supérieures, Université Téluq, and the University of Sherbrooke in Longueuil are also involved in moulding the minds of today into the leaders of tomorrow – in the process marking Montréal as a true world leader in education.