Posted on 17 March 2009.
1. Harvard University (US)
The name Harvard comes from the college’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown. Upon his death in 1638, he left half his estate to the institution established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Harvard college currently enrolls 6700 undegrads and 12300 graduate and professional students. Harvard University is made up of 10 principal academic units — nine faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The nine faculties oversee schools and divisions that offer courses and award academic degrees. Average tuition is around $32,557 a year.
2. Yale University (US)
Yale’s roots can be traced back to the 1640s, when colonial clergymen led an effort to establish a college in New Haven to preserve the tradition of European liberal education in the New World. This vision was fulfilled in 1701, when the charter was granted for a school “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences [and] through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State.” In 1718 the school was renamed “Yale College” in gratitude to the Welsh merchant Elihu Yale, who had donated the proceeds from the sale of nine bales of goods together with 417 books and a portrait of King George I. Yale University comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools. Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11250 students attend Yale.
3. University of Cambridge (UK)
The University of Cambridge is one of the world’s oldest universities and leading academic centres, and a self-governed community of scholars. Its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known world-wide for over 800 years. Cambridge University today boasts 31 colleges and over 13000 students.
4. University of Oxford (UK)
As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique and historic institution. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096. From its early days, Oxford was a centre for lively controversy, with scholars involved in religious and political disputes. Oxford has one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK. There are over 20,000 students at Oxford, including 11917 undergraduates and 7350 postgraduates.
5. California Institute of Technology (US)
Caltech (commonly referred to as Caltech) began as a vocational school founded in Pasadena in 1891 by local businessman and politician Amos G. Throop. The school was known successively as Throop University, Throop Polytechnic Institute, and Throop College of Technology, before acquiring its current name in 1921. The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech maintains a strong emphasis on the natural sciences and engineering. Caltech also operates and manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a NASA Center that oversees the design and operation of many unmanned space probes. Caltech is a small school, with only about 2100 students about 900 undergraduates and 1200 graduate students.