1.University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second oldest surviving university. While its exact founding date is unknown, there is evidence that teaching took place as far back as 1096. Located in and around Oxford’s medieval city centre, the university comprises 44 colleges and halls, and over 100 libraries, making it the largest library system in the UK. Students number around 22,000 in total, just over half of whom are undergraduates while over 40 per cent are international, representing 140 countries between them. Called the ‘city of dreaming spires’ by Victorian poet, Matthew Arnold, Oxford has the youngest population of any city in England and Wales: nearly a quarter of its residents are university students, which gives Oxford a noticeable buzz. Oxford has an alumni network of over 250,000 individuals, including more than 120 Olympic medallists, 26 Nobel Prize winners, seven poets laureate, and over 30 modern world leaders (Bill Clinton, Aung San Suu Kyi, Indira Ghandi and 26 UK Prime Ministers, among them). The university is associated with 11 winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, five in physics and 16 in medicine. Notable Oxford thinkers and scientists include Tim Berners-Lee, Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins. The actors Hugh Grant and Rosamund Pike also went to Oxford, as did the writers Oscar Wilde, Graham Greene, Vikram Seth and Philip Pullman. Oxford’s first international student, named Emo of Friesland, was enrolled in 1190, while the modern day university prides itself on having an ‘international character’ with connections to almost every country in the world and 40% of its faculty drawn from overseas. As a modern, research-driven university, Oxford has numerous strengths but cites particular prowess in the sciences, having recently ranked number one in the world for medicine (if its Medical Sciences division was a university in its own right, it would be the fourth largest in the UK) and among the top ten universities globally for life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities.
2.California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a world-renowned science and engineering research and education institution, where extraordinary faculty and students seek answers to complex questions, discover new knowledge, lead innovation, and transform our future.
Stanford University has one of the largest campuses in the US and is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It was established in 1885 and opened six years later as a co-educational and non-denominational private institution. Its location, less than an hour’s drive south of San Francisco next to Palo Alto, is in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, and the university is known for its entrepreneurial spirit. This entrepreneurialism has its roots in the aftermath of the Second World War, when the provost encouraged innovation, resulting in a self-sufficient industry that would become Silicon Valley. By 1970, the university had a linear accelerator and hosted part of the early network that would become the technical foundation of the internet. The main campus spans 8,180 acres and is home to almost all the undergraduates who study at the university. There are 700 major university buildings housing 40 departments within the three academic schools and four professional schools, alongside 18 independent laboratories, centres and institutes. Stanford counts 21 Nobel laureates within its community, and numerous famous alumni associated with the university from the worlds of business, politics, media, sport and technology. The 31st president of the US, Herbert Hoover, was part of the very first class at Stanford, and received a degree in geology in 1895. Currently, Stanford is also one of the leading producers of US Congress members. The alumni include 30 living billionaires, 17 astronauts, 18 Turing Award recipients and two Fields Medallists. Google’s co-founders met at Stanford while pursuing doctorate degrees, although neither ultimately completed their theses. In total, companies founded by Stanford affiliates and alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion annual revenue, which would be the 10th largest economy in the world. These companies include Nike, Netflix, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Instagram, Snapchat, PayPal and Yahoo. The first American woman to go into space, Sally Ride, received an undergraduate degree in physics from Stanford in 1973. Just 10 years later, she made her ascent into space. In the five years leading up to 2012, the university embarked on a challenge to raise more than $4 billion. The fundraising exceeded this target and concluded the campaign having raised $6.2 billion, which will be used for more faculty appointments, graduate research fellowships and scholarships, and construction on 38 new or existing campus buildings. Some of the funds have already been used for large projects, including the world’s largest dedicated stem cell research facility, a new business school campus, a law school expansion, a new Engineering Quad, a campus concert hall and an art museum. Unofficially, the Stanford motto is a German quotation “Die Luft der Freiheit weht”, which translates as “the wind of freedom blows”.
4.University of Cambridge
Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research institution. Its 800-year history makes it the fourth-oldest surviving university in the world and the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. Cambridge serves more than 18,000 students from all cultures and corners of the world. Nearly 4,000 of its students are international and hail from over 120 different countries. In addition, the university’s International Summer Schools offer 150 courses to students from more than 50 countries. The university is split into 31 autonomous colleges where students receive small group teaching sessions known as college supervisions. Six schools are spread across the university’s colleges, housing roughly 150 faculties and other institutions. The six schools are: Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Humanities and Social Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology. The campus is located in the centre of the city of Cambridge, with its numerous listed buildings and many of the older colleges situated on or near the river Cam. The university is home to over 100 libraries, which, between them, hold more than 15 million books in total. In the main Cambridge University library alone, which is a legal depository, there are eight million holdings. The university also owns nine arts, scientific and cultural museums that are open to the public throughout the year, as well as a botanical garden. Cambridge University Press is a non-school institution and operates as the university’s publishing business. With over 50 offices worldwide, its publishing list is made up of 45,000 titles spanning academic research, professional development, research journals, education and bible publishing. In total, 92 affiliates of the university have been awarded Nobel Prizes, covering every category. The university’s endowment is valued at nearly £6 billion.
5.Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is an independent, coeducational, private research university based in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1861, MIT aims to ‘further knowledge and prepare students in science, technology and other fields of study that will best benefit the nation and the world today’. Its motto is Mens et Manus, which translates as “Mind and Hand”. The university lays claim to 85 Nobel Laureates, 58 National Medal of Science winners, 29 National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners and 45 MacArthur Fellows. Among its impressive alumni is Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations. Scientific discoveries and technological advances accredited to MIT include the first chemical synthesis of penicillin, the development of radar, the discovery of quarks, and the invention of magnetic core memory, which enabled the development of digital computers. MIT is currently organised into five different schools: architecture and planning, engineering, humanities, arts and social sciences, management and science. It is home to around 1,000 faculty members and over 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students. MIT’s current areas of research include digital learning, sustainable energy, Big Data, human health and much more. In addition to its emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, MIT also boasts a diverse and vibrant campus environment with a wide array of student groups. The campus is arranged over 168 acres within Cambridge, and features 18 student residences, 26 acres of playing fields, 20 gardens and green-space areas, as well as over 100 public works of art. MIT estimates that all its living alumni have between them launched more than 30,000 active companies, created 4.6 million jobs and generated roughly $1.9 trillion in annual revenue. Taken together, this ‘MIT Nation’ is equivalent, they say, to the 10th-largest economy in the world.
Dating back to 1636, Harvard University is the oldest university in the US and is regarded as one of the most prestigious in the world. It was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard, who left his library and half his estate to the institution when he died in 1638. The private Ivy League institution has connections to more than 45 Nobel laureates, over 30 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer prizewinners. It has more than 323,000 living alumni, including over 271,000 in the US and nearly 52,000 in 201 other countries. Thirteen US presidents have honorary degrees from the institution; the most recent of these was awarded to John F. Kennedy in 1956. Faculty members who have been awarded a Nobel prize in recent years include chemist Martin Karplus and economist Alvin Roth, while notable alumni who were given the honour include former US vice-president Al Gore, who won the Peace Prize in 2007, and poet Seamus Heaney, who was a professor at Harvard from 1981 to 1997. Situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard’s 5,000-acre campus houses 12 degree-granting schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, two theatres and five museums. It is also home to the largest academic library in the world, with 20.4 million volumes, 180,000 serial titles, an estimated 400 million manuscript items, 10 million photographs, 124 million archived web pages and 5.4 terabytes of born-digital archives and manuscripts. There are more than 400 student organisations on campus, and Harvard’s medical school is connected to 10 hospitals. The university receives one of the largest financial endowments of any higher education institution in the world; it created $1.5 billion in the fiscal year ended June 2013 – more than a third of Harvard’s total operating revenue in that year. Harvard’s official colour is crimson, following a vote in 1910, after two student rowers provided crimson scarves to their teammates so that spectators could differentiate the university’s team during a regatta in 1858.
Via : Timeshighereducation