The 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings

Everything you ever wanted to know about campus life, plus lists ... lots of lists
Sept. 26/2012 - Waterloo University, Waterloo, Ontario. Inside the new Quantum-Nano Centre, Razieh Annabestani, PHD Physics, and Kent Fisher, PHD Physics, discuss polarizing nuclei using electronic spin.
Assistant Professor Mark Gibson teaches in the Department of Process Engineering and Applied Science in the Faculty of Engineering at Dalhousie University (Jessica Darmanin)

The 22nd annual Maclean’s University Rankings issue—the holy book for anyone planning their education in Canada—is now available on newsstands and tablets.

The 2013 issue, our biggest-ever, features 132 pages of charts, stories and advice designed to help future students choose the right school, while sparking conversations on the quality of the post-secondary experience from the size of classes to the cost of textbooks.

The issue also offers a peek inside campus life from coast to coast, including an examination of the viral videos phenomenon, a deeper look at the scourge of drinking, Emma Teitel on fraternities, the college advantage and pages more. There are online extras, too, like photo tours of life at 24 campuses.

And, of course, the issue features the 22nd annual rankings.

If there’s one trend in the rankings, it’s the rise of the west. Every university from Saskatchewan to the Pacific Ocean maintains or improves its standing. All four of British Columbia’s ranked universities placed in the top two in their categories.

That said, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada still have some of the mightiest institutions. For the eighth year in a row, McGill ranks first in the Medical Doctoral category. The University of Toronto, which once dominated the rankings, is third. In second place is the University of British Columbia, up one spot this year.


In the Comprehensive category, Simon Fraser University ranks first, followed by the University of Victoria in second place, and the University of Waterloo in third. The top three remain unchanged, but fourth place is a surprise; the University of New Brunswick climbed two spots, buoyed by a low student-faculty ratio, high total research dollars, a high operating budget and its libraries.


In the Primarily Undergraduate category, where Canada’s smaller schools are compared, Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. is once again first. No surprise there; this is the 16th time in 22 years that Mount A. came out on top.

The University of Northern British Columbia’s second-place finish is an even bigger story. UNBC, an 18-year-old school, debuted at ninth place 14 years ago. This year it has the highest total research dollars, and the second best student-faculty ratio—impressive for such a young school.

The University of Lethbridge, Alberta’s rising research star, moves into third place. Its reputation is second overall in its category.

Trent University,  l’Université de Moncton, and St. Thomas University are most improved. Each leapfrogged peers, climbing more than one spot. Moncton, in fact, is up five spots, thanks to an improved showing on student and faculty awards, spending on libraries and reputation.


Wondering how we rank? Maclean’s considers 14 indicators of the quality of students, faculty, libraries and finances to assess 49 schools. Each is placed in one of the above three categories—Medical Doctoral, Comprehensive or Primarily Undergraduate—to recognize differences in levels of such things as research funding. For a full description of the ranking methodology, click here.

For all charts—from the Reputational Survey, to the research funding, to the amount of students bursaries and awards—pick up the 132-page Maclean’s University Rankings. You don’t want to miss this provocative issue, and you won’t find it anywhere else.