Four Canadian universities rank among the top 100

Of the top 100 universities listed on the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings for 2018, four Canadian schools made the final cut.

The University of Toronto (U of T) is the highest-ranking school of the four, landing in the 22nd spot. Next up is the University of British Columbia (UBC), ranked 34th, followed by McGill University in 42nd, and finally McMaster University, ranked 78th.

Times Higher Education is a company that provides an annual ranking of universities across the world and provides them with data, analysis, and insight to achieve their strategic goals.

The top-ranking Canadian school, U of T, could not respond to the Charlatan’s questions. Larysa Woloszansky, media relations at U of T, said that the school gets too many media requests to respond to student media outside of their own—McMaster University also could not reply for comment.

David Shorthouse, director of academic initiatives in the office of the vice-president (academic) at UBC said in an email that UBC is proud of their consistently high rankings. 

He added that “while rankings are an important measure of a university’s progress, numbers never tell the whole story.”

According to Times Higher Education, a university’s rating is determined by five areas: the quality of the learning environment, their research, the influence of their research (citations), their international outlook, and their industry income.

However, schools that do not offer undergraduate programs or whose research output amounts to fewer than 1,000 articles between 2012 and 2016 are excluded from consideration, according to their website.

Following the exclusion process, institutions who made the cut provide and sign off their institutional data for use in the rankings. On the rare occasions when a particular data point is not provided, Times Higher Education enters a conservative estimate for the missing data.

Once Times Higher Education assigns schools a ranking, PricewaterhouseCoopers, a professional services firm, performs an independent audit on the rankings to assure objectivity.

Phil Baty, the Times Higher Education rankings editor, told the Globe and Mail that  universities “really do have to run fast to stand still in this context of intense global competition.”

Jaclyn Adelson, a second-year global and international studies student at Carleton University, said in a text message that these rankings did not influence her decision to attend Carleton. However, she said it helped her locate the best schools in a certain area.

“As a student in a politically based program, the best place to go is Ottawa. I looked at an amalgam of factors aside from just magazine ratings, including other opportunities that were unique,” she said. “In no other city can you find opportunities to volunteer on Parliament Hill or get first-hand federal experience.”

According to Global News, the rankings include the world’s top 1,000 universities, with several other Canadian ones making the list, including the University of Montreal, the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary.

Carleton ranked between spots 501 to 600 in the Times Higher Education’s rankings for 2018, and 91st in 2014 for physical sciences.

Photo by Meagan Casalino