Best Universities in the US 2022

Our ranking of the best US universities is based on the academic impact of the schools’ faculty and alumni. We believe that schools with histories of hiring and developing influential faculty, and schools that produce students who become influential in their fields of study, are schools that demonstrate key indicators of academic excellence.

Best Universities in the US 2022

Every fall, more than 2 million high-school graduates will enroll in colleges and universities across the United States. With nearly 3,000 4-year schools to choose from, finding the best college for your educational, personal, and professional goals may be challenging. The purpose of this ranking is to help you manage this challenge. We offer a new perspective of the best universities in the US.

Interested in seeing competetive smaller colleges?

Our ranking of universities has the very best colleges and universities in the country based on the number of influential faculty and alumni affiliated with the schools over the past ten years. Larger schools have a huge advantage simply because they have more people. We also offer rankings that control for the size advatages of largers universities. Doing that reveals smaller colleges and universities that compete proportionally with largers universities. The rankings below use the method that controls for size advantages:

Best Universities in the US 2022
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How do we determine the best universities in the US?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

We’ve identified a total of 1,392 colleges and universities in the US that meet our criteria. Of those, 637 are public institutions and 755 are private institutions. This list focuses on schools that offer bachelor’s degrees, and includes both public and private colleges and universities. In order to be included in this list of best colleges, a school needs to a regionally accredited nonprofit college or university.

50 Best US Universities 2022

  1. #1

    Harvard University

    Cambridge , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    What is Harvard University known for?

    Harvard University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Stanford University

    Stanford , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/33

    What is Stanford University known for?

    Stanford University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Law
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1540/35

    What is Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for?

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    43K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/33

    What is University of California, Berkeley known for?

    University of California, Berkeley’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Yale University

    New Haven , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    What is Yale University known for?

    Yale University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Columbia University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $64K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    What is Columbia University known for?

    Columbia University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #7

    Princeton University

    Princeton , NJ
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    What is Princeton University known for?

    Princeton University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  8. #8

    University of Chicago

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1535/34

    What is University of Chicago known for?

    University of Chicago’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Philosophy
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #9

    University of Michigan

    Ann Arbor , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    26%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

    What is University of Michigan known for?

    University of Michigan’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Anthropology
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    New York University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    49K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1440/32

    What is New York University known for?

    New York University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #11

    University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    What is University of Pennsylvania known for?

    University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Cornell University

    Ithaca , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

    What is Cornell University known for?

    Cornell University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Anthropology
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    What is University of California, Los Angeles known for?

    University of California, Los Angeles’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Nursing
    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1525/34

    What is Duke University known for?

    Duke University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  15. #15

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Pittsburgh , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

    What is Carnegie Mellon University known for?

    Carnegie Mellon University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  16. #16

    University of Southern California

    Los Angeles , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    What is University of Southern California known for?

    University of Southern California’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Law
    • Communications
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1545/35

    What is California Institute of Technology known for?

    California Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    University of Washington

    Seattle , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    What is University of Washington known for?

    University of Washington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #19

    Northwestern University

    Evanston , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1495/34

    What is Northwestern University known for?

    Northwestern University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Law
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1355/30

    What is University of Texas at Austin known for?

    University of Texas at Austin’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Earth Sciences
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #21

    Georgetown University

    Washington , DC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    What is Georgetown University known for?

    Georgetown University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #22

    Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore , MD
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

    What is Johns Hopkins University known for?

    Johns Hopkins University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  23. #26

    University of Virginia

    Charlottesville , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    23%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

    What is University of Virginia known for?

    University of Virginia’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Literature
    • History
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #28

    Brown University

    Providence , RI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    What is Brown University known for?

    Brown University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Business
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  25. #30

    University of Pittsburgh

    Pittsburgh , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    27K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1350/30

    What is University of Pittsburgh known for?

    University of Pittsburgh’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  26. #33

    Indiana University Bloomington

    Bloomington , IN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    41K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    What is Indiana University Bloomington known for?

    Indiana University Bloomington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Anthropology
    • Biology
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  27. #35

    University of Florida

    Gainesville , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    47K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/30

    What is University of Florida known for?

    University of Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • History
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  28. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1405/30

    What is University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill known for?

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Communications
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  29. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    27K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1355/30

    What is University of California, Santa Barbara known for?

    University of California, Santa Barbara’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  30. #39

    Michigan State University

    East Lansing , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    What is Michigan State University known for?

    Michigan State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  31. #43

    Dartmouth College

    Hanover , NH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1500/33

    What is Dartmouth College known for?

    Dartmouth College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Earth Sciences
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

  32. #47

    Syracuse University

    Syracuse , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1280/28

    What is Syracuse University known for?

    Syracuse University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  33. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    30%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    38K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1295/28

    What is University of California, Irvine known for?

    University of California, Irvine’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

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Find the Best Colleges and Universities Near You

Best Colleges and Universities in Your State
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Find the Best Colleges and Unviersities in Your Discipline of Choice

The Best Undergraduate Colleges and Universities by disciplines

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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Resources for College-Bound Students

Photo Credit: Harvard University’s Harvard Yard, By Mancala English Wikipedia, Public Domain.