Rankings of universities in Canada

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Several publications in Canada release annual rankings of Canadian Universities. Most notably, rankings of universities in Canada is published annually by news magazine Maclean's under the name Maclean's University Rankings which began in 1991.[1] Other publications include online sources such as The World University Rankings and CollegeSage's annual Canadian University Rankings.[2] The primary aim of the rankings is to inform potential undergraduate applicants about Canadian universities based on a range of criteria, including student body characteristics, classes, faculty, finances, library, and reputation. The rankings are split into three categories: schools that focus on undergraduate studies with few to no graduate programs, schools that have both extensive undergraduate studies and an extensive selection of graduate programs and schools that have a professional medical program and a selection of graduate programs.[3] A notable difference between rankings in the United States and Maclean's rankings, however, is that Maclean's excludes privately–funded universities.

In 2012, the Higher Education Strategy Associates published a study ranking Canadian Universities based on research strength. The study ranks Canadian Universities in two broad fields: Science and Engineering, and Social Sciences and Humanities.[4]

Starting in 2014, YOUhub launched its 2015 Ultimate Guide to Canadian Universities, which focuses mainly on undergraduate education. This guide was created by surveying more than 550 undergraduate students in Canada across 9 key categories. The guide includes rankings, university profiles, and statistical analysis of its own data as well as publicly available data in order to provide students with unique insights.[5]

Maclean's rankings[edit]

The data below is from the 2014/2015 Maclean's University Rankings.

Medical/doctoral universities[edit]

The top category of universities in Canada are referred to in the Maclean's rankings as "Medical/Doctoral" universities (or major research universities). They offer a broad range of PhD and other graduate programs and have medical and other professional schools. Below are the most current rankings of these universities.[6]

Rank University
1 University of Toronto
2 McGill University
3 University of British Columbia
4 Queen's University
5 University of Alberta
6 McMaster University
7 Dalhousie University
8 University of Ottawa
9= University of Calgary
9= University of Western Ontario
11 Université de Montréal
12 University of Saskatchewan
13 Université Laval
14 University of Manitoba
15 Université de Sherbrooke

Comprehensive universities[edit]

Comprehensive universities have a significant degree of research activity and a wide range of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including professional degrees.[7]

Rank University
1 Simon Fraser University
2 University of Victoria
3 University of Waterloo
4 University of New Brunswick
5 University of Guelph
6= Carleton University
6= Memorial University of Newfoundland
8= Ryerson University
8= York University
10 University of Regina
11 Concordia University
12 University of Windsor
13 Wilfrid Laurier University
14 Université du Québec à Montréal
15 Brock University

Primarily undergraduate universities[edit]

Primarily Undergraduate universities are largely focused on undergraduate education with relatively fewer graduate programs and graduate students.[8]

Rank University
1 Mount Allison University
2 Acadia University
3= University of Lethbridge
3= University of Northern British Columbia
5 Saint Mary's University
6 Trent University
7= St. Francis Xavier University
7= University of Prince Edward Island
9 Bishop's University
10 Lakehead University
11 Université de Moncton
12 St. Thomas University
13 University of Ontario Institute of Technology
14= Laurentian University
14= University of Winnipeg
16 Brandon University
17 Mount Saint Vincent University
18 Cape Breton University
19 Nipissing University


The University of Calgary produced a formal study examining the ranking methodology, illuminating the factors that determined its rank and criticising certain aspects of the methodology. The University of Alberta, the University of Toronto and University of Manitoba have expressed displeasure over the ranking system.[9]

Beginning in September 2006, over 20 Canadian universities, including several of the most prestigious and largest universities such as the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, Concordia University, McMaster University and Dalhousie University, jointly refused to participate.[10] University of Alberta president Indira Samarasekera wrote that Maclean's initially filed a "Freedom of Information" request but that it was "too late" for the universities to respond. Samarasekera further stated, "Most of [the universities] had already posted the data online, and we directed Maclean's staff to our Web sites. In instances where the magazine staff couldn’t find data on our Web site, they chose to use the previous year's data."[11]

Higher Education Strategy Associates' rankings[edit]

The data below is from the 2012 study ranking Canadian universities based on the research contribution of the average professor at a given university, and was published by the Higher Education Strategy Associates.[12]

Science and Engineering[edit]

Rank University
1 University of Toronto
2 University of Waterloo
3 University of Montreal
4 McGill University
5 Simon Fraser University
6 Carleton University
7 University of Ottawa
8 York University
9 Queen's University
10 Université du Québec à Rimouski

Social Sciences and Humanities[edit]

Rank University
1 University of Toronto
2 McGill University
3 University of British Columbia
4 University of Alberta
5 University of Guelph
6 Université de Montréal
7 McMaster University
8 York University
9 Concordia University
10 Simon Fraser University

YOUhub's Rankings[edit]

The data below is from YOUhub's 2015 Ultimate Guide to Canada Universities. The ranking system uses simply an average across all 9 categories to come up with the overall score. More details about the specifics can be found on their website. Also, when people purchase the Ultimate Guide to Canadian Universities, it not only includes the results across the 9 categories, but also the 57 criterion that made up those 9 categories. Moreover, people can download an additional tool that allows them to put in their own weightings for each category or criterion, ultimately creating their own customized university rankings. Finally, it also has actual reviews from current university students for each university.

Overall Rankings[edit]

Rank University
1 Queen's University
2 York University
3 Bishop's University
4 McGill University
5 Acadia University
6 University of British Columbia
7 St. Francis Xavier University
8 Université de Montréal
9 Ryerson University
10 Wilfrid Laurier University
11 University of Western Ontario
12 University of Toronto
13 McMaster University
14 University of Saskatchewan
15 University of Alberta
16 University of Calgary
17 University of New Brunswick
18 Concordia University
19 University of Waterloo
20 University of Ottawa
21 Mount Allison University
22 University of Guelph
23 Simon Fraser University
24 Dalhousie University
25 Carleton University
26 University of Victoria
27 University of Manitoba


  1. ^ Macleans (2008). 2009 Student Surveys. Macleans.ca, on campus. Rogers Publishing Limited. Retrieved on: 2009-05-09.
  2. ^ "CollegeSage" (2013). [1]. Retrieved on 2013-02-06.
  3. ^ Dwyer, M. (November 2006). "Our 16th Annual Rankings: We evaluated 47 Canadian universities, by the numbers and under the microscope." Macleans.ca. Retrieved on: 2009-05-09.
  4. ^ http://higheredstrategy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/rankings2012.pdf
  5. ^ "YOUniversityHub.com" (2015). [2]. Retrieved on 2014-11-09.
  6. ^ 2014 University Rankings: Medical Doctoral category results Macleans.ca
  7. ^ 2015 University Rankings: Comprehensive category results Macleans.ca
  8. ^ 2014 University Rankings: Primarily Undergraduate results Macleans.ca
  9. ^ "Maclean's releases its 20th university rankings". Vancouversun.com. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 2012-06-06. 
  10. ^ Schmidt, S. (2 September 2006). "Universities continue to shun Maclean's ranks." National Post. CanWest News Service. Retrieved on: 2009-05-09
  11. ^ Samarasekera, Indira (2 April 2007). "Rising Up Against Rankings". Inside Higher Ed. 
  12. ^ http://higheredstrategy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/rankings2012.pdf