McMaster University is moving up the ranks of the world’s universities, the school announced Monday.

The Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities moved McMaster up to 90 from 92 on its world ranking list of 500 universities. McMaster is the fourth-highest ranked Canadian school, behind the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and Montreal’s McGill University. U of T is the top ranked Canadian school on the list.

“This ranking serves to confirm what other rankings have established over the years – that McMaster University is consistently considered to be among one of the best in Canada, and in the world,” said McMaster president Patrick Deane. “Only three other Canadian cities have a university in the Top 100. It is certainly a strong way to help Hamilton build its national and global reputation and to attract innovators and new business opportunities to our city.”

The ranking put 21 Canadian universities among the world’s top 500, which is a drop from 2013, when there were 23 schools on the list.

Harvard University and Stanford University topped the list at one and two, respectively.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Center for World-Class Universities has released an annual ranking of the world’s top 500 universities since 2003. The ranking is based on data like the number of papers published, mentions in citation indexes and number of staff/alumni who have won awards like the Nobel Prize. That means the ranking is based more heavily on hard data than anecdotal student experiences. "This is very solidly rooted in a research focus," Deane said.

The rankings are also particularly geared towards schools with a science program focus — something McMaster has been bolstering in recent years with its health care focus. McMaster’s social science programs also ranked 48th in the world. The Hamilton-based university says offerings like the DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and its nuclear reactor help draw students in.

"It's really gratifying to see," Deane said.