Where are the Best Universities in the World?

bodleian-library-oxford The best Universities in the world

Choosing where to study is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever have to make. And if you fancy yourself as a future Prime Minister, Hollywood movie star or captain of industry, this list of the ten best universities in the world might just come in handy…


The USA’s oldest and possibly most famous university, 11,000 students enjoy the world’s third richest university each year. The list of ex-alumni reads like a who’s who of American life with everyone from presidents (Kennedy, Bush and Obama) and actors (Matt Damon and Natalie Portman) to, famously, the founder of Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg) having studied there. (Harvard.edu).



Caltech, otherwise known as the California Institute of Technology is in Pasadena. Focusing heavily on science, maths, engineering research and education, like Harvard and Princeton it has a healthy, longstanding rivalry with MIT. (Caltech.edu).

Oxford University

No list of the world’s best universities would be complete without Oxford. With over 22,000 students and a huge range of subjects in their 38 colleges the university is the largest employer in Oxford (so no shortage of student jobs while you’re there!) (Ox.ac.uk).

Stanford University

Also in California, close to San Francisco in Silicon Valley, Stanford is a teaching and research university for around 11,000 students. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the Silicon Valley location, Stanford specialises in high-achieving tech graduates, with alumni having gone on to found Instagram, Paypal, Logitech, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Hewlett Packard, Firefox, Yahoo and the mighty Google. (Stanford.edu).



The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT is much easier!) is just up the road from Harvard in Cambridge. They have more than 10,000 students at any time and specialise in architecture, engineering, humanities, arts and social sciences amongst other subjects. (Web.mit.edu).


Over in New Jersey, historically Princeton has always grappled with Harvard for the title of America’s top university. It’s the smallest of the US Ivy League schools and generally has around 7,500 students. It is the fourth oldest school in the USA and specialises in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering. (Princeton.edu).

Cambridge University

In the county of Cambridgeshire, north of London, Cambridge was founded by a group of breakaway scholars from Oxford in the year 1209 after a dispute. Like Oxford there are a number of different colleges within the university and around 18,500 students study there. (Cam.ac.uk).

Imperial College

This London university has a strong background of research and is divided into four faculties – medicine, natural science, engineering and business. In all, around 13,000 students go to Imperial. (Imperial.ac.uk).


Otherwise known as the University of California, Berkeley has produced more than 20 Nobel laureates since it was founded in 1868. One of the larger universities in the world, around 36,000 students attend Berkley every year, and there’s a bitter sporting rivalry with Stanford which culminates in ‘The Big Game’ of football. (Berkeley.edu).

Chicago University

In the state of Illinois, USA, Chicago has a strong focus on advanced academic exploration. With 15,000 students they are the second largest employer in the whole of Chicago. (Uchicago.edu).

Like this pick of the best universities in the world? Check out the UK’s best universities.