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Canada's Leading Universities Ranked by the 2025 QS World University Rankings

For the second year running, three Canadian universities have secured positions within the top 40 of the Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) World University Rankings.

QS serves as a leading authority in the evaluation of higher education institutions worldwide. The organization asserts that its World University rankings stand out as the sole system to assess both employability and sustainability performance.

How did Canada’s leading institutions fare in the 2025 QS World University Rankings? Looking ahead, QS has positioned three schools prominently in its 2025 rankings.

Please note: This year’s rankings encompassed over 1500 institutions.

Significantly, these three institutions are situated in the three most popular provinces for newcomers to Canada.

In fact, with the exception of the University of Alberta, all schools listed in Canada’s top 10 for 2025 (as per QS) are situated in Ontario, British Columbia, or Quebec. More information on Canada’s top 10 institutions for 2025 can be found towards the end of this article.

University of Toronto (UofT)

- Rank: 25

- Overall Score: 84.1

Scores by Factor:

- Academic Reputation: 99.7

- Faculty/Student Ratio: 44.9

- Citations per Faculty: 50.8

- Employer Reputation: 96.9

- International Faculty/Student Ratio: 96.9 (Faculty) and 96.1 (Student)

- Sustainability: 100

- Employment Outcomes: 98.7

- International Research Network: 97.7

Key Points about UofT:

UofT, Canada's leading post-secondary institution for the second consecutive year, has dropped a few places from its 21st position in QS’ World University Rankings last year.

UofT clinched the top spot in QS’ sustainability rankings and garnered impressive scores across various criteria, including academic and employer reputation, employment outcomes, and international research network. This marks UofT's fifth appearance within QS’ top 30 in the past six years.

McGill University, rising one spot to 29th place, secured a position in the top 30 for the first time since 2022, maintaining its streak of being among the top 35 for 13 consecutive years.

On the other hand, UBC slipped four places to 38th in the 2025 rankings, despite earning high scores in academic reputation and sustainability, ranking fourth overall in sustainability.

In addition to these top three, seven other Canadian institutions made it to QS’ top 10, including the University of Alberta, University of Waterloo, Western University, Université de Montréal, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, and Queen’s University.

QS, known for its annual World University Rankings, evaluates institutions based on eight criteria, including academic reputation, citations per faculty, employer reputation, international faculty/student ratio, sustainability, employment outcomes, and international research network.

This criterion assesses how frequently papers authored by faculty members from a specific institution have been referenced by other publications over the past five years. QS emphasizes that "citations per faculty" reflect the institution's credibility within academic literature.

Employer reputation (15%)

This aspect of the QS methodology relies on surveys conducted with global employers, who are asked to nominate up to 10 local and 30 international universities they believe produce graduates with high employability.

Faculty/student ratio (10%)

QS values low student-to-faculty ratios and smaller class sizes as they contribute to a more personalized and collaborative learning environment.

International faculty/student ratio (10%)

Similar to the faculty/student ratio, this factor considers two ratios: the proportion of international faculty to domestic faculty and the proportion of international students to domestic students. Each ratio carries a weight of 5%, and QS verifies the data initially reported by institutions against government records where feasible.

Sustainability (5%)

This criterion gauges an institution's dedication to sustainability, including both its efforts and tangible results, as demonstrated by the institution and its alumni.

Employment Outcomes (5%)

This factor gauges an institution's effectiveness in ensuring its graduates achieve high levels of employability upon graduation.

International Research Network (5%)

According to QS, this metric evaluates how institutions establish and maintain research collaborations leading to internationally co-authored publications. It reflects their efforts to address global challenges collaboratively and disseminate critical research to broader audiences.

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