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#9 Overall Influence #1 Desirability Rank

Stanford University

Private research university located in Stanford, California, United States
By James Barham, PhD

Stanford University was founded by Leland Stanford, a wealthy railroad magnate and erstwhile US Senator from California, as well as a former Governor of the Golden State. He placed the university in an unincorporated area about 30 miles south of San Francisco, adjacent to the town of Palo Alto (which he also founded). The campus lies in what is now known as Silicon Valley, which contributes greatly to the immense intellectual and economic influence of the private, research university that still bears the Stanford family name. Today, Stanford University is perhaps the closest thing to a true Ivy League school on the West Coast.

The university can claim more than 80 Nobel laureates among its alumni and its full-time or visiting faculty, including:

  • Carl Wieman in physics
  • Roger Kornberg in chemistry
  • Thomas Südhof in physiology or medicine
  • Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz in economics

Stanford is also the world-leader in Turing Awards (for computer science) with 27 winners, including such luminaries as:

  • Vinton Cerf
  • Whitfield Diffie
  • Edward Feigenbaum
  • Martin Hellman
  • John Hopcroft
  • Donald Knuth
  • Barbara Liskov
  • John McCarthy
  • Allen Newell
  • Ronald Rivest

Another area of particular academic strength for Stanford is mathematics, as evidenced by the school’s eight Fields Medalists, including Maryam Mirzakhani and Akshay Venkatesh.

However, the particular area of strength that really sets Stanford apart from most other schools boasting similar academic firepower is its contribution to the world of business, especially successful start-up companies. Stanford is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires, including:

  • Sergey Brin
  • Elizabeth Holmes
  • Elon Musk
  • Larry Page
  • Peter Thiel

Its alumni have founded companies which combined have created 5.4 million jobs and generate $2.7 trillion in annual revenue (as of 2011). If these Stanford-connected companies were to join together and declare their independence, the country they would form would have the 10th-largest economy in the world!

Stanford is also the alma mater of many famous people from numerous other walks of life, including:

  • 31st President of the US, Herbert Hoover
  • Nobel Prize – winning novelist, John Steinbeck
  • Philosophers, Michael Dummett, Donald Davidson, & John R. Perry
  • Former Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor
  • 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination candidates, Cory Booker & Julián Castro
  • Former astronauts, Mae Jemison, Ellen Ochoa, & Sally Ride
  • TV personality, Rachel Maddow
  • Movie stars, Jennifer Connelly, Sigourney Weaver, & Reese Witherspoon

Finally, with a library whose enormous collection contains more than nine million volumes, Stanford is a major research resource for the entire West Coast region across a wide variety of academic fields.

From Wikipedia

Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university in Stanford, California. The campus occupies 8,180 acres, among the largest in the United States, and enrolls over 17,000 students. Stanford is ranked among the best universities in the world by academic publications.

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$-1,387
30K - 48K$1,145
48K - 75K$1,959
75K - 110K$10,631

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?


, Stanford CA 94305

What is Stanford 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
Computer Science
#9 World Rank
#3 World Rank
#3 World Rank
#15 World Rank
#4 World Rank
#9 World Rank
#6 World Rank
#9 World Rank
#13 World Rank
#12 World Rank
#23 World Rank
#8 World Rank
Political Science
#6 World Rank
#7 World Rank
#10 World Rank
#8 World Rank
#11 World Rank
#11 World Rank
#46 World Rank
Religious Studies
#14 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#18 World Rank

Other areas of influence

#12 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#18 World Rank
Social Work

Influential People

Who are Stanford University's Most influential alumni?

Stanford University 's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Computer Science, Engineering, and Business

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

United States Senator from Utah

Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides

Novelist, short story writer, teacher

Derek Bok

American academic administrator and lawyer

B. Alan Wallace

B. Alan Wallace

American author, translator, teacher, researcher, interpreter, and Buddhist practitioner

Nel Noddings

Nel Noddings

American philosopher

John McWhorter

John McWhorter

American academic and linguist

Marcus Feldman

Marcus Feldman

American evolutionary biologist

Ruzena Bajcsy

Ruzena Bajcsy

American computer scientist

Sundar Pichai

Sundar Pichai

Indian-American business executive, CEO of Google & Alphabet Inc

Bob Sproull

Bob Sproull

American computer scientist

Richard Schoen

Richard Schoen

American mathematician

Seth Godin

Seth Godin

American entrepreneur, author and public speaker