McGill holds Top-20 place in QS university rankings

Posted on Monday, September 10, 2012

McGill has again led Canadian universities in QS World University Rankings.

By McGill Reporter Staff

McGill has again captured a place in the Top 20 universities in the world as measured by the annual QS rankings, finishing 18th for 2012.

It marks the sixth consecutive year in which McGill has placed among the Top 20, and the ninth year in a row the University has finished in the Top 25, which includes such notable universities as MIT (1st) Harvard, Cambridge, Yale and Princeton.

No other Canadian university can lay claim to a record like that, but McGill is now joined by two other Canadian schools in the Top 50 – the University of Toronto (19th) and the University of British Columbia (45th) in the QS rankings. Last year, McGill finished 17th, and placed 19th in 2010.

“We are pleased by McGill’s continued strong performance in these rankings,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum. “It’s a tribute to the talent, dedication, and hard work of faculty, staff and students throughout our university. We’re also delighted that three great Canadian schools are now listed in the top 50 of this world ranking, with two in the top 20.”

Munroe-Blum also noted that, with the Université de Montréal moving up to 114th from 137th, Quebec students have excellent choices when it comes to world-class universities right here at home. But she also warned that our success can be fragile; in terms of resources and considering such things as the need to continually upgrade infrastructure – a particular challenge for McGill, which must maintain and renovate older buildings according to strict heritage rules.  And Quebec universities in general operate with a $700-million annual shortfall compared to their peers elsewhere in the country. The new Parti Québécois government’s pledge to roll back tuition increases established by the previous government could make that financial hole even more serious and our ability to remaining in the top echelons of world rankings that much more constrained.

QS World University Rankings, launched in 2004, are based on six factors: academic reputation (40 per cent), employer reputation (10 percent), student/faculty ratio (20 per cent), citations per faculty (20 per cent), proportion of international faculty (5 per cent), and proportion of international students (5 per cent).

That last factor, long a McGill strength, is becoming more important worldwide, said QS head of research Ben Sowter, in a statement released along with the rankings. This year’s results sees the Top 100 universities average nearly 10 per cent more international students than in2011, which marks the biggest single-year increase in the rankings’ nine-year history.

“The unprecedented acceleration in international recruitment reflects an escalating global battle for talent. 120,000 more internationalstudents were reported by the top 500 universities this year, with the global total now exceeding 4.1 million,” Sowter said.

QS noted in its release that U of T has worked to increase its percentage of international students, “following a pattern among Canadian universities this year, as the nation attempts to meet an ambitious target of 450,000 international students by 2022. University of British Columbia alsoaccelerated its intake, though McGill and Université de Montréal are still the only Canadian universities to make the Top 100 for their proportion of international students.”

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