The Globe and Mail's Canadian University Report's profiles of more than 60 universities across the country give snapshots on many factors, from educational experience to the feel of the campus.
Lennoxville (main) and Knowlton
Tuition: $3,577 (Quebec residents), $8,314 (out of province)
Known for being tight-knit and spirited, Bishop's University brings life to the borough of Lennoxville in Sherbrooke, Que.
Bishop's has a head count of just 2,357 students. Because the school is so small, fifth-year neuroscience student Samantha Cote says it sometimes feels like there is not a lot to choose from. Some courses, for example, are only offered once every year or two.
However, fewer students means more access to faculty, research and professional growth opportunities, she says. And despite its reputation as a party school, "Bishop's University has more to offer than just a fun time on weekends," says Ms. Cote. "I have friends who are first-year students who have already presented research at conferences and are part of research labs."
Though the Bishop's campus features beautiful architecture, its residences need a facelift. Over the next few years, six Bishop's residences will be undergoing major renovations at a cost of about $41-million.
Tuition: $3,690 (Quebec residents), $8,427 (out of province)
Located in Montreal, Concordia University brings in a mix of students. While courses are taught in English, only half the student body speaks English as a first language. Twenty-three per cent of students speak French as a first language, and 27 per cent have a mother tongue other than French or English.
The largest faculty at Concordia is arts and sciences, but the school also has sizable engineering and computer science and fine arts departments. Concordia has a slightly lower rate of graduation compared to the provincial average, but students rank their overall experience very highly compared to other universities in Quebec.
Concordia's District 3 is a community hub for innovation where students can collaborate across disciplines to develop products and launch startups. In its first two years of operation, startups born here have brought in more than $5-million in investment.
District 3-based ANANDA, a biomedical research company, was recently selected to participate in an international startup competition called the 1776 Challenge Cup.
Tuition: $2,979 (Quebec residents), $7,716 (out of province)
Students: more than 42,500*
Université Laval is located only 25 minutes away from Quebec City's historic centre. The school prides itself on having a rich history of its own: It is the oldest French-language university in North America.
Laval has partnership agreements with more than 500 universities, meaning students can earn credits studying abroad in almost 70 countries. Many of its 500 programs also offer internships and placement opportunities.
Laval has 15 sports teams, including track and field, badminton, basketball, golf, skiing and football. Laval's Rouge et Or football team has won the Vanier Cup seven times in the past decade.
Montreal and Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue
Tuition: $4,130 (Quebec residents), $9,030 (out of province)
McGill University is recognized internationally as a top-tier university. It sits 24th in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings system, and it attracts people from more than 150 countries. Nearly a quarter of its students come from outside of Canada.
This research university spends more money per student on library services and attracts more funding for research than any other school in the province. It stands out for its higher-than-average 84-per-cent graduation rate as well.
McGill tends to breed a competitive atmosphere. Between 2003 and 2015, McGill brought in 31 TD Scholars for Community Leadership, representing 12 per cent of all the TD scholarships given out in the country. As well, McGill turned out eight Knox Scholars between 2004 and 2014, sending them to study at Harvard University.
Dr. Té Vuong and a team of McGill cancer researchers are using nanotechnology to develop a drug delivery system that could make cancer treatment more effective. It uses bacteria to carry and transmit cancer drugs into the cells of tumours.
Université De Montréal
Montreal Tuition:* $3,674 (Quebec residents) $8,574 (out of province)
The Université de Montréal is a primarily French-speaking school, though the school offers workshops and tutoring for native English speakers who enroll, as well as the option to write final theses or dissertations in English. A high 82 per cent of students graduate from UdeM within six years, and a majority say they would choose UdeM again.
Known for its heavy focus on research, UdeM and its affiliated schools (HEC Montréal and L'École Polytechnique) represent the leading research hub in the province. The university brings in a significant amount of research income – $117.4-million – that makes it a standout nationally as well.
This year, UdeM created a $2.3-million chair for research on stem cell transplantation led by Jean Roy, an associate professor in the faculty of medicine.