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Maclean's 2011 University Rankings

McGill, Simon Fraser and Mount Allison on top again in 2011

For the seventh year in a row, McGill University is ranked first in the Medical Doctoral category in the Maclean’s University Rankings, once again beating one-time king, the University of Toronto. Toronto, second again this year, has placed first in the category 12 times over the past 21 years. In third is the University of British Columbia. Queen’s is fourth. The University of Alberta is fifth.

So what’s given McGill such an edge? For one thing, McGill’s students win more national awards than Toronto’s. Another big factor is its student-faculty ratio. Toronto places dead last in the category (15), while McGill is fifth. On top of that, McGill dedicates more of its budget to scholarships and bursaries than any other school in the category. Toronto’s big advantage is its library collections—U of T trounces McGill in all four library-related categories. In the annual reputational survey, McGill has a slight edge too, achieving first place once again. But Toronto is catching up, having improved two positions since last year, from fourth to second. Two other Medical Doctoral universities improved by two spots on the reputational survey: Dalhousie University and the University of Sherbrooke.

In the Comprehensive Category, Simon Fraser University (1), the University of Victoria (2), the University of Waterloo (3), the University of Guelph (4), and Memorial University (5) all maintain their top-five positions. The biggest news in this category is that Brock University, Wilfrid Laurier University and Ryerson University all make their debuts, albeit in the bottom half. The three schools were moved into the Comprehensive category this year after recognizing both growth in their populations and increased graduate school offerings. Laurier has the highest debut—eleventh—on the strength of its reputation (7), faculty awards (5) and medical/science grants (4). In the reputational survey, Waterloo placed first among Comprehensive schools—as it does most years—while Simon Fraser, Guelph, Victoria and Ryerson rounded-out the top five.

In the Primarily Undergraduate category, the University of Prince Edward Island showed the biggest change, thanks in part to a strong showing in student awards, vaulting past Trent, St. Francis Xavier and Bishop’s to tie for fourth place with Lethbridge. It is bested only by Mount Allison University, Acadia University and the University of Northern British Columbia, which came first, second and third, respectively, in 2011. Mount A’s achievement is particularly impressive: it’s the fifteenth time that the Sackville, N.B. school has taken the top honour—a record number of wins. The University of Moncton also deserves commendation. Moncton moved up to fifteenth position, with the strongest showing on student/faculty ratio and an improved score on the reputational survey.

Maclean’s considers 14 numerical indicators of the quality of students, faculty, libraries and finances to rank 49 universities. Each is placed in one of three categories to recognize differences in levels of research funding, offerings, and the range of graduate programs. This year, three schools (Ryerson, Laurier and Brock) were moved into the Comprehensive category. For our complete 21st annual rankings, plus Canada’s best higher education journalism, pick up your copy of the 2011 Maclean’s University Rankings issue on newsstands Oct. 27. Here are the results:

Medical Doctoral universities offer a broad range of Ph.D. programs and have medical schools.

2011 Ranking School Last Year
1 McGill (1)
2 Toronto (2)
3 UBC (3)
4 Queen’s (5)
5 Alberta (4)
6* Dalhousie (7)
6* McMaster (6)
8 Calgary (8)
9 Western (9)
10* Ottawa (11)
10* Saskatchewan (10)
12* Laval (12)
12* Montréal (13)
14 Sherbrooke (14)
15 Manitoba (15)

* Indicates a tie

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

2011 Ranking School Last Year
1 Simon Fraser (1)
2 Victoria (2)
3 Waterloo (3)
4 Guelph (4)
5 Memorial (5)
6 New Brunswick (6)
7 Carleton (7*)
8 Windsor (7*)
9 York (9*)
10 Regina (9*)
11 Wilfrid Laurier (N/A)
12 Concordia (11)
13* UQAM (12)
13* Ryerson (N/A)
15 Brock (N/A)

* Indicates a tie

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

2011 Ranking School Last Year
1 Mount Allison (1)
2 Acadia (2)
3 UNBC (3)
4* Lethbridge (4)
4* UPEI (8*)
6 St. Francis Xavier (7)
7 Trent (6)
8 Bishop’s (8*)
9 Saint Mary’s (11)
10 Winnipeg (10)
11* Lakehead (12)
11* Laurentian (14*)
11* UOIT (13)
14 St. Thomas (16)
15* Brandon (17*)
15* Moncton (20)
17 Mount Saint Vincent (19)
18 Cape Breton (21)
19 Nipissing (22)

* Indicates a tie

Want to know more about how we rank? Read Measuring excellence.

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