University of Utah
#74 Overall Influence#1235 Desirability Rank

University of Utah

Public coeducational space-grant research university in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

By James Barham, PhD

The University of Utah was established as the University of Deseret in 1850. Like all “Deseret” (the original name for Utah) institutions, it was originally closely associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”).

Eighteen-fifty was the same year the Utah Territory was established by the US Congress as a part of the Compromise of 1850 on slavery in the new territories acquired by the US as a result of the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848.

During the first two decades, there were no funds for building a proper campus, and classes were held in private homes, in the Council House (or State House), or wherever space could be found. The Territorial Legislature had trouble paying faculty salaries, and class offerings were spotty.

Finally, beginning in 1869, the financial situation of Utah Territory stabilized and the University of Deseret began to function on a more secure basis. The school’s president traveled to Europe to study the best academic practices of the day.

In 1876, the university was finally able to move to a permanent campus of its own. The school granted its first degree in 1886.

In 1892, the school’s name was changed to the University of Utah, and in 1900 it was relocated to a roomier site in East Bench, a neighborhood on the northern edge of Salt Lake City.

Today, the University of Utah is a secular institution with 100 undergraduate programs and 92 graduate degree programs. The student body numbers about 33,000 souls.

Utah is associated with four Nobel laureates, to wit,

  • Cosmologist, Kip Thorne
  • Particle physicist, James Cronin
  • Geneticist, Mario Capecchi
  • Structural biologist, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

There are also three Turing Award–winners connected to Utah, namely,

  • Alan Kay
  • Edwin Catmull
  • Ivan Sutherland

Other prominent Utah-linked individuals include the following:

  • Mathematicians, Alessio Corti, James Keener, Christopher Hacon, Graeme Milton, Richard Eliot Chamberlin & John Emory Dennis, Jr.
  • Computer scientists, Henry Fuchs, David C. Evans, John Warnock, James H. Clark, Alexei Efros, Bui Tuong Phong, Christopher Ray Johnson & Jim Waldo
  • Philosophers, Elijah Millgram, Leslie P. Francis, Stephen Downes & Lex Newman
  • Novelist, Wallace Stegner
  • Conservationist and non-fiction author, Terry Tempest Williams
  • Science fiction author, Orson Scott Card
  • Screenwriter and blogger, Tracy McMillan
  • Actor, Matthew Davis
  • Inspirational author and speaker, Stephen Covey
  • Physicists, Thomas Ypsilantis, Stanley Pons & Martin Fleischmann
  • Ballistic missile pioneer, Simon Ramo
  • Electrical engineers, Mac Van Valkenburg & Calvin Quate
  • Electrical engineer and entrepreneur, Thomas Stockham
  • Electronics and information theory pioneer, Ralph Hartley
  • Chemists, Henry Ehring & Peter John Stang
  • Pharmaceutical engineers, Jindřich Kopeček & Sung Wan Kim
  • Hemodialysis pioneer, Willem Johan Kolff
  • Cardiothoracic surgeon, William DeVries
  • Artificial heart pioneer, Robert Jarvik
  • Cognitive scientist, Jeffrey Bradshaw
  • Evolutionary ecologist, Jon Seger
  • Historian, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
  • Iranologist, Richard Foltz
  • TV journalist, Martha Raddatz
  • Non-fiction author and political commentator, Shelby Steele
  • Marriott hotel chain founder, John Willard Marriott, Sr.
  • Former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley
  • Current President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson
  • Political strategist and senior advisor in the George W. Bush administration, Karl Rove
  • US diplomat, Jon Huntsman, Jr.
  • Former US Senators Frank Moss, Jake Garn & Bob Bennett


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)


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?


201 Presidents Circle, ROOM 201, Salt Lake City UT 84112-9008

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

18 per 100k

Violent Crime

0 per 100k

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

85 per 100k

Violent Crime

9 per 100k

What is University of Utah 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

#23 World Rank #17 USA Rank
Computer Science
#82 World Rank #32 USA Rank
#63 World Rank #35 USA Rank
#63 World Rank #35 USA Rank
#52 World Rank #39 USA Rank
#88 World Rank #42 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#52 World Rank #46 USA Rank
#54 World Rank #46 USA Rank
#70 World Rank #46 USA Rank
#74 World Rank #49 USA Rank
#62 World Rank #49 USA Rank
#134 World Rank #50 USA Rank
#94 World Rank #50 USA Rank
#98 World Rank #55 USA Rank
#163 World Rank #61 USA Rank
#148 World Rank #62 USA Rank
#83 World Rank #64 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#96 World Rank #66 USA Rank
Political Science
#202 World Rank #70 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#132 World Rank #79 USA Rank
#192 World Rank #86 USA Rank
#118 World Rank #88 USA Rank
Social Work
#342 World Rank #148 USA Rank
#700 World Rank #268 USA Rank

Influential People

Who are University of Utah's Most influential alumni?

University of Utah's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Computer Science, Engineering, and Communications. University of Utah’s most academically influential people include Orson Scott Card, Alan Kay, and Marion G. Romney.

Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card

American science fiction novelist

view profile
Alan Kay
Alan Kay

Computer scientist

view profile
Marion G. Romney
Marion G. Romney

Leader of the LDS Church

view profile
Michael Ghiselin

American biologist

view profile
Gordon B. Hinckley
Gordon B. Hinckley

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

view profile
David O. McKay
David O. McKay

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

view profile
Wallace Thurman
Wallace Thurman

American novelist active during the Harlem Renaissance

view profile
Joseph F. Merrill
Joseph F. Merrill

American religious figure

view profile
Nolan Bushnell
Nolan Bushnell

American entrepreneur

view profile
Bruce R. McConkie
Bruce R. McConkie

American Mormon leader

view profile
James H. Clark
James H. Clark

American entrepreneur and computer scientist

view profile
John Warnock
John Warnock

American computer programmer

view profile