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Awards and recognition

SFU retains Canada’s No. 1 comprehensive university in Maclean’s rankings

October 06, 2022

The university that sits atop Burnaby Mountain is also, once again, at the summit of education in Canada.

Simon Fraser University has been named the top comprehensive university, according to Maclean’s Magazine’s prestigious 2023 university rankings.

The institution has placed first in the comprehensive category for 14 of the last 15 years but shared the top honours with University of Victoria last year. This year, SFU has retained sole possession of first place.

Comprehensive universities are recognized for their significant amount of research activity and a wide range of programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including professional degrees. 

“It’s an honour for Simon Fraser University to be once again ranked as Canada’s top comprehensive university by Maclean’s,” says SFU president Joy Johnson. “Everyone at the university has worked so hard to improve programs, bring new life to campus and stay committed to SFU’s values as we prepared for a return to full in-person learning this fall. I’m grateful to see that work recognized and celebrated.”

In ranking SFU Canada’s top comprehensive university, the magazine recognized a number of major initiatives it has undertaken as students were welcomed to its three campuses for the fall 2022 fall semester.

The Burnaby campus’ new dining commons, family residence and plans for the First People’s Gathering House were noted as significant additions to the SFU community. Need even more reason to cheer? There’s also the new name of the varsity teams: the SFU Red Leafs.

The university’s commitment to taking action on climate change was also lauded.

SFU’s global equity portfolio, valued at $450 million as of December of 2021, is completely divested from fossil fuel funds, and the two student-managed investment funds, which oversee more than $34 million, will fully divest from fossil fuels by the end of this year. The school has increased the funds in its Socially Responsible Investment portfolio by $30 million, to $53 million, and cut its greenhouse gas emissions down by half, exceeding its 2021 goals.

Continuing on the theme of social responsibility, Maclean’s rankings noted that SFU intends to become the first public post-secondary institution in Canada to be a Living Wage employer.

Finally, two programs based at the SFU Surrey campus – the upcoming B.C. Centre of Agritech Innovation and the School of Sustainable Engineering (which will see its first students graduate from the program this fall) were also recognized in the Maclean’s story.

Overall, SFU ranked first in five (student awards, operating budget, library expenses, library acquisitions and student services) of the 12 categories that comprehensive universities are judged on and also played highly in the majority of other categories, including student/faculty ratio, science grants, research dollars and reputation.