Syracuse University
#87 Overall Influence#1450 Desirability Rank

Syracuse University

University located in Syracuse, New York, United States

By James Barham, PhD

Syracuse University traces its roots to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, which was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1831 in Lima, a small town south of Rochester, in the western part of New York state.

In 1850, the scope of the seminary’s mission was enlarged, and the institution was renamed Genesee College.

In 1869, a dispute broke out between two factions among the Methodist ministers who comprised the school’s administration. One group wanted to relocate the college to Syracuse, about 86 miles to the east, to take advantage of new railway connections, while the other group wanted to remain in Lima.

The New York state legislature approved the petition of the faction wishing to move to Syracuse. However, the losing side filed a lawsuit to block the impending relocation of the college.

The group wishing to move went ahead with its plans anyway, which it was able to do legally by changing the school’s name to Syracuse University. In 1870, most of the professors and students then moved from Lima to Syracuse.

The split was a severe blow for the remnant of Genesee College still based in Lima; a few years later, the original college closed its doors.

After World War II, Syracuse began its transformation into a modern, secular, private research university. Today, Syracuse is organized into 13 schools and colleges, with a total student enrollment approaching 23,000. It is especially known for its programs in information studies and library science, communications, business administration, engineering, and several other fields.

Among many prominent Syracuse-connected individuals, we may mention the following:

  • Poet and short fiction writer, Stephen Crane
  • New York Times founder, Henry Jarvis Raymond
  • Journalist and radio broadcaster, Dorothy Thompson
  • Novelists, Joyce Carol Oates, George Saunders & Alice Sebold
  • TV journalists, Ted Koppel & Megyn Kelly
  • Radio and TV personality, Dick Clark
  • Singer and actor, Vanessa Williams
  • Actors, Peter Falk, Vera Farmiga, Neal McDonough, Riki Lindhome & Jessie Mueller
  • Playwright and screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin
  • Comedians, Jerry Stiller & Lisa Lampanelli
  • Artist, Sol LeWitt
  • Poet, singer, and songwriter, Lou Reed
  • Mathematician and physicist, Joel Lebowitz
  • Astronomers, Rainer Sachs & Martin Pomerantz
  • Astrophysicist, Joan Feynman
  • Physicists, Pierre Ramond, Ezra Newman, Albert Baez, Joshua Goldberg & Christina Marchetti
  • Chemist, Jean M.J. Fréchet
  • Nanotechnology pioneer, James Tour
  • Geologist, Alexander Winchell
  • Molecular biologist, Nina Fedoroff
  • Taxonomist, George E. Fox
  • Botanist, William Ralph Maxon
  • Current US Representative, Donna Shalala
  • Former US Vice President and 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate, Joseph R. Biden, Jr.


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

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?


900 South Crouse Ave., Syracuse NY 13244

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

32 per 100k

Violent Crime

7 per 100k

What is Syracuse 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

#18 World Rank #16 USA Rank
#35 World Rank #29 USA Rank
#43 World Rank #32 USA Rank
Political Science
#61 World Rank #34 USA Rank
#50 World Rank #42 USA Rank
Social Work
#94 World Rank #46 USA Rank
#125 World Rank #46 USA Rank
#100 World Rank #49 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#143 World Rank #52 USA Rank
#143 World Rank #53 USA Rank
#96 World Rank #57 USA Rank
Computer Science
#171 World Rank #60 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#106 World Rank #66 USA Rank
#120 World Rank #71 USA Rank
#112 World Rank #74 USA Rank
#158 World Rank #75 USA Rank
#180 World Rank #87 USA Rank
#163 World Rank #88 USA Rank
#122 World Rank #90 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#191 World Rank #104 USA Rank
#284 World Rank #131 USA Rank
#399 World Rank #153 USA Rank
#420 World Rank #188 USA Rank

Other areas of influence

#66 World Rank #51 USA Rank

Influential People

Who are Syracuse University's Most influential alumni?

Syracuse University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Communications, Business, and Political Science. Syracuse University’s most academically influential people include Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen Crane, and Aaron Sorkin.

Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates

American author

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Stephen Crane
Stephen Crane

American novelist, short story writer, poet, and journalist

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Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin

American screenwriter, producer, playwright

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William Safire
William Safire

American journalist

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Julia Alvarez
Julia Alvarez

Poet, novelist, essayist

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Ted Koppel
Ted Koppel

Television journalist

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Sol LeWitt
Sol LeWitt

American artist

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Dick Clark
Dick Clark

American radio and television personality

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Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson

Novelist, short story writer

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Rajiv Malhotra
Rajiv Malhotra

Indian-American entrepreneur and author

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Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg

American essayist and visual art critic

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John D. MacDonald

Writer from the United States

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