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Ranking of McGill University: World-wise, Country-wise and Subject-wise Rankings 2020

Supriya Sarkar Supriya Sarkar
Study Abroad Expert

Located in the beautiful city of Montreal, McGill University is one of the most reputed universities in the world. Over the years, McGill has given a tough competition to several universities across the globe and created a niche for itself in the world rankings. All the accomplishments of McGill University can be primarily attributed to top-class education and high-quality research work offered through more than 400 programs, and 50 research centers and institutes.

Furthermore, McGill University is the only institution in Canada that was part of the ‘Global University Leaders Forum’ of the World Economic Forum, which consists of the heads of the top-26 higher education institutions in the world.

McGill witnesses a whopping number of applications in every academic year. In the Fall season of 2019, McGill received applications from 34,047, 1,479, and 16,066 students, respectively, for undergraduate, continuing and graduate courses offered at McGill.

However, only a handful of students are able to fulfill their dream of securing a place for themselves even after satisfying McGill University admission requirements. As reported by the university, admission offers were made to 15,323, 1,024 and 4,612 students, respectively, for undergraduate, continuing and graduate courses.

McGill University Worldwide Ranking

In the Times Higher Education Ranking (THE) 2020, McGill jumped by two positions higher to #42 than the previous year’s ranking of #44. Notably, McGill continues to be among the three Canadian universities to make up to the top-50 universities in the world as per THE. According to Mr. Phil Baty, the Chief Knowledge Officer of Times Higher Education, THE ranking of 2020 has been the most competitive one, posing challenges for even the top-notch universities. Amidst such a tough situation, it is a remarkable achievement for McGill to climb two positions higher outweighing other premier institutions in the race.

Considering the rankings of the last 10 years, McGill’s rankings have been going down constantly, except in the year 2012 when a sharp increase in the ranking was witnessed. Now after almost a decade, McGill seems to have improved its position in terms of its popularity among academics and students (Graph I).

Year wise Ranking

Graph I: Times Higher Education Ranking of McGill University from 2010 to 2020.

THE took into account nearly 1,400 institutions from over 92 countries and conferred the ranking based upon several factors like teaching quality, type of research conducted, number of citations, industry income, and international outlook.

In contrast to this, McGill’s performance in the QS World University Rankings has been on the downside since 2012. In 2020, McGill toppled two ranks down from #33 to #35 sharing the position with University of California, Los Angeles. Despite the depreciation in the world ranking, McGill has shown considerable improvement in the subject-wise ranking of QS World University and stood at #3.

McGill University National Ranking

Coming to the national rankings for the year 2020, McGill has outperformed many premier institutions in Canada to grab a place in the top-3. The top-ranking agencies like, Times Higher Education and US News use the same analyzing parameters that are used for world rankings to determine the country-wise ranking.

As per the latest available information, McGill University has been placed at #2 in the QS Top-10 universities in Canada. In contrary to this, the US News and THE shared a common opinion and placed McGill at 3#.

The Best Global Universities in Canada by US News have been listed based upon their respective global score and rankings. The University of Toronto tops the list with a global score of 83.1, while the McGill University was ranked #3 with a global score of 74.7 facing tough competition from the University of British Columbia whose global score was 77.6.

Top 5 Best global Universities in Canada

Graph II: The graph represents the global scores of the top-5 best global universities in Canada as per the US News

McGill University Subject-specific Ranking

McGill has performed exceptionally in the most latest QS World University Rankings 2020 by subjects. A total of 48 subjects that are worldwide famous among students were picked for evaluation and ranking. The subjects majorly ranged across Arts & Humanities; Engineering & Technology; Life Sciences & Medicine; Natural Sciences; and Social Sciences & Management.

The subjects were ranked considering two primary factors, global reputation and contribution towards research. The global reputation was determined based upon the types of courses offered and list employers, while the research contribution was determined based upon the number of citations per paper and h-index of the associated subject.

Remarkably, out of 48 subjects, McGill featured in the list several times for 41 subjects. In total, 33 subjects were ranked in the top-50 including 5 subjects in the top-20. It was a great achievement for McGill as a broad spectrum of subject areas, ranging from Engineering to Law, made up to the top ranks.

Ranking of Subjects in the Top-20
Minerals and Mining Engineering#3
Anatomy and Physiology#10
Library & Information Management#12
Ranking of Subjects in the Top-30
Biological Sciences#29
Earth & Marine Sciences#26
Engineering – Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing#27
English Language & Literature#29
Environmental Sciences#26
Pharmacy and Pharmacology#24
Sports-related Subjects#28

Table 1: QS World University Rankings 2020 by Subject

In THE rankings 2020, the subjects that found a place in the top-100 are Computer, Law, Education, and Psychology.


Considering the US News Subject Rankings 2020, a total of 28 subject areas showed up in the top-200 with 11 institutions in the top-50. All the subject areas were analysed critically based upon the global & regional research reputation, the number of publications, conferences held, citation impact and international collaboration. Of all the subjects making up to the top-100, ‘Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems’ acquired a global rank of #17 followed by

‘Neuroscience and Behavior’ at #19. In general, most of the Science & Technology-related subjects qualified for the top positions followed by a few Arts subjects.

Here is the list of top-50 subjects in the World as per the US News Ranking 2020.

Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems#17
Neuroscience and Behavior#19
Molecular Biology and Genetics#31
Social Sciences and Public Health#36
Arts and Humanities#37
Clinical Medicine#38
Mechanical Engineering#42

Rest of the subjects that ranked in the Top-200 are tabulated below.

Agricultural Sciences#79
Civil Engineering#54
Biology and Biochemistry#56
Space Science#56
Pharmacology and Toxicology#93
Computer Science#127
Materials Science#132
Economics and Business#136
Plant and Animal Science#139
Electrical and Electronic Engineering#159

These rankings are the indications of the hard work put by McGill in improvising its education quality up to the global standards in terms of high-quality education and research output. In view this, over the years, McGill has evolved as one of the best research institutions in Canada and the world.

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