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Margin Notes

Another look at the Times Higher Ed rankings

Canada ends up looking pretty good, with a balanced and successful approach to academia and research.


A nod to Rob Annan at the Researcher Forum blog for his interesting examination of the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings released last week.

He says the rankings show that Canada’s approach to academia and research is successful and balanced. We have a good number of institutions which provide widespread world-class research and teaching across the country, but we can also claim more than our fair share of “elite” institutions.

According to his calculations:

[A]fter the U.S. and the U.K. – who completely dominated the rankings – Canada has more universities (11) in the top 200 than any other country, save Japan and the Netherlands (who both also have 11). Canada has more universities in the top 200 than Australia (nine), Germany (10), and France (four).

However, this widespread success is not being achieved at the expense of mediocrity, he says. Canada has three institutions in the top 40, “which ranks it among the world’s elite – no country apart from the U.S. and the U.K. has more than that.” Japan, a country with more than four times Canada’s population, has three in the top 45. France has two universities in the top 40, but only two others on the entire list. The Netherlands has the same number of universities in the top 200 as Canada, but their highest-ranking school is 49th. By comparison, McGill is the second-highest ranking school (at 18th) not in the U.S. or the U.K.

A bit like having one’s cake and eating it, too, he says.

Léo Charbonneau
Léo Charbonneau is the editor of University Affairs.
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