US Private Schools Finder

Private universities, distinct from their public counterparts, do not rely on state funding; instead, they depend on tuition fees, private contributions, and endowments. This financial structure often allows them more flexibility in administration, academic freedom, and program offerings. Known for their competitive admission processes, private universities can offer smaller class sizes, distinguished faculties, and often significant resources for research and education.

Top 20 Private Universities in the United States

1. Harvard University

Harvard University, recognized globally for its influence, wealth, and academic pedigree, excels across a wide range of disciplines including law, medicine, business, and the arts. Its extensive library system and affiliations with numerous research institutes place Harvard at the forefront of academic research.

Key Information

  • City Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Year Founded: 1636
  • Total Enrollment: Approximately 20,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
  • Famous Alumni: John F. Kennedy, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg
  • Nobel Winners: 161 affiliated laureates

2. Stanford University

Stanford’s proximity to Silicon Valley contributes to its reputation as a hub for innovation, entrepreneurship, and research, particularly in technology and engineering fields. It boasts a strong emphasis on student-led research projects and interdisciplinary learning.

Key Information

  • City Location: Stanford, California
  • Year Founded: 1885
  • Total Enrollment: About 17,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 5:1
  • Famous Alumni: Elon Musk, Larry Page, Sergey Brin
  • Nobel Winners: 83 affiliated laureates

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT is synonymous with pioneering research in the physical sciences and engineering, but it also excels in economics, political science, and biology. Its entrepreneurial culture encourages students and faculty to move their innovations from the lab to the marketplace.

Key Information

  • City Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Year Founded: 1861
  • Total Enrollment: Roughly 11,500
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 3:1
  • Famous Alumni: Kofi Annan, Buzz Aldrin
  • Nobel Winners: 98 affiliated laureates

4. Yale University

Yale University is renowned for its prestigious law school, its contributions to the arts and humanities, and its historic campus. It emphasizes a broad, liberal undergraduate education with a unique residential college system that fosters a tight-knit community.

Key Information

  • City Location: New Haven, Connecticut
  • Year Founded: 1701
  • Total Enrollment: Approximately 13,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
  • Famous Alumni: Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep
  • Nobel Winners: 61 affiliated laureates

5. Princeton University

Princeton balances strong programs in humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences with an emphasis on undergraduate education. It is also known for its “no-loan” financial aid policy, which grants scholarships that do not require repayment.

Key Information

  • City Location: Princeton, New Jersey
  • Year Founded: 1746
  • Total Enrollment: About 8,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 5:1
  • Famous Alumni: Woodrow Wilson, Michelle Obama
  • Nobel Winners: 68 affiliated laureates

6. Columbia University

Columbia University, set in the heart of New York City, stands out for its influential business school and journalism program. It has a robust core curriculum that provides students with a well-rounded foundational education.

Key Information

  • City Location: New York, New York
  • Year Founded: 1754
  • Total Enrollment: Over 31,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
  • Famous Alumni: Alexander Hamilton, Barack Obama
  • Nobel Winners: 101 affiliated laureates

7. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is famous for its rigorous academic programs and emphasis on intellectual debate. It offers a strong core curriculum in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, and is well-known for its professional schools including the Booth School of Business and the Pritzker School of Medicine.

Key Information

  • City Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Year Founded: 1890
  • Total Enrollment: About 16,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
  • Famous Alumni: Barack Obama, Milton Friedman
  • Nobel Winners: 92 affiliated laureates

8. Duke University

Duke University is known for its strong research output, excellent medical school, and commitment to interdisciplinary education. It combines rigorous academics with vibrant campus life and a strong athletic spirit.

Key Information

  • City Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • Year Founded: 1838
  • Total Enrollment: Approximately 16,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
  • Famous Alumni: Richard Nixon, Melinda Gates
  • Nobel Winners: 15 affiliated laureates

9. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is notable for its integrated studies programs that bridge various professional schools, including business (Wharton), medicine, education, and law. Its urban campus offers vast opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Key Information

  • City Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Year Founded: 1740
  • Total Enrollment: About 25,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
  • Famous Alumni: Donald Trump, Elon Musk
  • Nobel Winners: 29 affiliated laureates

10. Northwestern University

Northwestern University excels in journalism, performing arts, and engineering. Its strategic location near Chicago provides ample opportunities for students to engage in internships and cultural activities.

Key Information

  • City Location: Evanston, Illinois
  • Year Founded: 1851
  • Total Enrollment: About 21,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
  • Famous Alumni: George R.R. Martin, Meghan Markle
  • Nobel Winners: 16 affiliated laureates

11. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Caltech is renowned for its small size but profound impact in science and engineering research, particularly in physics, chemistry, and space sciences. It fosters a strong community where innovation and rigorous scientific inquiry prevail.

Key Information

  • City Location: Pasadena, California
  • Year Founded: 1891
  • Total Enrollment: About 2,200
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 3:1
  • Famous Alumni: Gordon Moore, Kip Thorne
  • Nobel Winners: 38 affiliated laureates

12. Dartmouth College

Dartmouth emphasizes a strong undergraduate education with a liberal arts focus, supported by unique research opportunities. It is known for its tight-knit community and outdoor activities, nestled in a picturesque rural setting.

Key Information

  • City Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
  • Year Founded: 1769
  • Total Enrollment: About 6,500
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
  • Famous Alumni: Robert Frost, Mindy Kaling
  • Nobel Winners: 3 affiliated laureates

13. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins is a leader in medical research and education, famous for its top-ranked hospital and medical school. It also excels in public health, international relations, and the biological sciences.

Key Information

  • City Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Year Founded: 1876
  • Total Enrollment: About 26,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
  • Famous Alumni: Woodrow Wilson, Rachel Carson
  • Nobel Winners: 27 affiliated laureates

14. Cornell University

Cornell is unique among Ivies for its land-grant mission, emphasizing contributions to all fields of knowledge from liberal arts to engineering. It offers a diverse array of undergraduate and professional programs and is known for its beautiful rural campus.

Key Information

  • City Location: Ithaca, New York
  • Year Founded: 1865
  • Total Enrollment: About 23,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
  • Famous Alumni: Toni Morrison, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Nobel Winners: 58 affiliated laureates

15. Brown University

Brown is distinguished by its student-centered learning philosophy, allowing undergraduates unparalleled freedom to design their own educational journey through its Open Curriculum. It is known for fostering an environment of independent thought and innovation.

Key Information

  • City Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Year Founded: 1764
  • Total Enrollment: About 10,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
  • Famous Alumni: John D. Rockefeller Jr., Emma Watson
  • Nobel Winners: 7 affiliated laureates

16. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt offers a combination of liberal arts and professional education at its campus in the heart of Nashville, known for excellent programs in medicine, education, and music. Its campus is noted for its historic buildings and a large arboretum.

Key Information

  • City Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Year Founded: 1873
  • Total Enrollment: About 13,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
  • Famous Alumni: Al Gore, Amy Grant
  • Nobel Winners: 5 affiliated laureates

17. Rice University

Rice is noted for its strong emphasis on science and engineering, as well as its small size and low student-to-faculty ratio. It promotes close collaboration between faculty and students, and its campus boasts state-of-the-art research facilities.

Key Information

  • City Location: Houston, Texas
  • Year Founded: 1912
  • Total Enrollment: About 7,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
  • Famous Alumni: Peggy Whitson, Larry McMurtry
  • Nobel Winners: 2 affiliated laureates

18. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame is known for its strong tradition in liberal arts, law, and business education, integrated with its Catholic values. Its athletic programs are also highly prominent, particularly its football team.

Key Information

  • City Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Year Founded: 1842
  • Total Enrollment: About 12,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
  • Famous Alumni: Condoleezza Rice, Nicholas Sparks
  • Nobel Winners: 1 affiliated laureate

19. Emory University

Emory stands out for its contributions to healthcare and biomedical research, supported by its healthcare system and public health school. It also offers strong programs in business and the liberal arts.

Key Information

  • City Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Year Founded: 1836
  • Total Enrollment: About 15,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
  • Famous Alumni: Alben Barkley, Jim Lanzone
  • Nobel Winners: 1 affiliated laureate

20. Washington University in St. Louis

Known for its high level of student engagement and community service, WashU excels in a range of academic disciplines including medicine, social work, and design. Its campus culture emphasizes collaboration and innovation.

Key Information

  • City Location: St. Louis, Missouri
  • Year Founded: 1853
  • Total Enrollment: About 15,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
  • Famous Alumni: George H. W. Bush, Tennessee Williams
  • Nobel Winners: 25 affiliated laureates