Maclean’s evaluation of overall academic excellence at universities across the country
To provide a more detailed picture of grade averages, Maclean’s displays grades divided into six grade ranges, extending from less than 70 per cent to 95 per cent and higher.
As a measure of drawing power, Maclean’s counts the proportion of out-of-province students in the first-year undergraduate class, and the proportion of first-year international students.
In taking stock of retention rates, Maclean’s asks for the percentage of full-time, first-year students who return in second year. While many factors can affect a student’s choice not to return—personal considerations, or a decision to transfer to a program unavailable at their home university—student retention, on the whole, reflects a university’s success in keeping its students on course.
Maclean’s also measures graduation rates by tracking an incoming cohort of full-time, first-year undergraduate students to determine if they received a degree within seven years. The graduation numbers include students in three-year programs, as well as those in such second-entry programs as medicine, law and education—programs that have a highly selective admissions process. As such, the number of these programs at any given university can affect the overall graduation rate.
Finally, in assessing faculty, Maclean’s counts the percentage of full-time instructional faculty members who have a Ph.D., a first professional degree or a terminal degree in their field.