Ranked: The Top 100 US Universities | Top Universities

Ranked: The Top 100 US Universities

By Craig O

Updated February 25, 2021 Updated February 25, 2021

The university or college you choose to go to can have a major impact on the rest of your life, so it's probably a good idea to do some research first. To help with the process, we've compiled a ranking of the best 100 US universities and colleges, according to the recently released QS World University Rankings: USA 2020.

We've also broken down the complete list of top US universities by state, so you can find a leading study destination that's close to home (and probably more affordable than expensive out-of-state options).

Top 100 US universities

Rank

University

  1

Harvard University

  2

Stanford University

  3

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

  4

University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

  5

Columbia University

  6=

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

  6=

Yale University

  8

University of Pennsylvania

  9

Princeton University

  10

Cornell University

  11

New York University (NYU)

  12

University of Chicago

  13

Duke University

  14

Johns Hopkins University

  15

University of Southern California

  16

Northwestern University

  17

Carnegie Mellon University

  18

University of Michigan

  19

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

  20

Brown University

  21=

Boston University

  21=

Rice University

  23

Georgetown University 

  24

University of Washington

  25

University of Texas at Austin

  26

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

  27

Emory University

  28=

University of California, Davis (UCD)

  28=

Washington University in St. Louis

  30=

University of Rochester

  30=

Vanderbilt University

  32

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

  33

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  34

George Washington University

  35=

Tufts University

  35=

University of Florida

  37

Dartmouth College 

  38

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  39

University of Miami

  40

University of Notre Dame

  41=

Rutgers University - New Brunswick

  41=

University of California, Irvine (UCI)

  43=

Case Western Reserve University

  43=

University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC)

  45

Stony Brook University, State University of New York

  46

University at Buffalo SUNY

  47

Pennsylvania State University

  48=

Boston College

  48=

University of Maryland, College Park

  50

University of Virginia

  51

Syracuse University

  52

University of Wisconsin-Madison

  53

Purdue University

  54

Northeastern University

  55

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

  56

Michigan State University

  57

Brandeis University

  58

The Ohio State University

  59

Drexel University

  60

University of Massachusetts Amherst

  61

Temple University

  62=

North Carolina State University

  62=

University of Colorado at Boulder

  64=

Lehigh University

  64=

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  66

University of Hawaii at Manoa

  67

Tulane University

  68=

Howard University

  68=

University of Arizona

  68=

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  71=

Binghamton University SUNY

  71=

Illinois Institute of Technology

  73

University of Pittsburgh

  74

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)

  75

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

  76

University of the Pacific

  77

Texas A&M University

  78

University of Denver

  79

University of Massachusetts, Boston

  80=

College of William & Mary

  80=

Florida State University

  82=

San Diego State University

  82=

University of Connecticut

  82=

Virginia Commonwealth University

  85=

Indiana University Bloomington

  85=

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

  87

University of Houston

  88

University of San Francisco

  89=

The University of Georgia

  89=

University of Oklahoma, Norman

  91

Arizona State University, Tempe

  92

Wake Forest University

  93

Southern Methodist University

  94=

Andrews University

  94=

University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)

  94=

University of Oregon

  97

University of Texas Dallas

  98=

Santa Clara University

  98=

University of Louisville

  100=

George Mason University

  100=

Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, Newark

  100=

Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech)

Top US universities by state

Alabama - 3 (University of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Alabama Birmingham)

Alaska – 2 (University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Alaska Anchorage)

Arizona - 3 (Arizona State University (above), The University of Arizona, Arizona State University Tempe)

Arkansas - 1 (University of Arkansas)

California - 37 (Stanford University (below), Caltech, UCB, UCLA, UCSD, University of California Davis, University of Southern California, UCSB, University of California Irvine, University of California Santa Cruz, University of California Riverside, San Diego State University, University of San Diego, University of San Francisco, University of the Pacific, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Santa Clara University, Loyola Marymount University, University of San Diego, California Lutheran University, Pepperdine University, California State University – Fullerton, San Jose State University, University of Redlands, Chapman University, Dominican University of California, San Francisco State University, Saint Marys College of California, California State University Northridge, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California State University - East Bay, California State University - Los Angeles, California State University Dominguez Hills, California State University San Bernardino, California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, California State University Monterey Bay, Sonoma State University, University of La Verne, Woodbury University

Colorado - 5 (University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Denver, Colorado State University, University of Denver, Regis University)

Connecticut - 5 (Yale University, University of Connecticut, Fairfield University, University of Bridgeport, University of Hartford, Quinnipiac University, University of New Haven)

Delaware - 1 (University of Delaware)

Florida - 12 (University of Florida (below), University of Miami, Florida State University, University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, Rollins College, Stetson University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, University of North Florida, University of Tampa)

Georgia - 5 (Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Clark Atlanta University)

Hawaii - 4 (University of Hawai'i at Mañoa, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawaii Pacific University)

Idaho - 2 (University of Idaho, Boise State University)

Illinois - 12 (University of Chicago (below), Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, UIC, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC), DePaul University, Dominican University, Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois, Springfield (UIS), Bradley University, Roosevelt University

Indiana - 8 (Purdue University, University of Notre Dame, Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianopolis, Ball State University, Butler University, University of Evansville, Valparaiso University)

Iowa - 3 (University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Drake University)

Kansas - 2 (University of Kansas, Kansas State University)

Kentucky - 2 (University of Kentucky, University of Louisville)

Louisiana - 2 (Tulane University (above))

Maine - 0

Maryland - 3 (Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Loyola University Maryland, Notre Dame of Maryland University)

Massachusetts - 16 (MIT, Harvard University, Boston University, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Northeastern University, Boston College, Brandeis University, Clark University, University of Massachusetts Boston, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Bentley University, Suffolk University, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Simmons University, Endicott College)

Michigan - 7 (University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Michigan Technological University, Andrews University, Western Michigan University, Calvin College)

Minnesota - 2 (University of Minnesota Twin Cities (above), University of Saint Thomas)

Mississippi - 2 (University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University)

Missouri - 6 (Washington University in St. Louis, University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri University of Science and Technology, St. Louis University, University of Missouri Kansas City, Truman State University)

Montana - 2 (University of Montana Missoula, Montana State University - Bozeman)

Nebraska - 2 (University of Nebraska, Creighton University)

Nevada – 2 (University of Nevada - Las Vegas, University of Nevada – Reno)

New Hampshire - 2 (Dartmouth College, University of New Hampshire)

New Jersey – 12 (Princeton University (above), Rutgers University - New Brunswick, Rutgers University - Newark, Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Camden, Rowan University, Seton Hall University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey, William Paterson University of New Jersey

New Mexico - 2 (University of New Mexico, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology) 

New York - 36 (Cornell University, Columbia University, NYU, University of Rochester, Stony Brook University, University at Buffalo SUNY, Syracuse University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Binghamton University SUNY, University at Albany SUNY, Clarkson University, Pace University - New York, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), St. Johns University, Fordham University, CUNY Queens College, New York Institute of Technology, Yeshiva University, Baruch College, Hofstra University, Adelphi University, CUNY Lehman College, CUNY Hunter College, Ithaca College, State University of New York at Oswego (SUNY Oswego), SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Oneonta, CUNY City College, Iona College, Marist College, Nazareth College, Siena College, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Cortland, Wagner College)

North Carolina - 8 (Duke University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Wake Forest University, East Carolina University, Elon University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

North Dakota - 0

Ohio - 5 (Ohio State University (above), Case Western Reserve University, University of Cincinnati, Ohio University, University of Dayton, University of Toledo, Cleveland State University, Miami University)

Oklahoma - 4 (University of Oklahoma, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City University)

Oregon - 4 (Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Portland State University, University of Portland)

Pennsylvania - 15 (University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania State University, Lehigh University, Drexel University, Temple University, Villanova University, Duquesne University, La Salle University, Cedar Crest College, Chatham University, Immaculata University, Chestnut Hill College, Gwynedd Mercy University)

Rhode Island - 3 (Brown University, University of Rhode Island, Bryant University)

South Carolina - 2 (University of South Carolina at Columbia, Clemson University)

South Dakota – 1 (Augustana University)

Tennessee - 3 (Vanderbilt University (above), The University of Tennessee, University of Memphis) 

Texas - 18 (University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, Texas A&M University, University of Texas Dallas, University of Houston, Southern Methodist University, Baylor University, Texas Tech University, University of Texas Arlington, University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, St. Edward's University, University of St Thomas – Houston, University of Texas at San Antonio, University of Texas El Paso, Abilene Christian University, Texas State University, Trinity University)

Utah - 2 (University of Utah, Brigham Young University)

Vermont - 1 (University of Vermont)

Virginia - 10 (University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, College of William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, Marymount University, Old Dominion University, Hampton University, James Madison University, University of Mary Washington)

Washington - 6 (University of Washington, Washington State University, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Gonzaga University, Western Washington University) 

Washington D.C. - 6 (Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, American University, Catholic University of America, University of the District of Columbia)

West Virginia – 1 (West Virginia University)

Wisconsin - 4 (University of Wisconsin-Madison (above), Marquette University, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire)

Wyoming - 1 (University of Wyoming)

Hopefully, this ranking will be able to help you make a decision about where to study. For more information about US universities, sign up to our site (it's free and takes less than two minutes) and enjoy exclusive member benefits, including access to helpful tips and guides.

This article was originally published in April 2017 and was updated in May 2020 to reflect the latest edition of the QS World University Rankings: USA 2020.

This article was originally published in April 2017 . It was last updated in February 2021

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Written by

As Head of Content, Craig is responsible for all articles and guides published across TopUniversities and TopMBA. He has nearly 10 years of experience writing for a student audience and extensive knowledge of universities and study programs around the world.

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