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Study in Vermont

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One of the smallest and least populous states in the US, Vermont takes its name from the forested mountains which define its landscape (think ‘green mountains’ – verts monts in French).

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If you choose to study in Vermont, you will more than likely find yourself in the state’s largest city, Burlington, the metropolitan area of which is home to around a third of the state’s population.

Lying just under a hundred miles away from the Canadian border which demarcates the northern edge of the state, the relatively small city is the location of the University of Vermont, which contributes around 5% of Burlington’s total population – even more if you just consider the city proper.

Accordingly, it is a student-friendly city, and is known for being cosmopolitan and liberal, offering all the sophistication one would expect from a New England hub in relatively intimate surroundings.

Outside of the ‘big’ city, Vermont is as densely forested as you might expect from a state which lies this far north. It is famous for the golds and reds that come to dominate the scenery in autumn – a typically New English image.

And when you add in the spectacular mountains and the crystalline Lake Champlain, one the largest bodies of the fresh water in the US, you get a state that certainly does not want for natural beauty.

Be warned – though summer in Vermont is perfectly pleasant, the winters can get extremely cold – the coldest ever temperature registered there was an Arctic -50°C! (-58°F).

Vermont: Fast facts

•    Only Wyoming has a smaller population than Vermont, the total population of which is just over 625,000

•    State capital Montpelier (population 8,000) is the smallest in the US, and the only state capital without a McDonald’s

•    Ice cream fans take note: Burlington was the birthplace of Ben & Jerry’s

•    Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the US, producing around 40 per cent of the nation's supply

•     Famous Vermonters include Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the US, Pulitzer Prize wining author Annie Proulx and rock band Phish

•    Vermont was the first state outside of the original 13 (hence the 13 stripes of the US flag) to join the US

•    Vermont was the first state to fully outlaw slavery

•    Vermont has the highest ratio of dairy cows to people in the US (one cow for every four people)

Top universities in Vermont

Vemont’s only ranking university is the University of Vermont, which placed within the top 500 in the 2011/12 QS World University Rankings. Classed as one of the original Public Ivies by Richard Moll in 1985, it is the state’s only research university.

Though it is the state’s primary institute of higher education, it is home to just over 10,000 undergraduates, so can offer a relatively intimate experience.

The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, to give it is full name, places an emphasis on interdisciplinary research, launching a university-wide program in 2010 to encourage this. Three ‘Spires of Excellence’ emerged from this, focusing on Complex Systems, Food Systems, and Neuroscience, Behavior and Health.

Some 101 bachelor’s degrees divided into 1,880 courses are offered across the university’s seven colleges.

A range of small liberal arts universities (Lyndon State University, Johnson State University and Castleton State College) Vermont Technical College, and the Community College of Vermont make up the rest of Vermont’s public system. A handful of small private universities also offer degrees up to master's level.

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Written by QS Staff Writer

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