You are here

Interested in studying in United States?

Check out our comprehensive guide!

Top US Universities by State 2020

Top US Universities by State 2020 main image

The US is home to some of the best universities in the world and the QS World University Rankings® 2020, published earlier this year, feature 159 US universities. We can appreciate that this is a lot to choose from, so to make life easier we have devised a state by state rundown of the best universities in the US.

Alabama: University of Alabama

The University of Alabama remains the highest ranked university in the state of Alabama, coming in at 701-750th in the world rankings and joint 125th in the US. The university scores well in both the employer reputation and the citations per faculty indicators.

Runner up: Auburn University ranks 801-1000 in the world, remaining unchanged since last year.

Arizona: Arizona State University

In joint 215th place this year, and the best university in the state of Arizona, is Arizona State University, dropping three places since last year. Arizona State University places 50th in the US and scores within the top 20 in the world for its archaeology course.

Runner up:  The University of Arizona ranks joint 262nd this year and unfortunately misses out on the top 250 in the world after dropping 16 places. 

Arkansas: University of Arkansas

The only ranked university in Arkansas, the University of Arkansas places 801-1000 in the world rankings, unmoving this year. This may sound low, but it depends on which subject you wish to study – for example, the university scores within the top 150 in the world for agriculture and forestry. The university also ranks amongst the nation’s top public research universities, with an extremely high research output.

Runner up: No runner up

California: Stanford University

Stanford University

The top ranked university in the state of California is Stanford University. Stanford remains in second place in the world and second in the US, only beaten by MIT in Massachusetts. The university earns perfect scores in the academic reputation, employer reputation and faculty/student ratio indicators.

Runner up: California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is down one place this year but still remains in the top five, taking fifth place in the world rankings.

Colorado: University of Colorado, Boulder

Taking the top spot in Colorado, we have the University of Colorado at Boulder, dropping 16 places this year to rank 206th in the world. The university earns its highest score in the citations per faculty indicator, reflecting the quality of the research produced.  The University of Colorado at Boulder ranks 25th in the world for earth and marine science.

Runner up: University of Colorado, Denver is Colorado’s second highest ranked university, in joint 392nd place. It’s also worth noting that the university scores within the top 100 in the world for its nursing course.

Connecticut: Yale University

Yale University

It probably won’t come as a surprise that Yale University is the top ranked university in Connecticut. Yale is part of the prestigious Ivy League group and ranks within the top 20 in the world, dropping two places to take 17th place this year and eighth in the US. It earns high scores in many of the indicators, including employer reputation, academic reputation and faculty student ratio.

Runner up: University of Connecticut is second in Connecticut in joint 377th place.

Delaware: University of Delaware

Delaware’s sole representative in the world rankings, the University of Delaware, comes in at joint 491st place, down a whole 52 places this year. Although this is a large drop, the University of Delaware ranks well for several subjects, most notably chemical engineering where it places joint 29th

Runner up: No runner up

Florida: University of Florida

Florida’s top university is the University of Florida which ranks 41st in the US and joint 167th in the world, up 13 places since last year.  The University of Florida earns its best score for the faculty student ratio, reflecting the access students have to lecturers and tutors at any given time.

Runner up: University of Miami ranks joint 271st in the world and 57th in the US.

Georgia: Georgia Institute of Technology

Ranked 25th in the US and joint 72nd in the world is Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). The university earns a perfect score in the citations per faculty indicator, ranking 6th in the world – an indication of the value of the research completed at the university. 

Runner up: Emory University ranks in joint 156th in the world and joint 39th in the US.

Hawaii: University of Hawai'i at Mañoa

The University of Hawai'i at Mañoa ranks 326th in the world, down 24 places since last year. It is the only ranked university in the state, and scores well in the faculty student ratio indicator and the international faculty ratio indicator. In the subject rankings, the university scores highest for linguistics, in 50th place in the world.

Runner up: No runner up

Illinois: University of Chicago

University of Chicago

In 10th place in the world rankings is the University of Chicago – the top ranked university in Illinois and fifth best in the US. The University of Chicago scores well in all the indicators, particularly the academic reputation indicator, earning a near perfect score. If you’re interested in studying economics or econometrics, you’ll be pleased to learn that the University of Chicago ranks fifth in the world for the subject.

Runner up: Northwestern University is Illinois’ second best university, in 31st place in the world, up three places from last year. The university earns a near perfect score in the international faculty indicator.

Indiana: Purdue University

After dropping 11 places this year, Purdue University is officially out of the top 100 in the world, coming in at 111th in the world rankings and 33rd in the US. Purdue University is also an excellent place to look at if your wish to study agriculture and forestry, as the university ranks joint 12th in the world.

Runner up: University of Notre Dame is the second highest ranked university in Indiana, in 210th place in the world.

Iowa: University of Iowa

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa is Iowa’s top university, in joint 421st place in the world, up an impressive 14 places this year. Although this sounds low in the rankings, the university does rank highly for several subjects, including nursing, where it places in the top 100 worldwide.

Runner up: Iowa State University ranks in 511-520th place, dropping 22 places this year.

Kansas: University of Kansas

The University of Kansas features in the world rankings in joint 372nd place and 70th in the US. It is the best in the state this year, despite dropping five places in the world rankings. The University of Kansas earns its highest score in the faculty student ratio indicator.

Runner up: Kansas State University is Kansas’ second best university, placing 701-750th in the world rankings, and joint 127th in the US.

Kentucky: University of Kentucky

Kentucky’s sole entrant this year is the University of Kentucky in 601-650th place. Founded in 1865, the university’s highest rank is in the citations per faculty indicator and the university ranks well in the subject rankings for pharmacy and pharmacology.

Runner up: No runner up

Louisiana: Tulane University

In joint 419th place we have Tulane University, down seven places this year. Tulane University is the 77th best university in the US and earns its highest score in the faculty student ratio, ranking 103rd in the world.

Runner up: Louisiana State University ranks 651-700th in the world rankings this year. The university has a very high research output, as reflected in its high score in the citations per faculty indicator and it also ranks within the top 150 in the world for agriculture and forestry.

Maryland: Johns Hopkins University

Despite dropping three places this year, John Hopkins University ranks an impressive 24th in the world. The university is widely credited with being the first US institution to integrate training and research. Johns Hopkins University scores well across each of the six indicators, particularly the academic reputation indicator. The university scores well across the subject rankings, for example, the university ranks fourth in the world for anatomy and physiology.

Runner up: University of Maryland, College Park is second in the state of Maryland, placing 136th in the world.

Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT

In first place, both in Massachusetts and the world, is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is also consistently ranked in top place in the world for a multitude of different subjects, and earns perfect scores in most of the indicators, including academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty student ratio and international faculty ratio.

Runner up: Harvard University is far from a shoddy second best, ranking third in the world, and part of the prestigious Ivy League group. Harvard University also comes in at first place worldwide for the academic reputation and employer reputation indicators, with perfect scores in each, meaning that the university’s graduates are highly sought after by graduate employers all over the world.

Michigan: University of Michigan

Michigan’s top university is the University of Michigan, in 21st place, down one place this year. The University of Michigan scores extremely well in the academic reputation indicator, in 18th place this year, reflecting the high quality of teaching within the university. The university ranks highly for a multitude of subjects in the subject rankings, including dentistry, where it places fifth in the world.

Runner up: Michigan State University comes in at second in Michigan state, placing 144th in the world rankings and 38th in the US.

Minnesota: University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota

In joint 156th place is the University of Minnesota, Minnesota’s sole entrant in the rankings this year. The university has a very high research output and is one of the most comprehensive public universities in the US, with a strong tradition of education and public service. The university ranks particularly well for veterinary science, placing joint 15th in the world.

Runner up: No runner up

Missouri: Washington University in St. Louis

Missouri’s top entrant in the rankings this year is Washington University in St. Louis. The university falls eight places in the world rankings this year to take joint 108th place and 32nd place in the US. Founded in 1853, the university was named after George Washington and has three campuses. Those looking to study anatomy and physiology in Missouri will be pleased to discover that the university ranks 12th in the world for this subject.

Runner up: University of Missouri, Columbia ranks 551-560th in the world and joint 94th in the US.

Montana: University of Montana Missoula

Montana’s only entry in the world rankings this year is the University of Montana Missoula, ranking joint 801-1000th in the world and joint 139th in the US. The university achieves its highest score in the citations per faculty indicator.

Runner up: No runner up

Nebraska: University of Nebraska Lincoln

In 561-570th place this year, and Nebraska’s sole entrant, is the University of Nebraska Lincoln. The university ranks joint 95th in the country and scores highly in the international faculty indicator, reflecting its ability to attract faculty members from across the world; an indication of its strong international brand.

Runner up: No runner up 

New Hampshire: Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College

The nation’s ninth oldest college, founded in 1796th, Dartmouth College is New Hampshire’s best university for another year running. The institution places joint 207th in the world ranking this year and takes pride in their outstanding faculty members, with the university’s faculty student ratio scoring particularly highly in the indicators.

Runner up: University of New Hampshire scores 801-1000th in the world rankings this year.

New Jersey: Princeton University

In 13th place in the world rankings, and top in New Jersey, is Ivy League group member Princeton University. Founded in 1746, Princeton is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the United States. Princeton earns near perfect scores for the majority of the indicators, and a perfect score for the citations per faculty indicator – an indication of the high quality of the academic output. The university also scores well for individual subjects; for example mathematics, where it places fourth in the US.

Runner up: Rutgers University- New Brunswick, ranks 651-700 in the world rankings.

New Mexico: University of New Mexico

University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico is New Mexico’s only ranked university and comes in at 601-650th place. The university’s unique campus environment echoes the buildings of the nearby Pueblo Indian villages and offers outstanding botanical surroundings. The university scores particularly highly for architecture, ranking within the top 200 in the world.

Runner up: No runner up

New York: Cornell University

Part of the world-renowned Ivy League group, Cornell University places 14th in the world rankings this year. Founded in 1865, Cornell University was the first university to offer degrees in journalism and to teach modern Far-Eastern languages. The university places 12th in the graduate employability rankings, with strong partnerships with employers and employer student connections, resulting in strong graduate employability prospects.

Runner up: Columbia University is a close second, ranking joint 18th in the world and also part of the Ivy League group. Columbia University achieves its highest scores in the academic reputation and employer reputation indicators.  

North Carolina: Duke University

Duke University

Rising one place this year, Duke University is North Carolina’s top university, in joint 25th place. Duke has three campuses overall, with its largest campus decorated with Gothic architecture, including the Duke Chapel, which houses a 5,200-pipe organ. The university’s top score is in the faculty student ratio and the academic reputation indicators, reflecting the importance that Duke places on strong academic performance.

Runner up: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill places second in North Carolina, ranking 90th in the world and 27th in the US.

Ohio: The Ohio State University

In first place in Ohio, despite dropping 12 places this year, is Ohio State University. With campuses in Columbus, Newark, Lima, Marion, Mansfield and Wooster, the Ohio State University is one of the largest universities in the US. The institution scores its highest score in the international faculty indicator and is also a member of the Association of American Universities– an insight into its strong international outlook. 

Runner up: Case Western Reserve University ranks in 167th in the world rankings, up seven places this year. 

Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma

Dropping a whole 76 places this year is the University of Oklahoma, in first place in Oklahoma this year and in 571-580th place in the world rankings. The university scores highest in the faculty student ratio indicator and comes 151-200th in the subject rankings for communications and media studies.  

Runner up: University of Tulsa ranks in 701-750th place this year.

Oregon: Oregon State University

In 461st place in the world we have Oregon State University, in first place in Oregon and 85th in the US. The university has been named a top research institution by the Carnegie Foundation and earns high scores in the international faculty and citations per faculty indicators; indicating that the institution’s faculty members produce high quality research.

Runner up: University of Oregon ranks in 601-650th place in the world rankings this year.

Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania

As you might expect, the University of Pennsylvania is, once again, Pennsylvania’s highest ranked university. The university ranks 15th in the world rankings and eighth in the US, with notable alumni including Donald Trump, Elon Musk and John Legend.

Runner up: Carnegie Mellon University is in second place, ranking 48th in the world rankings.

Rhode Island: Brown University

Brown University

In Rhode Island, the top ranked university (and Rhode Island’s sole entrant) is Ivy League group member, Brown University, in 57th place in the world rankings and 21st in the US. The university, whose alumni include Emma Watson, John F. Kennedy and John D. Rockefeller Jr. scores well across all indicators, particularly the citations per faculty indicator, reflecting the quality of the institution’s academic output.

Runner up: No runner up

South Carolina: University of South Carolina

The top university in South Carolina this year is the University of Carolina which ranks in 561-570th place in the world and 95th in the US. The university is home to over 200 years of tradition and history, having been established in 1805.

Runner up: Clemson University ranks in 701-750th place this year, or 125th in the US.

Tennessee: Vanderbilt University

In joint 200th place in the world this year is Vanderbilt University; Tennessee’s highest ranked in the world rankings, dropping five places since last year.  Vanderbilt University earns a perfect score for the faculty student ratio indicator, and also ranks particularly well in the subject rankings for Education and Training, where it places 23rd worldwide.

Runner up: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville ranks in joint 407th place this year, up 12 places since last year.

Texas: University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin ranks 65th in the world rankings this year and is amongst the top 60 universities in the world for graduate employability (in 54th place). The university scores highly across all the indicators this year, particularly academic reputation, where it ranks 34th in the world.

Runner up: Texas A&M University ranks joint 189th in the world rankings, rising 14 places this year.

Utah: University of Utah

The University of Utah falls eight places this year to rank in joint 353rd place but is still the top university in the state of Utah. The institution recognizes the interdependence of teaching and research as components of academic success, and as a result the University of Utah scores well on the citations per faculty and the faculty student ratio indicators.  It is also worth noting that the university scores well in the subject rankings for mineral and mining engineering, ranking 35th in the world.

Runner up: Brigham Young University ranks 751-800th in the world rankings, joint 134th in the US.

Vermont: University of Vermont

Vermont’s sole entrant in the university rankings this year is the University of Vermont in 571-580th place, having dropped 40 places since last year. Founded in 1791, the University of Vermont is one of the oldest universities in the US. The university earns its highest score in the citations per paper indicator.

Runner up: No runner up

Virginia: University of Virginia

In joint 198th in the world, down six places this year, is Virginia’s top ranked university; the University of Virginia. The university ranks 45th in the US and places joint 40th in the world for theology, divinity and religious studies. 

Runner up: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University places in 327th in the world this year and 62nd in the US.

Washington: University of Washington

In the state of Washington (not to be confused with Washington D.C.) the top ranked university is the University of Washington in 68th place this year and 23rd in the US.  The University of Washington scores highest in the citations per faculty and academic reputation and the university ranks seventh in the subject rankings for library and information management.

Runner up: Washington State University ranks in joint 336th in the world rankings this year.

Washington D.C: Georgetown University

In the federal district (not a state) of Washington D.C, Georgetown University is the highest placing university in the world rankings this year, in 226th place. Georgetown is the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, established in 1789, and is now a major international research university.

Runner up: George Washington University ranks joint 336th in the world and 63rd in the US

Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Madison

The best university in Wisconsin is the University of Wisconsin-Madison at 56th place in the world rankings, and 20th in the US. The university enjoys a high score for academic reputation and is the 55th best university in the world for graduate employability, with strong partnerships with employers and good alumni outcomes.

Runner up: Marquette University ranks in 801-1000th place in the world and joint 139th in the US.

Wyoming: University of Wyoming

In the least populous state in the US, we have the University of Wyoming in 701-750th in this year’s world ranking and joint 139th in the US. Wyoming’s natural beauty and location in the mountain region of the west of the US make it an enviable place to be a student.

Runner up: No runner up

Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia have no universities included in this year’s rankings.

Mohammad F & Faiza A saved this
Written by Chloe Lane
A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post
comment above our articles

0 Comment