Top 10 Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Oct 20, 2021

Find information about the top 10 colleges and universities in the U.S. Learn what four of the top 10 institutions have to offer in terms of academic reputation and degree options, and use the bullets at the end of the resource to see what's unique to some other high-profile schools in the country.

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School Overview

The top 10 colleges and universities in the nation have been highly ranked and provide unique opportunities for students. These schools offer a variety of programs and confer degrees and certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels The top 10 colleges and universities in the U.S., as ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 2016, include three Ivy League institutions: Harvard University, Princeton University, and Yale University.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: Ranked second-best school in the nation

In 2016, Harvard University was ranked as the second-best school in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report and was also ranked at the top of its list of the Best Value Schools in 2017.

Established in 1636, Harvard University is the country's oldest postsecondary institution. The university's degree programs are available through 11 professional schools and colleges, including the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Harvard awards bachelor's, master's, and Doctor of Philosophy (or Ph.D.) degrees, as well as graduate-level professional certificates, to approximately 21,000 students annually. Areas of study include anthropology, music, government, psychology, economics, and social policy.

Stanford University in Stanford, CA

School Highlight: Tied for the fifth-best university in the country

Stanford University tied for the fifth-best university in the country by U.S. News and World Report in 2016. In 2017, this private institution was fourth on the list of the Best Value Colleges offering the top classroom and quality of life experiences.

The university consists of seven schools, including the Graduate School of Business, the School of Earth Sciences, and the School of Medicine. Areas of study include sociology, engineering, comparative literature, urban studies, and art history. Research opportunities are available to both graduate and undergraduate students. For example, the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research provides grants and programs for students pursuing a bachelor's degree, while graduate students can take advantage of fellowships and multidisciplinary programs that contribute to the university's research.

University of California - Berkeley

School Highlight: Highest ranked public institution in the nation

In 2017, the University of California in Berkeley (also called UC Berkeley) was the highest-ranked public institution in the country and placed twentieth on U.S. News and World Report's list of national universities in 2016. Additionally, the National Research Council, whose rankings are conducted at 10-year intervals, determined that UC Berkeley had the highest number of top-ranking graduate programs in the U.S. in 2010.

The university is composed of 14 colleges and schools, including the College of Letters and Science, the Haas School of Business, the College of Chemistry, and the School of Public Health. UC Berkeley serves over 35,000 students every year who pursue programs through 130 academic departments. Popular areas of study include electrical engineering, computer science, and political science. Other sought-after programs lead to degrees in molecular and cell biology, environmental science, policy, and economics.

Princeton University in Princeton, NJ

School Highlight: Ranked best school in the nation

In addition to being ranked as the best school in the nation, U.S. News and World Report also honored Princeton University with the titles of Best Undergraduate Teaching Institute in 2016 and Second Best Value School of 2017. At the undergraduate level, students in pursuit of a bachelor's degree may choose between 31 academic areas. This choice is made after the second year of school, allowing students to have a better idea of the degree they would like to obtain. Students at this level may also work towards earning a certificate from one of 53 programs.

At the graduate level, all departments at this university offer a Ph.D. Graduate students also have the opportunity to pursue a number of other degrees, such as a Master of Architecture, Master of Science, and Master of Arts degree.

Top Colleges and Universities

Here are more top schools in the country, with some of their highlights:

School Name Location Distinction
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA Nobel Prize given to 31 different alumni and faculty members
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI Global Michigan program
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC First public university opened in the U.S.
University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX Provides 30 different youth outreach and education programs
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA Home to the University of Virginia Medical Center
Yale University New Haven, CT Granted the first Ph.D. in the nation

The top schools and universities in the country are notable for their academic offerings and value. They provide students with numerous areas of study, grants and fellowships, and research opportunities.

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