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Study in North Dakota

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You might not know too much about the state, but there are a few superlatives one could apply to North Dakota.

It is one of the most northerly states in the US, bordering nearly as many Canadian provinces as it does US states; it's one of the most sparsely populated states, with only chill Alaska and Wild West states Montana and Wyoming outdoing it in this regard; it is arguably the most demonstrably religious states in the Union, with the lowest percentage of non-religious people and highest number of churches per capita; and, finally, it is the least visited state in the country.

If you’re looking for real isolation, North Dakota is as good a place as any to find it!

The state lies in the region of the US known as the Great Plains, a huge expanse of grassland, steppe and prairie which runs through the middle of the country. The entirety of North Dakota falls into the region, though it is not uniform, with the undulating grasslands of the west forming a contrast with the badlands of the east.

It is not, perhaps, the most aesthetically varied or spectacular state out there, but this does not mean that aren’t parts of North Dakota worth seeing; the expansive Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one example. And, of course, there is a certain majesty in the vast unpopulated plains. The lack of people means the state also finds a lot of favour with hunters.

The state’s largest urban centre is Fargo. Though it is certainly not a pulsing metropolis, it offers plenty of culture (it is, after all, a university town) and an economy that is no longer only based on the agriculture and fossil fuels which traditionally powered the state’s economy, with technology and healthcare coming increasing to the fore.

North Dakota: Fast facts

•    North Dakota’s population of around 680,000 is the third smallest in the country

•    Largest city Fargo was immortalized in the cult classic Coen Brothers’ film of the same name

•    North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state

•    Jamestown, North Dakota, is home to the ‘World’s Largest Buffalo’ – which, though it is actually an American Bison, is indeed the world’s largest

•    A study at Cambridge University found that North Dakota was the most friendly state in the US

•    Beer and pretzels cannot be served at the same time in a bar or restaurant (by law) in North Dakota and it is officially unlawful to dance while wearing a hat in Fargo

•    There are more registered vehicles than there are people in North Dakota

•    Famous North Dakotans include actress Leslie Bibb, singer Peggy Lee, author William H. Gass, and musician Jonny Lang

Top universities in North Dakota

No universities from North Dakota make it into the 2011 QS World University Rankings. Most local students are served by the state’s two biggest public institutions, North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota.

The former institution is based in Fargo, and is a Land Grant university. It hosts around 15,000 students, and offers over 100 undergraduate programs.

In terms of research, the university specializes in nanotechnology, agriculture and chemistry. It is notable for having the largest state owned sheep research centre in the US.

The University of North Dakota, founded in 1883, is older than the state itself. It is a Space Grant university, and specializes in health sciences, environmental issues and nutrition.

UND serves nearly 15,000 students, who can choose from close to 90 undergraduate programs, and a host of graduate programs at Masters and doctoral level.

The university is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota’s third city.

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Written by QS Staff Writer

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