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McGill again ranks among world’s top universities


Published: 8 Oct 2008

Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings made public

Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings made public

For the fifth year in a row, McGill University in Montreal has been named one of the Top 25 universities in the world by the prestigious Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.

McGill’s placing in the 2008 rankings was again the highest of any Canadian university. McGill’s rank of 20th this year maintains the university in the top echelons of higher learning worldwide and demonstrates continued, steady progress. McGill has placed 21st, 24th, 21st, 12th and now 20th over the last five years. An examination of THE-QS rankings shows that moderate swings up and down can occur, depending upon a variety of factors. Examining a school’s position over a period of several years, however, gives a clear picture of its standing. By that measurement, McGill’s performance has been unquestionably impressive.

“It is gratifying to see McGill has once again been recognized as one of the very best universities in the world,” said McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum. “It is important to remember that there are nearly 10,000 universities worldwide, so even to be included on the THE-QS list of 604 is a remarkable achievement.

“It is also important to note,” Prof. Munroe-Blum continued, “that McGill’s high ranking is achieved despite the dramatic funding differential between us and the schools with which we are compared.

“But today let us celebrate what put us here. That we have managed to maintain our impressive standing in spite of this critical funding situation is testament to the dedication of our world-class faculty and staff and their ability to attract competitively allocated research support. It is also a tribute to our outstanding students and alumni. McGill’s strategic approach to sustaining academic excellence and to applying and managing our resources and our record of progressive governance has also played a role in our consistently high standing in these important measurements.”

QS Quacquarelli Symonds is a leading global career and education network, which, in collaboration with Times Higher Education, a comprehensive website devoted to higher education jobs, news and resources for university professionals, produces these respected annual rankings of the top universities.

This ranking is a composite indicator that integrates peer review and opinion with quantitative data. Forty per cent of the total score is based on academic peer review. Another 20 per cent is awarded for research excellence and impact as measured by citations. A further 10 per cent is derived from a survey of active graduate recruiters for major employers, who respond to questions about institutions from which they prefer to hire. A university's staff-to-student ratio – a classic gauge of a commitment to teaching – is also worth 20 per cent. Finally, the survey allots five percentage points for number of faculty who come from other countries and a further five for percentage of international students.

This year more academics (6,354 compared with 5,101 in 2007) and more employers (2,339 vs. 1,482) responded to the surveys than ever before.

“These rankings use an unprecedented amount of data to deliver the most accurate measure available of the world’s best universities, and of the strength of different nations’ university systems,” said Ann Mroz, editor of THE. “They are important for governments wanting to gauge the progress of their education systems, and are used in planning by universities across the world.”

As part of the rankings a number of sub rankings are also published. McGill placed 10th in the world this year in the Life Sciences category.

“This very encouraging ranking comes only days after we officially opened our new Life Sciences Complex,” Prof. Munroe-Blum said. “That project, the largest in McGill’s history, realized through generous private, government and institutional support, will keep McGill at the forefront of biomedical research and result in benefits to humankind everywhere.”

McGill, founded in 1821, attracts students from 160 countries around the world. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English – including 6,000 francophones – with more than 6,200 international students making up almost 20 per cent of the student body. Graduate students make up nearly 22 per cent of our student population.

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