McGill leads Canadian universities in Top 300 list

McGill University and the University of Toronto have once again topped the list of Canadian universities that made the international 300 ranking.

The 2011 World University Rankings, published annually by the British firm QS and released this week, showed Montreal's McGill advanced to number 17 in the world, from 19 in 2010, and the University of Toronto took the number 23 spot, moving up from 29.

British and American institutions dominated the top spots on this year's list.

The University of Cambridge, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology rounded out the top three.

The rankings are intended to aid international undergraduate students shopping for schools.

They’re based on six categories, including academic reputation, student-faculty ratio and the numbers of international students and faculty at an institution.

In total, 14 Canadian universities made the 2011 list, but the majority of them saw their position drop compared to 2010.

“It has been a mixed bag for Canadian universities because whereas the top two has risen up in the rankings, elsewhere it’s been a different story,” said Danny Bryne, editor of, which publishes the list.

In addition to McGill and U of T, the University of Western Ontario and McMaster University climbed up the rankings.

One Canadian university, the University of Laval, was bumped from the top 300 altogether.

Bryne attributed the rankings drop by 10 Canadian institutions to a decline in the universities' academic reputations globally.

Around 34,000 academics from around the world were asked to name the universities that are producing world-leading research in their field.

“There’s been a general decline in the numbers that are including Canadian universities in that assessment,” he said.

Canadian institutions have also been under greater pressure to make cutbacks and things like student-faculty ratios and research productivity have been affected, he said.