The 25 Top Universities in the World: A Global List For Curious Students

International students celebrating graduation at one of the top universities in the world

Have you ever wondered what the top universities in the world are, or been curious about where your own university stands among the best of the best?

The academic world is full of amazing institutions where you can get a prestigious and competitive education that will take you far in your career. However, some schools tend to rise to the top the more they develop a reputation for excellence in faculty members, student life, accomplished alumni, and many other areas.

Some schools just instantly make an impression, whether you see them on a resume or in popular culture to showcase someone’s elite status.

So, which schools are sitting at the top? We’ve done extensive research and put together this list of the 25 top universities in the world. Whether you’re looking for travel inspiration, setting your academic goals high, or genuinely just curious, get all the answers right here.

How We Made This List

Before we share the list of the top universities in the world, it’s important for you to know how we came to these conclusions and how we put this list together.

Sure, everyone knows about the Ivy League schools in the United States, or the oldest institutions like Oxford and Cambridge. But what else does it take to be considered a top school on a global scale? To list these schools, we pooled a diverse range of rankings, with indicators such as student satisfaction, teaching faculty, overall school reputation, alumni accomplishments, and much more.

Please note that the order of this list is not necessarily in order from best to worst, but more of a general collection of the 25 top universities in the world. If you’re thinking about applying to any of these schools, you should start getting an amazing

admissions essay

together because it’s going to be tough!

Bird’s eye view of the University of Oxford in England, United Kingdom

1.

University of Oxford

: Oxford, England, United Kingdom

It’s no surprise that the University of Oxford would be among the top universities in the world because it’s the oldest university in the English-speaking world. The school was founded in 1096. Oxford is the second oldest university worldwide in continuous operation (meaning it has been operating as a university since its existence and still does today), behind the University of Bologna, which opened around 1088. It also operates the world’s oldest university press, university library, and university museum.

Oxford is known as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It has an acceptance rate of 17.5%.

Given its longstanding history and centuries-long prestige, Oxford has produced a powerful list of prominent alumni (whom they refer to as Oxonians), including 28 British Prime Ministers, 30 international leaders, over 100 members of British government positions, and 69 Nobel Prize winners. Notable Oxonians include Stephen Hawking, Oscar Wilde, Sir Walter Raleigh, Jonathan Swift, Adam Smith, William Penn, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Cecil Rhodes, Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Thatcher, C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, William Golding, T.S. Eliot, William Gladstone, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee (who invented the World Wide Web).

Sunset shot of the Beckman Institute at Caltech in California

2. California Institute of Technology (Caltech): Pasadena, California, United States

The

California Institute of Technology

, commonly called Caltech, might sound familiar to you if you’ve ever watched The Big Bang Theory (it’s where Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard work). You may also recognize its setting in various movies and television shows.

Caltech has a reputation and prestige as one of the top schools for science and engineering in the world. A number of former students and faculty members are Nobel Laureates who have gone on to work with NASA and the United States Air Force, and the school manages NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It has been attracting scientific minds from around the world since its first day in 1891.

Top scientists that have been associated with Caltech include Richard Feynman and Albert Einstein, and some of the school’s most successful alumni include Gordon Moore (co-founder of Intel), William Shockley (known as the father of Silicon Valley), and Charles Gordon Fullerton (pilot of the third space shuttle mission).

The acceptance rate at Caltech is 8.1%.

Close up of the Hoover Tower at Stanford University in California

3. Stanford University: Stanford, California, United States

Nestled in Silicon Valley,

Stanford University

is one of the world’s leading institutions for teaching and research. Not only is it one of the top universities in the world, but it’s also one of the top fundraising schools in the United States. In 2013, Stanford became the first college to raise $1 billion in fundraising in one year. It’s known for its excellence in engineering, IT programs, and social sciences, but there are over 65 majors students could choose from.

One of Stanford’s unique selling points is that the school offers a range of interdisciplinary programs, so students are able to combine different focuses and make a more diverse degree. Did you also know that student housing is guaranteed for all four years of undergraduate study? No woner Stanford ranks high every year!

Getting into Stanford is no easy task; it has the second lowest acceptance rate in the United States, sitting at 4.8% as of 2020. The school raises a significant amount of money annually for startups, and many of its graduates have gone on to become billionaires, business owners, astronauts, and one United States President (Herbert Hoover).

Notable Stanford University alumni include Sigourney Weaver, David Packard, Larry Page, Tiger Woods, Sandra Day O’Connor, Cory Booker, Sally Ride (the first woman in space), Rachel Maddow, Peter Thiel, Chelsea Clinton, and Eileen Collins (the first female pilot of a space shuttle).

Photo of the Great Dome at MIT at night time

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

is another big school you’ve likely seen on television or in the movies at some point in time. Known for its prestige in math, science, engineering, and technology, this is the place to be if you’re thinking about becoming the next modern innovator. After all, Sir Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web) is a computer science professor at MIT, so you’ll be learning from the best of the best.

MIT’s acceptance rate is a low 7.8%, among the

top 10 lowest acceptance rates

in the United States. Getting into MIT is very difficult, and you’ll have to meet some high criteria if you want to apply. In fact, it has a reputation as one of the most selective and competitive schools in the world. The faculty alone includes 22 MacArthur Fellows and 37 Nobel Prize winners.

Notable MIT alumni include a diverse range of accomplished inventors, architects, astronauts, scientists, business managers, and more. In fact, did you know that one third of all of NASA’s space flights have included MIT-educated astronauts? Among the well known MIT alumni are Buzz Aldrin, Kofi Annan, Tom Scholz, Cass Gilbert (who designed the United States Supreme Court building) and Richard Feynman, to name just a few.

Student walking at the University of Cambridge in England, UK

5. University of Cambridge: Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

Just like its English counterpart, Oxford, the

University of Cambridge

is the second oldest university in the English-speaking world, with roots dating back to the Medieval Times. It’s also the fourth oldest continuously operating university in the world. The school also operates the world’s oldest university press, Cambridge University Press – in fact, chances are a good chunk of your own textbooks have been published through this press.

Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge was given an official royal charter by King Henry III in 1231 to help curb some of the conflicts from students and scholars at Oxford and offer a new location for academic study.

Instead of one main campus, the University of Cambridge operates a collection of constituent colleges, self-governing facilities, and separate schools. It has a long history of producing highly successful research and development in the arts and humanities, as well as science and mathematics.

The acceptance rate is 21%. Cambridge also had a research partnership with MIT, which ended up resulting in the development of silent aircraft technologies.

Given its long history, many of the world’s top thinkers and researchers have studied at Cambridge. Notable alumni include Stephen Hawking, Charles Prince of Wales, Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Christopher Marlowe, John Milton, John Cleese, King George VI, Sacha Baron Cohen, Tom Hiddleston, Sir Isaac Newton, and Sir Francis Bacon.

Main exterior shot of the campus at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario

6. University of Toronto (U of T): Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Founded in 1827, the

University of Toronto

is the oldest university in Ontario, Canada and is known as the birthplace of two important inventions: insulin and stem cell research. The school boasts three campuses, as well as 11 colleges, and is a leading scientific research institution in Canada. It’s also a top location for political science, with many Canadian Prime Ministers and Premiers having studied there, and is currently ranked second in the world for psychology.

While U of T is known within Canada as being incredibly difficult to get into, its acceptance rate currently sits at 43%. This might seem a lot higher than the other schools on this list, but it’s still pretty low by Canadian standards.

Notable University of Toronto alumni include former Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Lester B. Pearson, astronauts Roberta Bondar and Julie Payette, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, Frederick Banting, Norman Bethune, “In Flanders Fields” poet John McCrae, Margaret Atwood, Paul Shaffer, and Malcolm Gladwell.

Exterior shot of Gilman Hall at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland

7. Johns Hopkins University: Baltimore, Maryland, United States


Johns Hopkins University

was the first research university to open in the United States, and has retained its reputation as a leading institution since 1876. It was established when philanthropist and Quaker abolitionist Johns Hopkins left a bequeathment of $7 million (today, that would be about $147 million) to open a university and hospital.

It’s home to some of the country’s leading medical and nursing research facilities, and is one of the top medical schools. Additionally, scientific research is a big proponent of the school. There are also four international facilities in China, Singapore, Italy, and Malaysia. Johns Hopkins is also at the top annually for research grants and donations, with approximately 80% of its student body participating in some type of research project at any given time.

The acceptance rate is 11%, so you’re going to have to work hard if you want to attend this school.

Notable alumni of Johns Hopkins University include Woodrow Wilson, Wes Craven, Michael Bloomberg, surgical pioneer Alfred Blalock, John Astin, Madeleine Albright, environmentalist Rachel Carson, John Dewey, and Wolf Blitzer.

Close up of the Harvard University Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

8. Harvard University: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Of course,

Ivy League

school

Harvard University

has to be on this list. It’s not only ranked as one of the top universities in the world on every list every single year, but it’s one of the most prestigious schools in the world as well. Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest university in the United States and is home to the world’s largest academic library system.

Harvard’s acceptance rate is 5%, and it’s no wonder why – it has the most Nobel Laureates among its faculty, alumni, and research population than any other school in the world.

Notable Harvard alumni include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Barack and Michelle Obama, Founding Father and second United States President John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, Henry David Thoreau, T.S. Eliot, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Helen Keller, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Tom Morello, Colin Jost, and Al Gore. It also boasts two of the most famous university dropouts: Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg (Zuckerberg was eventually given an honorary degree).

If you have questions about what it’s like to apply to Harvard Law School, check out our

Student Influencers Podcast interview with Hamza Naim

! In his interview, Hamza walked us through the rather intimidating process of applying to Ivy League law schools and shared some great tips for anyone who wants to follow this route.

Exterior shot of the campus at Columbia University in New York City, New York

9. Columbia University: New York City, New York, United States

Nestled in the heart of Manhattan,

Columbia University

boasts a prestigious reputation as one of the private Ivy League schools in the United States. It was founded in 1754 under its original name King’s College, and is one of nine schools in the country that has been operating since before the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Columbia’s acceptance rate is 6%, so if you currently attend this school, you should be proud. It has a strong presence in the liberal arts world, with a big foothold in visual and performing arts, but many scientific and engineering discoveries have been affiliated with the school as well. These include the invention of the laser, the first nuclear fission reaction in North America, and the first evidence proving the continental drift theory.

Among Columbia University’s alumni are 125 Pulitzer Prize winners, three former United States Presidents, and 39 Oscar winners. Notable people include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Art Garfunkel, J.D. Salinger, Kate McKinnon, Hunter S. Thompson, and Warren Buffett. Five of the Founding Fathers of the United States have also graduated from the school: Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Gouverneur Morris, Robert R. Livingston, and Egbert Benson.

Shot of the University College London located in London, England

10. University College London (UCL): London, England, United Kingdom


University College London

is a public research university in London, England that has been noted as one of the top 20 “super-elite” universities in the world by the Times Higher Education

annual rankings

. Established in 1826, this school also boasts the largest student population in the United Kingdom.

UCL originally opened as a secular school inspired by the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, and was the first university in England to admit women to its student population. It places an emphasis on the arts and sciences, and manages many different museums and research projects.

The acceptance rate at UCL is 63%, with a large population of international students. Many major discoveries have been made by UCL alumni and faculty, including hormones, the vacuum tube, the structure of DNA, five naturally occurring noble gases, and the telephone. Among the accomplished notable alumni are Mahatma Gandhi, Jomo Kenyatta, Christopher Nolan, Chris Martin (of Coldplay), Ricky Gervais, and Alexander Graham Bell.

Building at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

11. Princeton University: Princeton, New Jersey, United States

Any school where Einstein once lectured definitely has some prestige, so

Princeton University

definitely ranks among the top universities in the world. This Ivy League school was founded in 1747, making it the fourth oldest university in the United States and another pre-Declaration of Independence institution.

Princeton’s acceptance rate is just 5%, with programs focusing on research in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and engineering. Its NCAA Division I sports teams have also received national recognition, particularly in lacrosse, rowing, and football.

Notable Princeton alumni are Jeff Bezos, James Madison, Jodi Picoult, Richard Feynman, Alan Turing, Pete Conrad (the third man to set foot on the moon), Woodrow Wilson, and three United States Supreme Court Justices: Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. James Madison, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and the fourth president, also attended Princeton when it was known as the College of New Jersey.

Aerial photo of ETH Zurich University in Zurich, Switzerland

12. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology: Zurich, Switzerland

Known for its cutting-edge research in science, engineering, and technology, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (

ETH Zurich

) is home to a huge population of both European and international future scientists and inventors. It is consistently ranked in the top tier of global institutions for STEM programs, right alongside MIT and Caltech.

Founded in 1854, ETH Zurich has an acceptance rate of 27%. However, this applies primarily to international students: In Switzerland, every public university is required to offer admission to any Swiss resident who has passed the Matura exam.

Notable alumni of ETH Zurich include Albert Einstein, Wilhelm Röntgen (who discovered X-rays), Alfred Werner (the first inorganic chemist to win the Nobel Prize), Fritz Haber (inventor of the Haber-Bosch process), tech giant Philippe Kahn, and Werner Arber (whose work led to the development of recombinant DNA technology).

Campus building at the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia

13. University of Melbourne (UM): Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Founded in 1853, the

University of Melbourne

is the second oldest university in Australia, and known as the country’s most prestigious institution. It offers a variety of programs of study, including business, law, neuroscience, health care and medicine, and economics.

While there’s no specific acceptance rate for the University of Melbourne, it’s estimated to be around 70% to 80%. Part of the school’s biggest appeal to international students is the culture and location; Melbourne is known as one of Australia’s most vibrant, livable, and culturally rich cities.

Many alumni from UM have gone on to become Governor Generals, Prime Ministers, regional governors, Nobel Laureates, and members of the Australian Supreme Courts. Among them are Julia Gillard (the first female Prime Minister of Australia), comedian Ronny Chieng, World War I commander John Monash, feminist author Germaine Greer, and Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn.

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

14. Yale University: New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Another historic Ivy League school bursting with prestige,

Yale University

is the third oldest university in the United States. It was founded in 1701 as a congregational school to educate clergy members, but after the American Revolution it began to operate as a research institution for students in the arts and sciences. In 1861, Yale was the first school to award a PhD in the United States. It went to three people: James Morris Whiton, Eugene Schuyler, and Arthur Williams Wright.

Yale has an acceptance rate of 6%. It is home to picturesque landscapes, historic infrastructure, and NCAA Division I sports teams.

Among graduates from Yale are five United States Presidents, 65 Nobel Laureates, 78 MacArthur fellows, 19 United States Supreme Court Justices, and many international royal family members and heads of state. Notable alumni include Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jodie Foster, Gerald Ford, William Howard Taft, William Boeing, George W. Bush, John Kerry, Harvey Cushing, and Vincent Price.

Female student choosing a story to use for her essay

15. Imperial College London: London, England, United Kingdom


Imperial College London

officially opened in 1907 by royal charter from King Edward VII, but its roots date back to the Royal College of Chemistry, which opened in 1845 under the watch of Prince Albert. Since that time, many British royals have built upon the school’s legacy by adding new divisions and facilities. Imperial also has a reputation for having a large international student population.

The Imperial College School of Medicine is a top tier medical school in the United Kingdom, and one of the top medical schools in the world. It’s comprised of mergers under the Imperial College Act of 1997 between Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, the National Heart and Lung Institute, and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (RPMS).

The acceptance rate at ICL is 14.3%. Notable alumni and graduates from Imperial College London include H.G. Wells, Thomas Henry Huxley, Alexander Fleming (who discovered penicillin), Peter Higgs (who discovered the Higgs boson), and Brian May of Queen.

Autumn shot of buildings at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

16. University of Chicago (UC): Chicago, Illinois, United States

The

University of Chicago

is home to some of the United States’ most prestigious arts, science, and professional programs including law and business. It also has many international campuses around the world, in London, Hong Kong, Paris, Beijing, and Delhi, to name a few. The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States, and the Barack Obama Presidential Centre is slated to open near the campus in the near future.

UC’s acceptance rate is 7%, around the same as Harvard’s. It was founded in 1890, and is known primarily for its law school and public policy program. Barack Obama taught at the school’s law program for over a decade before he became President of the United States.

Over 100 Nobel Laureates have been affiliated in some way with UC, and 54 alumni are Rhodes Scholars. Notable alumni of UC include Kurt Vonnegut, Ed Asner, Susan Sontag, Robert Gallo, Roger Ebert, Carl Sagan, Philip Glass, and Bernie Sanders.

Aerial view of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

17. Cornell University: Ithaca, New York, United States


Cornell University

is another Ivy League institution in the United States with a reputation full of prestige. It was originally established in 1865 with a focus on a wide range of subjects and fields, from creative arts to the sciences. At its inception, the school’s goal was to offer an education in any program to anyone, regardless of their religion, background, or race. These views were considered very progressive in 1865. It was named after one of its co-founders, Ezra Cornell, who offered up his farm land as a location for the campus.

The acceptance rate at Cornell is 11%. Many of its graduate schools are highly ranked, including its College of Veterinary Medicine, Law School, College of Engineering, Weill Cornell Medical College, and School of Hotel Administration. Its student body has a history of being socially and politically active, especially during the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War protests in the 1960s.

Notable Cornell alumni include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Robert Atkins, Henry Heimlich (creator of the Heimlich maneuver), Toni Morrison, Christopher Reeve, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Pop Warner, who is credited for developing modern American football.

Modern orange building at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China

18. Tsinghua University: Beijing, China

Our next school takes us across the ocean to

Tsinghua University

in Beijing, China. It originally opened in 1911 as an institution that prepared Chinese students to go to the United States to study. By 1925, however, the school had produced its own undergraduate program. Currently, it’s considered to be the top university in Asia.

Tsinghua’s acceptance rate is less than 2% for domestic students. In 2015, Tsinghua began to outrank MIT in the top schools in the world for engineering. Its other standout programs are culture, science, business, and academics.

Many of Tsinghua’s alumni have gone on to take prominent government positions, and as a result, the school boasts a larger number of alumni in politics than most other global institutions. Some other notable alumni include Nobel Prize-winning physicist Yang Chen-Ning and biomedical engineer Leslie Ying.

View from inside an entrance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

19. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (U-M): Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

At the

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

, you can study in a little piece of the state’s history. Originally founded in Detroit in 1817, U-M was originally called the University of Michigania and formed at least 20 years before Michigan became an official state. It is particularly prominent in the STEM, humanities, professional programs, and social science fields and is a major research institution in the United States.

U-M’s acceptance rate is 23%, so your chances are a little higher than its Ivy League counterparts. However, if you’re a future college NCAA athlete, you’ll have a little more luck; U-M is a big sports school with a huge football following in particular.

Notable U-M alumni include Arthur Miller, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Gerald Ford, Branch Rickey (who signed Jackie Robinson to the MLB), Sam Zell, Larry Page, James Earl Jones, Gilda Radner, Sanjay Gupta, and Tom Brady. Musicians Iggy Pop and Madonna both attended U-M, but didn’t graduate.

Want to know more about what it’s like to go to U-M? Check out our Student Influencers Podcast interview with Justin Stewart! He told us all about life on the Ann Arbor campus and how the entire campus gets pumped up for game day, among many other things.

Interior aerial shot at the Hive building at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore

20. Nanyang Technological University (NTU): Singapore


Nanyang Technological University

is the largest university campus in Singapore and is frequently ranked as one of the top global universities. While it’s relatively new compared to the other institutions on this list, established in 1981, it boasts no shortage of recognition and has become prominent in technological innovation.

One of NTU’s signature landmarks is its Hive building, which is often referred to as the “Dim Sum Basket Building” because of its resemblance to the Dim Sum steamer baskets. Built in 2015, The Hive is comprised of 12 different towers, each 8 storeys high, that are arranged around a central public atrium. Its rounded edges feature no corners, and there are about 56 classrooms located in the building.

NTU’s acceptance rate is 35%, and many of NTU’s alumni have gone on to take positions within the Singapore government, including many members of the People’s Action Party. Its faculty contains many Nobel Laureates and accomplished professors.

Aerial photo view of the football stadium at the University of California Berkeley

21. University of California-Berkeley (UCB): Berkeley, California, United States

Also known as UCB or UC Berkeley, the

University of California-Berkeley

is home to many leading and world-renowned research institutions such as the Space Sciences Laboratory. It has also been involved with many inventions and discoveries in the scientific fields, including the Manhattan Project and discoveries of at least 16 different elements. But it’s not all science all the time – UC Berkeley also has the largest Greek society on the entire United States west coast.

Since its inception in 1868, the school’s impressive history of faculty members includes J. Robert Oppenheimer, who worked on the Manhattan Project with Albert Einstein.

With an acceptance rate of 15%, it’ll still be pretty difficult to meet the high criteria for admission. Many UC Berkeley students and alumni have also gone on to become successful entrepreneurs, and the campus is known as a hub for startups. UC Berkeley also has prominence in the media and entertainment industry, computer science, and more.

Notable UCB alumni include Gordon Moore (a computer science pioneer), Douglas Engelbart (who invented the computer mouse and helped develop hypertext), Gregory Peck, Aaron Rodgers, Shantanu Narayen (CEO of Adobe), Chief Justice Earl Warren, Chris Pine, Lee Robertsen (the structural engineer who designed New York City’s original World Trade Center), and Robert McNamara. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and the developer of its first computer, also attended UC Berkeley but dropped out to start Apple.

Modern campus buildings at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

22. Northwestern University (NU): Evanston, Illinois, United States

Originally meant to be a university to unite students in the Northwest states,

Northwestern University

is known primarily for its highly acclaimed theater and liberal arts programs, as well as its math and science research facilities. Founded in 1851, it’s the only private university that competes in the Big Ten Conference of NCAA Division I sports.

The acceptance rate is 8%. Many of Northwestern’s graduates have gone on to become prominent in the performing arts; so much so that the school has become unofficially recognized as a training location for Saturday Night Live and Second City cast members. Among them are Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Seth Meyers, Ana Gasteyer, and Brad Hall.

Other notable alumni of Northwestern University include George R. R. Martin, Megan Mullally, Stephen Colbert, David Schwimmer, Charlton Heston, Daniel Hale Williams, Charles Horace Mayo, Zach Braff, Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex, Jennifer Jones, Patricia Neal, and Steve Weissman.

Female student choosing a story to use for her essay

23. National University of Singapore (NUS): Singapore

The

National University of Singapore

is the oldest university in Singapore, established in 1905. It was originally created to be a medical school, but later adapted more programs into its curriculum to become a leading research facility. In fact, it wasn’t actually called the National University of Singapore until 1962.

NUS also has partnership institutions with Duke University and Yale University within Singapore. Duke-NUS Medical School is a graduate medical school, while Yale-NUS College is a liberal arts institution that offers undergraduate programs in the arts and science.

With an acceptance rate of 7%, it’ll be a little difficult to get accepted to NUS. Many of its graduates have gone on to become members of the Singapore government and justice system, as well as entrepreneurs and prominent business owners in the country.

Exterior shot of the Woodland Quad at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

24. University of Pennsylvania (UPenn): Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

With its roots dating back before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the

University of Pennsylvania

is packed with history. Established in 1740, this Ivy League school boasts a lot of firsts: the first double-decker college football stadium (1922), the first student union organization (1896), and the first medical school in North America (1765). Its world-renowned Wharton Business School is also the oldest, and therefore first, business school in the United States.

UPenn’s acceptance rate is 8%. Alumni and faculty from UPenn have spanned a diverse range of fields. Multiple Founding Fathers of America have taught or studied at UPenn (James Wilson and George Clymer), as well as figureheads of the American Revolution (Benjamin Rush and Francis Hopkinson). William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States, also graduated from UPenn.

Some other notable alumni are Elon Musk, Ezra Pound, Noam Chonsky, Donald Trump, John Legend, Anil Ambani, Elizabeth Banks, Tory Burch, Doc Holliday, and William Wrigley Jr.

Exterior shot of the University of Tokyo, located in Tokyo, Japan

25. The University of Tokyo (UTokyo): Tokyo, Japan

Last but not least, the

University of Tokyo

has climbed in the global university rankings in recent years. It opened in 1877 under the Meiji government as an amalgamation of various colleges and schools, with a focus on fields such as medicine, science, law, arts, and culture.

UTokyo’s acceptance rate is 34.2%. The school also boasts two undergraduate programs geared toward international students that are taught entirely in English. It’s also home to one of Japan’s top law schools. A handful of Nobel Laureates have graduated from UTokyo, as well as 15 previous Prime Ministers of Japan and three astronauts.

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