best canadian universities
A man in a mask boards a bus on campus at Western University in London, Ontario. Source: Geoff Robins/AFP

Are you currently researching the best Canadian universities? You’re probably aware of which tops the list for rankings, subjects, student life and facilities. 

For some, universities that produce graduates with high starting salaries are also important considerations. A university education, after all, does not come cheap, which is why prospective salaries post-graduation can help you decide on your ROI

A university that produces graduates with good starting-salaries could also signal that its graduates are highly employable and in demand.

It’s worth noting that graduating from the best Canadian universities will not guarantee you a high starting salary yourself, as numerous factors including your industry, work experiences and location of your job, among others, will affect this, but it can tip the scale in your favour.

Here are some of the best Canadian universities with high graduate salaries, drawing on data from Emolument, a provider of crowdsourced pay data. Do note, however, that the salaries are average figures. 

(For context, according to, the average graduate salary in Canada is $55,744 Canadian dollars per year, while the figure for entry-level positions starts at CA$43,601 per year. Most experienced workers make up to CA$77,883 per year.)

best canadian universities

For some students, how much they earn as a graduate is a deciding factor in choosing their university. Source: Geoff Robins/AFP

Best Canadian universities with high graduate salary

1. University of British Columbia (UBC)

UBC is ranked in the top 20 public universities in the world, and for good reason: it is a centre of teaching, learning and research excellence, while its varsity athletes have won 65 Olympic medals. 

Data from Emolument shows that graduates of UBC’s Executive MBA programme earn the highest pay — a whopping average of 173,000 US dollars per annum. Those with a Doctorate, Masters in Finance and Executive Masters can earn an average of US$150,000, US$108,000 and US$94,000 per annum respectively. 

Graduates with a Bachelor of Arts degree, on the other hand, earn the lowest at US$56,000 annually. 

2. University of Toronto 

This university needs no introduction: it ranks joint 18th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 and joint 34th in the QS World University Rankings 2023

Graduates with an Executive Masters reportedly earn an average salary of US$222,000 annually, followed by PhD graduates at US$100,000 and MBA graduates at US$96,000. 

Graduates with the lowest salaries are those with a Master (Other) degree, who earn an estimated US$58,000 annually. 

3. University of Ottowa 

Located in Canada’s capital, the University of Ottowa is the largest bilingual (English-French) university in the world, notes its website.

QS notes that the university has 111 undergraduate and 161 graduate programmes, and they boast of an impressive 97% employment rate for their graduates. 

Those with an MBA earn an impressive US$124,000 on average per annum, while students pursuing a bachelor’s or other degrees earn about US$73,000 to US$75,000 annually. 

best canadian universities

A child slides down UC Hill at Western University in London, Ontario, on Jan. 6, 2022. Source: Geoff Robins/AFP

4. University of Calgary 

Just like the city it’s based, the University of Calgary is one of the most enterprising institutions: it is ranked one of the top 10 research universities in the country, offers over 200 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programmes, and boasts of a 94% graduate employment rate.

Its Bachelor of Arts graduates are the university’s highest earners. They earn an average of US$148,000 annually, followed by Masters in Science graduates (US$88,000) and Bachelor of Science graduates (US$74,000). 

The lowest salaries are graduates with a Bachelor (Other) degree, earning a salary of US$51,000 annually.

5. University of Waterloo 

The University of Waterloo offers programmes in business, engineering, health, humanities and social sciences, the environment, math and science for over 42,000 students. 

A centre for employer-student connections and work-based learning, the university is ranked first in Canada for the graduate employment rate, according to the QS Graduate Employment Rankings 2022. 

Doctorate holders from this university can earn an average salary of US$183,000 annually, according to data from Emolument. Masters in Finance holders can earn an average salary of US$107,000, while Bachelor (Other) holders earn an average of US$88,000. Its lowest earners are those with an Other Degree, earning US$57,000 annually. 

6. University of Western Ontario 

The University of Western Ontario is one of the very few universities in Canada with 5 QS Star ratings, which means it has performed well against a comprehensive list of indicators that assess the institution. 

It received high ratings in the following categories: 

  • Teaching 
  • Employability
  • Internationalisation
  • Research
  • Facilities
  • Specialist Criteria: Innovation
  • Inclusiveness
  • Specialist Criteria: Social Sciences & Management

Its graduate salaries are equally impressive. A doctorate holder earns an average of US$258,000 annually. A Master’s in Finance holder, on the other hand, earns an average of US$136,000, while an MBA holder earns US$100,000. Graduates with the lowest salaries are those with a Master (Other) degree, who earn a salary of US$47,000 annually.