Schools Training

Canadian Universities Among Top 50 in World Rep Rankings

19 MAR 2012
Topic : Education News

The University of Toronto, McGill and the University of British Columbia are among the top 50 schools in the Times of Higher Education World Reputation Rankings.

Published on March 15th, the rankings were Boston-top heavy, with Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology taking the top spots. They were followed by the University of Cambridge, which means the top three were unchanged from a year ago, when the survey was first released. Rounding out the top six, which are being branded as a sort of elite group of “super brands” were Stanford University, the the University of California and Berkeley.

The University of Toronto came in at a very respectable #16 (which given its relatively low tuition is quite a feat. An argument can be made that it’s possibly punching above its weight, giving funding issues, however, there are countless students out there who would beg to differ in the face of countless Ontario tuition hikes…). UBC and McGill came in at #25 and 26, respectively.

University of Toronto

Photo by Dave Chan.

The story of the rankings, however, may be the rise of schools in the East and mainland Europe. The US is still far and away the dominant presence in polls like these (this one involved 17,500 academics), with 44 universities in the global top 100. The UK follows, with 10 schools, however, the Times of Higher Education makes the point that this position may be short lived. Four of its schools (Imperial College London, University College London, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Bristol) slipped down the table, while the University of Sheffield and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine fell out of the top 100 altogether.

Meanwhile, Chinese and Japanese universities performed better than the previous year, as did Germany’s (in all three cases, an improvement in global standing is being equated with an increase in funding).

Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education rankings, said: “While top reputations can take many years, even centuries to build, in today’s information-rich and interconnected world, universities cannot sit back and rely on their history. New forces are emerging and signs of declining performance are quickly identified, shared and spread. Established reputations can be highly vulnerable.

“Our data provide clear evidence that in terms of prestige among academics around the world, there is the start of a power shift from the West to the East.”

The times, in other words, are a-changing.

What do you think about polls like these? Do they have any relevance?