Yale University
#7 Overall Influence#4 Desirability Rank

Yale University

Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

By James Barham, PhD

Yale was originally founded under the name of Collegiate School by Connecticut Colony in 1701. It is the fourth-oldest institution of higher learning in the US, after Harvard, the College of William & Mary (in Williamsburg, Virginia), and St. John’s College (in Annapolis, Maryland). Called the “Collegiate School,” its original mission was to train future ministers for the Congregational Church.

Yale is known as an all-around powerhouse, not unlike Harvard, with strength in a wide variety of fields. For one thing, five US presidents have passed through Yale, the second-highest number after Harvard. Three of them attended as undergraduates (Howard Taft, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush), while two attended Yale Law School (Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton).

Yale Law School is often mentioned as one of the two most influential in the country, along with Harvard Law. In all, nine Supreme Court Justices have been Yale Law graduates, including sitting Justices:

  • Samuel Alito
  • Brett Kavanaugh
  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • Clarence Thomas

More than 60 Nobel Prize – recipients have studied, taught, or conducted research at Yale at some point during their careers. In physics, they include:

  • Ernest Lawrence
  • Murray Gell-Mann
  • Willis Lamb
  • David Thouless

Yale Chemistry Nobelists include:

  • Lars Onsager
  • Brian Kobilka
  • John Goodenough
  • Sidney Altman

Yale Nobelists in physiology or medicine include:

  • John Enders
  • Joshua Lederberg
  • James Rothman
  • Elizabeth Blackburn

Nobelists in economics who attended or taught at Yale include:

  • Thomas Schelling
  • Paul Krugman
  • Joseph Stiglitz
  • James Tobin
  • William Nordhaus
  • George Akerlof
  • Robert Shiller
  • Edmund Phelps

Among literature Nobelists, the American novelist Sinclair Lewis received his BA from Yale, while the poet Derek Walcott, from the Caribbean island-nation of Saint Lucia, the Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, and the American novelist Toni Morrison all held visiting lectureships there.

Other prominent persons connected to Yale during its first two centuries include the first great American theologian and philosopher, Jonathan Edwards; the inventor of the cotton gin, Eli Whitney; and the lexicographer Noah Webster.

Regarding distinguished, twentieth-century, Yale-connected individuals, we may mention:

  • Pioneering computer scientist, Grace Hopper
  • Songwriter, Cole Porter
  • Literary critic, Harold Bloom
  • Actor and film director, Oliver Stone
  • Actors Vincent Price, Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, Jodie Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Giamatti, & James Franco
  • Russian democracy activist, Alexei Navalny
  • Brain surgeon and current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson
  • Political scientist, Fareed Zakharia
  • 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination candidates, Cory Booker & Amy Klobuchar
  • Former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton
  • Former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney


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?


Woodbridge Hall, New Haven CT 06520

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

24 per 100k

Violent Crime

1 per 100k

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

42 per 100k

Violent Crime

9 per 100k

What is Yale 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

#6 World Rank #3 USA Rank
#3 World Rank #3 USA Rank
#3 World Rank #3 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#5 World Rank #3 USA Rank
#6 World Rank #3 USA Rank
#5 World Rank #4 USA Rank
#7 World Rank #4 USA Rank
#4 World Rank #4 USA Rank
Political Science
#7 World Rank #5 USA Rank
#10 World Rank #5 USA Rank
#7 World Rank #6 USA Rank
#16 World Rank #6 USA Rank
#10 World Rank #7 USA Rank
#17 World Rank #9 USA Rank
#17 World Rank #9 USA Rank
#20 World Rank #9 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#24 World Rank #10 USA Rank
#13 World Rank #11 USA Rank
#14 World Rank #12 USA Rank
Computer Science

Other areas of influence

#4 World Rank #3 USA Rank
#5 World Rank #4 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#6 World Rank #6 USA Rank
#6 World Rank #5 USA Rank
#11 World Rank #10 USA Rank
Social Work

Influential People

Who are Yale University's Most influential alumni?

Yale University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Law, Religious Studies, and Education. Yale University’s most academically influential people include Paul Krugman, Thorstein Veblen, and George Gaylord Simpson.

Paul Krugman
Paul Krugman

American economist

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Thorstein Veblen
Thorstein Veblen

American academic

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George Gaylord Simpson
George Gaylord Simpson

American paleontologist

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Richard Posner
Richard Posner

United States federal judge

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Tom Wolfe
Tom Wolfe

American author and journalist

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Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom

American literary critic, scholar, and writer

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Carl Woese
Carl Woese

American microbiologist and biophysicist

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Josiah Willard Gibbs
Josiah Willard Gibbs

American physicist and scientist

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Jonathan Wells

American intelligent design advocate

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Murray Gell-Mann
Murray Gell-Mann

American physicist

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Richard Rorty
Richard Rorty

American philosopher

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Judith Butler
Judith Butler

American philosopher and gender theorist

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