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Top US Universities by State 2013/2014

Top US Universities by State 2013/2014 main image

**For the latest list of top universities in the US by state, based on the most recent QS World University Rankings 2016/17, click here. Read on for the 2013/14 results.

The US is home to many of the world’s top universities, with no other country in the world coming close to rivaling its presence in international university rankings. With so many top US universities to choose from, the task of choosing just one or a few to apply to can certainly be pretty daunting.

To help, here’s an overview of the top US universities according to the QS World University Rankings® 2013/14, broken down by state. We’ve even included a few fun facts about each state to help you get oriented. You’re very welcome!

Top Universities in Alabama

Located in the south-eastern region of the US, Alabama’s capital city is Montgomery and its largest city is Birmingham.

  • University of Alabama (501-550 in the world; 102nd in the US)
  • Auburn University (701+ in the world; 129th in the US)

Top Universities in Arizona

The sixth largest state, Arizona’s capital city is Phoenix and it is located in the south-western region.

  • University of Arizona (212th in the world; 53rd in the US)
  • Arizona State University (293= in the world; 63rd in the US)​

Top Universities in Arkansas

  • Located in the south between Oklahoma and Mississippi, Arkansas is known for its natural diversity, mountains and forests.
  • University of Arkansas (701+ in the world; 140th in the US)

Top Universities in California

The most populous and third-largest US state, California is situated on the west coast and has leading industries in agriculture, technology and education. Universities in California include two ranked within the world’s top 10, and nine within the 50 top US universities.

  • Stanford University (ranked 7th in the world; 3rd in the US)
  • California Institute of Technology (10= in the world; 6th in the US)
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB, 25th in the world; 14th in the US)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA, 40th in the world; 17th in the US)
  • University of California, San Diego (UCSD, 63rd in the world; 24th in the US)
  • University of California, Davis (UCD, 85th in the world; 27th in the US)
  • University of Southern California (125th in the world; 37th in the US)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB, 130= in the world; 38th in the US)
  • University of California, Irvine (UCI, 149th in the world; 42nd in the US)
  • University of California, Riverside (UCR, 268th in the world; 60th in the US)
  • University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC, 307= in the world; 66th in the US)
  • University of San Diego (701+ in the world; 141st in the US)
  • University of San Francisco (701+ in the world; 142nd in the US)
  • University of the Pacific (701+ in the world; 143rd in the US)

Top Universities in Colorado

Belonging to the Mountain States, Colorado is home to most of the Southern Rocky Mountains. Denver is both the state capital and its most populous city.

  • University of Colorado at Boulder (160th in the world; 45th in the US)
  • Colorado State University (394= in the world; 83rd in the US)
  • University of Denver (651-700 in the world; 128th in the US)

Top Universities in Connecticut 

Located in the north-eastern region of the US, part of a group of states known as New England, Connecticut is the third smallest state and the fourth most densely populated.

  • Yale University (8th in the world; 4th in the US)
  • University of Connecticut (380= in the world; 80th in the US)

Top Universities in Delaware

Located on the east coast in the Delmarva Peninsula, Delaware is the second smallest state and is known as ‘The First State’ as it was the first state to give its consent to the Constitution of the United States.

  • University of Delaware (451-460 in the world; 91st in the US)

Top Universities in Florida

Bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is a south-eastern state widely known for its amusement parks, orange production and Kennedy Space Center. Tallahassee is the capital but Miami remains the largest metropolis.

  • University of Florida (179th in the world; 48th in the US)
  • University of Miami (232nd in the world; 55th in the US)
  • Florida State University (421-430 in the world; 87th in the US)
  • University of South Florida (501-550 in the world; 103rd in the US)

Top Universities in Georgia

Located above Florida in the southeast, Georgia is known as The Peach State. Its capital and most populous city is Atlanta.

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech, 99= in the world; 29th in the US)
  • Emory University (141= in the world; 41st in the US)
  • The University of Georgia (411-420 in the world; 86th in the US)
  • Georgia State University (701+ in the world; 135th in the US)

Top Universities in Hawaii

The only US state made up entirely of islands, Hawaii is known for its tropical climate, natural scenery and abundance of beaches. It is the most recent joiner of the US states and has strong North American and Asian cultural influences.

  • University of Hawaii at Mā Noa (327= in the world; 72nd in the US)

Top Universities in Illinois

Part of the Midwestern group of states and the resting place of Abraham Lincoln, Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln and has a strong history of being central to social, cultural and political change. Labeled the ‘most average’ state, Illinois is often viewed as a microcosm of the entire country.

  • University of Chicago (9th in the world; 5th in the US)
  • Northwestern University (29th in the world; 15th in the US)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (56th in the world; 21st in the US)
  • University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC, 192nd in the world; 51st in the US)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology (441-450 in the world; 90th in the US)
  • Loyola University Chicago (601-650 in the world; 118th in the US)

Top Universities in Indiana

A Midwestern state in the Great Lake region, Indiana was home to large settlements of Native Americans for thousands of years – hence its name, meaning ‘Land of the Indians’.  Indianapolis is its capital and largest city.

  • Purdue University (99= in the world; 30th in the US)
  • University of Notre Dame (224th in the world; 54th in the US)
  • Indiana University Bloomington (240= in the world; 57th in the US)

Top Universities in Iowa

Bordered by both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers in the Midwestern region, Iowa was once a part of the French colony of New France. Boasting a diverse economy rooted in agriculture, Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states to live in.

  • University of Iowa (236= in the world; 56th in the US)
  • Iowa State University (321= in the world; 69th in the US)

Top Universities in Kansas

It’s nicknamed The Sunflower State, but hasn’t always had a history as flowery as this sounds. Once home to nomadic Native American tribes, Kansas became a site of violence and chaos during the American Civil War before becoming a free state in 1861.

  • University of Kansas (376= in the world; 79th in the US)
  • Kansas State University (471-480 in the world; 94th in the US)

Top Universities in Kentucky

Kentucky, located in the eastern south-central region, boasts the largest system of caves in the US as well as the highest numbers of deer and turkey per capita. It is also known for its Bourbon distilleries and Bluegrass music.

  • University of Kentucky (481-490 in the world; 96th in the US)

Top Universities in Louisiana

Located in the southern region at the base of the Mississippi River, Louisiana is home to large areas of marsh and swamp lands, making it a diverse habitat for wildlife such as birds, tree frogs and fish. It has more Native American tribes than any other southern state.

  • Tulane University (387= in the world; 81st in the US)
  • Louisiana State University (501-550 in the world; 101st in the US)

Top Universities in Maryland

One of the smallest states but also one of the most densely populated, Maryland, due to the high rates of household income, is the wealthiest state in the US.

  • Johns Hopkins University (16th in the world; 11th in the US)
  • University of Maryland, College Park (116= in the world; 35th in the US)

Top Universities in Massachusetts

In the north-eastern region known as New England, Massachusetts is the third most densely populated state. Two thirds of the population lives in the metropolitan area of Greater Boston. Massachusetts boasts the two top US universities – which are also currently ranked the two best universities in the world. One of these is Harvard, the oldest institution of higher learning in the US.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 1st in the world; 1st in the US)
  • Harvard University (2nd in the world; 2nd in the US)
  • Boston University (79= in the world; 26th in the US)
  • Tufts University (204th in the world; 52nd in the US)
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst (261st in the world; 59th in the US)
  • Brandeis University (324th in the world; 70th in the US)
  • Boston College (331= in the world; 74th in the US)
  • Northeastern University (397= in the world; 84th in the US)
  • Smith College (601-650 in the world; 121st in the US)
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (601-650 in the world; 124th in the US)
  • Clark University (651-700 in the world; 125th in the US)

Top Universities in Michigan

Located in the Great Lakes region and the only state to be sited on two peninsulas, anyone in Michigan is never more than six miles from a natural water source. The sparsely populated Upper Peninsula is a popular tourist destination offering a variety of natural resources, while the Lower Peninsula is known for its automotive industry.

  • University of Michigan (22nd in the world; 12th in the US)
  • Michigan State University (171st in the world; 46th in the US)
  • Michigan Technological University (551-600 in the world; 106th in the US)

Top Universities in Minnesota

Known as the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’, Minnesota is known as one of the healthiest states as well as the most literate. Many of the residents are of Scandinavian and German descent and over 60% of the population lives in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, which is home to an internationally recognized arts community.

  • University of Minnesota (102= in the world; 31st in the US)

Top Universities in Mississippi

Named after the famous river that flows along its western border, Mississippi is a southern state known for catfish farming. Its capital and largest city is Jackson.

  • University of Mississippi (317= in the world; 68th in the US)

Top Universities in Missouri

Missouri has a varied geography made up of plains, mountain ranges and rivers. The merging of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers occurs near the city of St Louis. Missouri also boasts an official state dinosaur, named the Hypsibema missouriensis.

  • Washington University in St. Louis (86= in the world; 28th in the US)
  • University of Missouri, Columbia (421-430 in the world; 88th in the US)
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (601-650 in the world; 119th in the US)

Top Universities in Nebraska

Nebraska is situated in the Great Plains region in the Midwest and is characterized by treeless prairies, fundamental to the state’s farming industry. The weather is known to fluctuate heavily. The capital city is Lincoln and the largest city is Omaha.

  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln (491-500 in the world; 98th in the US)

Top Universities in New Hampshire

Another New England state, New Hampshire offers some of the largest ski mountains on the east coast and is a major attraction for those interested in winter sports and mountaineering. It’s home to the White Mountain National Forest Lake and the road to the top of the 6,288 foot high Mount Washington.

  • Dartmouth College (119th in the world; 36th in the US)
  • University of New Hampshire (551-600 in the world; 112th in the US)

Top Universities in New Jersey

Located in the north-eastern ‘megalopolis’, just south of New York, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the US as well as the second wealthiest in terms of median household income. The state is home to more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the world.

  • Princeton University (10= in the world; 7= in the US)
  • Rutgers – the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick (255= in the world; 58th in the US)
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT, 551-600 in the world; 107th in the US)
  • Rutgers – the State University of New Jersey, Newark (551-600 in the world; 109th in the US)
  • Stevens Institute of Technology (701+ in the world; 139th in the US)

Top Universities in New Mexico

One of the Mountain States, New Mexico is located in the south and is the fifth largest US state. New Mexico has strong Hispanic and Native American influences, making its culture highly unique. The state is actually named after the Mexica (Aztec) Empire, and not, as it is often believed, after the nation of Mexico.

  • University of New Mexico (421-430 in the world; 89th in the US)

Top Universities in New York

Located just above New Jersey in the north-eastern region, New York shares borders with Canadian provinces Ontario and Quebec. New York City is the most populous city in the whole of the US, holding 8.3 million people and making up 40% of the state’s population. Universities in New York include Columbia and Cornell, making it the only state to hold more than one Ivy League school.

  • Columbia University (14th in the world; 9th in the US)
  • Cornell University (15th in the world; 10th in the US)
  • New York University (NYU, 44th in the world; 18th in the US)
  • University of Rochester (151= in the world; 43rd in the US)
  • Yeshiva University (269= in the world; 61st in the US)
  • University at Buffalo SUNY (302nd in the world; 64th in the US)
  • Stony Brook University (338= in the world; 75th in the US)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (353= in the world; 76th in the US)
  • City University of New York (501-550 in the world; 99th in the US)
  • New School University (551-600 in the world; 108th in the US)
  • Syracuse University (601-650 in the world; 122nd in the US)
  • University at Albany SUNY (601-650 in the world; 123rd in the US)
  • Clarkson University (651-700 in the world; 126th in the US)
  • Binghamton University SUNY (701+ in the world; 131st in the US)
  • Fordham University (701+ in the world; 134th in the US)

Top Universities in North Carolina

Found in the south-eastern region, North Carolina was once heavily reliant on the tobacco and textile industries, but now has a highly diverse economy with influence in the engineering, finance, energy and biotechnology sectors. Boasting both coast and mountains, the state falls in the humid subtropical climate zone.

  • Duke University (23rd in the world; 13th in the US)
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (54th in the world; 20th in the US)
  • North Carolina State University (304= in the world; 65th in the US)
  • Wake Forest University (329= in the world; 73rd in the US)

Top Universities in Ohio

Located in the Midwest group, Ohio takes its name from the Native American language Iroquois, meaning ‘large creek’. The Ohio River runs along its southern boundary, and its capital and largest city is Columbus. It is the seventh most populous state.

  • Ohio State University (113th in the world; 34th in the US)
  • Case Western Reserve University (175= in the world; 47th in the US)
  • University of Cincinnati (461-470 in the world; 92nd in the US)
  • Miami University (701+ in the world; 137th in the US)
  • Ohio University (701+ in the world; 138th in the US)

Top Universities in Oklahoma

One of the southern states, Oklahoma derives from the Choctaw language, meaning ‘red people’. More than 25 Native American languages are spoken here, second only to California. The region consists of small mountain ranges, prairies, mesas and forests and is prone to severe weather.

  • University of Oklahoma (481-490= in the world; 97th in the US)
  • Oklahoma State University (601-650 in the world; 120th in the US)
  • University of Tulsa (701+ in the world; 144th in the US)

Top Universities in Oregon

On the pacific coast in the north-western region, Oregon is bordered on the north and east by the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Salem is the capital city and Portland is the largest. Oregon offers a diverse landscape of windswept coastline, rugged volcanic mountain ranges, waterfalls and forests.

  • Oregon State University (401-410 in the world; 85th in the US)
  • University of Oregon (551-600 in the world; 113th in the US)

Top Universities in Pennsylvania

In the Great Lakes region of the north-east, Pennsylvania is the sixth most populous state. The Appalachian Mountains run through the center of the state linking it to the Canadian province Newfoundland. Five of its universities are within the 100 top US universities.

  • University of Pennsylvania (13th in the world; 8th in the US)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (57th in the world; 22nd in the US)
  • University of Pittsburgh (106th in the world; 32nd in the US)
  • Pennsylvania State University (107= in the world; 33rd in the US)
  • Drexel University (481-490 in the world; 95th in the US)
  • Lehigh University (551-600 in the world; 105th in the US)
  • Temple University (551-600 in the world; 110th in the US)

Top Universities in Rhode Island

Part of the New England region, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US, and the second most densely populated. It is nicknamed ‘The Ocean State’, due to its bays and coves.

  • Brown University (47th in the world; 19th in the US)

Top Universities in South Carolina

Located on the south-east Atlantic coast across the Savannah River, South Carolina boasts several major lakes and rivers. The Chattooga River on the western border is a popular white-water rafting attraction. The state’s largest city is Columbia.

  • University of South Carolina (551-600 in the world; 114th in the US)
  • Clemson University (701+ in the world; 133rd in the US)

Top Universities in Tennessee

A south-eastern state with access to the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River,  ennessee is perhaps most famous for its influence on American popular music including blues, rock and roll and country genres. The state has major industries in tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.

  • Vanderbilt University (181= in the world; 49th in the US)
  • University of Tennessee (390= in the world; 82nd in the US)

Top Universities in Texas

The second most populous state and the second largest, Texas shares an international border with four Mexican states. Houston is the state’s largest city and the country’s fourth largest. The energy industry thrives in this state, along with technology, biomedical sciences and aerospace. Four Texan institutions are within the 100 top US universities.

  • University of Texas at Austin (71= in the world; 25th in the US)
  • Rice University (136= in the world; 40th in the US)
  • Texas A&M University (153rd in the world; 44th in the US)
  • University of Texas at Dallas (366= in the world; 77th in the US)
  • University of Houston (551-600 in the world; 111th in the US)
  • Southern Methodist University (651-700 in the world; 127th in the US)
  • Baylor University (701+ in the world; 130th in the US)

Top Universities in Utah

Utah is in the Midwest region, and some 80% of its population lives along the Wasatch Front – a chain of cities and towns along the Wasatch Range of mountains. Approximately 63% of people in Utah are reported to be Mormons, and this greatly affects the culture and lifestyle of the state. In 2012 Utah was voted the best state to live in based on health, lifestyle and economy.

  • University of Utah (271st in the world; 62nd in the US)
  • Brigham Young University (701+ in the world; 132nd in the US)

Top Universities in Vermont

Part of the New England group, Vermont is the second least populous of the US states. It is the leading producer of Maple Syrup in the US, its capital is Montpelier and its largest city is Burlington.

  • University of Vermont (501-550 in the world; 104th in the US)

Top Universities in Virginia

Located in the South Atlantic region, Virginia is nicknamed the ‘Mother of Presidents’, as eight US presidents were born there. The state is shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chesapeake Bay. Technology and media are big industries in Virginia and closely linked with the state’s educational institutions.

  • University of Virginia (132nd in the world; 39th in the US)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech, 316th in the world; 67th in the US)
  • College of William & Mary (501-550 in the world; 100th in the US)
  • Virginia Commonwealth University (551-600 in the world; 115th in the US)
  • George Mason University (601-650 in the world; 116th in the US)

Top Universities in Washington

Located in the far north-western region, Washington is on the Pacific coast and borders the Canadian province of British Columbia. The state is nicknamed ‘The Evergreen State’ as it is home to the Olympic Mountains, which are covered in temperate rainforest. Its biggest city is Seattle and its capital is Olympia.

  • University of Washington (59th in the world; 23rd in the US)
  • Washington State University (366= in the world; 78th in the US)

Top Universities in Washington DC

On the east coast, Washington DC (District of Columbia) is not actually a state, but the capital district of the United States. All thirteen branches of the federal government are located here, as well as 176 foreign embassies and most famously the White House.

  • Georgetown University (189= in the world; 50th in the US)
  • George Washington University (327= in the world; 71st in the US)
  • American University (471-480 in the world; 93rd in the US)
  • Howard University (601-650 in the world; 117th in the US)

Top Universities in Wisconsin

Situated in the north-west and a part of the Great Lakes region, Wisconsin is bordered by Lake Michigan to the east and Lake Superior in the south. Nicknamed ‘America’s Dairyland’ due to its dairy production, the state also has major economies in tourism and manufacturing. Its capital is Madison and its largest city is Milwaukee.

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (37th in the world; 16th in the US)
  • Marquette University (701+ in the world; 136th in the US

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Written by Laura Tucker
Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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1 Comment

Honestly, there are some great schools that are not being appreciated s much as other
I went to Abraham Lincoln University and got my JD for $8000 a year.
Passing rates are superb, but only because they are not ABA accredited you don't hear about online law schools....
There are some more great ones out there but here's a link to ALU in case you want to see hat I'm talking about

http://www.alu.edu/