Top 10 Universities in the World (2008)

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10. Columbia University (United States of America)


Columbia University in the City of New York (commonly known as Columbia University), is a private university in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. Columbia's main campus lies in the Morningside Heights neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The institution was established as King's College by the Church of England, receiving a Royal Charter in 1754 from George II of Great Britain. One of only two universities in the United States to have been founded by royal charter, it was the fifth college established in the Thirteen Colonies and the only college established in the Province of New York. After the American Revolutionary War, it was briefly chartered as a New York State entity from 1784-1787. The university now operates under a 1787 charter that places the institution under a private board of trustees. Columbia annually grants the Pulitzer Prizes and according to some counts, more Nobel Prize winners are affiliated with Columbia than with any other university.


Columbia University Website


9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States of America)


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological research. MIT is one of two private land-grant universities and is also a sea-grant and space-grant university.


Founded by William Barton Rogers in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, the university adopted the German university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Its current 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus opened in 1916 and extends over 1 mile (1.6 km) along the northern bank of the Charles River basin. MIT researchers were involved in efforts to develop computers, radar, and inertial guidance in connection with defense research during World War II and the Cold War. In the past 60 years, MIT's educational programs have expanded beyond the physical sciences and engineering into social sciences like economics, philosophy, linguistics, political science, and management.


MIT enrolled 4,172 undergraduates, 6,048 postgraduate students, and employed 1,008 faculty members in the 2007/08 school year. Its endowment and annual research expenditures are among the largest of any American university. 73 Nobel Laureates, 47 National Medal of Science recipients, and 31 MacArthur Fellows are currently or have previously been affiliated with the university.


The Engineers sponsor 33 sports, most of which compete in the NCAA Division III's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference; the Division I rowing programs compete as part of the EARC and EAWRC. While students' irreverence is widely acknowledged due to the traditions of constructing elaborate pranks and engaging in esoteric activities, the aggregated revenues of companies founded by MIT affiliates would make it the seventeenth largest economy in the world.


MIT Website


8. The University of Chicago (United States of America)


The University of Chicago (commonly referred to as UChicago or just Chicago) is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. It credits its establishment to the oil magnate and benefactor John D. Rockefeller, traditionally dating its founding to July 1, 1891 when William Rainey Harper became the university's president.


Affiliated with 82 Nobel Prize laureates, the University of Chicago is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost universities. Known for its rigorous devotion to academic scholarship and intellectual life, it was one of the first universities in the United States to be conceived as a combination of an American liberal arts college and a German research university. The university's undergraduate college consistently ranks among the country's top ten national universities in the annual rankings published by U.S. News & World Report and is currently ranked number eight (tied with Columbia University and Duke University).

Historically, the university has also been noted for its unique undergraduate core curriculum pioneered by Robert Hutchins; for several influential academic movements and centers, such as the Chicago School of Economics, the Chicago School of Sociology, the Law and Economics movement in legal analysis, the Committee on Social Thought, and several of the most prominent movements in anthropology; and its role in developing modern physics leading to the world's first man-made, self-sustaining nuclear reaction.


University of Chicago Website


7. University College London (United Kingdom)


University College London (UCL) is a university institution and constituent college of the University of London based primarily in London, England, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1826, as London University, and was the first university institution to be founded in London, the first British university to be established on an entirely secular basis, and the first British university to admit students regardless of their religion and gender.


In 1836, London University, together with the recently established King's College London, formed an association under a new Royal Charter to establish the University of London, and at this point UCL acquired its present name.


Although UCL voluntarily remains a constituent college of the University of London, it is in many ways comparable with free-standing, self-governing and independently funded universities, awarding its own degrees. Today, with over 8,000 staff and 22,000 students, UCL is larger than most other universities in the United Kingdom.


In the 2008 THES - QS World University Rankings, UCL was ranked 7th in the world. The 2008 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked UCL as 3rd in Europe and 22nd in the world.

UCL is a member of the Russell Group of Universities, a part of the 'G5' sub-group of UK universities, the European University Association, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the League of European Research Universities, and the Golden Triangle.


In 2008, UCL had an annual turnover of £635 million and fixed assets worth £581 million.


University College London Website


6. Imperial College London (United Kingdom)


Imperial College London (officially The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine as titled in its Royal Charter) is a British university in London specializing in science, engineering, medicine and business.


Imperial is regularly placed in the top three in the Times National University League Table along with Oxford and Cambridge. Imperial was placed 5th overall in the world in the 2008 THES - QS World University Rankings of universities worldwide, and 27th in the world by the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities.


Imperial's main campus is located in South Kensington in central London, on the boundary between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster, with its front entrance on Exhibition Road. Formerly a constituent college of the University of London, Imperial became independent of the university on 8 July 2007, the 100th anniversary of its founding.


Imperial College London Website


5. California Institute of Technology (United States of America)


The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. The Institute maintains a strong emphasis on the natural sciences and engineering, and operates and manages NASA's neighboring Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Caltech is a small school, with only about 2100 students (about 900 undergraduates and 1200 graduate students), but it is ranked in the top ten universities worldwide by metrics such as citation index, Nobel Prizes, and general university rankings.


California Institute of Technology Website


4. University of Oxford (United Kingdom)


The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University, or simply Oxford), located in the City of Oxford, Oxfordshire, Great Britain, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is also regarded as one of the world's leading academic institutions. The name is sometimes abbreviated as Oxon. in post-nominals (from the Latin Oxoniensis), although Oxf is sometimes used in official publications. The University has 38 independent colleges, and 6 permanent private halls.


The university traces its roots back to at least 1167, although the exact date of foundation remains unclear, and there is evidence of teaching there as far back as the 10th century. After a dispute between students and townsfolk broke out in 1209, some of the academics at Oxford fled north-east to the town of Cambridge, where the University of Cambridge was founded. The two universities (collectively known as "Oxbridge") have since had a long history of competition with each other.


The University of Oxford is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities, the Coimbra Group (a network of leading European universities), the League of European Research Universities, International Alliance of Research Universities and is also a core member of the Europaeum. Academically, Oxford is consistently ranked in the world's top 10 universities. For more than a century, it has served as the home of the Rhodes Scholarship, which brings highly accomplished students from a number of countries to study at Oxford as postgraduates.


University of Oxford Website


3. University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)


The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. The name is sometimes abbreviated as Cantab. in post-nominals, a shortened form of Cantabrigiensis (an adjective derived from Cantabrigia, the Latinised form of Cambridge).


The University grew out of an association of scholars in the city of Cambridge that was formed, early records suggest, in 1209 by scholars leaving Oxford after a dispute with local townsfolk there. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge are often jointly referred to as "Oxbridge." In addition to cultural and practical associations as a historic part of English society, the two universities also have a long history of rivalry with each other.


Academically, Cambridge is consistently ranked in the world's top 5 universities. It has produced 83 Nobel Laureates to date, more than any other university in the world according to some counts.


University of Cambridge Website


2. Yale University (United States of America)


Yale University is a private university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, Yale is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and is a member of the Ivy League. Yale has educated five U.S. presidents as well as many foreign heads of state. In 1861, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences became the first U.S. school to award the Ph.D.


The university's assets include a $17 billion endowment (the second-largest of any academic institution) and more than a dozen libraries that hold a total of 12.5 million volumes (making it, according to Yale, the world's second-largest university library system). Yale has 3,300 faculty members, who teach 5,300 undergraduate students and 6,000 graduate students. Yale offers 70 undergraduate majors: few of the undergraduate departments are pre-professional. About 45% of Yale undergraduates major in the arts and humanities, 35% in the social sciences, and 20% in the sciences. All tenured professors teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually. Yale's graduate programs include those in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences — covering 53 disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, biology, physical sciences, and engineering — and those in the Professional Schools of Architecture, Art, Divinity, Drama, Forestry & Environmental Sciences, Law, Management, Medicine, Music, Nursing, and Public Health.


Yale's residential college housing system is modeled after those of Oxford and Cambridge. Each residential college houses a cross-section of the undergraduate student body and has its own facilities, seminars, resident faculty and graduate fellows.


Yale and Harvard have been rivals in academics, rowing, and football for most of their history, competing annually in The Game and the Harvard-Yale Regatta.


Yale University Website


1. Harvard University (Unites States of America)


Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a member of the Ivy League. Founded in 1636 by the colonial Massachusetts legislature, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is also the first and oldest corporation in North America. Harvard University is made up of ten schools.

Initially called "New College" or "the college at New Towne", the institution was renamed Harvard College on March 13, 1639. It was named after a young clergyman named John Harvard, who bequeathed the College his library of four hundred books and £779 (which was half of his estate). The earliest known official reference to Harvard as a "university" occurs in the new Massachusetts Constitution of 1780.

During his 40-year tenure as Harvard president (1869–1909), Charles William Eliot radically transformed Harvard into the pattern of the modern research university. Eliot's reforms included elective courses, small classes, and entrance examinations. The Harvard model influenced American education nationally, at both college and secondary levels.


Harvard is consistently ranked at or near the top of international college and university rankings, and has the second-largest financial endowment of any non-profit organization (behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), standing at $28.8 billion as of 2008. Harvard and Yale have been rivals in academics, rowing, and football for most of their history, competing annually in The Game and the Harvard-Yale Regatta.


Harvard University Website

Source: Times Higher Education Supplement


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