2021 World University Rankings: Where Does Canada Stand?

By Logan Bright Modified on September 25, 2020

The latest world rankings for universities have been released! Where do your favourite institutions stack up?

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The latest world rankings for universities have been released! Where do your favourite institutions stack up?

Everyone gets excited about university rankings. We all want to know what the best schools in the world are, and where the institutions in our own country stack up against the worldwide competition. In a world where no one buys anything from Amazon unless it's got a 5-star review, knowing where the schools you're interested in ranks is fun.

Several ranking bodies exist to fill that need. We've written at length about Maclean's annual rankings of Canadian universities across different criteria — and their 2021 rankings haven't come out yet. So let's talk a little about some other ranking bodies who focus on a broader array of institutions — and some of the big Canadian winners in the 2021 rankings!

QS Top Universities

QS provides one of the most well-respected and widely-recognized ranking schemes in the world. They rank schools in a dozen different ways using a huge amount of survey data. Whether you're looking for the best global MBA degrees or world university rankings by subject, QS has you covered.

QS Top 10 Universities in Canada


THE World University Rankings

Times Higher Education (THE) conducts annual World University Rankings. THE's goal is to help universities understand where they are, comparatively, and what they can do to improve their results. The rankings can be handy for students like you, too. You can find rankings by subject area and find pieces sorting rankings by country.

THE Top 10 Universities in Canada


So what?

We don't see much variation between these two ranking bodies. The University of Toronto is on top in both cases, and in both cases, the University of British Columbia and McGill University are battling for second and third place. Queen's University makes the top 10 for QS, but not THE, where the University of Ottawa wins out instead.

Rankings can't tell you everything you need to know about a school, but they give you a good idea of where an institution stands based on its reputation, its faculty's publishing schedule, and its strength in international collaboration. These criteria and others are accounted for in world rankings.

Remember, only you can decide which school is right for you — but university rankings sure can help!


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