The University of Toronto was ranked 23rd Best University this year by QS World University Rankings, published on Sunday. Rising six spots from the previous year, U of T is one of the highest-ranked universities in Canada, beaten only by McGill, which is ranked at 17th.
U of T ranked 29th in 2009, 41st in 2008, and 45th in 2007.
The QS World University Rankings is a list of the top 300 universities worldwide and is published by Quacquarelli Symonds, a British firm specializing in education and study abroad.
The list is published yearly to help international students decide which school to attend. Since QS believes that “education and career decisions are too important to leave to chance,” they want to “ensure candidates have access to the best tools and the best independent expert information before making a decision.”
The University of Cambridge tops the list, followed by Harvard and MIT. U of T and McGill are the only two Canadian universities to make the top 50, a group full of universities from the United Kingdom and the United States.
QS also ranks the schools by faculty and specific subjects, with U of T reaching as high as 14th in Arts and Humanities and 16th in Life Sciences and Medicine.
The ranking system is based on six indicators, which include academic reputation, faculty student ratio, and international student and faculty proportions. U of T specifically ranked 12th in academic reputation and tied for 15th in employer reputation.
Forty percent of the overall ranking result is based on Academic Reputation, which is determined by a global survey. This year, nearly 34,000 people were surveyed worldwide in the peer review to determine each school’s academic reputation. All participants are academics and were questioned about the universities in their specific field.
This surveying technique is the subject of much controversy. Critics suggest that the survey grossly emphasizes peer review, and that opinion should not be so heavily weighted in the results.
Full survey results can be found on the QC World University Rankings website.