Maclean’s University ranking 2022: our methodology



Maclean’s annual university rankings pursue a mandate established in 1991: to provide essential information in a comprehensive package to help students choose the university that best meets their needs.

Maclean’s classifies universities into one of three categories, recognizing differences in types of institutions, levels of research funding, diversity of offerings, and the breadth and depth of graduate and professional programs. Primarily, undergraduate universities tend to be smaller and have fewer graduate programs and graduate students. Those in the global category have a high degree of research activity and a wide range of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including professional degrees. Doctoral universities in medicine offer a wide range of doctorates. programs and research; all universities in this category have faculties of medicine.

In each category, Maclean’s ranks institutions in five broad areas on the basis of 13 performance indicators, assigning a weight to each indicator. Figures include data from all federated and affiliated institutions. The magazine does not rank schools with less than 1,000 full-time students, those that are restrictive due to a religious or specialized mission, newly designated universities, or those that are not members of the Universities Canada national association.

Rankings use the most recent and publicly available data. Statistics Canada provides the number of students and professors, as well as data on total research income and five fi nancial indicators: operating budget, expenditure on student services, scholarships, library expenditure and acquisitions. The fi nancial figures are for the 2019-20 fiscal year; student numbers are for 2018; the number of professors corresponds to 2019. The data for the indicator of research grants in humanities and humanities and the indicator of research grants in medical sciences are for fiscal year 2020-2021 and were obtained directly from the three main federal granting agencies: (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Besides, Maclean’s collects information on dozens of scholarships from students and faculty from more than 50 organizations, and conducts a reputation survey, soliciting the opinions of university professors and senior administrators, as well as a variety of business people Across the country. A second major survey is aimed at students, asking them directly about their university experiences.

Maclean’s weights the ranks as follows.


(28 percent of the final mark) Maclean’s collects data on the success of students in winning national academic awards (weighted at 10%) over the previous five years. The tally includes prestigious awards such as the Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships, as well as scholarships from professional associations and the three federal granting agencies. Each university’s scholarship total is divided by its number of full-time students, resulting in a number per student.

To assess student access to teachers, Maclean’s measures the number of full-time equivalent students per full-time faculty member (eight percent). This student-faculty ratio includes graduate and undergraduate students.

An important part of the overall rating is the Student Satisfaction Survey (10 percent). Maclean’s surveyed thousands of students online, asking them about their campus experience. In the end, more than 19,000 students answered the 10 questions that make up the indicator. We asked students to rate their course instructors (professors and lecturers), student life staff, administrative staff, and academic advisory staff. Opportunities for extracurricular activities and living in residence were assessed, along with three increasingly important areas: experiential learning opportunities, mental health services and university actions to prevent harm. sexual assault on campus. In recognition of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, which include several education-related issues, we asked students to rate how well their university is making Indigenous histories, cultures and languages ​​visible. on the campus. The question on course instructors contributes the most to this indicator, at 25 percent; extracurricular activities contribute 15%; the other eight questions contribute five to 10 percent each.


(20%) By assessing the caliber of the faculty, Maclean’s calculates the number of those who have won major awards over the past five years, including the Killam, Molson and Steacie Awards, Royal Society of Canada Awards, 3M Teaching Fellowships and nearly 40 other price (eight percent). To account for the size of the institution, the number of awards for each university is divided by the number of full-time faculty at each school.

In addition, the magazine measures the success of professors in obtaining research grants from SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR. Maclean’s takes into account both the number and the dollar value received in the previous year and divides the totals by the number of full-time faculty at each institution. Research grants are reported by the number of grants awarded to the principal investigator of a project. Social sciences and humanities scholarships (six percent) and medical science scholarships (six percent) are counted as separate indicators.


(22 percent) This section examines the amount of money available for current spending per full-time equivalent student (five percent). Students are weighted according to their level of study (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate) and their program of study.

To broaden the scope of the search image, Maclean’s also measures the total dollars invested in research (eight percent). This figure, calculated relative to the size of the full-time faculty at each institution, includes revenues from sponsored research, such as grants and contracts, funding from federal, provincial, and foreign governments, and funding from non-profit organizations. government.

Libraries are an important resource for students. Maclean’s measures the percentage of a university’s operating budget allocated to library services (five percent) and the percentage of the library budget spent on acquisitions, including electronic resources (four percent).

Student support

(15%) To assess the assistance offered to students, Maclean’s examines the percentage of the budget devoted to student services (7.5%) as well as scholarships (7.5%). Expenses are measured as they are reported to the Canadian Association of University Directors.


(15%) For the reputation survey, Maclean’s solicits the views of those whose professions enable them to form their opinions on how universities are meeting the needs of students and on preparing their graduates for successful careers. In an online survey, professors and senior executives from Canadian universities, as well as a variety of business people across the country, were asked to rate Canadian universities in three categories: most high quality, the most innovative and the leaders of tomorrow. Best overall is the sum of the scores for the three categories. When completing the Reputation Survey, university professors and senior executives also fill out a regional component that divides the country into four key regions: the Western Provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the Provinces of Canada. Atlantic. This allows them to focus on the region they know best.

Additional information

Additional data on areas of interest to students is obtained directly from universities but is not used in ranking calculations.

As a measure of student quality, Maclean’s presents the average marks of students entering secondary school. Figures are for full-time students attending university in their home province. No conversion formula is applied to the average scores received to account for provincial differences or varying admissions policies, although CEGEP scores are converted to a percentage. To provide a more detailed picture of the grade averages, Maclean’s displays notes divided into seven note ranges, ranging from less than 70 percent to 95 percent and above.

Maclean’s counts the proportion of out-of-province and international students in the first-year undergraduate class, as well as the percentage of international graduate students for MD and Comprehensive schools.

By taking stock of retention rates, Maclean’s asks for percentage of full-time freshmen returning in second year. While many factors can influence a student’s choice not to return – personal considerations or a decision to transfer to a program not available at their home university – student retention, on the whole, reflects the success of a university in keeping its students on course. Maclean’s also measures graduation rates by following an incoming cohort of full-time freshmen to determine whether they graduated within seven years.

When evaluating the faculty, Maclean’s counts the percentage of full-time professors with a doctorate, a first professional diploma or a terminal diploma (other diploma of the highest level) in their field.

Finally, looking at the classroom experience, Maclean’s presents figures on the average undergraduate class size at the first and second year level, as well as at the third and fourth year level. This year, Maclean’s did not ask universities to report on class sizes as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a massive shift to e-learning and capacity restrictions. The class sizes shown are those published last year, reflecting the average class sizes as of fall 2019.


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