Harvard University is almost universally acclaimed as the world’s most prestigious university. There is little doubt that its towering reputation is well earned.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
The University of California, Berkeley is a public land-grant research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868 as the University of California, it is the state's first land-grant university and the first campus of the University of California system. Its fourteen colleges and schools offer over 350 degree programs and enroll 31,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students. Berkeley is ranked among the world's top universities by major educational publications.
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.
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public land-grant 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. UCLA receives the most college applications of any university in the United States and is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
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...
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.
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.
Wayne State University is a public research university in Detroit, Michigan. It is Michigan's third-largest university. Founded in 1868, Wayne State consists of 13 schools and colleges offering approximately 350 programs to more than 26,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Wayne State University, along with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, compose the University Research Corridor of Michigan. Wayne State is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".
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.
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.
Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) was founded in 1820. It is the flagship campus of the IU System.
St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, is a college affiliated with the University of Mumbai offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Arts, Science, Commerce and Management. Xavier's was the first college to be granted autonomy by the University of Mumbai in 2010. In 2006, St. Xavier's was awarded the highest 'A+' grade by National Assessment and Accreditation Council .
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.
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.
The University of Georgia (UGA) was founded in 1785, making it one of the oldest public universities in the US. The school is organized into 17 schools and colleges, two of the best-known of which are the Mary Frances Early College of Education and the School of Law.
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.
Yeshiva University is a private research university with four campuses in New York City. The university's undergraduate schools—Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, Katz School of Science and Health, and Syms School of Business—offer a dual curriculum inspired by Modern–Centrist–Orthodox Judaism's hashkafa of Torah Umadda , combining academic education with the study of the Torah. While the majority of students at the university are of the Jewish faith, many students, especially at the Cardozo School of Law, the School of Business, and the Graduate School of Psychology, are not Jewish.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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).
The University of Miami (UM) was founded in 1925. UM offers 132 bachelor’s and 148 master’s degrees, as well as 67 doctorates. Among the most popular of UM’s academic programs are those in business, management, and marketing, in biological and biomedical sciences, and in health professions.
The University of Connecticut (UConn) was founded in 1881. With branch campuses in Farmington, Groton, Hartford, Stamford, and Waterbury, in addition to its flagship campus in Storrs, UConn’s total student body numbers more than 32,000 individuals.
Tata Institute of Social Sciences is a multi-campus public research university in Mumbai, India. It is Asia's oldest institute for professional social work education and was founded in 1936 in then Bombay Presidency of British India as the Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. In 1944, the institute was officially renamed as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and in 1964, the Government of India declared TISS as deemed university under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act , 1956.
Georgetown University is a Catholic institution of higher learning that was founded in 1789 by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore.
The University of Maryland is a system comprising 15 campuses. The system has a rather complicated history.
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.
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.
The University of Notre Dame (ND) was founded in 1842 by Edward Sorin, a Catholic priest of the religious order of the Congregation of Holy Cross (Congregatio a Sancta Cruce—CSC). ND was originally a primary and secondary school. Two years later, in 1844, the school received its college charter from the General Assembly of Indiana (which had been a state since 1816). It awarded its first degree in 1849.
The University of Virginia (UVA) was very much the personal project of the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia already had a venerable and distinguished university, the College of William & Mary, which is the second-oldest in the country—founded right after Harvard—and was Jefferson’s own alma mater.
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).
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.
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.
The University of Oklahoma (OU) was founded in 1890. OU offers 152 bachelor’s degree programs, 160 master’s programs, 75 doctoral programs, and 20 professional certificates. Among OU’s most popular programs are those in the fields of business, engineering, communication, and journalism.
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...
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.
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.
Walden University is an online for-profit university headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It offers Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Education Specialist, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Business Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is a public urban research university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is the largest university in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and a member of the University of Wisconsin System. It is also one of the two doctoral degree-granting public universities and the second largest university in Wisconsin.
Rutgers University’s full official name is Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.