Attending one of the best universities in the world can do much to change your life forever. Outside of the invaluable knowledge you will gain, such institutions offer immeasurable prestige and a reputation that can elevate your career opportunities for good.
Still, it is impossible to deny that while rankings do matter, they are not the defining factor for employers when making hiring decisions. Instead, employers look at the skills a graduate has gained at university — and assess how these can be applied to the workplace.
Luckily, the best universities in the world are experts at producing graduates who are not only critical and analytical thinkers but ones who have the skills and experience needed to qualify for top jobs. How is this achieved? Through a curriculum that mixes theoretical taught knowledge with experiential learning opportunities and work experience.
Here are the best universities in the world that create intelligent, capable and industry-ready graduates.
8 of the best universities in the world
Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has long built a reputation that precedes itself. Founded in 1636, the university has continuously worked to create graduates across a wide variety of fields who are responsible and ready to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.
Above all, Harvard aims to be relevant and responsive to current issues, both globally and nationally. Recent months have seen the university placed into the spotlight for everything from climate progress to women’s soccer championships, speaking of well-rounded and exciting student life.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT is largely regarded as one of the best — if not the best — universities in the US. Known for its expertise in STEM-related fields, it prepares its students for a wide variety of careers through rigorous academics. Outside of this, it is also famous for its undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business, political science, urban studies, linguistics and philosophy.
Research output is a field in which MIT particularly excels. Recent studies have been published in machine learning, new discoveries of neural networks, and using sound to model the world.
The University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a top choice for the brightest minds on our planet. First founded in 1284, Cambridge is one of the oldest universities in the world, bringing with it a comprehensive history, longstanding traditions, and knowledge that seeps back centuries.
Many notable figures have attended Cambridge, including Britain’s King Charles III.
The University of Oxford
Those who do not aim for Cambridge often set their sights on the University of Oxford. Located in a city that is as beautiful as it is historical, attending Oxford University is a dream for many academics worldwide. On top of that, having the university on one’s CV is a head-turner for many employers — guaranteeing better career opportunities for its graduates.
Oxford University is particularly known for its libraries. The Bodleian Libraries, formed in 1602, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It hosts over 13 million printed items, more than 80,000 e-journals, rare books and manuscripts, maps, music, art, and more.
Though one of the newer universities on this list — it was first founded in 1885 — Stanford University has quickly risen the ranks to become one of the best universities in the world. Most of its contributions are in the STEM field, with high-quality research output developed every day.
However, the university is also proficient in teaching business and economics majors, with particular expertise in developing an entrepreneurial mindset in its students.
Imperial College London
Few students aiming for education in the UK would be unfamiliar with Imperial College London. Located in South Kensington, Imperial is the top choice for most STEM-inclined students.
It boasts a modern campus that mixes culture with innovation. Facilities are no less impressive, with students having access to world-class laboratories, machines and software — all of which help elevate their learning experience.
ETH Zurich is a public research university in Switzerland that has gained worldwide recognition for its excellent undergraduate and postgraduate STEM programmes. Since its establishment in 1855, it has counted 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 3 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner as alumni.
Alumni include Albert Einstein himself, who taught at ETH Zurich as a professor in theoretical physics.
University College London (UCL)
With a modern campus that spans across Russell Square, London, UCL has consistently taken a spot as one of the best universities in the world. 30 Nobel laureates have been counted among its former staff and students — a winner for every year since the Prize was first established.
UCL is largely known for being the world’s #1 in education studies. However, it also thrives in medicine, economics and business, political science, STEM and literature.