UAlberta among Canada's top five in newest Maclean's rankings

Consistent top-five ranking reflects focus on student experience, says president.


The University of Alberta was named one of Canada’s top five universities as part of the Maclean’s annual university rankings.

The rankings, released in the Canadian news magazine’s Oct. 26 issue, saw the U of A hold steady in fifth spot among the elite Canadian post-secondary schools.

According to U of A president David Turpin, consistently being ranked among the top post-secondary schools in Canada is a testament to the university community’s focus on creating a meaningful student experience.

“The U of A's top five position in the Maclean's annual universities ranking provides prospective students and parents across Canada with a snapshot of the high-quality, supportive learning environment we offer to both students and faculty,” said Turpin. “With enriched academic services, such as exceptional libraries and accessible student services, led by highly skilled administrative staff, our students and faculty members have the support they need to excel as leaders far beyond the borders of our five campuses.”

The Maclean’s university ranking, now in its 26th year, is based on a series of performance indicators in five broad areas: quality of students (28 per cent of score), faculty (24 per cent), resources (20 per cent), student support (13 per cent) and reputation (15 per cent). Universities are placed in one of three categories; the U of A competes in the top category reserved for universities that offer a broad range of PhD programs and research, and have a medical school.

The strength of the U of A’s ranking comes in faculty awards (fifth), number of citations (fourth), research dollars per researcher (third) and library acquisitions funding (fifth). The U of A ranked first in operating expenditure per student and, in the reputation survey, ranked third in the “leaders of tomorrow” category. The U of A also fared well in the student survey portion of the ranking, with highlights including quality of administrative staff (fourth) and mental health services (fourth).

The U of A also finished in the top five of Research InfoSource’s annual university ranking, which lists universities according to their sponsored research income. In 2015, the U of A received nearly $471 million to finish fifth, just behind McGill University. The University of Toronto led the way with $998.5 million in sponsored research income.

The Maclean’s ranking comes on the heels of a 94th-place showing in the 2016-17 QS World University Rankings. The QS ranking, which puts a heavy emphasis on reputation, also placed the U of A in the top five nationally.

Other recent results saw the Faculty of Nursing ranked fourth best nursing program in the world, according to QS subject-area rankings released in March. The university also landed in the top 50 in the world in pharmacy and pharmacology (32), education (41), archeology (42), mining engineering (44) and English language and literature (50).

Subjects that made their way into the top 100 included agriculture and forestry, accounting and finance, chemistry, communications and media studies, earth and marine sciences, chemical engineering, environmental sciences, mathematics, medicine, philosophy and psychology. In all, the U of A ranked among the top 200 in 33 of the 42 subjects considered.