Canada’s leading three universities as per the 2025 QS World University Rankings

For the second year in a row, three Canadian universities have placed among the top 40 in the QS World University Rankings.

Quacquarelli Symonds, or QS, is a very reputed ranking house that evaluates institutions of higher education across the world. Whatever the case, QS says its World University Rankings uniquely include assessments of both employability and sustainability performance—the latter included for the first time this year.

Canada's leading three universities as per the 2025 QS World University Rankings

Who is QS?

QS is an organization that releases the World University Rankings every year. It scores institutions based on how they perform across a broad set of eight different parameters. Noteworthy: earlier, in its 2024 ranking, it added three items to the list while evaluating a university.

QS has the criteria that it uses to score universities, and it ranks them according to:

  • Academic Reputation
  • Faculty/Student Ratio
  • Citations per faculty
  • Employer Reputation
  • International Faculty/Student Ratio
  • Sustainability
  • Employment Outcomes
  • The International Research Network

Universally, under this ranking by QS World University Rankings, the universities got an overall score along with individual scores for the factors mentioned above. Below are the descriptions of which universities are ranked by QS World University Rankings, and even further detailed information about these criteria is described below.

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How well did Canada’s top universities do in the QS World University Rankings for 2025?

Three Canadian universities have made prominent positions on QS’s 2025 World University Rankings, which will be released next year.

There were more than 1500 universities on the list this year.

What is also interesting is that all three highly ranked universities are in Canada’s three most popular provinces for newcomers:

In fact, except for the University of Alberta, all institutions in 2025’s top 10 in Canada are in Ontario, British Columbia, or Quebec.

Top 3 universities in Canada for 2025 as per the QS World University Rankings

In the following, we’ll discuss the top 3 universities:

Rank: 25 
Score: 84.1 

Score by factor:

  • Academic reputation: 99.7
  • Faculty/Student: 44.9
  • Citations per faculty: 50.8
  • Recruiter: 96.9
  • Ratio: 96.9 percent (faculty); 96.1 percent (students).)
  • Sustainability: 100
  • Employment: 98.7
  • IRN: 97.7 Key data about UofT

Even though the University of Toronto slid a few spots from its 21st ranking last year, it’s still off and running as the top Canadian institution in the QS World University Ranking for the second consecutive year.

That was not all; UofT has been named the top university globally in QS’s sustainability ranking.

Over 96.0 was scored in academic reputation, employer reputation, employment outcomes, international research network, and international ratios, which reaffirmed UofT as one of the world’s top post-secondary institutions.

Rank: 29
Score: 83 

Scores by factor:

  • Academic Reputation: 94.3
  • Faculty/Student Ratio: 62.3
  • Citations per faculty: 57.9
  • Employer Reputation: 87.6
  • International Faculty/Student Ratio: 83.7-faculty, 89.6-student
  • Sustainability: 99.1
  • Employment Outcomes: 98.3
  • International Research Network: 94.2 

Moving up one position from last year’s 30th spot, McGill University returned to the top 30 of the QS World University Ranking for the first time since 2022. The 13-year streak continues, with McGill being in the top 35 in the QS World University Rankings.

Rank: 38
Score: 81

Scores by factor:

  • Academic reputation: 98.3
  • Faculty Student Ratio: 34.5
  • Citations per faculty: 57.7
  • Employer Reputation: 94.3
  • International faculty-student ratio: 95.5 for faculties and 72.8 for students
  • Sustainability: 99.8
  • Employment Outcomes: 74.6
  • The International Research Network: 96.2

Having been positioned at serial number 34 in the list of 2024 QS World University Rankings, UBC has now slipped four positions to rank 38th in the 2025 QS ranking.

It performed very strongly in five of QS’ eight evaluation criteria, with its strongest ratings coming in academic reputation and sustainability. Indeed, it placed fourth overall in QS’ sustainability rankings, just a few spots behind the University of Toronto.

Which universities comprised Canada’s top 10?

Although the three universities above were awarded spots within the top 40 of QS’s overall worldwide rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds also releases rankings that focus on top destinations for international students.

In QS’ ranking for Canada, in addition to UofT, McGill, and UBC, the seven institutions listed below round out Canada’s top 10 post-secondary institutions for 2025:

  1. University of Alberta (#96 overall)
  2. University of Waterloo (#115 overall)
  3. Western University (#120 overall)
  4. Université de Montréal (#159 overall)
  5. McMaster University (#176 overall)
  6. University of Ottawa (#189 overall)
  7. Queen’s University (#193 overall)

How does QS develop its ranking methodology?

QS evaluates and ranks universities based on eight different criteria for its World University Rankings.

These factors are weighed according to the degree of impact or importance in QS’s ranking system, as shown below:

  • Academic reputation: 30 percent, derived from surveys with thousands of academics teaching and researching in higher education institutions.
  • Citations per faculty member: 20% It measures how many times in five years the published papers of the faculty staff of a university have been cited by other authors, thus its academic power.
  • Employer reputation 15%: calculated through a survey carried out to global employers who name universities that produce the most employable graduates, both at the national and international levels.
  • Faculty/Student Ratio: 10% rewards universities that have a small student-to-staff ratio because such ratios afford a more personal as well as collaborative learning atmosphere.
  • International faculty/student ratio: 10% evaluates the proportion of international faculty compared with national faculty and of international students compared with national students, thereby throwing light on the international diversity of institutions.
  • Sustainability: 5% evaluates an institution’s commitment to sustainability practices, its effective, on-ground impact, and the continuity in that respect through alumni giving.
  • Employment outcomes: 5% measures the employability of graduates, thus the success of a university in the employment market.
  • International research network (5%): How many universities are internationalizing research collaboration that leads to publications with international co-authors, thus helping to solve global challenges and spread vital research?

All these factors are indispensable elements in creating a rounded ranking of the world’s leading universities, from which QS World University Rankings can represent different angles of institutional excellence and distinctiveness.

From our analysis of the breakdown of the list of the best universities in the world found in the 2025 QS World University Rankings, it is obvious this is a deliberate act to remain globally reputable. Each of them has performed excellently in one of the following: faculty-student ratios, citations per faculty area, or international reputation. Their constant presence in the world’s elite testifies to Canada’s presiding view of enlightening higher education, research, and innovation. In an attempt to weave our way through the complexity of global rankings and institutional excellence, it would therefore seem true that together these universities go a long way in defining Canada’s reputation as a front-runner in driving an entire new generation of innovation, intellectual, and leadership capability.

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