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5 Charts: University of Waterloo vs. New York’s Top Tech Schools

5 charts that compare the University of Waterloo's tech credentials to New York's top tech schools, including NYU, Cornell and Columbia.

The world-renowned University of Waterloo (UWaterloo) is at the centre of Waterloo’s reputation as a dynamic tech ecosystem.

This global reputation for producing incredible tech talent is a driving force behind CBRE recognizing Waterloo as the #1 small tech talent market in North America, It’s also the reason companies keep coming to Waterloo, or expanding their existing operations here. In our community you’ll find some of the strongest tech talent in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor.

Fueled by our continuous curiosity, we’ve taken another data deep-dive, this time comparing the UWaterloo to New York State’s finest universities, including two Ivy League institutions. How will UWaterloo match up to NYU, Columbia and Cornell? Let’s explore the data and find out.

Here’s how the UWaterloo compares to New York’s top tech schools:

Round One: Overall Computer Science Ranking

New York Schools VS Waterloo CS Rankings

Source: QS University Rankings, University Ranking by Subject: Computer Science and Information Systems, 2024

A competitive top-25 finish here for the UWaterloo, which is also one of the top computer science schools in Canada. Placing this closely to these New York giants is not only a source of pride for Waterloo, but also lends itself to the potential to close the gap even further in years to come as they continue to push the envelope on innovation.

With cutting edge programming opportunities and leading co-op experiences, it’s no wonder that UWaterloo can compete with the best and biggest.

Round Two: Computer Science Program Size

Sources: University of Waterloo, University College London, Queen Mary University of London, King’s College London, Imperial College London, 2022

The UWaterloo earns a huge lead over its New York competitors with almost 4,000 students enrolled in their computer science program. In fact, you could combine Cornell and Columbia’s enrollment and it still doesn’t equal UWaterloo’s enrollment.

Round Three: Overall Graduate Employability Ranking

Source: QS University Rankings, 2022

The ‘Big Apple’ universities take the win here, but the UWaterloo is still close on their heels. The UWaterloo has a long history of producing high quality graduates, thanks to their incredible, decades strong co-op program, which ensures that graduates leave their program with two years of on-the-job work experience.

It starts with the co-operative education program. The UWaterloo works with over 7,000+ employers – including Microsoft, Apple, Google and hundreds of startups and scale-ups – to ensure that every computer science student graduates with two years of on-the-job experience.

Round Four: Research Capabilities

Source: QS University Rankings, 2024

Research and development are among the core foundations of the UWaterloo – it’s why they’ve been named . It’s why we’re not surprised to see them earn this honourable finish, behind Cornell but easily ahead of NYU and Columbia.

While research and talent are certainly a draw, incentives like the SR&ED program offers tax incentives for businesses in Canada that perform basic research, applied research or experimental development in the fields of science and/or technology. Each year, the SR&ED program provides $3B in tax incentives to over 20,000 applicants, making it a crucial driver for research and development in Canada.

Round Five: Entrepreneurship (0-100)

Source: Pitchbook, Top Schools for Founders, 2024

In our final round, we compare the universities by their aptitude for producing successful entrepreneurs, according to the Pitchbook University Rankings latest report. The UWaterloo earns a respectable 21st place in the world, but also 1st place in Canada, which is well deserved since about 18% of all Canadian tech founders studied there.


Summarizing Success

If you’re looking for Canadian tech talent on the heels of the competition from Ivy League universities, look no further than the top-quality talent emerging from UWaterloo. They’re driven by a deeply rooted innovative nature, and they’re primed to hit the ground running.

Here are the key takeaways from this matchup:

  • While Waterloo competes well with New York tech schools, on employability and entrepreneurship, UWaterloo’s access to vast resources and programs makes it a unique talent and business ecosystem.
  • UWaterloo has higher computer science enrollment that any of the other New York tech schools.
  • In areas of research and computer science rankings, UWaterloo came out close to the top.
  • Its world-renowned co-op program is one thing that helps UWaterloo stand out against its competitors.
Tap into the fantastic talent pouring out of the University of Waterloo