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5 Charts: University of Waterloo vs. America's Top Tech Schools

Five charts that compare the University of Waterloo's tech and research credentials to top tech schools in the United States.

The University of Waterloo is one of the top computer science schools in the world. It’s Canada’s most innovative university, according to our top business magazine. It ranks #1 in Canada for Engineering and Technology and is home to the world’s largest co-operative education program. Its graduates are recognized worldwide as some of the brightest, boldest and most employable talent.

It’s a great Canadian school, but how does the University of Waterloo compare to its competitors in the United States?

We investigated how the University of Waterloo compared to other major tech schools across the United States in quality, quantity, employability, research capacity and entrepreneurship. Let’s take a deep dive into comparative data from QS and Pitchbook and see whether the University of Waterloo ‘Warriors’ can truly battle it out with other household names.

Round One: Overall Computer Science Ranking

Computer Science Ranking Updated

Source: QS University Subject Rankings, 2022

The University of Waterloo (UWaterloo) is ranked #25 in the world in Computer Science, which is an incredible feat. It is competitive with schools like the University of Texas at Austin, and well ahead of Yale, the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the University of Michigan. UWaterloo has been performing admirably on the QS rankings in Computer Science over the last few years and it is truly an accomplishment to see the school rubbing elbows with the best of the best.

Round Two: Computer Science University Program Size

CS Program Size

Sources: University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin, Yale University, Carnegie-Mellon University, California Institute of Technology and University of Waterloo, 2021

With Waterloo, it isn’t quality or quantity. It’s both.

Our Computer Science program is home to exceptional quality and quantity, an achievement few post-secondary schools in the world can claim.

The Computer Science program at the University of Waterloo is home to 4,000 undergraduate students, placing UWaterloo miles ahead of CalTech, Yale, Carnegie-Mellon, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas at Austin. In fact, UWaterloo has more students than CalTech, Yale, Carnegie-Mellon and the University of Michigan combined!

Round Three: Overall Student Employability

Graduate Employability

Source: QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2021

Graduates from UWaterloo are among the most employable candidates for jobs. Our 24th place ranking in the 2022 QS Graduate Employability Rankings puts us in the top 5% in the world and places us higher than CalTech, Carnegie-Mellon, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas at Austin.

Almost all computer science students at UWaterloo graduate with nearly two years of on-the-job experience, thanks to our unique co-operative education program. The co-operative education program at UWaterloo fosters professional skills like collaboration, creativity and problem-solving in the workplace, and contributes to graduates’ employability.

It’s a major reason why our community is considered the #1 small tech talent market in North America, and why big brands like Google, SAP and OpenText are located here. The talent pipeline in Waterloo is unmatched.

Round Four: Research

Citations per Faculty

Source: QS University Rankings, 2021

Research capacity is a marker of innovation. A high number of citations per faculty at a university indicates that the school is pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo in pursuit of new ideas, innovations and knowledge.

And UWaterloo is right up there with some of the best research institutions in North America. Faculty at UWaterloo contribute to numerous world-leading local research centres and institutions and regularly collaborate with industry professionals to advance innovation in the Waterloo ecosystem. In fact, nine UWaterloo researchers were recently named to the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2021 list from Clairvate.

Round Five: Entrepreneurship


Source: Pitchbook, Top Schools for Founders, 2021

When it comes to entrepreneurship, it’s no surprise that UWaterloo is a force on Pitchbook’s Top Schools for Founders list. After all, we are Canada’s Most Innovative University and 18% of all founders in Canada come from UWaterloo.

Waterloo’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem supports the innovation occurring at UWaterloo. Our community has the 2nd highest density of startups in North America and has the most VC investments per capita in Canada.

The University of Waterloo is a cornerstone of our community. The exceptional quality and quantity of our Computer Science program, as well as research capacities, have a huge impact in Waterloo and have cemented the school’s legacy as a force to be reckoned with.

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