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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.

Note: The schools featured using this tool are influential in the disciplines selected. This does not necessarily mean that they offer a degree in the selected discipline. For example, Princeton University ranks highly for its influence in law. Given that Princeton is the alma mater of three former US presidents (James Madison, Woodrow Wilson, and John F. Kennedy) and three Supreme Court Justices (Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan, & Sonia Sotomayor), among many other prominent statespeople and law makers, Princeton’s influence in the field of law is undeniable. Nevertheless, they offer degrees in politics and public policy, but not in law specifically.

To find influential schools in the US that offer degrees in your area of interest, use our Custom College Rankings tool.

Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …

What is Desirability?

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

University of London
#1

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.
Harvard University
#2

Harvard University

#1 institution's overall influence
#2 overall school 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.
Vanderbilt University
#3

Vanderbilt University

#115 institution's overall influence
#16 overall school 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 California, San Francisco
#4

University of California, San Francisco

#147 institution's overall influence

Student body

1K

San Francisco, CA

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The University of California, San Francisco is a public research university in San Francisco, California. It is part of the University of California system and it is dedicated entirely to health science. It is a major center of medical and biological research and teaching.
University of California, San Diego
#5

University of California, San Diego

#48 institution's overall influence
#71 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$14K

Acceptance

30%

Graduation

87%

Student body

36K

Median SAT/ACT

1365/30

La Jolla, CA

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The University of California, San Diego is a public research university in San Diego, California. Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego is one of the ten campuses of the University of California, and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling approximately 30,800 undergraduate and 8,000 graduate students. The university occupies near the coast of the Pacific Ocean, with the main campus resting on approximately .
Johns Hopkins University
#6

Johns Hopkins University

#20 institution's overall influence
#21 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$54K

Acceptance

11%

Graduation

92%

Student body

24K

Median SAT/ACT

1505/34

Baltimore, MD

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Johns Hopkins was designed from its origin to contribute to the cutting edge of scientific discovery. With time, this goal has been fully achieved, leading to the top-tier research institution that the university is today. The school is named after its founding benefactor, the entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins, who contributed $7 million (approximately $145 million in today’s money) to create both the university and an associated hospital.
Monash University
#7

Monash University

#243 institution's overall influence
Monash University is a public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Named for prominent World War I general Sir John Monash, it was founded in 1958 and is the second oldest university in the state of Victoria. The university has a number of campuses, four of which are in Victoria , and one in Malaysia. Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy, a graduate research school in Mumbai, India and a graduate school in Suzhou, China. Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.
University of Cambridge
#8

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).
University of Edinburgh
#9

University of Edinburgh

#12 institution's overall influence
In spite of dating back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the University of Edinburgh is only the fourth-oldest university in Scotland (after St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen), hence the sixth-oldest in the English-speaking world (with Oxford and Cambridge, of course, in first and second positions).
Stanford University
#10

Stanford University

#10 institution's overall influence
#1 overall school 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 California, Berkeley
#11

University of California, Berkeley

#6 institution's overall influence
#29 overall school 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...
Yale University
#12

Yale University

#7 institution's overall influence
#4 overall school 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.
University of Pennsylvania
#13

University of Pennsylvania

#17 institution's overall influence
#10 overall school 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 Michigan
#14

University of Michigan

#15 institution's overall influence
#37 overall school 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.
Imperial College London
#15

Imperial College London

#50 institution's overall influence
The origins of Imperial College London (ICL) can be traced back to the Royal College of Chemistry, founded in 1845. In 1853, this school was merged with the Royal School of Mines, established two years previously.
McGill University
#16

McGill University

#40 institution's overall influence
McGill University is the direct descendent of McGill College, founded by royal charter in 1821 and largely funded by a bequest from the Scottish-born Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, James McGill. The university took its present name in 1885.
Columbia University
#17

Columbia University

#3 institution's overall influence
#6 overall school 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.
Washington University in St. Louis
#18

Washington University in St. Louis

#61 institution's overall influence
#20 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$53K

Acceptance

15%

Graduation

94%

Student body

12K

Median SAT/ACT

1520/33

Saint Louis, MO

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Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), which is located in an unincorporated area just west of the St. Louis city limits, was founded in 1853. WUSTL’s student body is highly diversified, including individuals from all 50 states and some 120 foreign countries.
University of Oxford
#19

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.
University of Toronto
#20

University of Toronto

#24 institution's overall influence
The University of Toronto received its royal charter in 1827 from King George IV. Originally known as King’s College, it was the first institution of higher learning in the colonial Province of Upper Canada (consisting of mostly what is now southern Ontario).
#21

University of Copenhagen

#67 institution's overall influence
The University of Copenhagen is a public research university in Copenhagen, Denmark. Founded in 1479, the University of Copenhagen is the second-oldest university in Scandinavia, and ranks as one of the top universities in the Nordic countries and Europe.
University of Melbourne
#22

University of Melbourne

#93 institution's overall influence
The University of Melbourne is a public research university founded in 1853, the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Australia.
Duke University
#23

Duke University

#31 institution's overall influence
#12 overall school 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 Bristol
#24

University of Bristol

#63 institution's overall influence
The University of Bristol traces its roots to a Merchant Venturers’ school (later the Merchant Venturers’ Technical College) founded in 1595 by the Society of Merchant Venturers, a Bristol-based charitable organization.
Emory University
#25

Emory University

#113 institution's overall influence
#41 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$51K

Acceptance

19%

Graduation

91%

Student body

13K

Median SAT/ACT

1435/32

Atlanta, GA

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Emory University is a private, research university originally founded in Oxford, Georgia, in 1836 by the Methodist Episcopal Church as Emory College.
University of Arizona
#26

University of Arizona

#84 institution's overall influence
#605 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$12K

Acceptance

84%

Graduation

60%

Student body

39K

Median SAT/ACT

1190/24

Tucson, AZ

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The University of Arizona (UA) was founded in 1885, when Arizona was still a territory (it entered the Union in 1912).
University of Pittsburgh
#27

University of Pittsburgh

#71 institution's overall influence
#987 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$19K

Acceptance

59%

Graduation

81%

Student body

27K

Median SAT/ACT

1350/30

Pittsburgh, PA

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University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”) traces its roots to the Pittsburgh Academy, a preparatory school founded in 1787, when Pittsburgh was still a frontier outpost. Defined in this way, Pitt is the oldest continuously chartered educational institution west of the Allegheny Mountains.
University of Minnesota
#28

University of Minnesota

#33 institution's overall influence
#890 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$15K

Acceptance

52%

Graduation

78%

Student body

44K

Median SAT/ACT

1375/28

Minneapolis, MN

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The University of Minnesota (UM) traces its roots to a college preparatory school established in the city of Minneapolis seven years before Minnesota entered the Union in 1858. This school closed its doors during the Civil War, but reopened in 1867.
University of Washington
#29

University of Washington

#42 institution's overall influence
#69 overall school 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.
New York University
#30

New York University

#16 institution's overall influence
#44 overall school 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).
University of California, Los Angeles
#31

University of California, Los Angeles

#23 institution's overall influence
#31 overall school 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.
University of Glasgow
#32

University of Glasgow

#32 institution's overall influence
Founded by a decree (“papal bull”) issued by Pope Nicholas V, Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world. Only Oxford and Cambridge (see above) and, in Scotland, St. Andrews University (founded in 1413) are older.
University of Western Australia
#33

University of Western Australia

#350 institution's overall influence
The University of Western Australia is a public research university in the Australian state of Western Australia. The university's main campus is in Perth, the state capital, with a secondary campus in Albany and various other facilities elsewhere.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
#34

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

#75 institution's overall influence
#38 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$9K

Acceptance

23%

Graduation

91%

Student body

25K

Median SAT/ACT

1375/31

Chapel Hill, NC

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The University of North Carolina (UNC) system is a large network of 16 public universities with a total student enrollment of around 240,000 souls. The oldest member of the UNC system is the flagship campus in the small, centrally located town of Chapel Hill.
University of Iowa
#35

University of Iowa

#56 institution's overall influence
#369 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$9K

Acceptance

83%

Graduation

72%

Student body

27K

Median SAT/ACT

1225/25

Iowa City, IA

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The University of Iowa was founded in late February of 1847, as one of the very first legislative acts of the new state of Iowa after it was admitted to the union at the end of December of the previous year.
Utrecht University
#36

Utrecht University

#110 institution's overall influence
Utrecht University is a public research university in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Established , it is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. In 2018, it had an enrolment of 31,801 students, and employed 7,191 faculty and staff. In 2018, 525 PhD degrees were awarded and 6,948 scientific articles were published. The 2018 budget of the university was €857 million.
Karolinska Institute
#37

Karolinska Institute

#507 institution's overall influence
The Karolinska Institute is a research-led medical university in Solna within the Stockholm urban area of Sweden. It covers areas such as biochemistry, genetics, pharmacology, pathology, anatomy, physiology and medical microbiology, among others. It is recognised as Sweden's best university and one of the largest, most prestigious medical universities in the world. It is the highest ranked in all Scandinavia. The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The assembly consists of fifty professors from various medical disciplines at the univers
Rockefeller University
#38

Rockefeller University

#99 institution's overall influence

Student body

<1K

New York, NY

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The Rockefeller University is a private graduate university in New York City. It focuses primarily on the biological and medical sciences and provides doctoral and postdoctoral education. It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity". Rockefeller is the oldest biomedical research institute in the United States. The 82-person faculty has 37 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, seven Lasker Award recipients, and five Nobel laureates. As of October 2019, a total of 36 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with R
#39

Faculty of Pharmacy of Montpellier

#2522 institution's overall influence
Purdue University
#40

Purdue University

#54 institution's overall influence
#1204 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$10K

Acceptance

58%

Graduation

77%

Student body

40K

Median SAT/ACT

1295/28

West Lafayette, IN

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Purdue University was founded in 1869 with substantial financing provided by industrialist John Purdue. Its purpose was to train students in agriculture and engineering. The school officially opened for business in 1874 and grew quickly.
Cornell University
#41

Cornell University

#14 institution's overall influence
#14 overall school 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.
Jagiellonian University
#42

Jagiellonian University

#129 institution's overall influence
The Jagiellonian University is a research university in Kraków, Poland.
University of Calgary
#43

University of Calgary

#238 institution's overall influence
The University of Calgary is a public research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The University of Calgary started in 1944 as the Calgary branch of the University of Alberta, founded in 1908, prior to being instituted into a separate, autonomous university in 1966. It is composed of 14 faculties and over 85 research institutes and centres. The main campus is located in the northwest quadrant of the city near the Bow River and a smaller south campus is located in the city centre. The main campus houses most of the research facilities and works with provincial and federal research
University of Birmingham
#44

University of Birmingham

#53 institution's overall influence
The University of Birmingham has a rather involved history. The oldest entity to which the modern university can trace its roots is the Birmingham School of Medicine and Surgery, founded in 1825. This medical-training college was officially recognized by the crown in 1836, becoming the Birmingham Royal School of Medicine and Surgery, which developed into Queen’s College, Birmingham, in 1843.
New York Medical College
#45

New York Medical College

#933 institution's overall influence

Student body

<1K

Valhalla, NY

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New York Medical College is a private biomedical health sciences university based in Valhalla, New York. Founded in 1860, it is a member of the Touro College and University System.
University of Western Ontario
#46

University of Western Ontario

#202 institution's overall influence
The University of Western Ontario , corporately branded as Western University and commonly shortened to Western, is a public research university in London, Ontario, Canada. The main campus is located on of land, surrounded by residential neighbourhoods and the Thames River bisecting the campus's eastern portion. The university operates twelve academic faculties and schools. It is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.
Ulster University
#47

Ulster University

#686 institution's overall influence
Ulster University , legally the University of Ulster, is a multi-campus public university located in Northern Ireland. It is often referred to informally and unofficially as Ulster, or by the abbreviation UU. It is the largest university in Northern Ireland and the second-largest university on the island of Ireland, after the federal National University of Ireland.
Case Western Reserve University
#48

Case Western Reserve University

#134 institution's overall influence
#110 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$49K

Acceptance

29%

Graduation

82%

Student body

9K

Median SAT/ACT

1435/32

Cleveland, OH

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Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) was established in 1967 through the merger of Western Reserve University (founded in 1826) and Case Institute of Technology (founded in 1880).
University of Tokyo
#49

University of Tokyo

#140 institution's overall influence
, abbreviated as or UTokyo, is a public research university located in Bunkyō, Tokyo, Japan. Established in 1877, it was the first of the imperial universities.
University of Alberta
#50

University of Alberta

#144 institution's overall influence
The University of Alberta is a public research university founded in 1908&mdash;just three years after the Province of Alberta officially entered the Dominion of Canada.