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Best universities in the United States 2024

Find the best universities in the United States 2024 through Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

  • Best universities in
  • Rankings for Students
September 27 2023
Harvard University


Top 10 universities in the US 2024

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

US rank 2024World University Rank 2024 World University Rank 2023 UniversityCityState
12 =3 Stanford UniversityStanfordCalifornia
23 5 Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeMassachusetts
34 2 Harvard UniversityCambridgeMassachusetts
46 7 Princeton UniversityPrincetonNew Jersey
57 6 California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaCalifornia
69 8 University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyCalifornia
710 9 Yale UniversityNew HavenConnecticut
813 13 The University of ChicagoChicagoIllinois
915 15 Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreMaryland
1016 14 University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaPennsylvania

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 2024.

There are 169 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 2024, with 14 institutions, followed by 13 universities in New York, 12 universities in Texas and 10 universities in Massachusetts.

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

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Top 5 universities in the United States 2024

5. 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 traditions and events are associated with each house.

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

4. 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 Nobel prizes 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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3. Harvard University

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest higher education institution in the US and one of the top law schools in the US.

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

Harvard University is probably the world’s best known university, 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 is 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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2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

A third of MIT’s 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 are the most popular courses 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, especially for law degrees. The admission rate stands at just over 5 per cent.

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

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Top universities in the United States 2024

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2024 profile

US rank 2024World University Rank 2024 World University Rank 2023 UniversityCityState
12 =3 Stanford UniversityStanfordCalifornia
23 5 Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeMassachusetts
34 2 Harvard UniversityCambridgeMassachusetts
46 7 Princeton UniversityPrincetonNew Jersey
57 6 California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaCalifornia
69 8 University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyCalifornia
710 9 Yale UniversityNew HavenConnecticut
813 13 The University of ChicagoChicagoIllinois
915 15 Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreMaryland
1016 14 University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaPennsylvania
1117 =11 Columbia UniversityNew York CityNew York
1218 21 University of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesCalifornia
1320 20 Cornell UniversityIthacaNew York
1423 23 University of Michigan-Ann ArborAnn ArborMichigan
1524 28 Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghPennsylvania
1625 =26 University of WashingtonSeattleWashington
1726 25 Duke UniversityDurhamNorth Carolina
1827 24 New York UniversityNew York CityNew York
1928 =26 Northwestern UniversityEvanstonIllinois
2034 32 University of California, San DiegoSan DiegoCalifornia
2136 38 Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaGeorgia
2242 48 University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignIllinois
2352 50 University of Texas at AustinAustinTexas
2459 63 University of California, DavisDavisCalifornia
2563 81 University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonWisconsin
26=64 61 Brown UniversityProvidenceRhode Island
2768 57 Washington University in St LouisSt LouisMissouri
2869 64 University of California, Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraCalifornia
2972 69 University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillNorth Carolina
3074 65 University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesCalifornia
3178 =71 Boston UniversityBostonMassachusetts
3285 =101 University of MinnesotaMinneapolisMinnesota
3386 127 Purdue University West LafayetteWest LafayetteIndiana
=34=92 =95 University of California, IrvineIrvineCalifornia
=34=92 98 Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleTennessee
36=99 112 Ohio State University (Main campus)ColumbusOhio
37=106 =82 Emory UniversityAtlantaGeorgia
38114 =104 University of Maryland, College ParkCollege ParkMaryland
39=116 106 Michigan State UniversityEast LansingMichigan
40118 181 Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationTexas
41=119 147 Rice UniversityHoustonTexas
42122 =151 Penn State (Main campus)State CollegePennsylvania
43=123 191 University of MassachusettsAmherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, WorcesterMassachusetts
44132 =151 University of FloridaGainesvilleFlorida
45133 154 University of RochesterRochesterNew York
46=138 =148 University of Colorado BoulderBoulderColorado
47=145 144 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campusPittsburghPennsylvania
48=155 180 University of ArizonaTucsonArizona
49=161 123 Dartmouth CollegeHanoverNew Hampshire
50=164 134 Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandOhio
51166 =156 University of Virginia (Main campus)CharlottesvilleVirginia
52182 =156 Arizona State University (Tempe)TempeArizona
53=187 136 Georgetown University Washington DC
54=191 =151 Tufts UniversityMedfordMassachusetts
55198 =170 Indiana UniversityBloomingtonIndiana
56=199 201–250 University of Notre DameNotre DameIndiana
=57201–250 =192 University of California, Santa CruzSanta CruzCalifornia
=57201–250 201–250 George Washington University Washington DC
=57201–250 251–300 University of Hawai’i at MānoaHonoluluHawai'i
=57201–250 251–300 University of Illinois ChicagoChicagoIllinois
=57201–250 301–350 University of IowaIowa CityIowa
=57201–250 =194 University of MiamiCoral GablesFlorida
=57201–250 =168 Northeastern University, USBostonMassachusetts
=57201–250 201–250 Rutgers University – New BrunswickNew BrunswickNew Jersey
=57201–250 251–300 University of UtahSalt Lake CityUtah
=66251–300 251–300 Boston CollegeBostonMassachusetts
=66251–300 301–350 Brandeis UniversityWalthamMassachusetts
=66251–300 251–300 University of California, RiversideRiversideCalifornia
=66251–300 301–350 Florida State UniversityTallahasseeFlorida
=66251–300 351–400 North Carolina State UniversityRaleighNorth Carolina
=66251–300 201–250 University of South FloridaTampaFlorida
=66251–300 301–350 Stony Brook UniversityStony BrookNew York
=66251–300 251–300 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgVirginia
=74301–350 301–350 University at BuffaloBuffaloNew York
=74301–350 301–350 Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaPennsylvania
=74301–350 251–300 Oregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandOregon
=74301–350 301–350 The University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleKnoxvilleTennessee
=74301–350 351–400 Washington State UniversityPullmanWashington
=79351–400 301–350 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical CampusDenverColorado
=79351–400 401–500 University of ConnecticutMansfieldConnecticut
=79351–400 601–800 University of GeorgiaAthensGeorgia
=79351–400 401–500 Illinois Institute of TechnologyChicagoIllinois
=79351–400 401–500 Iowa State UniversityAmesIllinois
=79351–400 401–500 University of KansasLawrenceKansas
=79351–400 301–350 Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaPennsylvania
=79351–400 351–400 University of Texas at DallasRichardsonTexas
=87401–500 301–350 University of California, MercedMercedCalifornia
=87401–500 601–800 University of Central FloridaOrlandoFlorida
=87401–500 401–500 Colorado State University, Fort CollinsFort CollinsColorado
=87401–500 351–400 University of DelawareNewarkDelaware
=87401–500 501–600 Florida International UniversityMiamiFlorida
=87401–500 301–350 George Mason UniversityFairfaxVirginia
=87401–500 401–500 Georgia State UniversityAtlantaGeorgia
=87401–500 501–600 University of KentuckyLexingtonKentucky
=87401–500 501–600 Missouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaMissouri
=87401–500 601–800 Mizzou - University of MissouriColumbiaMissouri
=87401–500 401–500 University of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnNebraska
=87401–500 601–800 New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewark New Jersey
=87401–500 NR University of OregonEugeneOregon
=87401–500 601–800 Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyNew York
=87401–500 301–350 Saint Louis UniversitySaint LouisMissouri
=87401–500 501–600 University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbiaColorado
=87401–500 501–600 Stevens Institute of TechnologyHobokenNew Jersey
=87401–500 401–500 Syracuse UniversitySyracuseNew York
=87401–500 351–400 Tulane UniversityNew OrleansLouisiana
=87401–500 501–600 Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondVirginia
=87401–500 351–400 Wake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemNorth Carolina
=108501–600 401–500 University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksAlaska
=108501–600 601–800 Auburn UniversityAuburnAlabama
=108501–600 401–500 University of DenverDenverColorado
=108501–600 601–800 University of HoustonHoustonTexas
=108501–600 401–500 University of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaNebraska
=108501–600 351–400 Rush UniversityChicagoIllinois
=108501–600 601–800 The University of Texas at San AntonioArlingtonTexas
=108501–600 401–500 The University of TulsaTulsaOklahoma
=108501–600 501–600 Wayne State UniversityDetroitMIchigan
=117601–800 801–1000 University of AlabamaTuscaloosaAlabama
=117601–800 601–800 American University Washington DC
=117601–800 601–800 University of ArkansasFayettevilleArkansas
=117601–800 601–800 Baylor UniversityWacoTexas
=117601–800 NR The Catholic University of America Washington DC
=117601–800 601–800 Clark UniversityWorcesterMassachusetts
=117601–800 801–1000 Kansas State UniversityLawrenceKansas
=117601–800 601–800 Lehigh UniversityBethlehemPennsylvania
=117601–800 601–800 Louisiana State UniversityBaton RougeLouisiana
=117601–800 601–800 University of Maryland, Baltimore CountyBaltimoreMaryland
=117601–800 801–1000 Mississippi State UniversityStarkvilleMississippi
=117601–800 601–800 University of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasNevada
=117601–800 601–800 University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteNorth Carolina
=117601–800 801–1000 Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalbIllinois
=117601–800 801–1000 Ohio University (Main campus)AthensOhio
=117601–800 601–800 Oklahoma State UniversityStillwaterOklahoma
=117601–800 801–1000 Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkVirginia
=117601–800 801–1000 University of Rhode IslandSouth KingstownRhode Island
=117601–800 601–800 SUNY Binghamton UniversityBinghamtonNew York
=117601–800 601–800 University of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonTexas
=117601–800 801–1000 Texas Tech UniversityLubbockTexas
=117601–800 601–800 University of ToledoToledoOhio
=117601–800 401–500 William & MaryWilliamsburgVirginia
=117601–800 801–1000 Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterMassachusetts
=117601–800 801–1000 University of WyomingLaramieWyoming
=142801–1000 801–1000 Chapman UniversityOrangeCalifornia
=142801–1000 1001–1200 Clarkson UniversityPotsdamNew York
=142801–1000 801–1000 Florida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonFlorida
=142801–1000 1001–1200 Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneFlorida
=142801–1000 351–400 Howard University Washington DC
=142801–1000 801–1000 Marquette UniversityMilwaukeeWisconsin
=142801–1000 801–1000 University of MemphisMemphisTennessee
=142801–1000 801–1000 Montana State UniversityBozemanMontana
=142801–1000 801–1000 The New SchoolNew York CityNew York
=142801–1000 801–1000 New Mexico State University (Main campus)AlbuquerqueNew Mexico
=142801–1000 401–500 Nova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleFlorida
=142801–1000 1001–1200 Portland State UniversityPortlandOregon
=142801–1000 1001–1200 Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochesterNew York
=142801–1000 601–800 San Diego State UniversitySan DiegoCalifornia
=142801–1000 801–1000 University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoTexas
=1571001–1200 1001–1200 Bowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenOhio
=1571001–1200 NR Central Michigan UniversityMount PleasantMichigan
=1571001–1200 801–1000 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical UniversityTallahasseeFlorida
=1571001–1200 1001–1200 Oakland UniversityRochesterMichigan
=1571001–1200 1001–1200 Rowan UniversityGlassboroNew Jersey
=1571001–1200 1001–1200 University of South DakotaVermillionSouth Dakota
=1571001–1200 1201–1500 Texas State UniversitySan MarcosTexas
=1571001–1200 1201–1500 Western Michigan UniversityKalamazooMichigan
=1571201–1500 1201–1500 Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboroGeorgia
=1571201–1500 1001–1200 Morgan State UniversityBaltimoreMaryland
=1571201–1500 1001–1200 University of Texas Rio Grande ValleyBrownsvilleTexas
=1681501+ NR Adelphi UniversityGarden CityNew York
.=1681501+ NR College of CharlestonCharlestonSouth Carolina
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