From public colleges to private institutions, New York is home to some of the nation’s most prestigious universities. Discover nine of the top universities in New York and find out what sets them apart.
Established in 1819, Colgate University is one of the oldest institutions on this list. Although it’s over 200 years old, this private university stays ahead of the curve with its intellectually demanding academic programs, world-class faculty, and innovative research studies.
Colgate University students can choose from more than 50 majors and academic programs. Whether they focus on Africana and Latin American studies, environmental geology, molecular biology, or sociology, they can look forward to interdisciplinary education. Since the university also offers myriad study abroad programs, students can also become global citizens as they prepare for successful careers.
As one of the nation’s top-ranking colleges, Columbia University is one of the most well-known names on this list. Located in Upper Manhattan, Columbia University is known as a center of research, a multidisciplinary academic hub, and an international learning destination. Its areas of study total more than 380 and the university offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Columbia University is home to 20 schools, including the Columbia School of Journalism and Columbia Law School. It also boasts more than 200 centers and institutes, from the Center for Buddhism and East Asian Religion to the Human Rights Institute to the Center for the Study of Social Difference.
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Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University prides itself on encouraging a revolutionary spirit, innovative thinking, and global change. This private university was founded in 1865 and has supported groundbreaking research for over 150 years. In fact, Cornell University has over 100 centers, institutes, and programs, from the Cornell Center on the Physics of Cancer Metabolism to the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research.
Undergraduate students can choose from 80 majors and several dual-degree programs, ranging from agricultural sciences to food science to urban and regional studies. Graduate students can pursue degrees in fields like aerospace engineering, animal science, computational biology, and pharmacology.
Also known as the Jesuit University of New York, Fordham University was founded in 1841. With campuses in Manhattan, Bronx, and Westchester County, Fordham University has educational resources throughout the New York metro area.
Students can choose from nine schools that offer undergraduate programs in arts and humanities, business, math and economics, social sciences, and several other areas. Graduate students can pursue law, business administration, fine arts, public health, and other programs. Students can also leverage research opportunities, such as the Calder Summer Undergraduate Research Center Program.
New York University
Since it was established in 1831, New York University has made a name for itself as an innovative institution with a global vision. This private university is home to 18 schools and colleges, supports research programs in over 25 countries, and has degree-granting campuses in Lower Manhattan, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai.
New York University students can take advantage of dozens of centers and institutes, such as the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Division of Clinical Genetic Services, and the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education. Altogether, students can choose from more than 400 undergraduate and graduate programs, ranging from American studies to woodwind studies.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
With just under 8,000 enrolled students, Rensselaer Polytechnic University is one of the smallest colleges on this list, yet the impact that this private research university has is immense. Rensselaer Polytechnic University is home to five schools and offers degrees in architectural sciences, applied physics, supply chain management, nuclear engineering, and dozens of other fields.
Rensselaer Polytechnic University has over a dozen core research facilities, including a Biotech Analytical Biochemistry Core and the Corman Center for Mass Spectrometry. The university is also home to dozens of research centers, from the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology to the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems to the Lighting Research Center.
Stony Brook University
As a branch of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, Stony Brook University is a public school and one of the most affordable options on this list. It’s also in the 1% of universities in the world and a research institution that’s recognized around the globe.
Altogether, Stony Book University has more than 200 majors, minors, and other degree programs. Once enrolled, students can study anything from accounting or anthropology to theater arts or women’s and gender studies. Students can also take advantage of unique offerings like the university’s Center of Excellence in Wireless Information Technology, the Turkana Basin Institute, and the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center.
Established in 1870, Syracuse University enrolls nearly 22,000 students from across the globe. Located in the heart of Central New York, this research university is home to more than a dozen schools and colleges and has an endowment of $1.4 billion.
Syracuse University offers over 200 majors and 100 minors, ranging from acting or aerospace engineering to music or neuroscience. This private university also has more than 200 graduate degree programs, including advertising, architecture, civil engineering, data science, and many more.
University of Rochester
Founded in 1850, the University of Rochester is one of the world’s top research universities. Located in Western New York, this private university enrolls about 12,000 students and has more than 200 academic programs.
The university is home to 50 research centers and institutes, and over three-quarters of its undergraduates perform student research. Students can take advantage of the university’s $438 million in annual funding to conduct research at the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Augmented and Virtual Reality, the Elaine C. Hubbard Center for Nursing Research on Aging, and many other institutes.
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