ELENA IOURTAEVA/THE VARSITY

The University of Toronto is back on top in the recently released Academic Ranking of World Universities. The university placed twenty-fourth overall — moving up four spots from last year — and was the highest-ranked university in Canada. 

This year, U of T’s top-ranked program was computer science, at number 10. Meanwhile, economics and business programs saw the biggest improvement in ranking, jumping from fourty-eighth last year to twenty-fourth this year.

U of T beat out the University of British Columbia (UBC), which ranked thirty-seventh; McGill University, which ranked sixty-seventh; and McMaster University, which ranked ninetieth. 

Although Canada had four universities in the top 100, most were American. Harvard University was ranked first for the twelfth year in a row, with Stanford University ranked second and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology taking third place.

The ranking is based on a number of criteria, including number of alumni and faculty that won Nobel Prizes and Field Medals, number of highly cited researchers, number of academic papers published in Nature and Science, number of papers indexed in other major citation indices, and per-capita academic performance at the institution. 

“To be recognized once again as one of the world’s leading universities is a testimony to the scholarship, creativity and innovation of our faculty, staff and students. This reflects not only their academic excellence but the impact of their research in Canada and throughout the world,” said U of T provost Cheryl Regehr in a statement.

Although the ranking primarily concentrated on graduate education, Althea Blackburn-Evans, U of T director of media relations, reaffirmed the university’s commitment to undergraduate education.

“The university is very much focussed on delivering an excellent undergraduate experience as well as maintaining and strengthening its position as a globally-recognized research leader.  Hand in hand with that research focus, U of T is Canada’s leading provider of graduate education.  Institutional decisions are focussed on maintaining and growing the quality of our programs at all levels.  Rankings are just one way those programs are measured,” she said.

Blackburn-Evans added that rankings offer the university one metric by which to measure its success. “All rankings are based on different criteria and need to be viewed critically; it’s important to understand what is being measured in any given ranking.  That said, these rankings and others are seen by potential students, faculty members and others around the world, so doing well — as the U of T has done consistently — is important,” she said.

U of T routinely places highly in global university rankings, including the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The university is currently ranked seventeenth in the QS World University Rankings, while McGill University ranked twenty-first, and UBC came in fourty-ninth.

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