As classes begin, the Academic Ranking of World Universities has released its list of the top universities in the world for 2010. The University of Toronto was ranked number 27 worldwide, ahead of the University of British Columbia (ranked 36) and McGill University (ranked 61). Harvard University, the University of California, and Stanford University ranked as the top three.
The University of Toronto ranked first in Canada, while UBC and McGill ranked second and third, respectively.
The ARWU list allows the already well-respected U of T to get further recognition as one of the best schools in the world. A ranking on the list attracts international students and more public funding, which allows for more programs and an overall better education.
“U of T is a very large institution, with 75,000 students, three campuses, 10 fully affiliated hospitals, many faculties and departments; and it’s that grouping of these various institutions located in the core of the city that really gives us our strength,” said Professor Peter Lewis, Associate Vice-President of Research at U of T, in an interview with the Toronto Sun.
The ARWU list was first published in 2003 by the Centre for World-Class Universities and the Institute of Higher Education of Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, and originally only ranked universities in China. The list attracted so much attention that it is now used for ranking universities worldwide.
The ARWU is recognized as one of the best systems for ranking universities. It allows universities to be compared based on their strengths, weaknesses, and creation of new goals. Over 1,000 universities are ranked annually, but only the top 500 are published online.
According to the ARWU website, universities are ranked using six indicators: number of alumni and staff who have been awarded Noble Prizes and medals; number of researchers cited by the information publisher Thomson Scientific; number of articles published in nature and science journals; number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index; and the per capita academic performance compared to the university’s size.
“We are known for our breadth in the different subject areas that we cover, from the humanities to medical sciences, engineering, and chemistry,” said Professor Lewis in an interview with The Toronto Sun about why U of T is considered an outstanding university. “We pride ourselves in integrating research and teaching, and put our best professors in front of the undergraduate or incoming students first so they get to be taught by leading scholars and researchers.” The University of Toronto has been ranked 27th for three consecutive years.
When prospective students are picking a university, it’s important that they find one which suits their needs and wants. A smaller university means smaller classes, which create an intimate environment with peers and professors, whereas a larger university allows for a wider range of programs and better populated classes. One of U of T’s strengths is that its three campuses give every student a choice for the environment they like best. The St. George campus offers large classes and a greater variety of programs and classes, while Erindale and Scarborough offer smaller class sizes and a more intimate environment.