U of A is home to Canada’s top nursing program, according to latest Maclean’s rankings

Education, computing science, engineering and business also rank among the best programs in the country.


The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy is home to the U of A's Faculty of Nursing, which delivers the top nursing education in Canada, according to the latest Maclean's rankings of Canadian universities. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

The University of Alberta delivers the top nursing education in Canada and has the third best education program, according to the Maclean’s 2022 Canadian University Rankings.

“I'm so pleased to see our nursing and education programs receive this recognition,” said U of A president Bill Flanagan. "Nurses and teachers are playing a vital role in the battle against COVID-19, and our graduates are on the front lines, well prepared to meet the challenge, in part because of the steadfast commitment to program excellence and innovation in our faculties of nursing and education.”

Diane Kunyk, acting dean of the Faculty of Nursing, said this ranking reflects the unwavering commitment of faculty, teachers and students to excellence. She noted that the relevance of nursing research makes it increasingly accessible, and that it has become a fixture in the news cycle and on the desks of policy makers.

She gave examples of Shannon MacDonald’s vaccine hesitancy work and Carole Estabrooks’ research on care in nursing homes as being particularly relevant during the pandemic.

"The faculty’s commitment to continually advance our programs to be responsive to current needs also makes it a top school," said Kunyk.

For instance, the faculty redesigned its undergraduate program to give it a stronger leadership focus and recently rolled out a new master’s program that is more accessible to working RNs.

“We have a strong reputation globally, which is resulting in international students making up almost 40 per cent of our doctoral programs,” said Kunyk. “Solving some of the problems in health care and improving practice is what we excel at.”

Always in the rankings mix, the Faculty of Education, according to dean Jennifer Tupper, benefits from both a long history — which dates back to 1942, when the U of A opened Canada's first education faculty — and research excellence.

“Our faculty members, as a collective, are engaged in important, meaningful, socially innovative research that has local, national and international reach,” said Tupper.

She added the research is helping enhance knowledge and understanding of various fields of study, including not only teacher education but also counselling and school and clinical psychology, library and information studies, Indigenous peoples education, social justice and international education, to name a few.

“Our strength comes from the diversity of our faculty members and their research programs, as well as their collaboration and outstanding delivery of programs across our faculty,” she said. “This is why we attract more student applications than we have spaces for.”

Other sterling subject rankings included fifth-place showings in computer science and engineering, and a ranking of sixth in business — which was helped by a third-place standing in research reputation.

Kyle Murray, dean of the Alberta School of Business, said the research reputation piece comes as part of a decades-long strategy of recruitment.

“Our research groups in entrepreneurship, marketing and corporate finance are made up of some of the top people in the world in those areas, and that drives the overall ranking for the school,” said Murray. “Of course, that’s very important to our students as well.”

To continue improving that student experience, with a peripheral goal of further bolstering reputation, Murray said the Alberta School of Business has begun offering direct entry from high school. He explained some of the advantages to having more business training include strengthened interactions with researchers and an earlier introduction to a wider variety of business experiences, including leadership and entrepreneurship.

“We believe this will allow us to develop a better cohort system and create better learning and research environments for our students.”

For the subject rankings, Maclean’s contacted more than 1,200 professors, deans and chairs and asked them to list up to 10 universities they felt offered the best programs and conducted the best research in their discipline.

Overall, the U of A held steady in sixth spot in the Maclean’s reputation rank, which was based on the views of faculty and senior administrators at Canadian universities, as well as high-school guidance counsellors and a variety of business people across the country.

Other solid U of A Maclean’s rankings included a sixth in the “leaders of tomorrow” category, fifth in the percentage of international graduate students (44.4 per cent) and first in the percentage of faculty who have a PhD, a first professional degree or highest-level degree in their field (99.7 per cent).

The University of Toronto topped this year’s reputation ranking, followed by the universities of British Columbia and Waterloo.

Recently, the U of A landed at 99th globally, 35th in North America and fifth nationally in the 2021 QS Graduate Employability Rankings.

Other recent showings include a 91st-place showing in the 2021 NTU Ranking and a rank of 81st by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) — up 20 spots from the previous year. In both rankings, the U of A finished fourth in Canada.