Find the best universities in the United States through Times Higher Education’s World University
Stanford University, Best universities in the United States 2016
Thinking about studying in the US can be overwhelming because there are so many options.
We thought you might like to know which are the top universities in the US based on the highly respected Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019.
There are more than 170 US universities and colleges among the world’s best, and wherever you want to study in the US, a top university will not be far away. Almost all states and approximately 130 cities are represented in the best US universities list.
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California is the most represented state among the best US universities, with 15 institutions, followed by 13 universities in New York, 12 universities in Texas and 10 universities in Massachusetts.
The universities at the very top of the ranking are concentrated in these popular destinations that are well known for their higher education opportunities; the top five are based in California, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
It’s important to note that we also produce a separate US College Ranking in partnership with the Wall Street Journal designed with students in mind. At the heart of the US College Ranking is a student survey, taken by more than 200,000 students across the US capturing the most important things to prospective students such as teaching, environment, resources, diversity and whether a student would recommend their institution or not.
You can see the full US College Ranking here, or scroll all the way down to see the top 10.
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Top 5 universities in the US
1. Stanford University
Based in Palo Alto, right beside Silicon Valley, Stanford has had a prominent role in encouraging the region’s tech industry to develop.
Many faculty members, students and alumni have founded successful technology companies and start-ups, including Google, Snapchat and Hewlett-Packard.
In total, companies founded by Stanford alumni make $2.7 trillion each year.
The university is often referred to as “the Farm” because the campus was built on the site of the Stanford family’s Palo Alto Stock Farm. The campus covers 8,180 acres, but more than half of the land is not yet developed.
With distinctive sand-coloured, red-roofed buildings, Stanford’s campus is thought to be one of the most beautiful in the world. It contains a number of sculpture gardens and art museums in addition to faculty buildings and a public meditation centre.
As might be expected from one of the best universities in the world, Stanford is highly competitive. The admission rate currently stands at just over 5 per cent.
Of the 15,000 students – most of whom live on campus – 22 per cent are international.
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2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT also cultivates a strong entrepreneurial culture, which has seen many alumni found notable companies such as Intel and Dropbox.
Unusually, the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at MIT are not wholly separate; many courses can be taken at either level.
The undergraduate programme is one of the country’s most selective, admitting only 8 per cent of applicants. Engineering and computer science programmes are the most popular among undergraduates.
Thirty-three per cent of the 11,000 students are international, hailing from 154 countries.
Famous alumni include astronaut Buzz Aldrin, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and physicist Richard Feynman.
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3. California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
Relative to the tiny size of its student population, CalTech has an impressive number of successful graduates and affiliates, including 72 Nobel Laureates, six Turing Award winners and four Fields Medallists.
There are approximately 2,000 students at CalTech, and the primary campus in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, covers 124 acres. Almost all undergraduates live on campus.
Across the six faculties there is a focus on science and engineering.
In addition to Nobel laureates and top researchers, the CalTech graduate community includes a number of politicians and public advisers, particularly in the areas of science, technology and energy.
All first-year students belong to one of four houses as part of the university’s alternative model to fraternities. A number of house traditions and events are associated with each house.
The university has the highest proportion of students who continue on to pursue a PhD, and the trope of the CalTech postgraduate has filtered into popular culture; all the main characters in the TV comedy The Big Bang Theory work or study at CalTech.
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4. Harvard University
Harvard University is probably the best-known university in the world, topping the Times Higher Education reputation rankings most years.
Founded in 1636, it is the oldest higher education institution in the US.
Approximately 20,000 students are enrolled, a quarter of whom are international. Although the cost of tuition is expensive, Harvard’s financial endowment allows for plenty of financial aid for students.
The Harvard Library system is made up of 79 libraries and counts as the largest academic library in the world.
Among many famous alumni, Harvard can count eight US presidents, 157 Nobel laureates, 14 Turing Award winners and 62 living billionaires.
Unlike some other universities at the top of the list, Harvard is at least equally reputed for arts and humanities as it is for science and technology, if not more so.
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5. Princeton University
Like Harvard, Princeton is a prestigious Ivy League university with a history stretching back more than 200 years.
Princeton’s distinctive social environment includes private “eating clubs”, which function as both social houses and dining halls. Many of the clubs are selective and competitive, but others simply require undergraduates to sign up.
Fewer than 8,000 students are enrolled at Princeton, and just over a quarter are international.
Princeton’s campuses, in New Jersey, are located about an hour away from both New York City and Philadelphia.
Degree courses have strict requirements. All students are required to do independent research as part of their degrees, and some must take a foreign language course.
The application process is highly selective. Unlike most US universities, Princeton does not offer an early decision application route.
Renowned Princeton alumni include US presidents, astronauts, businesspeople and Olympians. Physicist Richard Feynman attended as a graduate student, as did mathematicians John Nash and Alan Turing.