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SFU tops Maclean's comprehensive university rankings — again

The Burnaby post-secondary has the best operating budget, student services, awards and library resources, according to the magazine's 2024 report.
A bird's eye view of Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby. | Simon Fraser University/X

Simon Fraser University (SFU) was given top marks by an annual national post-secondary rankings for a 15th time in the last 16 years.

Maclean's Magazine ranked the Burnaby post-secondary first overall in its 2024 report today, Oct. 12, of comprehensive universities in Canada.

The category shortlists schools with a "significant amount" of research activity and a wide variety of programs that include professional degrees.

"I am so proud of our community and all the work from across the university that has led to this result as we work to advance an inclusive and sustainable future, together," said SFU president Joy Johnson in a statement.

"Inspiring students, talented faculty and world-class educational programs distinguish SFU as a leading community-engaged research university. Our priorities are to build on these strengths to enhance the student experience, advance reconciliation and promote equity, diversity and inclusion across SFU."


Like 2023's rankings, SFU placed first in categories like best overall operating budget, student services, available student awards and library resources.

The school also placed in the top three for reputation, student/faculty ratio, available faculty awards, social sciences and humanities grants, and medical/science grants.

"The last year saw SFU continue to grow and build on its commitment to staff, students and faculty and our shared values," a release reads.

"The Courtyard Residence building opened its doors to nearly 400 first-year students this fall and the Evolve E-Bike Share Program rolled out to give people a new, sustainable way of getting around Burnaby campus."

Maclean's report classifies Indigenous languages, environmental science and sustainable energy engineering offerings as standout programs at SFU.

The magazine, however, gave the Burnaby school a fifth ranking for total research dollars and ninth for available scholarships and bursaries.

According to its research, Maclean's said SFU hosts nearly 12,800 full-time undergrads and almost 4,700 graduate students

It's nearby UniverCity community on Burnaby Mountain, created on a goal of sustainable living, currently has a population of about 5,200 residents.


Maclean’s yearly report puts Canadian universities into three categories:

  • Recognizing the differences in types of institutions
  • Levels of research funding, diversity of offerings
  • Breadth and depth of graduate and professional programs

The magazine then uses the most recent and public data available from Statistics Canada to compile and rank the schools, which need to have 1,000 full-time students or more.

The success rate of a post-secondary's students and faculty, including major national academic awards in the last five years, account for a combined 40 per cent, 20 per cent each, of the final score.

A school's resources total 22 per cent of the final ranking, 18 per cent from student support and 20 per cent by reputation.