20 Top Universities In The World

1.Harvard University

Harvard University is the standard by which all other research universities are measured. No school has ever challenged its position as the world’s premier academic institution in the history of the Shanghai rankings.

Founded in 1636 (only 16 years after the Mayflower touched down at Plymouth Rock), Harvard is the oldest school in the world’s richest nation, and it has capitalized on the benefits this grants. Under manager Jack Meyer’s leadership, the school’s endowment fund grew from $4.6 billion to $25.8 billion in 15 years. Today, the university possesses over $36 billion, and its fortune is still growing.  

2.Stanford University

Stanford is also affiliated with the prestigious Hoover Institution, which is one of the nation’s leading social, political, and economic think tanks.With an $18.7 billion endowment Stanford has access to numerous world-class research resources.The school’s 1,189 acre Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve lets scientists study ecosystems first hand. Its 150-foot radio telescope, nicknamed “The Dish,” studies the ionosphere.Stanford also boasts a 315-acre habitat reserve which is actively trying to bring back the endangered California tiger salamander.And the SLAC Accelerator Laboratory actively advances the U.S. Department of Energy’s research.

In the century and a half since its founding in 1861, MIT has become the world’s preeminent science research center.
The university is known for a focused approach that uses first-class methodologies to tackle world-class problems. This pragmatic creativity has produced legions of scientists and engineers, as well as 80 Nobel Laureates, 56 National Medal of Science winners, 43 MacArthur Fellows, and 28 National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners. Nevertheless, the school’s more than $10 billion endowment still leaves plenty of room for the arts and humanities. This is why MIT Press can publish 30 prestigious journals and 220 state-of-the-art books every year. Since 1899, MIT Technology Review has continuously researched developing trends in the industrial sciences and other related fields, making their publications essential for anyone trying to understand where future innovation is headed.

4.University of California at Berkeley 

Berkeley is unique among the elite universities of the world. Most of the schools it competes with are privately owned, but Berkeley is a state school—albeit one with the elite status of a private school.
The university is nestled in a pleasant city by the same name, within easy commuting distance of San Francisco. With over 36,000 students, Berkeley is also one of the larger elite universities.
Berkeley draws students from over 100 nations. During the previous decade the National Science Foundation granted its students more graduate research fellowships than any other school.
The faculty has produced 39 members of the American Philosophical Society, 77 Fulbright Scholars, 32 MacArthur Fellows, and 22 Nobel Laureates.

As one of the oldest universities in the world (founded in 1209), Cambridge is an ancient school steeped in tradition.
It is small exaggeration to say the history of western science is built on a cornerstone called Cambridge. The roster of great scientists and mathematicians associated with the university includes Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, James Clerk Maxwell, Augustus De Morgan, Ernest Rutherford, G.H. Hardy, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Alan Turing, Francis Crick, James Watson, Roger Penrose, and Stephen Hawking. Whether speaking of the unifying ideas in physics, the foundations of computer science, or the codifying of biology, Cambridge has been at the forefront of humanity’s quest for truth longer than most nations have existed.    

6.Princeton University                         

Princeton University is one of the oldest, most historic universities in the United States. Its famous Nassau Hall (right) still bears a cannonball scar from the 1777 Battle of Princeton, and its former president, John Witherspoon, was the only University president to sign the Declaration of Independence.
The school’s nearly three-century history has given it ample time to develop an impressive $18.2 billion endowment. But unlike the other big institutions it competes with—such as Yale, Harvard, and Stanford—Princeton spreads its considerable wealth across a far smaller number of students and programs.
Princeton has no law school, medical school, business school, or divinity school. Instead of developing professional programs, it has self-consciously evolved into a massive, research-driven think tank.

Any school can assign a textbook for you to read on your own, but research universities pride themselves on giving you the opportunity to work alongside leaders in their respective fields who write the textbooks.
Of course, in order to do this efficiently a school needs a decent student/faculty ratio. Few schools can beat Caltech’s three-to-one ratio—which is one of the many reasons why this relatively young school has risen to international prominence.
Its faculty includes 33 Nobel Laureates, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 13 National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipients, and 111 National Academy of Science members.

As one of the colonial colleges and the fifth-oldest school in the United States, Columbia has a lot of history. That history has created an internationally recognized, elite university with an $8.2 billion endowment and a library containing nearly 13 million volumes.
Columbia University is spread across five distinct campuses in New York City, including Columbia College, the undergraduate division. In 2013, 26,376 students applied for 1,751 admittances to Columbia College.
The university’s medical school—the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which was founded in 1767—produced the first M.D.’s in the 13 colonies. The school now graduates nearly 1,400 doctors per year.                                                                                                                                                                      

9. University of Chicago

  The University of Chicago was only founded in 1890, making it one of the youngest elite universities in the world. But despite its youth, the school has spearheaded many of the world’s most important scientific achievements.
It was here that Italian physicist Enrico Fermi created the world’s first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in 1942. It was likewise at Chicago that Stanley Miller and Harold Urey demonstrated in 1952 that amino acids essential to life could be produced starting from simple molecules such as methane and ammonia, thus founding the entire field of what has come to be known as “origin of life” research. Today, the university is one of the leading universities building on the work of its famous alum, James Watson, in the exploration of the human genome.

 Oxford University traces its origins back to the 13th century. With its intellectual roots firmly planted in medieval scholasticism, Oxford has survived the centuries, adapted to the times, and grown into what it is today—one of the world’s most impressive centers of learning.
Perhaps more than any other school in the world, Oxford’s name has become synonymous with knowledge and learning. This is because the school runs the world’s largest—and arguably most prestigious—academic press, with offices in over 50 countries.
One in five people who learn English worldwide do so with Oxford University Press materials. This international appeal may explain why almost 40 percent of the student body comes from outside the U.K.

Yale University has everything one would expect from a major research university: it is one of the eight original Ivy League schools; it has a $20 billion endowment; and roughly one in six of its students come from foreign nations.
Yale has also had a disproportionate influence on American politics. Numerous major U.S. political careers have begun at Yale—the school’s notorious Skull and Bones secret society has produced three Presidents—and Yale Law School has been the preeminent law school in the country for years.
The university’s research centers address topics as varied as Benjamin Franklin’s writings, bioethics, magnetic resonance research, and the Russian archives.
Whereas many other elite institutions develop areas of specialization—be it Caltech’s and MIT’s focus on science and technology or Princeton’s focus on pure research—Yale is equally dominant in the humanities, the sciences, and the learned professions. This gives the school a unique ability to pursue interdisciplinary research.

       With over 72,000 applications for the fall of 2012 alone, UCLA receives more applications than any other school in America. This is all the more impressive when one considers the institution was only founded in 1919 as a two-year, undergraduate teacher-training program.
Today, the university can claim 13 Nobel Laureates, 12 Rhodes Scholars, 12 MacArthur Fellows, 10 National Medal of Science winners, three Pulitzer Prize winners, and a Fields Medalist.
UCLA has also produced numerous athletic achievements, with over 111 NCAA championships, 110 professional athletes, dominance over the No. 1 pick in the major league drafts, and 250 Olympic medals.

Cornell University is a sprawling city of scholarship that seems almost out of place amid the rolling upstate New York countryside.
Typically, schools numbering in the tens of thousands are integrated into much larger cities. Thus, in many ways Cornell has both the air of a quaint college nestled in the woods and the endless opportunity characteristic of urban centers.
But Cornell is not limited by its beautiful upstate campus. It also runs one of the nation’s leading medical schools in New York City. Moreover, the university is among the most active schools in seeking out international connections. In 2001, it started the first American medical school outside the states, in Qatar, and continues to develop strong ties with China, India, and Singapore.

14.University of California at San Diego 

    With a roughly $750 million endowment and over 30,000 students, no one would ever expect that the University of California at San Diego is younger than many of its faculty members.
The school lies on the frontiers of knowledge despite being founded in 1960. It is also unique in that unlike many of the private schools it competes with, UC San Diego is a public school with competitive costs. In-state students pay only $13,302 for tuition, and even out-of-state students will typically save $10,000 or more per year.
The school is one of the 10 largest centers for scientific research in America, which is why it has attracted 16 Nobel Laureates to teach there during the past 50 years.
Over 650 companies were launched or utilize technology developed at UC San Diego and, as of 2013, the university’s Technology Office managed over 400 license agreements. This propensity for innovation has been especially productive in the increasingly lucrative field of biotechnology.

University of Washington’s $2.1 billion endowment combines with 54,000 students paying state school tuition via three campuses and distance learning. This combination makes the school a top-notch research center available to the masses.
The university runs several highly respected professional schools in medicine, engineering, business, and law.
However, unlike many schools of its size and caliber, UW does not forget about its undergraduates. They enjoy a low 11:1 student-to-teacher ratio, as well as an annual undergraduate research symposium. The university also boasts an impressive 93 percent freshman retention rate.

16.University of Pennsylvania                                 

The University of Pennsylvania (universally known as “Penn”) is an Ivy League school dating back to 1740. To this day, the university—which has become an integral part of the city of Philadelphia—carries forward the practical curiosity of its founder, Benjamin Franklin, in a wide spectrum of fields.
Penn is extremely diverse. Of the class of 2017, 50 percent of the student body is black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American. The school also has just under 500 international students.
The faculty include 84 Academy of Arts and Sciences members, 81 Institute of Medicine members, 33 National Academy of Science members, 31 American Philosophical Society members, 175 Guggenheim Fellowship recipients, and 12 National Academy of Engineering members.

Johns Hopkins is different—it was designed from its inception to be at the forefront of scientific discovery.
The university operates what is widely regarded as the world’s leading medical school. As such, it has received more extramural National Institutes of Health awards than any other medical research institution in the country. Which is the main reason why the school receives more federal research funds than any competitor.
But Johns Hopkins is much more than just a medical school. The university as a whole also receives more federal research and development dollars than any other school—which helps it to further such prestigious institutions as the School of Advanced International Studies, the Carey Business School, and the Whiting School of Engineering.

The vast majority of universities on this list take a broad-brush approach to education: they have a variety of departments dedicated to the study of law, art, and the humanities, in addition to science. Some—such as MIT or Cal Tech—are known for specializing in the natural sciences.
However, the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) is the world’s highest-ranked research university focused on only one field of study: namely medicine. The school is the only one within the 10-campus-wide University of California system dedicated solely to the health sciences.
But what UCSF  lacks in versatility it more than makes up for in research success. Its more than 3,000 students are divided into divisions studying medicine, nursing, pharmacy, or graduate research, each of which is commended as a national leader in its respective field. 

19.Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology—widely known by its German acronym ETH—is the leading university in Switzerland and the highest-ranked school on the continent of Europe.
Once the home of Albert Einstein, today ETH draws over 18,000 students from roughly 80 countries (36.9 percent of its students are foreign), who study in both German and English. Twenty-one Nobel Laureates are associated with the school.
ETH is especially well-connected to the private sector. It produces approximately 80 new patents a year. The school also helps its scientists develop and market the products of their research, and has consequently paved the way for hundreds of spin-off companies. 

20.University College London

University College London (UCL) is blessed with an elite staff. Their ranks include 53 members of the Royal Society, 51 of the British Academy, 15 of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and 117 of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Moreover, the school’s past and present students and faculty members have earned 29 Nobel Prizes (40, if you include research fellows and honorary graduates). Two alumni and one current faculty member have earned the coveted Fields Medal in mathematics.
UCL ranks third among U.K. schools for national funding. It has also recently linked efforts with Yale to form a transatlantic research initiative called the Yale UCL collaborative.
The school also runs multiple interdisciplinary research programs, such as the UCL Energy Institute, the UCL Centre for Multidisciplinary & Intercultural Inquiry, and the UCL Cancer Institute.

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