2020 Best Universities in USA According to Times Higher Education

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.

2. Stanford University

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.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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.

5. Harvard University

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 2020World University Rank 2020UniversityCityState
1 2California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaCalifornia
2 4Stanford UniversityStanfordCalifornia
3 5Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeMassachusetts
4 6Princeton UniversityPrincetonNew Jersey
5 7Harvard UniversityCambridgeMassachusetts
6 8Yale UniversityNew HavenConnecticut
7 9University of ChicagoChicagoIllinois
8 11University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaPennsylvania
9 12Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreMaryland
10 =13University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyCalifornia
11 16Columbia UniversityNew York CityNew York
12 17University of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesCalifornia
13 19Cornell UniversityIthacaNew York
14 20Duke UniversityDurhamNorth Carolina
15 21University of Michigan-Ann ArborAnn ArborMichigan
16 22Northwestern UniversityEvanstonIllinois
17 26University of WashingtonSeattleWashington
18 =27Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghPennsylvania
19 29New York UniversityNew York CityNew York
20 31University of California, San DiegoSan DiegoCalifornia
=21 =38Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaGeorgia
=21 =38University of Texas at AustinAustinTexas
23 =48University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignIllinois
24 51University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonWisconsin
25 52Washington University in St LouisSt. LouisMissouri
26 53Brown UniversityProvidenceRhode Island
27 54University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillNorth Carolina
28 =55University of California, DavisDavisCalifornia
29 =57University of California, Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraCalifornia
30 61Boston UniversityBostonMassachusetts
31 =62University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesCalifornia
32 70Ohio State University (Main campus)ColumbusOhio
33 78Penn State (Main campus)State CollegePennsylvania
34 79University of MinnesotaMinneapolisMinnesota
35 =80Emory UniversityAtlantaGeorgia
36 84Michigan State UniversityEast LansingMichigan
37 88Purdue University West LafayetteWest LafayetteIndiana
38 =91University of Maryland, College ParkCollege ParkMaryland
39 =94Dartmouth CollegeHanoverNew Hampshire
40 =96University of California, IrvineIrvineCalifornia
41 =102Georgetown UniversityWashington D.C
42 104University of ArizonaTucsonArizona
43 =105Rice UniversityHoustonTexas
44 =107University of Virginia (Main campus)CharlottesvilleVirginia
45 =113University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campusPittsburghPennsylvania
46 116Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleTennessee
47 119Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandOhio
48 124University of Colorado BoulderBoulderColorado
49 =134Indiana UniversityBloomingtonIndiana
50 =139Tufts UniversityMedfordMassachusetts
51 =155Arizona State UniversityTempeArizona
52 =157University of Notre DameNotre DameIndiana
53 =168Rutgers, the State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickNew Jersey
54 172University of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamAlabama
=55 =173Northeastern UniversityBostonMassachusetts
=55 =173University of RochesterRochester (NY)New York
57 =175University of FloridaGainesvilleFlorida
58 178Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationTexas
59 =179University of California, Santa CruzSanta CruzCalifornia
60 =198George Washington UniversityWashington D.C
=61 201–250Brandeis UniversityWalthamMassachusetts
=61 201–250University of Hawai’i at MānoaHonoluluHawai’i
=61 201–250Howard UniversityWashington D.C
=61 201–250University of IowaIowa CityIowa
=61 201–250University of MassachusettsAmherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, WorcesterMassachusetts
=61 201–250University of MiamiCoral GablesFlorida
=61 201–250University of South Florida (Tampa)TampaFlorida
=61 201–250University of UtahSalt Lake CityUtah
=61 201–250Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgVirginia
=61 201–250Wake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemNorth Carolina
=61 201–250William & MaryWilliamsburgVirginia
=72 251–300University at BuffaloBuffaloNew York
=72 251–300University of California, RiversideRiversideCalifornia
=72 251–300University of CincinnatiCincinnatiOhio
=72 251–300University of DelawareNewark (DE)Delaware
=72 251–300Florida State UniversityTallahasseeFlorida
=72 251–300George Mason UniversityFairfaxVirginia
=72 251–300University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoIllinois
=72 251–300University of OregonEugeneOregon
=72 251–300Oregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandOregon
=72 251–300Syracuse UniversitySyracuseNew York
=82 301–350Boston CollegeBostonMassachusetts
=82 301–350Colorado School of MinesGoldenColorado
=82 301–350University of New Mexico (Main campus)AlbuquerqueNew Mexico
=82 301–350North Carolina State UniversityRaleighNorth Carolina
=82 301–350Nova Southeastern UniversityDavieFlorida
=82 301–350Rush UniversityChicagoIllinois
=82 301–350Stony Brook UniversityStony BrookNew York
=82 301–350Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaPennsylvania
=82 301–350The University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleKnoxvilleTexas
=82 301–350University of Texas at DallasRichardsonTexas
=82 301–350Tulane UniversityNew OrleansLouisiana
=93 351–400University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksAlaska
=93 351–400University of California, MercedMercedCalifornia
=93 351–400Clark UniversityWorcesterMassachusetts
=93 351–400University of ConnecticutMansfieldConnecticut
=93 351–400University of DenverDenverColorado
=93 351–400Hofstra UniversityHempsteadNew York
=93 351–400Iowa State UniversityAmesIowa
=93 351–400Oregon State UniversityCorvallisOregon
=93 351–400State University of New York AlbanyAlbanyNew York
=93 351–400Washington State UniversityPullmanWashington
=93 351–400Wayne State UniversityDetroitMichigan
=104 401–500University of AlabamaTuscaloosaAlabama
=104 401–500American UniversityWashington D.C
=104 401–500Colorado State University, Fort CollinsFort CollinsColorado
=104 401–500Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaPennsylvania
=104 401–500University of GeorgiaAthensGeorgia
=104 401–500Georgia State UniversityAtlantaGeorgia
=104 401–500University of HoustonHoustonTexas
=104 401–500University of KansasLawrenceKansas
=104 401–500University of KentuckyLexingtonKentucky
=104 401–500University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaMissouri
=104 401–500University of Missouri-St LouisSt. LouisMissouri
=104 401–500University of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnNebraska
=104 401–500New Mexico Institute of Mining and TechnologySocorroNew Mexico
=104 401–500Oklahoma State UniversityStillwaterOklahoma
=104 401–500Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyNew York
=104 401–500University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbiaSouth Carolina
=104 401–500University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioTexas
=104 401–500University of TulsaTulsaOklahoma
=122 501–600University of Alabama in HuntsvilleHuntsvilleAlabama
=122 501–600Binghamton University, State University of New YorkBinghamtonNew York
=122 501–600Florida International UniversityMiamiFlorida
=122 501–600University of IdahoMoscowIdaho
=122 501–600Louisiana State UniversityBaton RougeLouisiana
=122 501–600Missouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaMissouri
=122 501–600University of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaNebraska
=122 501–600New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewark (NJ)New Jersey
=122 501–600Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffArizona
=122 501–600University of Rhode IslandSouth KingstownRhode Island
=122 501–600San Diego State UniversitySan DiegoCalifornia
=122 501–600University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeWisconsin
=134 601–800University of ArkansasFayatevilleArkansas
=134 601–800Auburn UniversityAuburnAlabama
=134 601–800Baylor UniversityWacoTexas
=134 601–800University of Central FloridaOrlandoFlorida
=134 601–800Clemson UniversityClemsonSouth Carolina
=134 601–800Creighton UniversityOmahaNebraska
=134 601–800Kansas State UniversityManhattanKansas
=134 601–800Kent State UniversityKentOhio
=134 601–800Lehigh UniversityBethlehemPennsylvania
=134 601–800University of Maryland, Baltimore CountyBaltimoreMaryland
=134 601–800Montana State UniversityBozemanMontana
=134 601–800University of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasNevada
=134 601–800New Mexico State University (Main campus)Las CrucesNew Mexico
=134 601–800University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroNorth Carolina
=134 601–800Ohio University (Main campus)AthensOhio
=134 601–800Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkVirginia
=134 601–800Portland State UniversityPortlandOregon
=134 601–800University of South DakotaVermillionSouth Dakota
=134 601–800Stevens Institute of TechnologyHobokenNew Jersey
=134 601–800University of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonTexas
=134 601–800Texas Tech UniversityLubbockTexas
=134 601–800University of ToledoToledoOhio
=134 601–800Western Washington UniversityBellinghamWashington
=134 601–800West Virginia UniversityMorgantownWest Virginia
=134 601–800Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterMassachusetts
=159 801–1000Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityDaytona BeachFlorida
=159 801–1000Florida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonFlorida
=159 801–1000Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneFlorida
=159 801–1000Louisiana Tech UniversityRustonLouisiana
=159 801–1000Marquette UniversityMilwaukeeWisconsin
=159 801–1000Mississippi State UniversityStarkvilleMississippi
=159 801–1000The New SchoolNew York CityNew York
=159 801–1000Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester (NY)New York
=159 801–1000University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoTexas
=168 1001+California State University, Long BeachLong BeachCalifornia
=168 1001+University of North Carolina WilmingtonWilmingtonNorth Carolina
=168 1001+University of North FloridaJacksonvilleFlorida
=168 1001+Oakland UniversityRochesterMichigan
=168 1001+Texas State UniversitySan MarcosTexas

Top 10 universities in the US According to THE/WSJ US College Ranking 2020


WSJ/THE US College Rank 2020UniversityCityState
1Harvard UniversityCambridgeMassachusetts
2Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeMassachusetts
3Yale UniversityNew HavenConnecticut
4University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaPennsylvania
=5California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaCalifornia
=5Princeton UniversityPrincetonNew Jersey
=7Brown UniversityProvidenceRhode Island
=7Stanford UniversityStanfordCalifornia
9Cornell UniversityIthacaNew York
10Duke UniversityDurhamNorth Carolina
Unwana Akpan
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