Canadian Universities Rankings

Are you considering attending a Canadian University and are interested in rankings? Do you want to know where Canadian Universities are ranked in comparison to the world? Read our guide for more facts and information…

Rankings of universities are conducted by many independent researchers with their findings then released. In Canada the most popular source for university rankings is the list compiled by Maclean’s magazine. This magazine creates a list scoring Canadian universities in many different categories before averaging the scores to create a final rank for the school. Maclean’s typically scores Canadian universities in the categories of student body experience, class size and experience, faculty, finances and available assistance, library resources and finally reputation. It is also common for most university ranking systems to rank schools in three categories of undergraduate study, graduate programs and professional schools. It is important to note that the rankings of Canadian universities are not complete as many smaller institutions often fail to be recognized in the rankings and in Canada specifically Maclean’s chooses to not include privately funded universities in their scores.

World Rankings

The rankings complied by Maclean’s weigh Canadian universities against Canadian universities; however, many rankings exist which evaluate Canadian schools against institutions worldwide.  On most world rankings the highest ranking Canadian university is the University of Toronto, which averages an average score of 28 on these rankings.  In world rankings a second Canadian University usually is ranked in the top 50 of world institutions as the University of British Colombia usually ranks 41. It is also of note that in a 2006 study published by Newsweek a total of five Canadian universities were ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. Newsweek may have ranked five Canadian schools in the top 100, however, the world average usually only has four universities ranked this high.

Canadian Rankings

Maclean’s magazine located in Canada publishes a list ranking Canadian universities each year to help advise applicants to the upcoming academic year. Every year the rankings shift to a varying degree; however an overall ranking can be created by averaging past rankings. The average top 10 Canadian institutions are from first to tenth:

1. The University of Toronto
2. The University of British Colombia
3. McGill University
4. The University of Alberta
5. Université de Montréal
6. MacMaster University
7. University of Waterloo
8. Queen’s University
9. The University of Western Ontario
10. Simon Fraser University


The ranking of Canadian universities is not without controversy as many schools have expressed displeasure over the ranking process. For example some larger universities such as the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto have expressed frustration over the rankings which may in part be to the fact that researched focused schools such as these rank high on reputation and academics but often suffer in student experience. It has also become a recent issue that many prominent universities no longer want to participate in future surveys over concerns with the release of information and the displeasure with the system. In response to the refusal of Canadian universities to participate the institutions now face increased criticism and more speculation.

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