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Best universities in the United States 2023

Find the best universities in the United States 2023 through Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

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Rankings for Students
October 12 2022
Harvard University

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Top 10 universities in the US

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in the United States

US Rank 2023 World University Rank 2023  University City State
1  2  Harvard University Cambridge Massachusetts
2  =3  Stanford University Stanford  California
3  5  Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge Massachusetts
4  6  California Institute of Technology Pasadena California
5  7  Princeton University Princeton New Jersey
6  8  University of California, Berkeley Berkeley California
7  9  Yale University New Haven Connecticut
8  =11  Columbia University New York City New York
9  13  The University of Chicago Chicago Illinois
10  14  University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Thinking about studying in the US can be overwhelming because there are so many options. Which US university is the best? Where are the top universities in the United States?

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We thought you might like to know the top universities in the US based on the highly respected Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023.

There are 177 US universities and colleges among the world’s best, so wherever you want to study in the US, a top university will not be far away. Almost all states and about 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 for 2023, with 14 institutions, followed by 13 universities in New York, 12 universities in Texas and 10 universities in Massachusetts.

The universities ranking at the very top of the table are concentrated in these popular destinations, which are well known for their higher education opportunities; the top four are based in California and in Massachusetts.


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Top 5 universities in the US 2023

5. Princeton University

Princeton University is one of the oldest universities in the US. It is part of the prestigious group of Ivy League universities.

As well as high-quality teaching and research output, the university is known for its beautiful campus, with some buildings designed by some of America’s most well-known architects.

Notable alumni who have won a Nobel prize include the physicists Richard Feynman and Robert Hofstadter and the chemists Richard Smalley and Edwin McMillan.

Princeton has also educated two US presidents, James Madison and Woodrow Wilson. Other distinguished graduates include Michelle Obama, actors Jimmy Stewart and Brooke Shields, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Apollo astronaut Pete Conrad.

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4. California Institute of Technology (CalTech)

Across the six faculties at CalTech, there is a focus on science and engineering.

CalTech has an impressive number of successful graduates and affiliates, including 39 Nobel laureates, six Turing Award winners and four Fields Medallists.

There are about 2,200 students at CalTech, and the primary campus in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, covers 124 acres (about 50 hectares). Almost all undergraduates live on campus.

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 and sororities. A number of house traditions and events are associated with each house.

Caltech: ‘uniquely difficult but a wonderful place to study’

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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.

MIT 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.

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2. Stanford University

Many faculty members, students and alumni have founded successful technology companies and start-ups, including Google, Snapchat and Hewlett-Packard.

Of the 16,000 students, most of whom live on campus, 22 per cent are international.

Based in Palo Alto, right beside Silicon Valley, Stanford University has had a prominent role in encouraging the region’s tech industry to develop.

In total, companies founded by Stanford alumni make $2.7 trillion (£2.2 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 (3,300 hectares), but more than half of the land is not yet developed.

With its 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, as well as a public meditation centre.

As might be expected from one of the best universities in the world, Stanford is highly competitive. The admission rate stands at just over 5 per cent.

Video: how I got into Stanford University as a low-income international student

1. Harvard University

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest higher education institution in the US.

About 21,000 students are enrolled, a quarter of whom are international.

Harvard University is probably the best known university in the world, topping the Times Higher Education Reputation Rankings most years.

Although 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, 158 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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Top universities in the United States 2023

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2023 profile

US rank 2023 World University Rank 2023  University City State
1  2  Harvard University Cambridge Massachusetts
2  =3  Stanford University Stanford  California
3  5  Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge Massachusetts
4  6  California Institute of Technology Pasadena California
5  7  Princeton University Princeton New Jersey
6  8  University of California, Berkeley Berkeley California
7  9  Yale University New Haven Connecticut
8  =11  Columbia University New York City New York
9  13  The University of Chicago Chicago Illinois
10  14  University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Pennsylvania
11  15  Johns Hopkins University Baltimore Maryland
12  20  Cornell University Ithaca New York
13  21  University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles California
14  23  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Michigan
15  24  New York University New York City New York
16  25  Duke University Durham North Carolina
=17  =26  Northwestern University Evanston Illinois
=17  =26  University of Washington Seattle  Washington
19  28  Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
20  32  University of California, San Diego San Diego California
21  38  Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta Georgia
22  48  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign Illinois
23  50  University of Texas at Austin Austin Texas
24  57  Washington University in St Louis St Louis Missouri
25  61  Brown University Providence Rhode Island
26  63  University of California, Davis Davis California
27  64  University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara California
28  65  University of Southern California Los Angeles California
29  69  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill North Carolina
30  =71  Boston University Boston Massachusetts
31  81  University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison Wisconsin
32  =82  Emory University Atlanta Georgia
33  =95  University of California, Irvine Irvine California
34  98  Vanderbilt University Nashville Tennessee
35  =101  University of Minnesota Minneapolis Minnesota
36  =104  University of Maryland, College Park College Park Maryland
37  106  Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan
38  112  Ohio State University (Main campus) Columbus Ohio
39  123  Dartmouth College Hanover New Hampshire
40  127  Purdue University West Lafayette West Lafayette Indiana
41  134  Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Ohio
42  136  Georgetown University   Washington DC
43  144  University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
44  147  Rice University Houston Texas
45  =148  University of Colorado Boulder Boulder Colorado
=46  =151  University of Florida Gainesville Florida
=46  =151  Penn State (Main campus) State College Pennsylvania
=46  =151  Tufts University Medford Massachusetts
49  154  University of Rochester Rochester New York
=50  =156  Arizona State University (Tempe) Tempe Arizona
=50  =156  University of Virginia (Main campus) Charlottesville Virginia
52  =168  Northeastern University Boston Massachusetts
53  =170  Indiana University Bloomington Indiana
54  180  University of Arizona Tucson Arizona
55  181  Texas A&M University College Station Texas
56  191  University of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, Worcester Massachusetts
57  =192  University of California, Santa Cruz Santa Cruz California
58  =194  University of Miami Coral Gables Florida
=59  201–250  George Washington University   Washington DC
=59  201–250  University of Notre Dame Notre Dame Indiana
=59  201–250  Rutgers University – New Brunswick New Brunswick New Jersey
=59  201–250  University of South Florida Tampa Florida
=63  251–300  Boston College Boston Massachusetts
=63  251–300  University of California, Riverside Riverside California
=63  251–300  University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Honolulu Hawai’i
=63  251–300  University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago Illinois
=63  251–300  Oregon Health and Science University Portland Oregon
=63  251–300  University of Utah Salt Lake City Utah
=63  251–300  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg Virginia
=70  301–350  Brandeis University Waltham Massachusetts
=70  301–350  University at Buffalo Buffalo New York
=70  301–350  University of California, Merced Merced California
=70  301–350  University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver Colorado
=70  301–350  Drexel University Philadelphia Pennsylvania
=70  301–350  Florida State University Tallahassee Florida
=70  301–350  George Mason University Fairfax Virginia
=70  301–350  University of Iowa Iowa City Iowa
=70  301–350  Saint Louis University Saint Louis Missouri
=70  301–350  Stony Brook University Stony Brook New York
=70  301–350  Temple University Philadelphia Pennsylvania
=70  301–350  The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Knoxville Tennessee
=82  351–400  University of Delaware Newark Delaware
=82  351–400  Howard University   Washington DC
=82  351–400  University of New Mexico (Main campus) Albuquerque New Mexico
=82  351–400  North Carolina State University Raleigh North Carolina
=82  351–400  Rush University Chicago Illinois
=82  351–400  University of Texas at Dallas Richardson Texas
=82  351–400  Tulane University New Orleans Louisiana
=82  351–400  Wake Forest University Winston-Salem North Carolina
=82  351–400  Washington State University Pullman Washington
=91  401–500  University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks Alaska
=91  401–500  Colorado School of Mines Golden Colorado
=91  401–500  Colorado State University, Fort Collins Fort Collins Colorado
=91  401–500  University of Connecticut Mansfield Connecticut
=91  401–500  University of Denver Denver Colorado
=91  401–500  Georgia State University Atlanta Georgia
=91  401–500  Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago Illinois
=91  401–500  Iowa State University Ames Illinois
=91  401–500  University of Kansas Lawrence Kansas
=91  401–500  University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln Nebraska
=91  401–500  University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha Nebraska
=91  401–500  Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale Florida
=91  401–500  Syracuse University Syracuse New York
=91  401–500  The University of Tulsa Tulsa Oklahoma
=91  401–500  William & Mary Williamsburg Virginia
=106  501–600  Florida International University Miami Florida
=106  501–600  University of Kentucky Lexington Kentucky
=106  501–600  Missouri University of Science and Technology Rolla  Missouri
=106  501–600  University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia Colorado
=106  501–600  Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken New Jersey
=106  501–600  SUNY University at Albany Albany New York
=106  501–600  Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond Virginia
=106  501–600  Wayne State University Detroit  Michigan
=114  601–800  American University   Washington DC
=114  601–800  University of Arkansas Fayetteville Arkansas
=114  601–800  Auburn University Auburn Alabama
=114  601–800  Baylor University Waco Texas
=114  601–800  University of Central Florida Orlando Florida
=114  601–800  Clark University Worcester Massachusetts
=114  601–800  University of Georgia Athens Georgia
=114  601–800  University of Houston Houston Texas
=114  601–800  Lehigh University Bethlehem Pennsylvania
=114  601–800  Louisiana State University Baton Rouge Louisiana
=114  601–800  University of Maryland, Baltimore County Baltimore Maryland
=114  601–800  Mizzou - University of Missouri Columbia Missouri
=114  601–800  University of Nevada, Las Vegas Las Vegas Nevada
=114  601–800  New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark New Jersey
=114  601–800  University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte North Carolina
=114  601–800  Oklahoma State University Stillwater Oklahoma
=114  601–800  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy New York
=114  601–800  San Diego State University San Diego California
=114  601–800  SUNY Binghamton University Binghamton New York
=114  601–800  University of Texas at Arlington Arlington Texas
=114  601–800  The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio Texas
=114  601–800  University of Toledo Toledo Ohio
=136  801–1000  The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Alabama
=136  801–1000  Chapman University Orange California
=136  801–1000  Clemson University Clemson South Carolina
=136  801–1000  University of Dayton Dayton Ohio
=136  801–1000  Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee Florida
=136  801–1000  Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton Florida
=136  801–1000  Kansas State University Lawrence Kansas
=136  801–1000  Marquette University Milwaukee Wisconsin
=136  801–1000  University of Memphis Memphis Tennessee
=136  801–1000  Mississippi State University Starkville Mississippi
=136  801–1000  University of Missouri-St Louis St Louis Missouri
=136  801–1000  Montana State University Bozeman Montana
=136  801–1000  The New School New York City New York
=136  801–1000  New Mexico State University (Main campus) Albuquerque New Mexico
=136  801–1000  University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro North Carolina
=136  801–1000  Northern Illinois University DeKalb Illinois
=136  801–1000  Ohio University (Main campus) Athens Ohio
=136  801–1000  Old Dominion University Norfolk Virginia
=136  801–1000  University of Rhode Island South Kingstown Rhode Island
=136  801–1000  Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale Illinois
=136  801–1000  University of Texas at El Paso El Paso Texas
=136  801–1000  Texas Tech University Lubbock Texas
=136  801–1000  University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee Wisconsin
=136  801–1000  Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester Massachusetts
=136  801–1000  University of Wyoming Laramie Wyoming
=161  1001–1200  Bowling Green State University Bowling Green Ohio
=161  1001–1200  Clarkson University Potsdam New York
=161  1001–1200  Creighton University Omaha Nebraska
=161  1001–1200  Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne Florida
=161  1001–1200  Morgan State University Baltimore Maryland
=161  1001–1200  Oakland University Rochester Michigan
=161  1001–1200  Portland State University Portland Oregon
=161  1001–1200  Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester New York
=161  1001–1200  Rowan University Glassboro New Jersey
=161  1001–1200  University of South Dakota Vermillion South Dakota
=161  1001–1200  University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Brownsville Texas
=172  1201–1500  University of Colorado Colorado Springs Colorado Springs Colorado
=172  1201–1500  Georgia Southern University Statesboro Georgia
=172  1201–1500  Grand Valley State University Allendale Michigan
=172  1201–1500  University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington North Carolina
=172  1201–1500  Texas State University San Marcos Texas
=172  1201–1500  Western Michigan University Kalamazoo Michigan

 

 

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Best public universities in the United States 2022

Find the best public universities in the US using Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education’s US College Rankings data

September 21 2021
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