The 10 Best Universities in Canada for 2020

It’s that time again! Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has released its annual World University Rankings for 2020. QS used six simple metrics to determine a university’s overall performance.

The metrics are as follows:

  • Academic Reputation (40%)
  • Employer Reputation (10%)
  • Faculty/Student Ratio (20%)
  • Citations per faculty (20%)
  • International faculty ratio/International student ratio (5% each)

Overall, 26 Canadian universities landed on the World University Rankings for 2020, which includes 1,001 universities from around the world. While you can find a full list of the 26 universities here, the 10 universities below are considered the best in Canada right now.

10. Queen’s University

Global Rank: 239

Queen's University campus

Sourced from Queen’s University

Located in beautiful Kingston, Ontario, Queen’s University held steady as the 10th best university in Canada and 239th in the world. One of Canada’s oldest universities, Queen’s ranks 4th among medical-doctoral universities in Canada and is a highly regarded research institution.

9. University of Calgary

Global Rank: 233

University of Calgary

Source: University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is one of Canada’s top five research universities, with 77 Canada Research Chairs and 85 research buildings. Calgary, Alberta’s largest public university also scores high for its enterprising campus atmosphere and international faculty.

8. Western University

Global Rank: 211

Western University campus

Source: Western University

London, Ontario’s Western University rose three spots to 211th in the world. One of the reasons for this is Western achieves the highest score among Canadian universities for the citations per faculty member indicator (77th). Western also has three programs – Nursing, Philosophy, and Psychology – that rank among the Top 50 programs in the world.

7. University of Waterloo

Global Rank: 173

University of Waterloo Signage

Source: University of Waterloo

Like Western, the University of Waterloo is ranked in the top 100 globally for the citations per faculty member indicator. UW is recognized as one of Canada’s most innovative universities over the past 25 years and has one of the largest co-op education programs in the world.

6. McMaster University

Global Rank: 140

McMaster University campus

Source: LinkedIn

Hamilton, Ontario’s McMaster University climbed six spots in the world rankings (140th) and is regarded as the 6th best university in Canada for 2020. McMaster is known for its prestigious medical school. However, it’s also one of Canada’s top three research-intensive universities and is the only Canadian host of a United Nations University – The Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

5. Université de Montréal

Global Ranking: 137

Université de Montréal

Source: Le Devoir

The French-speaking Université de Montréal jumped quite a bit in this year’s rankings – it’s up one spot among Canadian universities and 12 spots in the world rankings(137th). The university ranks among the global top 100 institutions in the field of life sciences and medicine, and its pharmacy and pharmacology schools are 48th in the world.

4. University of Alberta

Global Ranking: 113

University of Alberta

Source: University of Alberta

Located in the city of Edmonton, the University of Alberta is one of Canada’s top-ranked universities thanks in large part to its research focus and a wide array of undergraduate and graduate programs. QS ranks the university high in academic reputation and international education, with over 7,800 international students in attendance.

3. University of British Columbia

Global Ranking: 51

University of British Columbia

Sourced from UBC

The highest ranked institution on Canada’s west coast, the University of British Columbia is also among the Top 100 universities in the world according to QS’s rankings. QS gives special attention to UBC’s Geography, Mineral and Mining Engineering, and Sports-related programs. However, employer reputation and overall academic reputation also help put UBC into Canada’s Top 3.

2. McGill University

Global Ranking: 35

McGill University campus

Source: McGill University

In this year’s rankings, Montreal’s McGill University tied with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for the 35th best university in the world. McGill’s high ranking is partly based on its international education standing, as international students account for close to 25 percent of the university’s total student population.

1. University of Toronto

Global Ranking: 29

University of Toronto

Source: University of Toronto

The birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, the University of Toronto nabs the #1 spot yet again. Tied for 29th in the world alongside the Australian National University, U of T has the highest scores among Canadian universities for academic and employer reputation. The University of Toronto has over 74,000 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs, making it Canada’s largest university!

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