QS World University Rankings: USA – East Coast vs. West Coast | Top Universities

QS World University Rankings: USA – East Coast vs. West Coast

By Julia G

Updated April 14, 2021 Updated April 14, 2021

The recently released QS World University Rankings: USA feature 300 of the best four-year colleges in the United States of America. The ranking represents a landmark attempt to identify and recognize the top universities in one of the most popular study destinations in the world.

While American universities have featured in other QS rankings, this new ranking will use a brand-new methodology, evaluating universities according to not only their research performance and salary uplift, but also their social impact and the efforts they are making to support the 17 US Sustainable Development goals. 

In a country as large as the US, students may be choosing between universities on the opposing coasts of east and west. Universities in the east of the country tend to be some of the oldest in the US; whereas the newer colleges in the west are often seen as groundbreakers in newer fields like computing. 

Read on to discover the top 10 universities on each coast…

East Coast

Harvard University
 

QS World University Rankings: USA – Top 10 East Coast Universities

East Coast Rank

US Rank

Institution

Location

1

1

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

2

3

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Cambridge, MA

3

5

Columbia University

New York, NY

4

6=

Yale University

New Haven, CT

5

8

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

6

9

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

7

10

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

8

11

New York University (NYU)

New York, NY

9

13

Duke University

Durham, NC

10

14

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

The East Coast of the United States is renowned for its multitude of world-class universities, with the prestigious Ivy League comprising eight colleges in the north-eastern corner of the US. Indeed, seven of the top 10 universities in the ranking are located on the east coast, including the number one school in the country, Harvard University. 

It’s not just the Ivies (Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale) who make an impact in the East Coast top 10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is in third place in the country, earning impressive scores across all indicators, particularly employability, where it’s in third place. Also notable are New York University (NYU), in joint first place for diversity and internationalisation plus Duke University and Johns Hopkins university who share joint first place for learning experience.

West Coast

 

Stanford University

QS World University Rankings: USA – Top 10 West Coast Universities

West Coast Rank

US Rank

Institution

Location

1

2

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

2

4

University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

Berkeley, CA

3

6=

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Los Angeles, CA

4

15

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

5

19

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Pasadena, CA

6

24

University of Washington, Seattle

Seattle, WA

7

26

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

San Diego, CA

8

28=

University of California, Davis (UCD)

Davis, CA

9

41=

University of California, Irvine (UCI)

Irvine, CA

10

75

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Santa Barbara, CA

The West Coast ranking is dominated by schools in California, with the only notable exception being the University of Washington, Seattle, which places 24th in the overall rankings. California is a popular destination for students as it’s such a hub for employers, with the Silicon Valley playing host to tech giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and eBay, among many others.

The highest ranked university on the west coast is Stanford University, which is in second place in the overall rankings, also ranking second for research and employability. The University of California, a public university system with 10 campuses, makes up the majority of the west coast top 10, with the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) performing particularly well, in fourth and joint sixth place in the US rankings respectively.

This article was originally published in May 2020 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by
Julia is the Assistant Editor for TopUniversities, publishing articles for students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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