Choosing a university is a difficult decision. It is going to affect your career, determine what the next 1 - 3 years of your life are like and probably going to cost you a significant amount of money.
Attending university fairs, getting more information and looking at university rankings can make this dilemma a lot easier. It can help you find out how each institution ranks in terms of the level of education it offers, student life, teaching style, facilities and most importantly, employability.
10. University of Chicago
First up in 10th place is the University of Chicago, which is a private research university founded back in 1890. Currently, it has 15,365 students and has gained a great reputation from the many successful alumni who have become billionaires. The institution has 140 on-campus research centres and off-campus affiliated research institutes such as the Argonne National Laboratory.
9. Imperial College London
Imperial College London is a one-of-a-kind institution in the UK that focuses on science, engineering, medicine, and business. Based in South Kensington in London, the university is surrounded by a number of world leading cultural buildings and organisations such as the Science and Natural History museums, the Royal Colleges of Art and Music, the English National Ballet and others, helping to combine science and the arts.
8. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
According to the QS rankings, ETH Zurich is the highest-ranked university in continental Europe. Founded back in 1855, the institution reflects the values of Switzerland which are freedom, responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit and openness to the world. The institution’s academic excellence is clear from its 21 Nobel laureates, amongst them is Albert Einstein.
7. University College London (UCL)
Over the years, UCL has managed to attract many international students coming from a range of countries. Currently, it is one of the world’s top multidisciplinary universities and it is a proud leader in the field of research. In 2014, the university was awarded the Research Excellence Framework, and it has become a centre of teaching excellence in subjects like medicine, language, law, engineering, history, and astrophysics.
6. University of Oxford
While it has no known date of foundation, The University of Oxford shows evidence of existence dating as far back as 1096. This makes it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the second-oldest in continuous operation. In the QS ranking, the university has achieved top marks in research, teaching, and innovation and comes 8th in the world for employability. The subjects the university specialises in are English language, literature, geography, archaeology, anatomy, physiology, arts and humanities.
5. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Based in Pasadena, California US, Caltech is a small but powerful research and teaching institution. It has become popular particularly for the STEM subjects it offers, including chemical engineering, the biological sciences, chemistry, earth and marine sciences, physics, astronomy, and the natural sciences. The success of this university is clear from the results of its students as 99 percent of the scholars were in the top ten per cent of their high school graduating class.
4. University of Cambridge
Cambridge is 4th in the global list of the best universities and second-oldest in the English-speaking world. Founded in 1209, the university has a vibrant history and has been the educational centre of famous personalities and pioneers in the field of physics, with Sir Isaac Newton, mathematics with Stephen Hawking, acting with Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson and journalism with Arianna Huffington. Entry to the university is very competitive especially in subjects such as English language and literature, geography, history, modern languages, mechanical engineering and others.
3. Harvard University
Harvard ranks first in two QS subject areas – life sciences and medicine, social sciences and management. As the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, Harvard University has educated many successful personalities like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Barack and Michelle Obama amongst other American presidents.
2. Stanford University
In second place, comes Stanford University which ranks among the top five universities in the world across all QS subject areas such as art and humanities, engineering and technology, life sciences and medicine, social sciences, and management and the natural sciences. The university is based in Silicon Valley, California US, and has been the institution many of the world’s best researchers and entrepreneurs have studied at (see Elon Musk, John Kennedy, and Larry Page).
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT is awarded 5+ QS Stars which means that it has achieved the maximum score across all categories, including research, employability, teaching, facilities, internationalisation, innovation, specialist criteria and inclusiveness. Founded in 1861, the university is based in Massachusetts US and has been the best university in the world for the past few years. It specialises in subjects such as architecture, linguistics, computer science, information systems, engineering, technology, chemistry, mathematics, economics, and econometrics.
All of these universities are good places to begin your studies. Whether you are thinking about studying in the UK, US or Switzerland or any other country, it’s always a good idea to conduct your own research on universities and to check what they are offering. If you need more help with this, you can also consult a careers advisor. Good luck!
Is there any university you show a particular interest in? If yes, why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…