A New Ranking Of The Best Universities In The World Is Out & Canada Is Slipping

One Montreal institution didn't follow the national downward trend.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
People walk outside the Science Complex of the Université de Montreal.

People walk outside the Science Complex of the Université de Montreal.

In the ongoing competition for academic prestige, Montreal universities are grappling with an unprecedented challenge.

A surprising upheaval in this year's Global 2000 list by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) sees local institutions — and the Canadian higher education system at large — grappling with a downward slide from their previous pinnacle of excellence.

More than two-thirds of Canadian institutions have seen a drop in their standings. Of those listed, four improved their research performance rankings from last year, six maintained their positions and 30 ranked lower.

While the University of Toronto clung to its reigning position at the national level, ranking 23rd worldwide, the Université de Montreal, a former luminary on the list fell to 122nd place.

Other Canadian universities saw a mix of fortunes. McGill University climbed two places to 26th, while the University of British Columbia fell two spots to 51st. The University of Alberta hit number 76. Rounding out the Canadian top ten are McMaster University (174), Western University (188), University of Calgary (195), University of Waterloo (204) and University of Ottawa (212).

But it's not just Canadian universities that are struggling. American ones are too. Sure, eight of the top ten spots worldwide are still held by the U.S. — and Harvard is still number one for the twelfth year in a row — but nearly eighty percent of American universities are struggling to keep up.

It seems like North American schools are caught in a whirlwind of intense global competition, facing off against well-funded institutions from all over the world, with China leading the charge. A staggering 96% of Chinese universities rose in the rankings.

"While Canada is well represented in this year’s rankings, the country’s top institutions are under increasing pressure from well-funded universities from around the world," said Dr. Nadim Mahassen, President of the Center for World University Rankings.

"Funding to further promote the development and reputation of Canada’s higher education system is vital if the country aspires to be more competitive on the global stage," he said.

CWUR publishes the largest academic ranking of global universities, using 62 million data points to rank universities across four factors: quality of education, employability, quality of faculty, and research performance. They weigh the factors differently: quality of education and employability each account for 25%, quality of faculty for 10% and research performance takes up the remaining 40%.

This year, 20,531 universities were ranked, and the top ones made it onto the Global 2000 list, marking the best of the best from 95 countries around the world.

As the landscape becomes increasingly competitive, Montreal universities face both a formidable challenge and a golden opportunity to transform their approach and reclaim their position in the global academic arena.

Sofia Misenheimer
MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Sofia Misenheimer is an award-winning writer, editor and former radio journalist with a passion for finding hidden gems in the city.