To view the top universities in the US by state 2015/16, click here.
A total of 144 top universities in the US are featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15, more than any other country in the world. Of this number, 28 are ranked within the top 100 universities worldwide, and six are placed within the top 10.
Over the last academic year (2013-14) 28.3 million students were enrolled at universities across the US, of which approximately 24.5 million were undergraduates and 3.8 million graduate students. While the US has long been a dream study destination for prospective international students across the globe, over the previous academic year (2012-13), US universities saw an increase of 7.2% in the numbers of international students enrolled. This shows that, even more than ever, the US is a vast and popular international study choice.
Below is the full list of the top universities in the US featured in this year’s QS World University Rankings, grouped by their respective states. Adjacent to each school in brackets you’ll find the institution’s overall world rank, as well as their national rank within the US. Ranks with ‘=’ beside them indicate that the position is shared by another university.
Top universities in Alabama
Bordered by Mississippi in the west and Georgia in the east, Alabama is home to two internationally ranked US universities, both located within an hour’s drive of state capital Montgomery, as well as Birmingham, the largest city.
- University of Alabama (501-550 in the world; 98=* in the US)
- Auburn University (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
Top universities in Arizona
Hunkered down in the south-west region, adjacent to California in the west and Mexico in the south, Arizona hosts two of the top universities in the US. Arizona State University is located in downtown Phoenix, the capital and largest city, while the University of Arizona can be found just over 100 miles to the south.
- University of Arizona (215= in the world; 53rd in the US)
- Arizona State University (294= in the world; 63rd in the US)
Top universities in Arkansas
Situated between Oklahoma and Mississippi in the south, Arkansas is known as the birthplace of former president Bill Clinton as well as for its mountains, forests and natural diversity. The capital and largest city in Arkansas is Little Rock.
- University of Arkansas (701+ in the world; 140th in the US)
Top universities in California
One of the top five US states for international students, California is the most populous state in the nation, due in large part to its attractive west coast location and leading industries within technology (Silicon Valley), agriculture (grapes) and education (see below)! Of the top US universities in California, Caltech is the ranking’s highest-placed ‘small’ university, while the University of California, Santa Cruz climbed the highest number of ranks this year, from 307= in the world to 265=. The state capital is Sacramento and its largest city is Los Angeles.
- Stanford University (ranked 7th in the world; 3rd in the US)
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech, 8th in the world; 4th in the US)
- University of California, Berkeley (UCB, 27th in the world; 14th in the US)
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA, 37= in the world; 16th in the US)
- University of California, San Diego (UCSD, 59th in the world; 20th in the US)
- University of California, Davis (UCD, 95th in the world; 27th in the US)
- University of Southern California (131st in the world; 37th in the US)
- University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB, 132= in the world; 38th in the US)
- University of California, Irvine (UCI, 153rd in the world; 41st in the US)
- University of California, Riverside (UCR, 261st in the world; 56th in the US)
- University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC, 265= in the world; 57th in the US)
- University of San Diego (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
- University of San Francisco (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
- University of the Pacific (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
Top universities in Colorado
Colorado, known as one of the Mountain States, is home to large parts of the Southern Rocky Mountains and, in its central location, is bordered by a total of seven other states, including New Mexico in the south. The capital and most populous city is Denver.
- University of Colorado at Boulder (182= in the world; 45= in the US)
- Colorado State University (441-450 in the world; 89th in the US)
- University of Denver (651-700 in the world; 121st in the US)
Top universities in Connecticut
Located in the New England region, to the north-east of New York State, Connecticut is one of the three smallest states and also one of the most densely populated. The capital city is Hartford and the largest city is Bridgeport.
- Yale University (10th in the world; 6th in the US)
- University of Connecticut (401-410 in the world; 82nd in the US)
Top universities in Delaware
Located on the exotic-sounding Delmarva Peninsula on the east coast, Delaware is the second smallest state in the US, with Dover as its capital city. This year the state’s sole representative in the QS ranking climbed two classes, from 451-460 to 431-440 – good going!
- University of Delaware (431-440 in the world; 84= in the US)
Top universities in Florida
Florida, home of oranges, leisure parks and the Kennedy Space Center, is relatively isolated on its south-eastern peninsula, stretching out almost halfway to Cuba via the Straits of Florida. Tallahassee is the capital city, but Miami remains Florida’s largest metropolis.
- University of Florida (192= in the world; 49th in the US)
- University of Miami (239th in the world; 55th in the US)
- Florida State University (451-460 in the world; 90= in the US)
- University of South Florida (481-490 in the world; 96= in the US)
Top universities in Georgia
To the north of Florida is the US state of Georgia. With a southeastern subtropical climate, Georgia, known as The Peach State, has the city of Atlanta as its capital and most populous city.
- Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech, 107th in the world; 30th in the US)
- Emory University (156= in the world; 42nd in the US)
- The University of Georgia (431-440 in the world; 84th in the US)
- Georgia State University (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)+
Top universities in Hawaii
An island state known for its beautiful weather and strong North American and Asian cultural influences, Hawaii boasts much natural scenery, an abundance of beaches and awesome sunsets. The state’s sole representative in the global ranking moved up three places this year. The state capital is Honolulu.
- University of Hawaii at Mā Noa (324= in the world; 68th in the US)
Top universities in Illinois
The resting place of Abraham Lincoln, Illinois has a strong history of being central to social, cultural and political change. With three universities ranked within the global top 100, it’s also one of the five leading US states for numbers of international students. The capital of Illinois is Springfield and the largest city is Chicago.
- University of Chicago (11th in the world; 7th in the US)
- Northwestern University (34th in the world; 15th in the US)
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (63rd in the world; 22nd in the US)
- University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC, 186th in the world; 47th in the US)
- Illinois Institute of Technology (431-440 in the world; 84= in the US)
- Loyola University Chicago (601-650 in the world; 111= in the US)
Top universities in Indiana
Indiana, meaning ‘Land of the Indians’ is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region, which was home to large settlements of Native Americans for thousands of years. Indianapolis is its capital and largest city, and both Purdue University and Indiana University Bloomington have campuses located close to here. The University of Notre Dame can be found less than 150 miles north, with a view of Lake Michigan.
- Purdue University (102nd in the world; 29th in the US)
- University of Notre Dame (237th in the world; 54th in the US)
- Indiana University Bloomington (272= in the world; 59th in the US)
Top universities in Iowa
Bordered by both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, Iowa is another Midwestern state, which was once part of a French colony. Boasting a diverse economy rooted in agriculture, Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states to live in. Its capital and largest city is Des Moines, where the University of Iowa is located. Iowa State University is based in Ames, about 30 miles north of Des Moines.
- University of Iowa (269= in the world; 58th in the US)
- Iowa State University (348= in the world; 71st in the US)
Top universities in Kansas
Bordered by Missouri in the east and Oklahoma in the south, the US state of Kansas offers a rich, sometimes bloody, history and a high yield of sunflowers, wheat and corn. The largest city in Kansas is Wichita, but the capital city is Topeka; both of the state’s internationally ranked universities are located within an hour of the latter.
- University of Kansas (371= in the world; 75th in the US)
- Kansas State University (501-550 in the world; 98= in the US)
Top universities in Kentucky
Home to the largest system of caves in the US, Kentucky also hosts the largest numbers of deer and turkey. Found in the eastern south-central region, the state is also favorably reputed for its Bourbon distilleries and Bluegrass music.
- University of Kentucky (501-550 in the world; 98= in the US)
Top universities in Louisiana
Located at the base of the Mississippi River in the south, Louisiana holds large areas of marsh and swamp lands, giving the state a thriving natural world bursting with birds, tree frogs and fish. Its capital city is Baton Rouge, where Louisiana State University is located, while its largest city New Orleans is home to Tulane University.
- Tulane University (421-430 in the world; 83rd in the US)
- Louisiana State University (LSU, 501-550 in the world; 98= in the US)
Top universities in Maryland
A small and densely populated state, largely located on the Delmarva Peninsula to the west of Delaware, Maryland boasts the US’s highest average household income levels, making it (on this measure) the wealthiest state. Its capital is Annapolis, but its largest city is Baltimore.
- Johns Hopkins University (14= in the world; 9= in the US)
- University of Maryland, College Park (122nd in the world; 35th in the US)
Top universities in Massachusetts
Another of the most popular US states for international students, Massachusetts hogs 11 of the top universities in the US, three of which are ranked within the world’s top 100. Located in the northeastern region of New England, known for its stunning autumnal (fall) colors, Massachusetts is the third most densely populated state. Two thirds of the population lives in the metropolitan area of Greater Boston – Boston being the capital and largest city.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 1st in the world; 1st in the US)
- Harvard University (4th in the world; 2nd in the US)
- Boston University (78th in the world; 25th in the US)
- Tufts University (214th in the world; 52nd in the US)
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst (282nd in the world; 62nd in the US)
- Brandeis University (316= in the world; 67th in the US)
- Boston College (341= in the world; 70th in the US)
- Northeastern University (399= in the world; 81st in the US)
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (651-700 in the world; 121= in the US)
- Clark University (651-700 in the world; 121= in the US)
- Smith College (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
Top universities in Michigan
Located in the Great Lakes region and sited on two peninsulas, Michigan is known as a state in which you are never more than six miles from a natural water source. Its capital is Lansing and its largest city is Detroit. The University of Michigan is the highest ranked public university in the US.
- University of Michigan (23rd in the world; 12th in the US)
- Michigan State University (195= in the world; 50th in the US)
- Michigan Technological University (551-600 in the world; 103= in the US)
Top universities in Minnesota
Minnesota, the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’, is known as one of the healthiest US states, as well as the most literate. Many of the residents are of Scandinavian and German descent, with over 60% of the population living in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, which is home to an internationally recognized arts community. The University of Minnesota is located in Minnesota’s largest city, Minneapolis.
- University of Minnesota (119th in the world; 34th in the US)
Top universities in Mississippi
Named after the river that winds along the entirety of its western border, Mississippi is a southern state known for catfish farming. Its capital and largest city is Jackson, but the University of Mississippi is found in Oxford, to the north and close to a national forest.
- University of Mississippi (375th in the world; 76th in the US)
Top universities in Missouri
Largely made up of plains, mountain ranges and rivers, Missouri is the state where both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers merge (near the city of St. Louis). As well as an official state dinosaur named the Hypsibema missouriensis, Missouri is home to three of the top US universities. Its capital city is Jefferson and its largest is Kansas City.
- Washington University in St. Louis (99th in the world; 28th in the US)
- University of Missouri, Columbia (Mizzou, 451-460 in the world; 90= in the US)
- Missouri University of Science and Technology (651-700 in the world; 121= in the US)
Top universities in Nebraska
Found within the Great Plains region of the Midwest, Nebraska is characterized by often unpredictable weather, and the treeless prairies which are used for farming. The capital city is Lincoln and the largest city is Omaha.
- University of Nebraska – Lincoln (551-600 in the world; 103= in the US)
Top universities in New Hampshire
Located in New England and offering a number of the largest ski mountains on the east coast, New Hampshire is a major destination for fans of winter sports and mountaineering. The state is also home to the White Mountain National Forest Lake and the road which takes drivers up 6,288 feet to the top of Mount Washington. Its capital city is Concord and its largest city is Manchester.
- Dartmouth College (136th in the world; 39th in the US)
- University of New Hampshire (601-650 in the world; 111th in the US)
Top universities in New Jersey
Located just south of New York, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the US and the second wealthiest in terms of median household income. A leading employer of scientists and engineers, New Jersey is home to the only Ivy League university to climb in the world rankings this year (Princeton University, which climbed from joint 10th to 9th). Trenton is the capital city, but Newark is the largest.
- Princeton University (9th in the world; 5th in the US)
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick (279th in the world; 60th in the US)
- New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT, 551-600 in the world; 103= in the US)
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark (601-650 in the world; 111= in the US)
- Stevens Institute of Technology (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
Top universities in New Mexico
With a unique culture characterized by strong Hispanic and Native American influences, New Mexico is the fifth largest US state by area. A mountain state located in the south, New Mexico’s largest city is Albuquerque and its capital is Santa Fe. This year, the University of New Mexico shot up 33 places in the rankings!
- University of New Mexico (397= in the world; 80th in the US)
Top universities in New York
New York State is located just above New Jersey in the north-east, sharing borders with Canada. The state capital is Albany, but its most populous is the world-famous “New York, New York”, home to 8.3 million people and huge numbers of international students. Top US universities in New York include Columbia and Cornell, making it the only state to hold more than one Ivy League member.
- Columbia University (14= in the world; 9= in the US)
- Cornell University (19th in the world; 11th in the US)
- New York University (NYU, 41= in the world; 17= in the US)
- University of Rochester (164th in the world; 43rd in the US)
- Yeshiva University (280= in the world; 61st in the US)
- University at Buffalo SUNY (300= in the world; 64= in the US)
- Stony Brook University (352= in the world; 72nd in the US)
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (359th in the world; 74th in the US)
- City University of New York (471-480 in the world; 94th in the US)
- New School University (601-650 in the world; 111= in the US)
- Syracuse University (601-650 in the world; 111= in the US)
- University at Albany SUNY (601-650 in the world; 111= in the US)
- Clarkson University (651-700 in the world; 121= in the US)
- Binghamton University SUNY (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
- Fordham University (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
Top universities in North Carolina
Bordering Tennessee to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, North Carolina is a southeastern state which offers a highly diverse economy with influence in the engineering, finance, energy and biotechnology sectors. Offering both coast and mountains, North Carolina’s capital city is Raleigh and its largest city is Charlotte.
- Duke University (25= in the world; 13th in the US)
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (62nd in the world; 21st in the US)
- Wake Forest University (338= in the world; 69th in the US)
- North Carolina State University (388= in the world; 79th in the US)
Top universities in Ohio
Located in the Midwest with Indiana to the west and Pennsylvania in the east, Ohio is the seventh most populous state in the US. Ohio’s capital and largest city is Columbus, where Ohio State University is located. Other top universities in Ohio can be found in Cincinnati and Cleveland.
- Ohio State University (109th in the world; 31st in the US)
- Case Western Reserve University (189th in the world; 48th in the US)
- University of Cincinnati (471-480 in the world; 94= in the US)
- Miami University (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
- Ohio University (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
Top universities in Oklahoma
A southern state, Oklahoma is rich in Native American ancestry, with over 25 Native American languages are spoken – a number second only to California. Comprised of small mountain ranges, prairies, mesas and forests, and inclined to unpredictable weather, Oklahoma’s capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.
- University of Oklahoma (451-460 in the world; 90= in the US)
- Oklahoma State University (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
- University of Tulsa (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
Top universities in Oregon
Situated on the Pacific Coast in the north west of the US, Oregon provides a diverse landscape of coastline, volcanic mountain ranges, waterfalls and a large number of national forests. Salem is the capital city and Portland is the largest.
- Oregon State University (451-460 in the world; 90= in the US)
- University of Oregon (551-600 in the world; 103= in the US)
Top universities in Pennsylvania
With the Appalachian Mountains running straight through its center and surrounded by many ‘Great Lakes’, Pennsylvania is a beautiful and diverse study destination. Located in the northeast to the south of New York State, Pennsylvania’s capital is Harrisburg and its largest city is Philadelphia.
- University of Pennsylvania (13th in the world; 8th in the US)
- Carnegie Mellon University (65= in the world; 23= in the US)
- University of Pittsburgh (111th in the world; 32nd in the US)
- Pennsylvania State University (112th in the world; 33rd in the US)
- Drexel University (551-600 in the world; 103= in the US)
- Lehigh University (601-650 in the world; 111= in the US)
- Temple University (601-650 in the world; 111= in the US)
Top universities in Rhode Island
Another in the New England region, Rhode Island claims the title of the smallest US state and is the second most densely populated. Rhode Island’s capital and largest city is Providence, where Ivy League member Brown University is located.
- Brown University (52= in the world; 19th in the US)
Top universities in South Carolina
Boasting a myriad of lakes and rivers which pave their way through the state down to the Atlantic coast, South Carolina is popular among nature lovers and extreme water sports fans. The Chattooga River on the western border is particularly good for white-water rafting. The state’s largest city is Columbia.
- University of South Carolina (501-550 in the world; 98= in the US)
- Clemson University (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
Top universities in Tennessee
Within reach of the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, Tennessee has a diverse natural landscape as well as a rich cultural setting, perhaps most notable for its huge influence on American popular music including blues, rock and roll and country genres. The capital city of Tennessee is Nashville and the largest city is Memphis.
- Vanderbilt University (182= in the world; 45= in the US)
- University of Tennessee (431-440 in the world; 84= in the US)
Top universities in Texas
Texas, the “super-sized state”, is the second most populous and second largest state in the US, sharing an international border with four Mexican states. Industry within energy, technology, biomedical science and aerospace continues to thrive here, and, with seven top US universities, Texas boasts one of the highest communities of international students. Austin is the capital and Houston is the largest city.
- University of Texas at Austin (79th in the world; 26th in the US)
- Rice University (129= in the world; 36th in the US)
- Texas A&M University (165th in the world; 44th in the US)
- University of Texas at Dallas (377= in the world; 77th in the US)
- University of Houston (551-600 in the world; 103= in the US)
- Southern Methodist University (651-700 in the world; 121= in the US)
- Baylor University (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)
Top universities in Utah
Located towards the western part of the US, Utah is famously home to large Mormon communities. Although this is one of the vaster US states, the majority of the population (some 80%) is clustered along the Wasatch Front – a chain of cities and towns along the Wasatch Range of mountains. In 2012 Utah was voted the best state to live in based on health, lifestyle and economy.
- University of Utah (313th in the world; 66th in the US)
- Brigham Young University (651-700 in the world; 121= in the US)
Top universities in Vermont
Small and sparsely populated compared to many other US states, Vermont is situated in New England and is the leading producer of maple syrup in the US. The capital of Vermont is Montpelier and its largest city is Burlington, where its one internationally ranked university is located.
- University of Vermont (481-490 in the world; 96= in the US)
Top universities in Virginia
Nicknamed the ‘Mother of Presidents’ and located in the South Atlantic region, Virginia has a diverse landscape shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chesapeake Bay, as well as big industry in technology and media. The capital city is Richmond, and Virginia Beach is its largest.
- University of Virginia (141= in the world; 40th in the US)
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech, 355= in the world; 73rd in the US)
- College of William & Mary (551-600 in the world; 103= in the US)
- Virginia Commonwealth University (551-600 in the world; 103= in the US)
- George Mason University (601-650 in the world; 111= in the US)
Top universities in Washington
Founded in the northwest upon the pacific coast and bordering the Canadian province of British Columbia, is the US state of Washington. Nicknamed ‘The Evergreen State’, Washington is home to the Olympic Mountains, an area covered in temperate rainforest. Washington’s biggest city is Seattle and its capital is Olympia.
- University of Washington (65= in the world; 23= in the US)
- Washington State University (379= in the world; 78th in the US)
Top universities in Washington DC
Not actually a state, Washington DC is the capital district of the United States (DC = ‘District of Columbia’), located in the east below the state of Maryland. All thirteen branches of the federal government are located in Washington DC, as well as 176 foreign embassies and most famously the White House. Many students within the district are politically active.
- Georgetown University (200= in the world; 51st in the US)
- George Washington University (300= in the world; 64= in the US)
- American University (431-440 in the world; 84= in the US)
- Howard University (601-650 in the world; 111= in the US)
Top universities in Wisconsin
Bordered by Lake Michigan to the east and Lake Superior to the south, Wisconsin is a Great Lakes state in the Midwest. Nicknamed ‘America’s Dairyland’, Wisconsin also has major economies in tourism and manufacturing. Its capital is Madison and its largest city is Milwaukee.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison (41= in the world; 17= in the US)
- Marquette University (701+ in the world; 128= in the US)