National University Rankings
Schools in the National Universities category, such as the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and Ph.D. programs. These colleges also are committed to producing groundbreaking research.
To see full rankings, SAT/ACT scores, scholarship and grant information, graduation rates and more, sign up for the U.S. News College Compass!
The ivy-covered campus of Princeton University, a private institution, is located in the quiet town of Princeton, N.J. Princeton was the first university to offer a “no loan” policy to financially needy students, giving grants instead of loans to accepted students who need help paying tuition.
Harvard University is a private institution in Cambridge, Mass., just outside of Boston. This Ivy League school is the oldest higher education institution in the country and has the largest endowment of any school in the world.
New Haven, CT
Yale University, located in New Haven, Conn., offers a small college life with the resources of a major research institution. Yale students are divided into 12 residential colleges that foster a supportive environment for living, learning, and socializing.
New York, NY
Columbia University has three undergraduate schools: Columbia College, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and the School of General Studies. This Ivy League, private school guarantees students housing for all four years on campus in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood in New York City.
The sunny campus of Stanford University is located in California’s Bay Area, about 30 miles from San Francisco. The private institution stresses a multidisciplinary combination of teaching, learning, and research, and students have many opportunities to get involved in research projects.
The University of Chicago, situated in Chicago’s Hyde Park community, offers a rich campus life in a big-city setting. Since 1987, the private institution has hosted the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt, a four-day event that is regarded as the largest scavenger hunt in the world.
Located in Durham, N.C., Duke University is a private institution that has liberal arts and engineering programs for undergraduates. The Duke Blue Devils sports teams have a fierce rivalry with the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill Tar Heels and are best known for their outstanding men's basketball program.
Though the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may be best known for its math, science, and engineering education, this private research university also offers architecture, humanities, management, and social science programs. The school is located in Cambridge, Mass., just across the Charles River from downtown Boston.
Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania is a private institution in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. Students can study in one of four schools that grant undergraduate degrees: Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Wharton.
The California Institute of Technology focuses on science and engineering education and has a low student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1. This private institution in Pasadena, Calif. is actively involved in research projects with grants from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Dartmouth College, a private institution in Hanover, N.H., uses quarters, not semesters, to divide the school year. Among more than 300 student organizations at Dartmouth is the Outing Club, the nation’s oldest and largest collegiate club of its kind, which offers outdoor activities, expeditions, gear rentals, and courses.
Johns Hopkins University is a private institution in Baltimore, Md. that offers a wide array of academic programs in the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, and engineering disciplines. The Hopkins Blue Jays men’s lacrosse team is consistently dominant in the NCAA Division I; other sports teams at Hopkins compete at the Division III level.
Northwestern University is a private school in Evanston, Ill., about 30 minutes outside of Chicago. Undergraduate students have more than 70 options for majors or can design their own non-traditional degree program.
At Brown University, undergraduate students are responsible for designing their own academic study with more than 70 concentration programs to choose from. Another unique offering at this private, Ivy League institution in Providence, R.I. is the Program in Liberal Medical Education, which grants both a bachelor’s degree and medical degree in eight years.
St. Louis, MO
Students can study architecture, art, arts and sciences, business, and engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, a private research institution in Missouri. Outside of class, about a quarter of the student body is involved in Greek life.
Cornell University, a private school in Ithaca, N.Y., started the country’s first colleges for hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Cornell now offers a wide variety of undergraduate programs and runs interdisciplinary research centers for nanotechnology, supercomputing, and more.
Vanderbilt University is a private institution in Nashville, Tenn. with four undergraduate colleges: the College of Arts and Science, the School of Engineering, Peabody College, and the Blair School of Music. More than 40 percent of Vanderbilt students participate in Greek life.
Rice University is located in the heart of the Museum District in Houston, TX. The private institution has a need-blind admissions policy and meets the full demonstrated need of any accepted student who requires help paying tuition.
Notre Dame, IN
The University of Notre Dame is a private, independent, Catholic institution in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame’s athletic teams, known as the Fighting Irish, play in the NCAA Division I and are particularly competitive on the football field.
Students can begin their education at the school's main location in a suburb of Atlanta, known as Emory College, or at Oxford College, a smaller campus about 40 miles away. This private institution offers about 70 majors in the arts and sciences, as well as degrees in business administration and nursing.
Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic university in the country. The school's location in Washington, D.C. gives students many opportunities for internships throughout the nation's capital.
- In-state tuition and fees:
- $13,836 (2013-14)
- Out-of-state tuition and fees:
- $25,056 (2013-14)
The University of California—Berkeley overlooks the San Francisco Bay in Berkeley, Calif. Students at this public school have more than 700 organizations to get involved in, including more than 55 fraternity and sorority chapters.
Carnegie Mellon University, a private institution in Pittsburgh, Pa., is the country’s only school founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The school specializes in academic areas including engineering, business, computer science, and fine arts.
- In-state tuition and fees:
- $12,696 (2013-14)
- Out-of-state tuition and fees:
- $35,574 (2013-14)
Los Angeles, CA
The University of California—Los Angeles is just five miles away from the Pacific Ocean. The public institution offers more than 3,000 courses and more than 130 majors to undergraduate students.
Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduates study in the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California, a private school based in Los Angeles. The USC Trojans compete in the NCAA Division I Pac-12 Conference and are particularly competitive in football.