The Best Online Universities in Canada of 2022

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Last updated June 29, 2022

March 2020 marked a major turning point in the history of online education. That month, of course, is when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic, leading Canada’s postsecondary institutions to upgrade (or adopt) online learning platforms and make everything from part-time bookkeeping classes to nursing degree programs available to remote learners. Suddenly, plans to digitize programs and courses were condensed from years into weeks.

The pandemic has since left us with a vastly expanded landscape of virtual learning options, from new self-paced courses to live online seminars to Augmented Reality (AR) science labs and plenty of hybrid options in between. This newfound flexibility also ramped up demand for mature students exploring opportunities to hone their skills or embark on entirely new careers. (CourseCompare saw a nearly 200 per cent increase in demand for virtual career training programs during this time.)

And the pandemic has forced universities, professors and students alike to mature in their understanding of how technology can enable better and more equitable learning. For some students with families, full-time jobs or disabilities, for example, the alternative to remote learning is sometimes not pursuing higher education at all.

But we also learned how technology, if used incorrectly, can lead to isolation and inhibit the kind of social interactions that are critical to a learner’s success. Which is why it’s so important for Canadian universities to keep pushing the envelope, combining new technologies and evolving teaching techniques to create highly interactive and engaging educational experiences that replicate the best of in-person learning — wherever their students find themselves.

Slack or Teams? Cohort-based, self-paced or synchronous? Two classroom microphones or twenty? With so many vastly improved online options and delivery methods, it may be a challenge to pick which of Canada’s online universities and programs are right for you. At CourseCompare, we’ve taken a microscope to Canada’s evolving online landscape and compiled our list of the very best online universities of 2022.

CourseCompare’s annual school rankings are determined using a process that considers several core metrics and principles. Read more about our methodology here.

1.

Athabasca University 4.85/5

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2.

Laurentian University 5/5

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3.

Queen's University 5/5

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4.

University of Fredericton (UFred) 4.9/5

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5.

University of Waterloo 5/5

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6.

Royal Roads University 5/5

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7.

University Canada West (UCW) 4.9/5

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8.

McGill University 4.9/5

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9.

Mount Royal University 4.9/5

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10.

Thompson Rivers University 4.9/5

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11.

University of British Columbia 5/5

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12.

University of New Brunswick (UNB) 5/5

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13.

University of Manitoba 4.5/5

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14.

Memorial University 4/5

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15.

Trent University 4/5

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16.

Lakehead University 4/5

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17.

Université TÉLUQ 4/5

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18.

Royal Military College of Canada 4/5

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19.

IBU (International Business University) 4/5

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20.

Yorkville University 4/5

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1

Athabasca University

best-online-universities-canada
4.85/5
$ $ $ $

Alberta-based Athabasca University was the first university in Canada to specialize in online distance education. The school is a true pioneer in distance learning, opening as Canada’s first open, correspondence-based university back in 1973.

AU offers more than 980 courses across 50-plus undergraduate and graduate programs offering diplomas, degrees and certificates in business, health, humanities and sciences, including programs in architecture, accounting, data analytics, information security, finance, health administration, and both post-LPN and post-RN nursing degrees. A focused menu of professional development programs, courses and microcredentials are also on tap, with training in specialties such as project management, digital innovation, workplace wellness and AI ethics.

What Students Are Saying

I had an amazing experience at Athabasca U! I was able to finish my graduate degree in nursing, which was fully online and keep my full-time job. I did not lose any pay from work, or any seniority at work. I only had to work around taking my vacation/stat days off, and needed to do homework in my spare time, usually on weekends. Although, it was challenging to juggle my time, I found my professors to be fair and understanding, and I could always get the support when needed. I felt that I made the best decision for my career by choosing a online degree, and it has made me a more rounded person, and it opened a lot of doors for me! I would recommend AU for any busy working professional!!!

Sheldon Hubert, Master of Nursing: Generalist

The Online Experience

As an “open” university, Athabasca prides itself on its highly flexible model, making higher education easy and accessible from admission to the final exams. Admission to AU is open to anyone age 16 or older, regardless of previous education. Most courses have no prerequisites and there’s no competition for entry into a program. Classes begin on the first day of every month and never fill up. Coursework can be completed on your own schedule, and even final exams can be booked at your convenience.

AU’s open online model effectively removes many of the traditional barriers to higher learning. According to school statistics, more than 70 per cent of its students are the first in their family to earn a university degree.

In 2018, AU became the first Canadian university to partner with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to design and manage cloud education programs, improving access to education for international students and learners in remote communities.

Locations

Athabasca, Alberta

2

Laurentian University

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Laurentian University prides itself on a unique educational vision reflective of its location in Northern Ontario; it is the only university in Canada with a bilingual and tricultural mandate, providing courses in English and French with a drive to serve the postsecondary needs of Indigenous learners.

Laurentian Online delivers a similarly diverse menu of 26 degree programs with over 350 courses, including undergraduate degrees in criminology, sociology, forensic identification, business administration and Indigenous social work, as well as an MBA and Primary Care Nurse Practitioner M.Sc. program.

Online certificate and professional development microcredentials cover specialties such as fingerprint detection and analysis, fire scene management and investigation, cardiac care, palliative care and effective survey design.

What Students Are Saying

Small class sizes of about 30 make this business program intimate. Cost of living here in Sudbury is low so our dollars are getting all of us quite far! Great professors and the business school seems unaffected by some of the issues the university has been facing with funding. Having said that, mining engineering and nursing are making bigger names from themselves here than business but I'm proud to be here and excited to graduate next year. The online BBA also offers great flexibility for anyone interested in taking time away from the North to study.

Marshall McCauley, Business Administration (MBA)

The Online Experience

Laurentian’s online format is primarily asynchronous, with no scheduled classes. Students can study at their own pace — the school recommends spending 15-20 hours per week per course on schoolwork — but assignments come with set deadlines and courses must be completed within designated academic semesters.

Some courses include a final in-person exam, although students meeting certain distance requirements can write an invigilated exam at an approved location.

Courses are delivered through the Desire2Learn or D2L Brightspace platform, a popular Canadian-born learning management system (LMS) that provides simplified and intuitive online learning and communication among students and with faculty.

Locations

Sudbury, Ontario

3

Queen's University

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Kingston, Ontario-based Queen’s was the first university in North America to offer distance education, introducing courses by mail beginning in 1889. Today, more than 4,000 students “attend” Queens online, earning diplomas, degrees, certificates and microcredentials across a wide range of studies.

Queens’ offers more than 140 online courses across 10 schools, including arts and science, education, health sciences, engineering and applied science, law and its prestigious Smith School of Business, as well as numerous postgraduate degrees.

A robust menu of career-enhancing microcredentials includes 19 free self-directed courses, such as neuroscience for neurotech, behavioural assessment techniques and entrepreneurship.

What Students Are Saying

This is probably the best undergraduate business program in Canada with incredible professors. It's also a ton of fun, with most of my classmates live down the street from me in the student "ghetto". There are just so many great experiences here from 50+ clubs to third-year fall or winter exchange, which took me to Australia. But the most amazing thing is the alumni network of successful entrepreneurs, consultants, CFOs and others we see in the news and on television. I'll be starting in management consulting in the fall and all of the best firms (Boston, Baine, Deloitte, etc.) hire directly from our campus. Grads seem to do a variety of interesting things however and that's because Queen's attracts and nurtures the best. My four years here have been the best of my life!

Julien C., Bachelor of Commerce

The Online Experience

Online courses at Queen’s are designed with interactivity and collaboration in mind. Peer and professor engagement are highly prized, and there’s an emphasis on communication and teamwork through group projects and online discussions.

Courses are delivered through the school’s customized OnQ platform, which is built on the popular Desire2Learn system in use at universities across Canada and internationally. Certain programs and faculties have their own custom tools to foster online learning and collaboration.

Queen’s online courses are largely asynchronous. While some live events take place, students can access recordings at any time to schedule their own learning. Courses do have set start and end dates, and assignments have fixed deadlines as well.

Some programs and individual courses involve in-person elements to foster experiential learning and hands-on skill development that can’t be replicated online. Health sciences, for example, can require intensive weeklong on-campus sessions, and a Bachelor of Mining Engineering Technology features on-site field placements to gain real-world experience.

Locations

Kingston, Ontario

4

University of Fredericton (UFred)

online-universities-canada
4.9/5
$ $ $ $

The University of Fredericton, or UFred, is a private, for-profit institution founded in 2005. The New Brunswick-based school has built its name on the strength of its business and leadership-focused programs. Its programs, like the University’s administration, faculty and staff, operate 100 per cent online.

Operating exclusively online, UFred delivers a focused selection of certificate, degree and diploma programs through its Sandermoen School of Business and School of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). OHS courses include certificates and diplomas in psychological health and safety, OHS and environmental systems and ergonomics, among others.

UFred’s flagship program, though, is the Master of Business Administration, a perennial leader among CourseCompare’s best online MBA programs. The comprehensive and multidisciplinary program gives students the choice between nine leadership specialties such as innovation, consulting, professional selling, HR, business analytics and cybersecurity. Pre-MBA Executive MBA and MBA certificates are also available for aspiring leaders at every stage of their career.

What Students Are Saying

As a Husband and father of 2 young children who works fulltime, upgrading my schooling was an extremely daunting and seemingly unrealistic goal. There was no was I could take time off work, go to a different location for school, go on EI etc etc and still maintain my relationship and be the Dad I want to be. Then I discovered UFred. The online and Part Time aspect of the OHS and Environmental Systems course I am take has made it extremely accessible and attainable to further my education and take a step up careerwise. Yes there are still some late nights finishing reports and studying after everyone is in bed, but I am still able to be home and present for my family. If you are hesitant about going back to school because of the constraints and feeling that it will set you back years financially, this is the place for you. I am halfway through the course now and the course load is extremely manageable.

JC Ulrich, Certificate in Occupational Health, Safety, and Environmental Systems

The Online Experience

UFred’s program delivery and your educational experience will vary depending on the program or course. Some are entirely self-paced while others, including several MBA courses, are instructor-led with live virtual classes, discussions and presentations delivered through online collaboration tools like WebEx. However, even programs with live components allow great flexibility in scheduling around your lifestyle; the online MBA, for example, can be finished in as few as 18 months.

Interactivity and peer-to-peer learning are key components of business courses in particular, where students will collaborate on projects in cohorts via online platforms such as Skype, Zoom and WebEx, and using cloud-based tools like Google Docs and Google Sheets. Instructor-led courses and programs are capped at 25 students maximum to allow effective student-to-faculty interaction and networking opportunities.

Locations

Fredericton, New Brunswick

5

University of Waterloo

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

University of Waterloo is consistently recognized as one of the most innovative postsecondary institutions in Canada, and was an early adopter of online education. The Ontario university has been delivering web-based learning since 1997, four years before the birth of Wikipedia.

Since then, its Centre for Extended Learning has built a sprawling course catalogue with over 600 courses across 40 undergraduate and postgraduate disciplines, including arts, engineering, environmental, health, mathematics and science, with a diverse range of individual courses such as history of the Internet, tactics for workplace success, applied epidemiology, business law, and Vikings! (Yes, the course name includes an exclamation point.)

On top of its range of degree programs, Waterloo also delivers more than 170 online professional development courses and certificate programs in categories such as business administration, computers and IT, languages, project management, sales and marketing, and writing and publishing.

The Online Experience

Waterloo’s online degree courses are cohort-based, meaning an entire class moves through a syllabus and schedule at more or less the same pace. While you have flexibility within the schedule, it’s recommended to dedicate 10-12 hours per week per course to your coursework, whether that’s course readings, lectures, group discussions or assignments. Assignments, quizzes and exams are scheduled at set times although most tests can be taken within a 24-hour period.

Professional development courses and certificates are more independent; lessons are released at regular intervals and don’t require any scheduled online attendance.

Locations

Waterloo, Cambridge, Kitchener and Stratford, Ontario

6

Royal Roads University

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Royal Roads University is a public institution geared primarily toward postgraduates and mature students, with learning models designed to accommodate existing jobs and busy lifestyles. Approximately 70 per cent of RRU students remain in their jobs while studying in the school’s online and blended programs, which have been running since the 1990s.

RRU delivers a focused menu of 20 fully online and 57 blended programs in business, communication, environmental science, executive education, leadership, and tourism and hospitality management, among others. In keeping with its focus on mature and working students, the course catalogue has an emphasis on business, management and leadership-focused education. Programs kick off with a mandatory, non-credit course on academic integrity.

What Students Are Saying

Gorgeous campus, amazing experience and some of the best instructors in the province if not the country. Royal Roads has assembled a rare mix of teachers who are industry pros but also dedicated and experienced teachers.

Jason G., Organizational Change Management

The Online Experience

RRU’s course catalogue features predominantly blended courses, which include both online and on-campus components. Blended programs tend to be mainly online, but require an immersive on-campus residency of varying length which demands intensive in-class work as well as team assignments and extracurriculars. While demanding, students tend to describe the intensive and highly interactive residency as a particular highlight of the program.

Fully online courses can consist of synchronous and asynchronous lectures and assignments with set deadlines. Even while completely online, collaborative work is a major part of the programs; group assignments and meaningful participation in discussions and online forums are considered foundational and a key part of the complete learning experience.

 

Locations

Victoria, British Columbia

7

University Canada West (UCW)

best-online-universities-canada
4.9/5
$ $ $ $

University Canada West is a private university with a focus on business and career education. Since its founding in 2004, the Vancouver-based, for-profit institution has acquired a reputation for innovative career-enhancing education emphasizing leadership and persuasive business communication.

UCW’s course catalogue is lean and highly focused, with two bachelor programs  – commerce and business communication, respectively. Its most popular course is the online masters in business administration, a two-year program incorporating tools, projects and technology from leading sources such as Facebook Blueprint, Salesforce, Shopify, Riipen and the Digital Marketing Institute. Students completing the MBA also earn digital marketing certifications from DMI and Facebook.

Those seeking bite-sized career-enhancers can also choose from a menu of business-focused online microcredentials, such as blockchain entrepreneurship, data and web analytics, online e-commerce and corporate social responsibility.

What Students Are Saying

My experience with University Canada West (UCW) as an international student pursuing an MBA has been an amazing one thus far. UCW's team from day one has gone the extra mile to ensure seamless application and enrolment processes into the institution. The professional and warm team at UCW does a tremendous job in ensuring that students are supported and are clear of the university’s expectations of students starting from the new students’ orientation. The institution provides exceptional support via workshops, information sessions, and one-on-one interactions with departments to ensure student's personal and professional development. UCW personnel ensure that students are guided and support our pre-arrival preparations for Canada. UCW’s teams assist students in getting settled into the university by offering innovative and valuable resources and support throughout our tenure as students. The institution offers relevant courses; the highly experienced and qualified instructors challenge and guide students to strengthen their skillset and equip us with the knowledge and hands-on exposure needed to become better professionals. The programs UCW offers strives to further mould us into valuable assets to our fields of choice and so that we will excel in our careers. I am happy that I chose UCW!

Nicola Barrett-Ross, MBA

The Online Experience

UCW’s online courses are structured for maximum flexibility and self-paced learning. There are no scheduled classes and all course materials – except for quizzes and exams – are made available on day one, so you can effectively plan your own learning schedule.

UCW boasts small class sizes of 28 students or fewer, maximizing interactivity with instructors and other students. Even in the virtual space, UCW courses stress open and effective communication; each program includes virtual office hours every week, as well as group projects, discussion forums and other collaborative activities.

Locations

Vancouver, British Columbia

8

McGill University

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Montreal-based McGill university routinely ranks as one of the top universities in the country and one of most competitive to enter. A 2021 survey found McGill had the highest average grades of any Canadian university, with 86 per cent for arts and 91-93 per cent for sciences.

McGill’s online offering, though, is largely focused on professional development courses and certificate programs in disciplines such as agile project management, data analytics for business, applied cybersecurity, graduate ESL and Indigenous business management. Diplomas are offered in public administration and governance as well as legal translation. The university recently unveiled an online Bachelor of Nursing, but it’s only open to graduates from Quebec’s CEGEP nursing program.

Another online platform, McGillX, delivers massive open online courses (MOOCs), which are free and flexible learning opportunities open to anyone, with verified certificates available to participants paying a $62 fee.

The Online Experience

Given McGill’s focus on career development credentials, most online programs are built to accommodate working lifestyles and hours. Courses are largely asynchronous and self-paced, and require about 4-5 hours of work per week.

Programs requiring live online attendance are generally scheduled in evenings after traditional working hours. These live online classes are convened with collaboration in mind, using virtual whiteboards, breakout rooms, polls and other interactive tools.

The two diploma programs are blended, combining self-paced learning with live, scheduled classes, timed assignments and instructor-led learning with an emphasis on problem-based learning and engagement with both peers and faculty.

Locations

Montreal, Quebec

9

Mount Royal University

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Calgary-based Mount Royal first introduced a self-paced learning program in 1996 when students in a politics class were allowed to choose whether to attend classes and could complete work at their own pace. The catch was that the highest achievable grade in the self-paced option was a C+.

Fortunately, the university has widely expanded its approach since then, and now offers more than 50 fully online certificate and diploma programs in business, health sciences, education and the arts. Specific areas of study include fields as diverse as machine learning, children’s mental health, digital marketing, police foundations, interior decorating, neonatal nursing and funeral services. Some programs are also offered in a fast-track format, using a more intensive learning schedule to achieve your learning goals more quickly.

MRU introduced micocredentials in 2022 and is building a wider range of career-enhancing options. It currently offers three microcredentials in ESG Reporting, and is developing a new course in applied machine learning.

The Online Experience

MRU offers a blend of online learning methods, with both synchronous and asynchronous courses and programs. Asynchronous pacing can vary; some courses may be largely self-paced but others will have set schedules and assignment deadlines. Asynchronous courses include no live interaction, but may still involve group projects and discussion forums to connect with classmates.

Programs are offered with a highly elastic schedules to help students complete their studies while balancing life commitments. To take one example, the addiction studies program can be completed in just two semesters, but students can take up to three years to finish their studies. Similarly, the esports management certificate requires just four courses within three years, allowing for a flexible learning pace.

           

Locations

Calgary, Ontario

10

Thompson Rivers University

online-mba
$ $ $ $

Thompson Rivers University embraces four fundamental pillars that inform its approach to learning: accessibility, flexibility, choice and credibility. The B.C.-based school operates on the open model, striving to make postsecondary education as accessible as possible, requiring minimal admission requirements and continuous enrolment for most programs.

TRU students are spoiled for choice, with approximately 550 courses delivered through over 60 programs such as the arts, business and management, education, health sciences, nursing, science, social work, trades and technology, and tourism. The tuition-free adult basic education program helps aspiring students meet some TRU program requirements or earn a high school diploma.

The Online Experience

TRU allows students maximum flexibility in their learning style, even with the choice of self-paced or paced programs. Self-paced programs allow students to enrol and start anytime and learn at their own pace within a 30-week timeframe, with flexibility even around their final exam date. Paced programs are cohort-based with defined semesters. Some individual courses, such as microbiology and anatomy, include lab sessions that require in-person attendance.

Personalized faculty attention and interaction are a key component of TRU’s online courses. Students work and communicate directly with instructors via email through the school’s course management system and by phone to receive direct discussion and motivation. TRU also employs dedicated program advisors who consult with students to design education plans to help best achieve your learning goals.

Locations

Kamloops, British Columbia

11

University of British Columbia

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

The University of British Columbia has a long and innovative track record in distance learning. In 1976, UBC launched an independent study program delivered on TV. Its online learning programs debuted in 1995, when only about 10 per cent of Canadians had home internet.

UBC delivers more than 100 mostly undergraduate online courses for degree and certificate programs spanning 10 faculties, including applied science, arts, dentistry, education, land and food systems, law, medicine and science.

The university’s extended learning faculty also offers a wide range of online microcredentials in studies such as anti-racism, mining law, cybersecurity, cloud computing, languages, career coaching and a course on blockchain, cryptocurrency and NFTs.

The Online Experience

UBC’s online offering has something for every style of learner, with courses that are fully online, hybrid (a mixture of mandatory online and in-person components) or multi-access, which allows students to attend either in person or online. A highly customizable course catalogue allows you to search all courses by delivery format, making it simple to find the best courses to fit your style and schedule.

The individual online courses delivery varies widely, allowing for a highly tailored educational experiences. Self-paced courses have no specific start or end dates, assignment deadlines or scheduled class meetings. Then there are four different cohort-based models with defined semesters but varying levels of faculty involvement and student demands; a course may have real-time classes but no set deadlines, or asynchronous classes with timed assignments. The choice is yours, and there’s a lot to choose from.

Locations

Vancouver and Kelowna, British Columbia

12

University of New Brunswick (UNB)

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

The University of New Brunswick is Canada’s oldest English-language university and an educational trailblazer on several fronts. It is home to Canada’s first programs in engineering and forestry, as well as the country’s first faculty of computer science.

Those specialties are all included among UNB’s wide range of online educational opportunities, with degree, certificate and professional development courses also in anthropology, biology, economics, family violence issues, management, math, recreation and sports studies, statistics and more. An online university prep course helps would-be students meet their admission goals and develop essential skills to postsecondary success.

UNB students can also take advantage of the school’s partnership with online learning services UGotClass and MindEdge Online, which collectively offer more than 400 additional for-credit, professional development and continuing education courses.

The Online Experience

UNB has something for every type of learner, whether completely independent and self-starting, or those wanting more structure in their online education.

The university operates a partially open model, meaning many programs and courses are available for enrolment at almost any time, and to almost anyone with no prerequisites. You pick your own start date and learning is entirely self-paced; the only deadline is that you have to finish each course within six months.

Other online courses are term-based, with scheduled weekly learning and assignments, and most be finished within an assigned academic term. Term-based programs feature more interactivity, such as collaborative work and participation in online discussions.

Locations

Fredericton and St. John, New Brunswick

13

University of Manitoba

online-universities-canada
4.5/5
$ $ $ $

The University of Manitoba was the first university in western Canada and ranks as one of the largest and oldest universities in the country. In 2008, the school pioneered a digital first when a UM instructor launched the world’s first massive open online course (MOOC) attended by 2,300 students around the world.

Today, UM offers more than 80 online courses across a diverse mix of disciplines, such as business, finance and management, process and technology management, public sector and municipal administration, and applied social sciences.

One unique offering is the professional development in higher education administration program, providing skills to build a career in postsecondary education. Courses and seminars cover key areas such as leading academic departments, university management and women in academic leadership.

The Online Experience

UM’s online experience is largely asynchronous, giving students maximum flexibility to study at their own pace. Courses are still a defined length, ranging from anywhere between 2-12 weeks. The one exception is the applied counselling program, where each course involves multiple synchronous online sessions over the length of the course.

Even while studying independently and asynchronously, UM provides extensive support and resources to set students up for success. Its Academic Learning Centre provides tutoring and workshops to develop essential student skills like academic writing, time management and study plans. Students needing group support and motivation can join virtual study halls or group study sessions for select courses.  

Locations

Fort Garry and Bannatyne, Manitoba

14

Memorial University

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Memorial University was founded in 1925, before its home province was officially part of Canada, and has been delivering for-credit distance education since 1969.

It’s also the largest the largest university in Atlantic Canada, and its online course catalogue is sizable as well, with more than 475 courses in degree, diploma and certificate programs in a wide range of specialties, such as business administration, marine and maritime studies, education, criminology, food safety, human kinetics and nursing.

While the majority of programs are fully online, some are delivered in what the school calls “mixed mode,” meaning 75 per cent online with some on-campus components.

The Online Experience

Online learning at Memorial is designed with maximum flexibility in mind where possible. Most courses are asynchronous and built to support a self-directed learning experience. Learning, coursework and communication are done though the Brightspace, a popular cloud-based learning platform with a mobile app allowing students to complete tasks or communicate easily while on the go.

While self-directed, online courses are still designed to facilitate meaningful interaction with course content, faculty and classmates while still allowing that all-important flexibility. Instructors and students meet for regular check-ins to provide feedback and monitor academic progress, and courses are built with spaces designed for effective interactivity. Memorial’s Brightspace platform includes “online rooms” where students can attend office hours or presentations, and also meet for group work, language practice, role play and collaborative work.

Locations

St. John's, Newfoundland

15

Trent University

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Trent University is a public university established in 1964 with two separate colleges for male and female students. The now fully coeducational school has a reputation experiential learning and  small class sizes to deliver an intimate and personal learning experience.

The Peterborough, Ontario-based school offers over 100 courses across a vast range of studies, including business administration, journalism, Chinese, forensic science, physics, and social work. Popular courses include dreams and dreaming, computer crime and forensics, artificial intelligence and introduction to genetics.

The selection of online programs is small but growing, and delivers undergraduate and graduate studies in unique and highly specialized areas. Current options are a master of bioenvironmental monitoring and assessment (MBEMA), an Ontario tech master of science and nursing (MScN) and a diploma in circumpolar studies, one of the few programs of its kind anywhere in the world.

The Online Experience

Trent Online prides itself on flexibility, interactivity and a personalized learning experience. Its asynchronous course delivery is designed to provide full flexibility to fit your schedule, while still promoting lively interactivity. Courses materials are delivered asynchronously, allowing you to study at your own pace. While study is independent, courses will typically include a variety of interactive activities such as class discussions, group projects and lab simulations. The 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio provides a personal learning experience and assures you won’t get lost in the crowd.

Given Trent’s emphasis on developing work-ready skills, some online programs will include experiential and hands-on learning opportunities. The MScN program, for example, requires a one-week residency on-campus residency.

Locations

Peterborough and Oshawa, Ontario

16

Lakehead University

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Lakehead is a public university based in Northern Ontario which prides itself on a friendly student atmosphere, commitment to Indigenous students and small class sizes to deliver personalized learning experiences.

The university offers two fully online undergraduate programs. The first is a three year “general” BA aimed primarily at mature students and designed to give them significant leeway in their course selection. The second is a BA in history, also spread over three years. Both courses can include a wide range of electives as well as an Indigenous content requirement.

Lakehead partners with more than a dozen other universities and colleges to deliver over 1,300 online micocredentials with a dizzying array of topics covering real estate planning, Python, digital scrapbooking, public speaking, digital photography, music, welding and many, many more.

In 2021, Lakehead University was awarded $751,000 by eCampusOntario as part of the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS), designed to expand virtual and hybrid learning opportunities in the region.

The Online Experience

Lakehead divides its online course delivery for students with different learning styles. There are  synchronous courses, which involves scheduled real-time lectures, discussions, tests and other learning activities.

In asynchronous courses, students can consume lectures, readings and other course materials at their own pace, but are still held to assigned deadlines. Instructors may release course materials week-by-week, limiting how quickly you can self-pace.

Synchronous or not, Lakehead provides extensive support for successful online learning, from tips on writing effective emails to virtual study groups and its Academic Support Zone, which provides test prep resources, study strategies, tutoring and access to academic advisors to best position you for success.

Locations

Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario

17

Université TÉLUQ

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Université TÉLUQ is the only French-language university in North America that offers all its courses via distance learning and the only distance university in the Quebec. It was founded in 1972 as an exclusively distance learning university named Telé-université but has grown enormously since then, and now teaches 18,000 remote students each year while also holding classes on campuses in Québec and Montreal.

TÉLUQ currently delivers 430 courses across 125 programs in administrative sciences – which includes accounting, economics, HR, law and management; communications – as well as computer science, education, environment, humanities, languages and sciences. A multidisciplinary BA allows students to earn a certificate or degree while studying multiple areas. There’s also a dedicated course to teach strategies for successful online education.

The Online Experience

As a distance university since its birth, TÉLUQ has a long history of building educational programs that strike an effective work-life-school balance and position online students for success. Registration is open year-round and you can start your courses when ready at any point during the academic term.

Courses are asynchronous and generally timed to take 15 weeks, with 6-9 hours of coursework per week. While learning is self-directed, there are set deadlines for tasks and assignments. Instructors will provide a roadmap of the work to be completed each week.

TÉLUQ emphasizes the learning independently doesn’t mean your own your own. For each course you take, you are assigned a resource person to monitor and facilitate your learning and help you overcome difficulties with your studies.

Locations

Quebec City, Quebec

18

Royal Military College of Canada

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

The Royal Military College trains and educates officer cadets for all branches of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The Kingston, Ontario-based college debuted its distance learning program in 1997 to cater to the unique time demands that come with a military career. As a result, RMC Online enrolment is open primarily to CAF members and their spouses as well as civilians in certain federal government departments, such as the department of defence. Students at select other universities may take RMC courses as a visiting student, but credits count towards a degree at their home institution.

Through RMC Online, students can pursue a selection of undergraduate and graduate certificate and degree programs, such as in military arts and sciences, public administration, military leadership and management, war studies and a masters in business administration.

The Online Experience

To best suit the operational commitments of a military life, RMC Online delivers fully asynchronous instruction. Some courses are formatted as dual-delivery, using both synchronous and asynchronous instruction and allowing students to choose whichever mode suits them best. The course can still be totally asynchronous if you prefer, but comes with the opportunity to access real-time learning to enhance the online learning experience.

RMC Online uses Moodle, a popular open-source learning platform where students access course materials and submit assignments. RMC’s Moodle platform also features courses on academic integrity and “how to succeed in online learning,” which covers essential bases like time management and effective study techniques.

Locations

Kingston, Ontario

19

IBU (International Business University)

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

International Business University is a unique institution, an independent not-for-profit school with a laser focus on “next-generation” business education, deploying a curriculum designed to equip students for the needs of a rapidly evolving business ecosystem.

IBU offers precisely one program, a comprehensive bachelor of commerce with courses covering a wide spectrum of key business skills, such as applied economics, marketing and sales, negotiation skills, tech literacy, market research, project management and more, spread over  eight semesters. To deliver a truly holistic business education, the program also includes courses on topics to help students understand the cultural and societal forces shaping the international business landscape,  such as contemporary world history, culture and design thinking, and politics and government relations.

The Online Experience

IBU’s online curriculum is mixed, including both synchronous and asynchronous elements and always with a focus on interactivity and student-faculty connectivity. Online students attend weekly, one-hour webinars for each course allowing Q&A with IBU faculty and connection with other students. Courses teaching critical business skills like communication, team-building and negotiation use unique collaborative teaching methods and a variety of simulations, workshops and group activities. Classes are capped at 30 students to allow for robust interactivity and group dynamics while still delivering a personalized experience.

While the program is designed to be finished in four years, year-round study options allow you to graduate in three. If life demands a less aggressive courseload, you can also study part-time and finish the program within a maximum of 16 semesters.

 

Locations

Toronto, Ontario

20

Yorkville University

online-universities-canada
$ $ $ $

Yorkville University is a private, for-profit school based in New Brunswick delivering professional skills training since 2004. YU offers a lean but diverse online course catalogue with four undergraduate programs and seven graduate programs in disciplines such as counselling psychology, interior design, psychotherapy, social justice and educational leadership.

The undergraduate bachelor of business administration is among YU’s premier offerings, and allows specializations in accounting, project management, energy management and supply chain management. The masters in counselling psychology is another popular option which is taught fully online but does require a live and hands-on practicum lasting about 30 weeks at the end of the program.

The Online Experience

YU students experience a fast-paced but flexible program designed to work around part-time jobs and other commitments. Program start dates are offered year-round and students have the option to graduate faster via an “accelerated program” where you also study year-round without extended breaks.

With an average class size around 20 students, YU promises a highly personalized learning experience with active participation and  thriving online communities to promote peer interaction and skill development, as well as networking opportunities and career advice from faculty.

YU students report course loads can be heavy and intensive, but the school’s elastic scheduling options help keep academics manageable. The Student Success Centre offers students 24/7 support and access to writing and math labs, tutoring and one-on-one academic support.

Locations

New Westminster, British Columbia

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