Best universities in New York 2018

Explore the top universities in New York using data from the Wall Street Journal / Times Higher Education US College Rankings 2018

November 6 2017
What is the best university in New York?

New York, New York, the city that never sleeps. What better place to spend your student years? Four years won’t be nearly enough time to exhaust all there is to see and do in New York City but if you’re up to the challenge, it’s definitely worth a try.

Just exploring the city’s museums is an education in itself, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim. Each of the city’s neighbourhoods has its own individual character and you’re bound to find your favourite spot. You might get a taste for the hipster lifestyle in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, or become a regular urban rambler on the well-trodden path of New York’s High Line, in the contemporary art district of Chelsea.

For theatre fans, students in New York will often benefit from reduced ticket prices to the opera, Broadway and off-Broadway performances. Universities slightly outside the city offer the best of both worlds, with the community spirit and rural setting of a campus university with New York City an easy drive or bus journey away. While the State of New York is often overshadowed by the city that shares its name, the Finger Lakes region in particular is one of the most picturesque areas of countryside in New England. 

Choosing a university in New York can be a daunting task, so we've collected the best universities in the state based on the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education US College Rankings 2018 to help you decide. 


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1. Columbia University

Located in Upper Manhattan, Columbia University is the fifth oldest university in the country and the oldest in New York State. The university was founded in 1754 as King’s College. Post-revolution, the institution was renamed Columbia College and in 1896 became Columbia University to reflect the collection of colleges that had been brought together, including Barnard College for women in 1891.

Joseph Pulitzer founded Columbia’s prestigious School of Journalism in 1912. In the 1930s, Columbia School of Law produced two Supreme Court Chief Justices, Charles Evans Hughes and Harlan Fiske Stone. The Columbia University campus on Morningside Heights has been home to the university since 1897. The architect Charles Follen McKim was inspired by the classical architecture of ancient Greece. Columbia University Medical Centre has its own 20-acre campus in Washington Heights, two miles further north. 

2. Cornell University

Cornell University, founded in 1865, is an Ivy League university that consistently performs highly in world rankings. Cornell University’s 2,300-acre campus is located in the picturesque Finger Lakes region of New York State.

The campus is vast enough to contain hiking trails for students to explore. Nearby Ithaca has a reputation for being a favourite with foodies. One of the university’s traditions is the annual Dragon Day parade in late March. Architecture students parade a giant dragon across the campus where it is pitted against a phoenix created by students from the rival College of Engineering.

The university has a number of locations in New York City, including Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Science in Upper Manhattan.

3. New York University

Among the top institutions in NYC is New York University, located in the heart of Manhattan. Washington Square Park is the epicentre of NYU activity with many of the university’s halls and academic buildings nearby. Departments are located across the river in downtown Brooklyn.

Founded by the statesman Albert Gallatin in 1831, NYU was established to serve students from all walks of life. Today, New York University is up among the top universities in the US in terms of academic rankings. It is also one of the largest private universities in the country with more than 40,000 students, and is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

One of NYU’s annual traditions is the Strawberry Festival, a chance for students to celebrate the end of exams and enjoy a slice of the longest strawberry cheesecake in New York City. 

4. University of Rochester

It may not be as well known among international students but the University of Rochester has made pioneering advances across different subjects, including mathematics, social sciences, medicine and music. 

The university has a distinct approach to studies: its own “Rochester Curriculum”. Unlike other university programmes, there are no required subjects and students must take courses in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. There are a number of competitive fifth-year programmes that allow undergraduates a tuition-free year to study a subject unrelated to their major, or pursue an innovative entrepreneurial project.

The main campus is next to the river that leads to Lake Ontario. The institution provides a smaller, more communal environment than that found in many city universities.


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The best universities in New York State

WSJ/THE US College Rank 2018 New York Rank 2018 University City
2 1 Columbia University New York
10 2 Cornell University Ithaca
29 3 New York University New York
51 4 University of Rochester Rochester
55 5 Colgate University Hamilton
=61 6 Hamilton College Clinton
=66 7 Vassar College Poughkeepsie
74 8 Barnard College New York
=87 9 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy
92 10 Union College Schenectady
108 11 Syracuse University Syracuse
=117 12 University at Buffalo Buffalo
119 13 Yeshiva University New York
=130 14 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester
140 15 Hobart and William Smith Colleges Geneva
=143 16 Skidmore College Saratoga Springs
=147 17 Stony Brook University Stony Brook
152 18 Clarkson University Potsdam
=160 19 St Lawrence University Canton
=196 20 SUNY Binghamton University Vestal
=205 21 Molloy College Rockville Centre
=209 22 Siena College Loudonville
211 23 Ithaca College Ithaca
212 24 Fordham University Bronx
=230 25 Manhattan College Riverdale
=257 =26 Hofstra University Hempstead
=257 =26 SUNY University at Albany Albany
=262 28 Pratt Institute Brooklyn
=264 29 Sarah Lawrence College Bronxville
271 30 CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College New York
=272 31 CUNY City College of New York New York
=274 32 Houghton College Houghton
278 33 Adelphi University Garden City
=279 34 Bard College Annandale-On-Hudson
=306 35 CUNY Hunter College New York
=322 36 Pace University-New York New York
=335 37 Nazareth College Rochester
=338 38 CUNY Brooklyn College Brooklyn
=353 39 St John Fisher College Rochester
=360 40 Hartwick College Oneonta
366 41 SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Syracuse
=367 =42 CUNY Queens College Queens
=367 =42 Canisius College Buffalo
=390 44 The New School New York
=401 45 New York Institute of Technology Old Westbury
416 46 St Joseph's College-New York Brooklyn
=417 47 Marist College Poughkeepsie
=424 =48 SUNY New Paltz New Paltz
=424 =48 Wagner College Staten Island
=429 =50 LIU Post Brookville
=429 =50 St John's University-New York Queens
=434 52 Le Moyne College Syracuse
=495 53 St Bonaventure University Saint Bonaventure
=500 =54 Alfred University Alfred
=500 =54 SUNY Cortland Cortland
501-600 =56 CUNY Lehman College Bronx
501-600 =56 Iona College New Rochelle
501-600 =56 LIU Brooklyn Brooklyn
501-600 =56 College of Mount Saint Vincent Bronx
501-600 =56 Roberts Wesleyan College Rochester
501-600 =56 SUNY College at Brockport Brockport
501-600 =56 SUNY Geneseo Geneseo
501-600 =56 St Francis College Brooklyn Heights
601-800 =64 CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York
601-800 =64 CUNY College of Staten Island Staten Island
601-800 =64 CUNY York College Jamaica
601-800 =64 Cazenovia College Cazenovia
601-800 =64 Concordia College-New York Bronxville
601-800 =64 Daemen College Amherst
601-800 =64 Elmira College Elmira
601-800 =64 Keuka College Keuka Park
601-800 =64 Manhattanville College Purchase
601-800 =64 Mount Saint Mary College Newburgh
601-800 =64 Niagara University Niagara University
601-800 =64 Nyack College Nyack
601-800 =64 SUNY Buffalo State Buffalo
601-800 =64 SUNY Farmingdale State College Farmingdale
601-800 =64 SUNY at Fredonia Fredonia
601-800 =64 SUNY Maritime College Throggs Neck
601-800 =64 SUNY Oneonta Oneonta
601-800 =64 SUNY Oswego Oswego
601-800 =64 SUNY Plattsburgh Plattsburgh
601-800 =64 SUNY Potsdam Potsdam
601-800 =64 The College of Saint Rose Albany
> 800 =85 Hilbert College Hamburg
> 800 =85 Marymount Manhattan College New York
> 800 =85 Medaille College Buffalo
> 800 =85 SUNY College at Old Westbury Old Westbury
> 800 =85 SUNY Purchase College Purchase
> 800 =85 St Thomas Aquinas College Sparkill

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