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UBC ranked 46th best university in the world as SFU and UVic crack North American chart

B.C.'s biggest university leads province with high reputation, according to an annual reporting metric.
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UBC received an overall score of 77.1 in the QS rankings. MIT in the U.S. received a perfect 100 to take the top spot, following by University of Oxford and Stanford University, respectively.

The University of British Columbia is among three Canadian institutions to crack the QS World University Rankings Top-100 list this year.

UBC was ranked 46th overall, sandwiched between Zhejiang University (45th) and University of Queensland (47th); University of Toronto placed 26th while McGill University came in at 27th.

The top three universities in the world were: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which achieved a score of 100/100, followed by second-ranked University of Oxford and third-place Stanford University

UBC was ranked 19th among North American institutions, with a score of 77.1.

Meanwhile, the smaller Simon Fraser University placed 71st in North America, which was good for 298th in the world with a score of 34.8. Not far behind SFU was the University of Victoria to round out British Columbia’s three major post-secondary institutions; UVic got a score of 32.2, placing it 334th in the world and 75th in North America.

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) is an analytics firm from England that created the annual QS World University Rankings in 2004. It claims to be “an independent comparative analysis of the performance of 15,200 individual university programs taken by students at 1,543 universities in 88 locations across the world, across 51 academic disciplines.”

The rankings depend on specific metrics as well as surveys the firm presents to stakeholders such as teachers, students and employers. It weighs “academic reputation” as 40% of its overall score by surveying 130,000 individuals in the academic industry.

It then places 20% of the ranking score on teacher-student ratios, which it deems the most effective proxy metric for teaching quality.

It then looks at published citations per institution, which accounts for 20% of the rankings. And since life sciences have far more citations than other fields, QS states it has a measuring system “to account for the fact that different fields have very different publishing cultures.”

The rankings look highly on international faculty and student ratios, which account for 10% of the rankings.

“It implies a highly global outlook: essentially for institutions operating in an internationalized higher education sector,” QS claims.

Finally, employer reputation accounts for another 10%, as QS assesses 75,000 survey responses from employers asked “to identify those institutions from which they source the most competent, innovative, effective graduates.” 

Since 2012, UBC has seen a high of 43rd and a low of 52st. It scores high on academic reputation (97.6) but struggles in faculty-student ratio (52.7) and citations per faculty (46.8). Its employer reputation (94.2), international faculty ratio (89.1) and international student ratio (79) also lift up its score.

Meanwhile, SFU scored high on international faculty and students but lagged behind on reputation. SFU rebounded this year from a 10-year low ranking of 323rd in 2021. It ranked as high as 222nd in 2015.

UVic also rebounded from a 10-year low of 370th in 2021.

Glacier Media has reached out to UBC, SFU and UVic for comment.

gwood@glaciermedia.ca