In these popular destinations that are well-known for their higher education opportunities, the universities at the very top of the ranking are concentrated; the top five are located in California, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
It is important to remember that in collaboration with the Wall Street Journal, we also create separate US College Rankings crafted with students in mind. A student survey taken by more than 170,000 students across the US, is at the center of the US College Rankings, capturing the most important topics for prospective learners, such as teaching quality, learning atmosphere, facilities, campus diversity and whether a student will recommend their institution.
Best universities in the United States 2020
Among the best in the world ranking, there are 172 US universities and schools; and wherever you choose to study in the US a top university is within reach. In the best US universities list, almost all states and about 130 cities are represented.
Review of Top 5 universities in the US
1. California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
CalTech has a remarkable number of outstanding graduates and associates, including 39 Nobel laureates, six Turing Award winners and four Fields Medallists, compared to the tiny size of its student population.
At CalTech, there are about 2,000 students, and the main campus in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, occupies 124 acres. On campus, almost all undergraduates live.
There is an emphasis on science and engineering through the six departments.
The CalTech graduate community includes, in addition to Nobel laureates and top scholars, a number of politicians and public advisers, especially in the fields of science, technology and energy.
As part of the college’s alternative model to fraternities and sororities, all first-year students belong to one of four houses. Each house is associated with a series of house traditions and events.
The university has the largest proportion of students who continue to pursue a PhD, and the figure of the postgraduate CalTech has spread into popular culture; all the main characters work or research at CalTech in the TV comedy The Big Bang Theory.
Stanford, based in Palo Alto, right next to Silicon Valley, has played a prominent role in promoting the growth of the tech industry in the area.
Many faculty members, students and graduates, including Google, Snapchat and Hewlett-Packard, have established successful technology firms and start-ups.
In total, Stanford alumni-founded businesses make $2.7 trillion (£2.2 trillion) per year.
As the campus was built on the site of the Palo Alto Stock Farm of the Stanford family, the university is sometimes referred to as the Farm.” 8,180 acres are covered by the campus, but more than half of the land is not yet developed.
Stanford’s campus is thought to be one of the most stunning in the world with its distinctive sand-coloured, red-roofed houses. It includes a variety of sculpture gardens and art museums, and a meditation center for the public.
Stanford is highly competitive, as would be expected from one of the best universities in the world. At present, the admission rate stands at just over 5%.
22 per cent of the 15,000 students, most of whom live on campus, are foreign.
A strong entrepreneurial community is also cultivated by MIT, which has seen many alumni discover prominent companies like Intel and Dropbox.
Unusually, the MIT undergraduate and postgraduate programs are not completely separate; at either level, several courses can be taken.
The undergraduate program is one of the most selective in the world, accepting just 8% of applicants. The most famous among undergraduates are engineering and computer science programs.
Thirty-three percent of the 11,000 students hailing from 154 countries are foreign.
Buzz Aldrin, an astronaut and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and physicist Richard Feynman are prominent alumni.
4. Princeton University
Like Harvard, with a tradition going back more than 200 years, Princeton is a renowned Ivy League university.
The distinctive social atmosphere of Princeton includes private “eating clubs” that act as both social houses and dining halls. Many clubs are selective and competitive, but others simply require the sign-up of undergraduates.
At Princeton, fewer than 8,000 students are enrolled, and just over a fifth are foreign.
In New Jersey, Princeton’s campuses are about an hour away from both New York City and Philadelphia.
Degree courses have strict criteria. As part of their degrees, all students are expected to do independent study, and some must take a foreign language course.
The method for applying is highly selective. Princeton does not offer an early decision application path, unlike most US universities.
US presidents, astronauts, businesspeople and Olympians are renowned Princeton alumni. This includes Michelle Obama’s former first lady, author F. Scott Fitzgerald with Alan Turing, a mathematician.
Harvard is undoubtedly the world’s best-known university, most years toping the prestige rankings of Times Higher Education.
Established in 1636, it is the US’s oldest institution of higher education.
Around 20,000 students, a fifth of whom are foreign, are enrolled. Although the tuition expenses are costly, the financial endowment of Harvard helps students to receive plenty of financial assistance.
Prestigious Harvard is able to account for 8 former US presidents, 158 Nobel laureates, 14 Turing Award winners and 62 living billionaires, among many prominent alumni.
Harvard is at least as valued for the arts and humanities as it is for science and technology, if not more so, unlike several other universities at the top of the list.
Top Universities in the United States 2020
To display the full report on the World University Ranking 2020 results, click on each institution.
|US Rank 2020||World University Rank 2020||University||City||State|
|1||2||California Institute of Technology||Pasadena||California|
|3||5||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge||Massachusetts|
|4||6||Princeton University||Princeton||New Jersey|
|6||8||Yale University||New Haven||Connecticut|
|7||9||University of Chicago||Chicago||Illinois|
|8||11||University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||Pennsylvania|
|9||12||Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore||Maryland|
|10||=13||University of California, Berkeley||Berkeley||California|
|11||16||Columbia University||New York City||New York|
|12||17||University of California, Los Angeles||Los Angeles||California|
|13||19||Cornell University||Ithaca||New York|
|14||20||Duke University||Durham||North Carolina|
|15||21||University of Michigan-Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor||Michigan|
|17||26||University of Washington||Seattle||Washington|
|18||=27||Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh||Pennsylvania|
|19||29||New York University||New York City||New York|
|20||31||University of California, San Diego||San Diego||California|
|=21||=38||Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta||Georgia|
|=21||=38||University of Texas at Austin||Austin||Texas|
|23||=48||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign||Illinois|
|24||51||University of Wisconsin-Madison||Madison||Wisconsin|
|25||52||Washington University in St Louis||St. Louis||Missouri|
|26||53||Brown University||Providence||Rhode Island|
|27||54||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill||North Carolina|
|28||=55||University of California, Davis||Davis||California|
|29||=57||University of California, Santa Barbara||Santa Barbara||California|
|31||=62||University of Southern California||Los Angeles||California|
|32||70||Ohio State University (Main campus)||Columbus||Ohio|
|33||78||Penn State (Main campus)||State College||Pennsylvania|
|34||79||University of Minnesota||Minneapolis||Minnesota|
|36||84||Michigan State University||East Lansing||Michigan|
|37||88||Purdue University West Lafayette||West Lafayette||Indiana|
|38||=91||University of Maryland, College Park||College Park||Maryland|
|39||=94||Dartmouth College||Hanover||New Hampshire|
|40||=96||University of California, Irvine||Irvine||California|
|41||=102||Georgetown University||Washington D.C|
|42||104||University of Arizona||Tucson||Arizona|
|44||=107||University of Virginia (Main campus)||Charlottesville||Virginia|
|45||=113||University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus||Pittsburgh||Pennsylvania|
|47||119||Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland||Ohio|
|48||124||University of Colorado Boulder||Boulder||Colorado|
|51||=155||Arizona State University||Tempe||Arizona|
|52||=157||University of Notre Dame||Notre Dame||Indiana|
|53||=168||Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey||New Brunswick||New Jersey|
|54||172||University of Alabama at Birmingham||Birmingham||Alabama|
|=55||=173||University of Rochester||Rochester (NY)||New York|
|57||=175||University of Florida||Gainesville||Florida|
|58||178||Texas A&M University||College Station||Texas|
|59||=179||University of California, Santa Cruz||Santa Cruz||California|
|60||=198||George Washington University||Washington D.C|
|=61||201–250||University of Hawai’i at Mānoa||Honolulu||Hawai’i|
|=61||201–250||Howard University||Washington D.C|
|=61||201–250||University of Iowa||Iowa City||Iowa|
|=61||201–250||University of Massachusetts||Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, Worcester||Massachusetts|
|=61||201–250||University of Miami||Coral Gables||Florida|
|=61||201–250||University of South Florida (Tampa)||Tampa||Florida|
|=61||201–250||University of Utah||Salt Lake City||Utah|
|=61||201–250||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Blacksburg||Virginia|
|=61||201–250||Wake Forest University||Winston-Salem||North Carolina|
|=61||201–250||William & Mary||Williamsburg||Virginia|
|=72||251–300||University at Buffalo||Buffalo||New York|
|=72||251–300||University of California, Riverside||Riverside||California|
|=72||251–300||University of Cincinnati||Cincinnati||Ohio|
|=72||251–300||University of Delaware||Newark (DE)||Delaware|
|=72||251–300||Florida State University||Tallahassee||Florida|
|=72||251–300||George Mason University||Fairfax||Virginia|
|=72||251–300||University of Illinois at Chicago||Chicago||Illinois|
|=72||251–300||University of Oregon||Eugene||Oregon|
|=72||251–300||Oregon Health and Science University||Portland||Oregon|
|=72||251–300||Syracuse University||Syracuse||New York|
|=82||301–350||Colorado School of Mines||Golden||Colorado|
|=82||301–350||University of New Mexico (Main campus)||Albuquerque||New Mexico|
|=82||301–350||North Carolina State University||Raleigh||North Carolina|
|=82||301–350||Nova Southeastern University||Davie||Florida|
|=82||301–350||Stony Brook University||Stony Brook||New York|
|=82||301–350||The University of Tennessee-Knoxville||Knoxville||Texas|
|=82||301–350||University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson||Texas|
|=82||301–350||Tulane University||New Orleans||Louisiana|
|=93||351–400||University of Alaska Fairbanks||Fairbanks||Alaska|
|=93||351–400||University of California, Merced||Merced||California|
|=93||351–400||University of Connecticut||Mansfield||Connecticut|
|=93||351–400||University of Denver||Denver||Colorado|
|=93||351–400||Hofstra University||Hempstead||New York|
|=93||351–400||Iowa State University||Ames||Iowa|
|=93||351–400||Oregon State University||Corvallis||Oregon|
|=93||351–400||State University of New York Albany||Albany||New York|
|=93||351–400||Washington State University||Pullman||Washington|
|=93||351–400||Wayne State University||Detroit||Michigan|
|=104||401–500||University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa||Alabama|
|=104||401–500||American University||Washington D.C|
|=104||401–500||Colorado State University, Fort Collins||Fort Collins||Colorado|
|=104||401–500||University of Georgia||Athens||Georgia|
|=104||401–500||Georgia State University||Atlanta||Georgia|
|=104||401–500||University of Houston||Houston||Texas|
|=104||401–500||University of Kansas||Lawrence||Kansas|
|=104||401–500||University of Kentucky||Lexington||Kentucky|
|=104||401–500||University of Missouri-Columbia||Columbia||Missouri|
|=104||401–500||University of Missouri-St Louis||St. Louis||Missouri|
|=104||401–500||University of Nebraska-Lincoln||Lincoln||Nebraska|
|=104||401–500||New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology||Socorro||New Mexico|
|=104||401–500||Oklahoma State University||Stillwater||Oklahoma|
|=104||401–500||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Troy||New York|
|=104||401–500||University of South Carolina-Columbia||Columbia||South Carolina|
|=104||401–500||University of Texas at San Antonio||San Antonio||Texas|
|=104||401–500||University of Tulsa||Tulsa||Oklahoma|
|=122||501–600||University of Alabama in Huntsville||Huntsville||Alabama|
|=122||501–600||Binghamton University, State University of New York||Binghamton||New York|
|=122||501–600||Florida International University||Miami||Florida|
|=122||501–600||University of Idaho||Moscow||Idaho|
|=122||501–600||Louisiana State University||Baton Rouge||Louisiana|
|=122||501–600||Missouri University of Science and Technology||Rolla||Missouri|
|=122||501–600||University of Nebraska Medical Center||Omaha||Nebraska|
|=122||501–600||New Jersey Institute of Technology||Newark (NJ)||New Jersey|
|=122||501–600||Northern Arizona University||Flagstaff||Arizona|
|=122||501–600||University of Rhode Island||South Kingstown||Rhode Island|
|=122||501–600||San Diego State University||San Diego||California|
|=122||501–600||University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee||Milwaukee||Wisconsin|
|=134||601–800||University of Arkansas||Fayateville||Arkansas|
|=134||601–800||University of Central Florida||Orlando||Florida|
|=134||601–800||Clemson University||Clemson||South Carolina|
|=134||601–800||Kansas State University||Manhattan||Kansas|
|=134||601–800||Kent State University||Kent||Ohio|
|=134||601–800||University of Maryland, Baltimore County||Baltimore||Maryland|
|=134||601–800||Montana State University||Bozeman||Montana|
|=134||601–800||University of Nevada, Las Vegas||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|=134||601–800||New Mexico State University (Main campus)||Las Cruces||New Mexico|
|=134||601–800||University of North Carolina at Greensboro||Greensboro||North Carolina|
|=134||601–800||Ohio University (Main campus)||Athens||Ohio|
|=134||601–800||Old Dominion University||Norfolk||Virginia|
|=134||601–800||Portland State University||Portland||Oregon|
|=134||601–800||University of South Dakota||Vermillion||South Dakota|
|=134||601–800||Stevens Institute of Technology||Hoboken||New Jersey|
|=134||601–800||University of Texas at Arlington||Arlington||Texas|
|=134||601–800||Texas Tech University||Lubbock||Texas|
|=134||601–800||University of Toledo||Toledo||Ohio|
|=134||601–800||Western Washington University||Bellingham||Washington|
|=134||601–800||West Virginia University||Morgantown||West Virginia|
|=134||601–800||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Worcester||Massachusetts|
|=159||801–1000||Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University||Daytona Beach||Florida|
|=159||801–1000||Florida Atlantic University||Boca Raton||Florida|
|=159||801–1000||Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne||Florida|
|=159||801–1000||Louisiana Tech University||Ruston||Louisiana|
|=159||801–1000||Mississippi State University||Starkville||Mississippi|
|=159||801–1000||The New School||New York City||New York|
|=159||801–1000||Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester (NY)||New York|
|=159||801–1000||University of Texas at El Paso||El Paso||Texas|
|=168||1001+||California State University, Long Beach||Long Beach||California|
|=168||1001+||University of North Carolina Wilmington||Wilmington||North Carolina|
|=168||1001+||University of North Florida||Jacksonville||Florida|
|=168||1001+||Texas State University||San Marcos||Texas|
Top 10 universities in the US According to THE/WSJ US College Ranking 2020
|WSJ/THE US College Rank 2020||University||City||State|
|2||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge||Massachusetts|
|3||Yale University||New Haven||Connecticut|
|4||University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||Pennsylvania|
|=5||California Institute of Technology||Pasadena||California|
|=5||Princeton University||Princeton||New Jersey|
|=7||Brown University||Providence||Rhode Island|
|9||Cornell University||Ithaca||New York|
|10||Duke University||Durham||North Carolina|