Dartmouth College
#55 Overall Influence#11 Desirability Rank

Dartmouth College

University and liberal arts college in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States

By James Barham, PhD

Despite the word “college” in its name, Dartmouth is a full-scale, PhD-granting, private, research university. Indeed, it is an official member of the Ivy League, and is the fourteenth-oldest university in the US, founded only five years after Brown and 15 years after Columbia.

Located in the small town of Hanover in the far western part of central New Hampshire, the Dartmouth campus abuts the Connecticut River, which forms the entire border between New Hampshire and Vermont.

The university was founded by Eleazar Wheelock, a Congregationalist minister who was involved in missionary work with the Native American population. Already in 1754, Wheelock had founded a school in Connecticut—known as Moor’s Indian Charity School—whose purpose was to educate Native American boys as Congregationalist missionaries for future work among their own tribes.

Wishing to expand this school, Wheelock began a fund-raising drive to which the British statesman, William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, was a major contributor (along with the American-born educator, Dr. John Phillips, who would go on to found Phillips Exeter Academy).

In spite of the success of his fund-raising endeavor, Wheelock found that it was difficult to recruit enough Native American children to justify a large additional investment in the school. For this reason, he revised his plans and decided to use the money for a new college for the white population. Because of difficulties in securing a charter from the Colony of Connecticut, he also decided to build his new school in the neighboring state of New Hampshire, instead.

Ironically, although Wheelock named the new college “Dartmouth” in honor of the 2nd Earl to recognize his generosity, the latter was in fact quite opposed to the diversion of his money from its original purpose of benefiting the native population.

Consistent with its history as the brainchild of various individuals interested in furthering the education of non-white populations, Dartmouth began admitting black students almost immediately (in 1775), although not in large numbers. By the advent of the Civil War, some 20 African Americans had graduated from the university.

On the other hand, Dartmouth long remained an all-male school; women were only permitted to attend the university in 1972.

A large number of distinguished Americans have been connected with Dartmouth. For example, in the nineteenth century, we may mention three leading statesmen:

  • Thaddeus Stevens, US Representative from Pennsylvania, prominent abolitionist, and fierce advocate for African Americans during Reconstruction
  • Daniel Webster, US Senator for New Hampshire, prominent critic of President Andrew Jackson, and Secretary of State under President Millard Fillmore
  • Salmon P. Chase, Governor and US Senator for Ohio, Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln, and sixth Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court

In addition, the well-known entrepreneur, George Bissell, who helped develop the early US oil industry in western Pennsylvania during the 1860s, was a Dartmouth graduate.

Distinguished twentieth-century individuals connected to Dartmouth include:

  • Edward Everett Just, an African American biologist who revolutionized our understanding of the cell surface
  • Edward Lorenz, a mathematician, meteorologist, and chaos theory pioneer
  • Celebrated poet, Robert Frost
  • Novelist, Louise Erdrich
  • Noted historian and law professor, Annette Gordon-Reed
  • Architect, Michael Arad
  • Children’s author, Theodor Geisel (“Dr. Seuss”)
  • Children’s television host, Fred Rogers (“Mr. Rogers”)
  • Robert Holbrook Smith (“Dr. Bob”), co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Author and filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza
  • Television hosts, Laura Ingraham & Mel Robbins
  • Television journalist, Jake Tapper
  • Actors, Meryl Streep, Michael Moriarty & Josh Pence

Among the many Dartmouth-linked public servants who have served during the twentieth century, we may mention:

  • Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York and Vice President of the US under President Gerald Ford
  • Henry Paulson, banker and Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush
  • Timothy Geithner, banker and Secretary of the Treasury under Barack Obama
  • Robert Reich, economist, author, commentator, and Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, sitting US Senator for New York

Finally, three individuals affiliated with Dartmouth have won the Nobel Prize:

  • Owen Chamberlain — physics
  • K. Barry Sharpless — chemistry
  • George Snell — physiology or medicine


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


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How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

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Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


207 Parkhurst Hall, Hanover NH 03755-3529

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

11 per 100k

Violent Crime

1 per 100k

What is Dartmouth College known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#43 World Rank #28 USA Rank
Computer Science
#45 World Rank #30 USA Rank
#65 World Rank #33 USA Rank
#96 World Rank #34 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#70 World Rank #37 USA Rank
#68 World Rank #38 USA Rank
#115 World Rank #41 USA Rank
#58 World Rank #41 USA Rank
Political Science
#57 World Rank #42 USA Rank
#116 World Rank #42 USA Rank
#91 World Rank #48 USA Rank
#118 World Rank #53 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#183 World Rank #66 USA Rank
#118 World Rank #69 USA Rank
#210 World Rank #83 USA Rank
#204 World Rank #94 USA Rank
#202 World Rank #98 USA Rank

Other areas of influence

#21 World Rank #18 USA Rank
#35 World Rank #21 USA Rank
#35 World Rank #26 USA Rank
#38 World Rank #34 USA Rank
#174 World Rank #116 USA Rank
Social Work
#205 World Rank #153 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#215 World Rank #149 USA Rank

Influential People

Who are Dartmouth College's Most influential alumni?

Dartmouth College's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Business, Law, and Education. Dartmouth College’s most academically influential people include Stuart Kauffman, Robert Frost, and Joseph Campbell.

Stuart Kauffman
Stuart Kauffman

American biophysicist

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Robert Frost
Robert Frost

American poet

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Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell

American mythologist, writer and lecturer

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Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss

American children's writer and illustrator

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Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

14th and 19th United States Secretary of State

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Salmon P. Chase
Salmon P. Chase

Former Chief Justice and Secretary of the Treasury of the United States

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James F. Crow
James F. Crow

American geneticist

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Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich

Writer from the United States

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Gardiner Greene Hubbard
Gardiner Greene Hubbard

American lawyer

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Jake Tapper
Jake Tapper

American political journalist, correspondent, author

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George Davis Snell

American geneticist

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Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes

American screenwriter, director, producer and author

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