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#11 Overall Influence #5 Desirability Rank

Princeton University

Private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey, United States
By James Barham, PhD

Although only the ninth-oldest university in the country, Princeton is one of the most historic. Originally founded as the College of New Jersey, the school’s sixth presidents, the Scottish theologian and educator John Witherspoon, signed the Declaration of Independence—the only college leader to do so. The next year, George Washington’s colonials dealt a small but significant blow to Lord Cornwallis’s superior forces at the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. The victories at the earlier Battle of Trenton and at Princeton had an important positive effect on American morale, leading to increased enlistments in Washington’s army.

Princeton has pursued a different strategy over the years from its Ivy League confrères. For example, it has no law school, medical school, or business school. It has only loose academic connections to the nearby Princeton Theological Seminary and Institute for Advanced Study. In spite of its seemingly narrow focus on the arts and sciences to the detriment of professional training, Princeton nevertheless maintains a towering reputation for the cutting-edge academic research of its faculty, as well as for their teaching prowess (all professors are expected to teach undergraduates). Perhaps due to this focus, Princeton has also developed a reputation for academic “toughness,” resisting the grade inflation trend rampant elsewhere in American academia and insuring a challenging intellectual experience to even its very best incoming students.

On the roster of preeminent, Princeton-connected names in the sciences, Nobelists in physics have been the most prominent, including:

  • Arthur Compton
  • Wolfgang Pauli
  • Eugene Wigner
  • Richard Feynman
  • John Bardeen
  • Philip Anderson
  • Steven Weinberg
  • Frank Wilczek
  • Kip Thorne
  • James Peebles

Princeton has special strength in mathematics, being connected to many Fields Medalists, including:

  • John Milnor
  • Edward Witten
  • William Thurston
  • Terence Tao
  • Manjul Bhargava
  • Akshay Venkatesh

In addition, the great mathematician, logician, and father of the theory of computation, Alan Turing, received his doctorate from Princeton.

Among other eminent philosophers and logicians who have been associated with university, we may mention:

  • Alonzo Church
  • John Rawls
  • Robert Nozick
  • Donald Davidson
  • Saul Kripke
  • Jerry Fodor
  • David K. Lewis
  • Cornel West
  • Peter Singer

Four Princeton-connected individuals have won the Nobel Prize in Economics, namely,

  • Gary Becker
  • John Nash
  • Michael Spence
  • Angus Deaton

Another special strength of Princeton has lain in the fields of law and politics. The school has contributed three Presidents to the United States, namely,

  • James Madison
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • John F. Kennedy

as well as a host of other prominent statesmen, including:

  • John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Influential diplomat, George F. Kennan
  • James A. Baker, US Secretary of State under President George W. Bush
  • Supreme Court Justices, Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan, & Sonia Sotomayor

Finally, some other distinguished individuals linked to Princeton include:

  • Anthropologist Mary Douglas
  • Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Playwright Eugene O’Neill
  • Literary critic, Edmund Wilson
  • Attorney and consumer advocate, Ralph Nader
  • Financial journalist, Michael Lewis
  • Automobile company chief executive, Lee Iacocca
  • Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos
  • Army General and public servant, David Petraeus
  • Actor James (“Jimmy”) Stewart

From Wikipedia

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, and then to the current site nine years later. It officially became a university in 1896 and was subsequently renamed Princeton University.

Source: Wikipedia


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost
0 - 30K$1,386
30K - 48K$2,044
48K - 75K$7,576
75K - 110K$16,989

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




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?


1 Nassau Hall, Princeton NJ 08544-0070

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

36 per 100K

Violent Crime

1 per 100K

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

8 per 100K

Violent Crime

1 per 100K

What is Princeton University 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

#2 World Rank
#9 World Rank
#4 World Rank
#6 World Rank
Computer Science
#12 World Rank
#8 World Rank
#6 World Rank
Political Science
#10 World Rank
#8 World Rank
#15 World Rank
#16 World Rank
#14 World Rank
Religious Studies
#13 World Rank
#15 World Rank
#13 World Rank
Earth Sciences

Other areas of influence

#10 World Rank
#11 World Rank
#11 World Rank
#12 World Rank
#27 World Rank
#30 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#32 World Rank
Social Work
#39 World Rank
#70 World Rank

Influential People

Who are Princeton University's Most influential alumni?

Princeton University 's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science

Fei-Fei Li

Fei-Fei Li

American computer scientist

Eric Lander

Eric Lander

American academic

Norman Finkelstein

Norman Finkelstein

American political scientist and author

Michael Freedman

Michael Freedman

Mathematician and Fields Medalist at Microsoft Station Q

John B. Taylor

John B. Taylor

American economist

Michael Artin

Michael Artin

American mathematician

Clifford Stein

Clifford Stein

American computer scientist

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

American author, entrepreneur, angel investor and public speaker

Terry Sejnowski

American neuroscientist

George Boolos

George Boolos

Philosopher and mathematical logician

Steve Forbes

American businessman and publisher

David Kelley

American philosopher