The uncontested top five universities in the U.S. and top in the world:
Harvard College was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony, and was named for its first benefactor, John Harvard of Charlestown.
Harvard is America’s oldest institution of higher learning, founded 140 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 18,000 degree candidates, including undergraduates and students in 10 principal academic units. An additional 13,000 students are enrolled in one or more courses in the Harvard Extension School. Over 14,000 people work at Harvard, including more than 2,000 faculty. There are also 7,000 faculty appointments in affiliated teaching hospitals.
Yale University was founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School in the home of Abraham Pierson, its first rector, in Killingworth, Connecticut. In 1716 the school moved to New Haven and, with the generous gift by Elihu Yale of nine bales of goods, 417 books, and a portrait and arms of King George I, was renamed Yale College in 1718.
Yale embarked on a steady expansion, establishing the Medical Institution (1810), Divinity School (1822), Law School (1843), Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1847), the School of Fine Arts (1869), and School of Music (1894). In 1887 Yale College became Yale University. It continued to add to its academic offerings with the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (1900), School of Nursing (1923), School of Drama (1955), School of Architecture (1972), and School of Management (1974).
Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the United States. The ambiance of its earliest days is palpable in historic landmarks on campus, most notably Nassau Hall, which in 1783 was the temporary capitol of the United States.
From such a distinctive beginning grew something great – a community of learning that continues to evolve, providing abundant opportunities to talented students from around the world. As a research university, it seeks to achieve the highest levels of distinction in the discovery and transmission of knowledge and understanding, and in the education of graduate students. At the same time, Princeton is distinctive among research universities in its commitment to undergraduate teaching.
Stanford University, founded in 1885, is recognized as one of the world’s leading research and teaching institutions, with one of the most renowned faculties in the nation. Stanford students, men and women of all races, ethnicity and ages, are distinguished by their love of learning and desire to contribute to the greater community.
Stanford University offers its students a remarkable range of academic and extracurricular activities. We are committed to offering an education that is unrivaled among research universities. In this community of scholars, there is no greater objective than being at the edge of a field and advancing the frontier of knowledge. We believe that collaboration across disciplines will be key to future advances and are pursuing multidisciplinary initiatives in the areas of bio-sciences, the environment and international affairs. As a research and teaching university, we offer both undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to work closely with faculty and researchers.
The Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges. MIT is dedicated to providing its students with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.
The Institute admitted its first students in 1865, four years after the approval of its founding charter. The opening marked the culmination of an extended effort by William Barton Rogers, a distinguished natural scientist, to establish a new kind of independent educational institution relevant to an increasingly industrialized America. Rogers stressed the pragmatic and practicable. He believed that professional competence is best fostered by coupling teaching and research and by focusing attention on real-world problems. Toward this end, he pioneered the development of the teaching laboratory.