York University moves up in QS World Rankings

Drone image shows Vari Hall and the Ross Building on Keele Campus

The 2022 QS World Rankings reinforce York University’s role as a leading North American public university with a global reach to right the future.

By Elaine Smith

York University has advanced in the 2022 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject, signalling its position as a leading international research and teaching university that is driving positive change to right the future. The 2022 rankings released this year evaluate universities in five broad subject areas, and York ranked competitively in four of them among North America’s public universities:

  • Arts & Humanities: No. 26
  • Social Sciences and Management: No. 33
  • Engineering & Technology: No. 71  
  • Natural Sciences: No. 90

York also moved up 50 spots to be ranked No. 63 among North America’s public universities in the 2022 QS World University Rankings released last year (a separate ranking from the QS World University Rankings by Subject).

Lisa Philipps
Lisa Philipps

“It is wonderful to see York steadily advancing in multiple prestigious world rankings,” says Lisa Philipps, York’s provost and vice-president academic. “Rankings are a helpful way to benchmark our global competitiveness and assess the performance of our institutional strategy and investments. Prospective students, international academic partners, employers, governments, alumni, media and foundations pay close attention to this ranking.”

The QS World University Rankings rate 1,300 universities, using six metrics to evaluate institutions, including international faculty ratio; faculty-student ratio; citations per faculty; academic reputation; and employer reputation. Forty per cent of a university’s ranking score is based on academic reputation based on responses from academia to the QS Academic Survey. Employer reputation, which is calculated through an extensive survey on where employers look for the most capable graduates, contributes 10 per cent to the World University Rankings.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject also consider international research collaborations in addition to feedback from reputation surveys and other research metrics.

“Rankings do give some helpful insights into why institutions can become known for their excellence,” says Philipps. “When a focus on social justice is woven into teaching, research, innovation and partnerships, this drives a distinctive reputation for excellence. This is then reflected in rankings, media and other measures of institutional merit.”

Employers value the contributions York graduates bring to the workplace. IBM has partnered with the University on major research initiatives and higher education innovations such as SAVY, York’s award-winning virtual student advising tool. Cinespace Film Studios recently invested in the York University Motion Media Studio at Cinespace. India’s GMR Group is one of York’s major industry partners in business education. Shopify collaborates with the University to increase the supply of Canada’s top tech talent.

Amir Asif
Amir Asif

“York University’s exceptional performance is driven by the University’s collaborative approach to interdisciplinary research and our commitment to research that makes a difference to the communities we serve.” says Amir Asif, vice-president of research and innovation. “York is poised for exponential growth over the next 10 years with the launch of the new Markham Campus, as well as York’s aspirations for a School of Medicine. Our partnerships with the Vaughan Healthcare Centre Precinct, for example, will play a crucial role in supporting York’s upward trajectory in health-related areas.”

Asif adds, “York’s research excellence, which was integral to our ranking performance, is driven by the global scope of the accomplishments of our faculty, postdoctoral Fellows and graduate researchers. We are committed to helping them tackle complex global challenges like those that advance the Sustainable Development Goals.”

York’s globally engaged response to the pandemic is an excellent example of its transdisciplinary approach to solving complex societal issues. The York-led Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Consortium (ACADIC) received funding from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). ACADIC brings together experts from around the world in data science, epidemiology, physics, mathematics, software engineering, disaster and emergency management, clinical public health, citizen science and community engagement to combat the pandemic in Africa.

“The ability to showcase and benchmark our diverse strengths and contributions through these rankings is critical to attracting global talent and resources and developing impactful collaborations,” says Asif, who notes that the number of international doctoral students enrolled in York has increased through the pandemic. During this time, research and scholarly activity, as well as research funding from international sponsors, was also higher than pre-pandemic levels.  

The University Academic Plan, Faculty Complement Renewal Strategy, Strategic Research Plan, and internationalization strategy provide the framework for enhancing globally minded institutional excellence. “We are so happy to see the success of these University-wide efforts reflected in our performance in the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings, Times Higher Education Impact Ranking, and the QS World University Rankings,” says Philipps.