Friday, 9 October 2009

Canada's Place in World University Rankings

How do Canada's universities rate when compared with the best in the world. Pretty darn good, I'd have to conclude after looking through the just-published latest Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings 2009. The ranking are based primarily on ratings of 9300 academics around the world, along with, in order of declining importance, research productivity, student-faculty ratios, employer reviews and proportions of international faculty and students.

  • Canada took 11 of the top 200 spots, better than many other countries with much larger populations, like Germany with only 10, France with 4
  • Canada had 12 in the top 200 last year - apparently Asian universities are moving into the top rankings displacing mainly US universities (and what longer term effects will the recession aftermath do to further erode that result?) - competition is hotting up and Canada has no cause for complacency as all but McGill and U of T moved lower in the rankings. See also the 2008 vs 2009 table
  • the USA (54 of the top 200) and the UK (29) dominate the world higher education business, with all of the top ten between them and 18 of the top 20
  • in terms of "punching above its weight" in terms of population, Canada is 3rd in the world, at a ratio of about 0.33 (11 universities for a population of 33.8 million) behind the leader UK (ratio 0.47) and Australia (ratio 0.41); the USA is way behind at a measely ratio of 0.18; if one subdivides the UK as Scots are fond of doing(!), wee Scotland with only five million people has the highest ratio of all with 4 universities in the list - ratio = 0.8! ... too bad it doesn't have a very good football team, so everyone could be happy...
  • McGill is the best university in Canada and number 18 in the world, followed by:
U of Toronto (29th),
UBC (40th),
U of Alberta (59th),
U of Montréal (107th),
U of Waterloo (113th),
Queen's (118th),
McMaster (143rd)
Calgary (149th)
Western (151st)
Simon Fraser (196th)
These Times-QS rankings correspond fairly well with those of Maclean's magazine, which also put McGill on top amongst the medical/doctoral schools, though Queen's is second there and Dalhousie, Saskatchewan and Ottawa rate ahead of Western.


FB @ said...

Having gone to a Canadian university, I think it also depends on what subject you're taking at each.

Some universities specialize in business, others in medicine, etc.

And I think Maclean's also ranks the quality of life as judged by the students, right?

If so, then it's also subjective, as I didn't really enjoy student life at my university, but I feel as though I came out with the best education.

It's nice to know Canadian universities are faring so well! :)

CanadianInvestor said...

For sure, the Times survey doesn't give very fine-grained evaluations and I would definitely agree that results can vary a lot by specialty. It's worth doing the research.

One thing I realized after picking UBC for my MBA is that a big part of a good school is the quality of fellow students - being surrounded by smart, hard-working others really pushes one to do better. UBC delivered much better than U of Ottawa, where I had started my MBA. It really is worth going for the best you can afford or find IMHO.

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