Study in the US: South | Top Universities

Study in the US: South

By Staff Writer

Updated March 5, 2016 Updated March 5, 2016

Where to start with the South? Perhaps in Louisiana’s New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, or over in Tennessee’s Memphis, where Elvis Presley first made it big.

Then again, you could head for the beaches of 'Sunshine State' Florida, or find out what ‘super-size’ really means over in Texas.

The US South is a huge region, encompassing vast differences in landscape, climate and culture. As a category used by the US Census Bureau, the South is made up of 16 states, divided into three groups.

The South Atlantic states are Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware. The East South Central group includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, and the West South Central states are Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Also included in the Southern region is the District of Columbia, or Washington, D.C., the federal capital of the US, which is not part of any state.

More informal terms are also used to refer to parts of the south. The ‘Deep South’ usually includes Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina, and carries the implication that these are the states where you’ll find Southern culture in its most concentrated forms.

The nickname ‘Dixie’ or ‘Dixieland’ tends to be used of the 11 states that formed the Confederacy during the American Civil War of 1861-65.

You may also hear talk of the ‘Old South’ and ‘New South’. This roughly refers to the region before and after the Civil War, and in particular the movement away from cotton plantations run on slave labour, towards a more industrialized economy – and eventually, an end to racial segregation.

Top universities in the US South

While the North East region is somewhat dominated by private universities, in particular the eight Ivy League colleges, in the South, large flagship state universities have a very strong presence.

Among the many Southern public universities appearing in the QS World University Rankings are the University of Alabama, University of Tennessee, Texas A&M, University of Oklahoma, North Carolina State University, University of Florida, University of Virginia, University of Delaware and the University of Kentucky.

Of particular note are the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, University of Texas at Austin and Georgia Institute of Technology, all of which make the top 100.

However, there is also a strong private sector, led by Maryland’s John Hopkins University and North Carolina’s Duke University, which are both in the top 20 of the ranking.

Meanwhile Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University appears in the top 150, while North Carolina’s Wake Forest University and Louisiana’s Tulane University are both in the top 300.

If it’s the federal capital you’ve got your sights set on, Washington, D.C. has three top-500 universities to choose from: George Washington University, Howard University and Georgetown University.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in March 2016

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