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Which colleges and universities are the most influential in the world? And, in what do they excel?

Find the colleges and universities that have made the biggest historical impact in the discipline, country, and timeframe of your choice! We rank universities and colleges from around the world based on the scholarly work of their faculty and alumni, i.e., influence.

Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …

What is Desirability?

List of the most influential schools in Criminal Justice, for the years 2000 – 2020

Harvard University
# 1

Harvard University

#1 institution's overall influence
#2 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$50K

Acceptance

5%

Graduation

97%

Student body

25K

Median SAT/ACT

1520/34

Cambridge, MA

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Harvard University is almost universally acclaimed as the world’s most prestigious university. There is little doubt that its towering reputation is well earned.
Yale University
# 2

Yale University

#7 institution's overall influence
#4 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$53K

Acceptance

6%

Graduation

98%

Student body

15K

Median SAT/ACT

1515/34

New Haven, CT

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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.
Columbia University
# 3

Columbia University

#3 institution's overall influence
#6 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$53K

Acceptance

6%

Graduation

95%

Student body

28K

Median SAT/ACT

1505/34

New York, NY

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Columbia is the eleventh-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. After New Jersey founded its college (now Princeton University) in 1746, New Yorkers, not wishing to be outdone, established their own college just eight years later. Its original name was King’s College.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
# 4

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

#971 institution's overall influence
#193 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$7K

Acceptance

41%

Graduation

44%

Student body

12K

New York, NY

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The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a public college focused on criminal justice and located in New York City. It is a senior college of the City University of New York . John Jay was founded as the only liberal arts college with a criminal justice and forensic focus in the United States. The college is known for its criminal justice, forensic science, forensic psychology, criminology, and public affairs programs. The college has a 46% graduation rate within 6 years for Bachelors degree, one of the lowest in the CUNY system.
University of Chicago
# 5

University of Chicago

#5 institution's overall influence
#8 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$57K

Acceptance

7%

Graduation

94%

Student body

12K

Median SAT/ACT

1520/34

Chicago, IL

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The University of Chicago is one of the foremost universities in the world academically, albeit one of the youngest in that august company. In spite of its relatively recent founding, the school has been associated with some of the world’s most important scientific achievements, above all, the first controlled, self-sustaining, nuclear chain reaction (atomic fission), which was achieved in late 1942 by a team led by the legendary Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, in a laboratory beneath a football field on the Chicago campus.
Stanford University
# 6

Stanford University

#10 institution's overall influence
#1 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$51K

Acceptance

4%

Graduation

94%

Student body

14K

Median SAT/ACT

1495/33

Stanford, CA

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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 Iv...
University of London
# 7

University of London

#2 institution's overall influence
An institution of higher education named University College London (UCL) was founded in the UK’s largest metropolis and capital city in 1826. A mere three years later, in 1829, a second, similar institution named King’s College London (KCL) opened its doors. Then, a mere decade after the founding of UCL, a third institution known simply as University of London (UL) was founded in 1836 by the merger of UCL and KCL.
University of Pennsylvania
# 8

University of Pennsylvania

#17 institution's overall influence
#10 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$56K

Acceptance

8%

Graduation

95%

Student body

27K

Median SAT/ACT

1485/33

Philadelphia, PA

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The University of Pennsylvania (commonly known as “Penn”) is a leading private research university (note that nearly all US universities named after their state are public-supported—Penn is an exception to this rule).
University of California, Berkeley
# 9

University of California, Berkeley

#6 institution's overall influence
#29 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$14K

Acceptance

15%

Graduation

92%

Student body

41K

Median SAT/ACT

1425/33

Berkeley, CA

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The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868 as the state's first land-grant university, it is the oldest campus of the University of California system and a founding member of the Association of American Universities. Among its 14 colleges and schools, the university employs over 2,500 faculty and enrolls some 31,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students, and its 180 academic departments and 80 interdisciplinary research units offer over 350 degree programs. Berkeley is ranked among the world's top universities by ma...
New York University
# 10

New York University

#16 institution's overall influence
#44 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$52K

Acceptance

20%

Graduation

85%

Student body

47K

Median SAT/ACT

1410/31

New York, NY

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As the cultural mecca of the US, New York City naturally contains many fine colleges and universities. One of the very best is New York University (NYU), located in Washington Square in Lower Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. While NYU is a quintessentially urban school lacking a conventional, pastoral college campus setting, its site is immediately recognizable thanks to Washington Square Arch, which is a replica of the ancient Roman Arch of Titus and very similar in appearance to Paris’s celebrated Arc de Triomphe (though only half its size).
Florida State University
# 11

Florida State University

#153 institution's overall influence
#174 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$7K

Acceptance

37%

Graduation

80%

Student body

39K

Median SAT/ACT

1275/28

Tallahassee, FL

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Florida State University (FSU) was established in 1851. With a student enrollment of about 41,500, FSU is the second-largest university in the state, after the University of Florida.
Princeton University
# 12

Princeton University

#8 institution's overall influence
#5 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$50K

Acceptance

5%

Graduation

97%

Student body

7K

Median SAT/ACT

1505/33

Princeton, NJ

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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 ...
Rutgers University
# 13

Rutgers University

#46 institution's overall influence
Rutgers University’s full official name is Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Boston University
# 14

Boston University

#37 institution's overall influence
#56 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$54K

Acceptance

22%

Graduation

87%

Student body

30K

Median SAT/ACT

1415/31

Boston, MA

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Boston University (universally known as “BU”) traces its roots to a Methodist Church training college, the Newbury Biblical Institute, founded in Newbury, Vermont, by a group of Boston-based Methodist ministers and elders. Ten years later, in 1849, the school was transferred to the much larger town (and state capital) of Concord, New Hampshire, where it operated as the Concord Biblical Institute for 20 more years. Finally, in 1869, it moved again, this time to Boston itself, under the new name of the Boston Theological Institute.
University of Maryland
# 15

University of Maryland

#77 institution's overall influence
#214 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

47%

Graduation

87%

Student body

35K

Median SAT/ACT

1380/31

College Park, MD

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The University of Maryland is a system comprising 15 campuses. The system has a rather complicated history.
Arizona State University
# 16

Arizona State University

#146 institution's overall influence
#1312 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

85%

Graduation

67%

Student body

50K

Median SAT/ACT

1245/25

Tempe, AZ

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Arizona State University (ASU) was founded as the Territorial Normal School in 1885---over a quarter century before Arizona entered the Union in 1912---in Tempe, a town just east of Phoenix.
University of Michigan
# 17

University of Michigan

#15 institution's overall influence
#37 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$16K

Acceptance

23%

Graduation

91%

Student body

42K

Median SAT/ACT

1420/32

Ann Arbor, MI

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The flagship campuses of many of the state university systems have superb faculties and excellent academic reputations. However, setting aside Berkeley as a special case, by our criteria the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus is the most distinguished of all these many fine institutions. That is, Michigan has a strong claim to be considered (after Berkeley) the best public research university in the US.
University of California, Los Angeles
# 18

University of California, Los Angeles

#23 institution's overall influence
#31 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$13K

Acceptance

14%

Graduation

91%

Student body

44K

Median SAT/ACT

1405/32

Los Angeles, CA

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The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university in Los Angeles, California. UCLA traces its early origins back to 1882 as the southern branch of the California State Normal School . It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the second-oldest of the 10-campus University of California system.
City University of New York
# 19

City University of New York

#120 institution's overall influence
The City University of New York (CUNY) is a mammoth system of two-year community colleges, four-year liberal arts colleges, and graduate professional schools. This system traces its roots back to the Free Academy, established in Manhattan in 1847. In 1866, the Free Academy changed its name to the City College of New York, which makes today’s City College the oldest institution within the CUNY system.
University of Cambridge
# 20

University of Cambridge

#4 institution's overall influence
Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is one of the oldest universities in the world (or, at least, in Europe, not to prejudge the claims of several Islamic institutions to that title).
Northwestern University
# 21

Northwestern University

#28 institution's overall influence
#24 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$55K

Acceptance

8%

Graduation

94%

Student body

19K

Median SAT/ACT

1490/34

Evanston, IL

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The founding of Northwestern University was spearheaded by the physician and politician John Evans, for whom the town of Evanston, Illinois, is named. The school is a private institution whose campus lies along Lake Michigan, just north of Chicago.
Michigan State University
# 22

Michigan State University

#104 institution's overall influence
#1461 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$16K

Acceptance

78%

Graduation

78%

Student body

43K

Median SAT/ACT

1210/26

East Lansing, MI

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Michigan State University (MSU) was founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, the first of its kind in the US. Its original curriculum elevated the study of the natural sciences over the Classical languages and humanities, which was quite unusual at the time.
University of Southern California
# 23

University of Southern California

#39 institution's overall influence
#30 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$56K

Acceptance

13%

Graduation

92%

Student body

37K

Median SAT/ACT

1440/32

Los Angeles, CA

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The University of Southern California (USC) was founded as the first private research university in the state (five years before Stanford) largely through the efforts of Judge Robert Widney, one of the most prominent citizens of Los Angeles at that time.
Cornell University
# 24

Cornell University

#14 institution's overall influence
#14 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$55K

Acceptance

11%

Graduation

94%

Student body

24K

Median SAT/ACT

1465/33

Ithaca, NY

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Cornell University was founded in turbulent times. With the Civil War winding down, and less than two weeks after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the Governor of New York signed the school’s official charter in the state capital, Albany, where only the day before Lincoln’s funeral procession had passed through the city’s streets.
Ohio State University
# 25

Ohio State University

#105 institution's overall influence
#77 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

52%

Graduation

84%

Student body

55K

Median SAT/ACT

1345/29

Columbus, OH

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Ohio State University (OSU) was founded in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. Three years later, in 1873, the new school opened its doors to a small group of 24 students. In 1878, the first class of just six students graduated.
George Mason University
# 26

George Mason University

#197 institution's overall influence
#548 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$12K

Acceptance

81%

Graduation

70%

Student body

30K

Median SAT/ACT

1220/27

Fairfax, VA

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George Mason University (GMU) was founded in 1949 as the Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia. The school was originally located in Arlington, Virginia, a suburban town just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.
Georgetown University
# 27

Georgetown University

#71 institution's overall influence
#19 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$54K

Acceptance

15%

Graduation

94%

Student body

14K

Median SAT/ACT

1450/32

Washington, DC

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Georgetown University is a Catholic institution of higher learning that was founded in 1789 by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore.
University of Washington
# 28

University of Washington

#43 institution's overall influence
#69 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

49%

Graduation

84%

Student body

46K

Median SAT/ACT

1340/29

Seattle, WA

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In the 1850s, the Governor of Washington Territory and some of his Seattle-based friends and business associates, including a prominent Methodist minister, put their heads together to figure out a way to advance two causes close to their hearts: the prospect of statehood for the territory and the economic welfare of the city of Seattle.
George Washington University
# 29

George Washington University

#62 institution's overall influence
#76 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$53K

Acceptance

42%

Graduation

84%

Student body

21K

Median SAT/ACT

1370/30

Washington, DC

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George Washington University (GWU) was founded in 1821, under the name of Columbian College, by an act of the US Congress, signed by President James Monroe.
State University of New York at Albany
# 30

State University of New York at Albany

#461 institution's overall influence
#1020 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$10K

Acceptance

52%

Graduation

66%

Student body

16K

Median SAT/ACT

1180/24

Albany, NY

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The State University of New York at Albany, commonly referred to as University at Albany, SUNY Albany or UAlbany, is a public research university with campuses in the New York cities of Albany and Rensselaer and the Town of Guilderland, United States. Founded in 1844, it is part of the State University of New York system.
Duke University
# 31

Duke University

#31 institution's overall influence
#12 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$56K

Acceptance

9%

Graduation

95%

Student body

15K

Median SAT/ACT

1510/34

Durham, NC

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Duke began life as Brown’s Schoolhouse, on a site in what is now the town of Trinity in Randolph County, North Carolina, a little over 70 miles west of its current location in the city of Durham.
University of Texas at Austin
# 32

University of Texas at Austin

#42 institution's overall influence
#43 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

39%

Graduation

81%

Student body

45K

Median SAT/ACT

1355/30

Austin, TX

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By rights, the University of Texas (known within Texas itself as “UT,” for short) ought to be 40 years older than it is. In 1839, the Republic of Texas officially set aside 40 acres of prime real estate in the center of the new country’s capital city, Austin, as the site for the campus of a national university. The Texas Congress also granted 288,000 acres of land, mainly in the western regions of the Republic, as a financial endowment for the future university.
University of California, Irvine
# 33

University of California, Irvine

#103 institution's overall influence
#87 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$14K

Acceptance

29%

Graduation

87%

Student body

36K

Median SAT/ACT

1300/29

Irvine, CA

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The University of California, Irvine is a public research university in Irvine, California. UCI is one of the ten campuses of the University of California system, and offers 87 undergraduate degrees and 129 graduate and professional degrees, enrolling roughly 30,000 undergraduates and 6,000 graduate students as of Fall 2019. The university is classified as an R1 University, and had $436.6 million in research and development expenditures in 2018. UCI became a member of the Association of American Universities in 1996. The university is considered one of the "Public Ivies," meaning that it is a...
Northeastern University
# 34

Northeastern University

#300 institution's overall influence

Tuition + fees

$52K

Acceptance

19%

Graduation

86%

Student body

23K

Median SAT/ACT

1450/33

Boston, MA

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Northeastern University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, established in 1898. The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs on its main campus in Boston. The university has satellite campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington; San Jose, California; San Francisco, California; Toronto, Vancouver, and Portland, Maine that exclusively offer graduate degrees. In 2019, Northeastern purchased the New College of the Humanities in London, England. The university's enrollment is approximately 18,000 undergraduate students and 8,000 graduate students
Brown University
# 35

Brown University

#36 institution's overall influence
#7 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$55K

Acceptance

8%

Graduation

96%

Student body

9K

Median SAT/ACT

1485/33

Providence, RI

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Brown began life as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (officially) or Rhode Island College (unofficially). It is the twelfth-oldest institution of higher learning in the US.
Brandeis University
# 36

Brandeis University

#87 institution's overall influence
#167 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$55K

Acceptance

31%

Graduation

90%

Student body

7K

Median SAT/ACT

1390/31

Waltham, MA

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Brandeis University was founded in suburban Boston in 1948. Its founders intended to provide a top-rank research university that would be friendly to Jewish students and faculty—at a time when the American Ivy League schools all restricted the number of their Jewish students according to a strict quota system.
University of Massachusetts Boston
# 37

University of Massachusetts Boston

#404 institution's overall influence
#641 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$14K

Acceptance

78%

Graduation

45%

Student body

13K

Boston, MA

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The University of Massachusetts Boston is a public research university in Boston, Massachusetts. It is the only public research university in Boston and the third-largest campus in the five-campus University of Massachusetts system. UMass Boston is the third most diverse university in the United States. While a majority of UMass Boston students are Massachusetts residents, international students and students from other states make up a significant portion of the student body. Founded with a distinct urban mission, UMass Boston has a long history of serving the city of Boston, including numero
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
# 38

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

#9 institution's overall influence
#3 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$52K

Acceptance

7%

Graduation

93%

Student body

14K

Median SAT/ACT

1535/35

Cambridge, MA

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded shortly before the American Civil War and universally known as “MIT,” is located just across the Charles River from downtown Boston. Starting from the MIT campus, if you walk, cycle, or drive in a westerly direction along Massachusetts Avenue (“Mass Ave,” to the locals), or ride the Red Line underneath it, you soon arrive at Harvard Square, with the bulk of the town of Cambridge sandwiched in between. Thus, MIT is not unlike a bookend paired with Harvard, geographically speaking, and academically speaking, as well, it looks upon itself very mu...
Vanderbilt University
# 39

Vanderbilt University

#115 institution's overall influence
#16 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$50K

Acceptance

10%

Graduation

92%

Student body

11K

Median SAT/ACT

1505/34

Nashville, TN

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Vanderbilt University was founded in 1873 as the Central University of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (known as Central University, for short).
University of Oxford
# 40

University of Oxford

#11 institution's overall influence
The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, which affords it an aura of awe and respect that no amount of money can buy.
Temple University
# 41

Temple University

#179 institution's overall influence
#1402 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$17K

Acceptance

59%

Graduation

71%

Student body

34K

Philadelphia, PA

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Temple University was founded in 1884. Temple is administratively divided into 17 colleges and schools. It is perhaps best known for the high quality of the education provided through its many professional schools, such as the Beasley School of Law, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, the School of Podiatric Medicine, the School of Pharmacy, the Kornberg School of Dentistry, the College of Engineering, and the Tyler School of Art and Architecture.
University of Cincinnati
# 42

University of Cincinnati

#185 institution's overall influence
#1179 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

73%

Graduation

67%

Student body

32K

Median SAT/ACT

1265/26

Cincinnati, OH

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The University of Cincinnati (UC) was founded in 1819. It is the oldest university in Ohio and—with a student population of more than 46,000—the second-largest.
University of Florida
# 43

University of Florida

#102 institution's overall influence
#45 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$6K

Acceptance

39%

Graduation

87%

Student body

45K

Median SAT/ACT

1360/29

Gainesville, FL

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The University of Florida (UF) traces its roots back to East Florida Seminary, which was founded in 1853 in the town of Ocala. The seminary, which was the first publicly supported institution of higher learning in the state, relocated to the city of Gainesville in 1858.
American University
# 44

American University

#204 institution's overall influence
#113 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$48K

Acceptance

32%

Graduation

81%

Student body

11K

Median SAT/ACT

1300/29

Washington, DC

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American University (AU) was founded in 1893. AU offers more than 160 academic programs, including 71 bachelor’s degrees, 87 master’s degrees, and 10 doctorates. It is especially known for its programs in political science and government, in international relations, and in business.
Middlesex University
# 45

Middlesex University

#564 institution's overall influence
Middlesex University London is a public research university in Hendon, north-west London, England. The name of the university is taken from its location within the historic county boundaries of Middlesex. The university's history can be traced to 1878 when its founding institute, St Katharine's College, was established in Tottenham as a teacher training college for women. Having merged with several other institutes, the university was consolidated in its current form in 1992. It is one of the post-1992 universities.
University at Buffalo
# 46

University at Buffalo

#99 institution's overall influence
#1348 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$10K

Acceptance

56%

Graduation

74%

Student body

27K

Median SAT/ACT

1245/26

Buffalo, NY

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The University at Buffalo (officially, State University of New York at Buffalo) was founded in 1846 as a private medical college by Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the US. Commonly known as UB, the university joined the SUNY system in 1962.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
# 47

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

#80 institution's overall influence
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was founded in 1918 in the ancient city of Jerusalem. At the time the city, as well as the entire surrounding region of Palestine, was under British military control.
University of Leeds
# 48

University of Leeds

#65 institution's overall influence
The city of Leeds lies at the northern edge of the English Midlands, the geographical region of the UK where the Industrial Revolution primarily took place. Leeds was especially important as a center of textile manufacturing, which led the way toward the explosive growth of British industry and empire during the Victorian era.
University of Wisconsin–Madison
# 49

University of Wisconsin–Madison

#25 institution's overall influence
#216 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

52%

Graduation

85%

Student body

36K

Median SAT/ACT

1365/29

Madison, WI

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The University of Wisconsin was founded at the same time that the eastern part of the Wisconsin Territory became the new state of Wisconsin and entered the union. In accord with its charter, the new state university was physically located in the state capital, Madison.
Howard University
# 50

Howard University

#134 institution's overall influence
#220 student desirability

Tuition + fees

$27K

Acceptance

32%

Graduation

60%

Student body

8K

Median SAT/ACT

1212/24

Washington, DC

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Howard University (HU) was founded in 1867 as an institution of higher education for recently freed African slaves. HU is organized into 13 schools and colleges, which together provide over 120 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and certificates—more than are offered by any other historically black university or college in the nation.