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Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Jane and Leland Stanford, “to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence in behalf of humanity and civilization.” Since opening in 1891, Stanford's faculty and students have worked to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world through the discovery and application of knowledge. Breakthroughs at Stanford include the first successful heart-lung transplant, the debut of the computer mouse, and the development of digital music.
Situated on 8,180 acres, Stanford is one of the largest campuses in the United States with 18 interdisciplinary research institutes and seven schools on a single campus: Graduate School of Business; School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Graduate School of Education; School of Engineering; School of Humanities and Sciences; Law School; and School of Medicine.
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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 the future.
Caltech has six academic divisions with a strong emphasis in science and technology teaching and research. The university has a competitive admissions process ensuring that only a small number of the most gifted students are admitted.
Caltech has a high research output and alongside many high-quality facilities, both on campus and globally. This includes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Caltech Seismological Laboratory and the International Observatory Network.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Established in 1855 as the Federal Polytechnic School, a century and a half later ETH Zurich is now considered among some of the world's most prestigious universities in science and technology.
The institute has produced over 20 Nobel Prize Laureates, including the father of modern physics and the inventor of the general theory of relativity Albert Einstein.
The university, commonly known as Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich or Poly for short, has based its success on Swiss traditions of cherishing fundamental principles of freedom, individual responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit and open-minded approach to education. It remains a European research pioneer, which tries to offer practical solutions, which address worldwide challenges.
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Imperial College London, a science-based institution based in the centre of the capital, is regarded as one of the UK’s leading institutions.
The college has around 15,000 students and 8,000 staff, with a focus on four main areas: science, engineering, medicine and business.
The institution has its roots in the vision of Prince Albert to make London’s South Kensington a centre for education, with colleges going alongside the nearby Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and Science Museum.
Imperial was granted its charter in 1907, merging the Royal College of Science, the Royal School of Mines and the City & Guilds College.
The institution boasts 14 Nobel Prize winners, including Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.
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Princeton is one of the oldest universities in the US and is regarded as one of the world’s most illustrious higher education institutions.
Founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, it was officially renamed Princeton University in 1896 in honour of the area where it is based, opening its famous graduate school in 1900.
Acclaimed for its commitment to teaching, the Ivy League institution offers residential accommodation to all of its undergraduates across all four years of study, with 98 per cent of undergraduates living on campus.
Its student body is relatively small, with fewer than 10,000 in total, and international students make up 12 per cent of undergraduates.
Princeton is also one of the world’s foremost research universities with connections to more than 40 Nobel laureates, 17 winners of the National Medal of Science and five recipients of the National Humanities Medal.
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Given its status as one of the nine original Colonial Colleges – institutions established before the US became a sovereign nation after the American Revolution – and a founding member of the Association of American Universities, it is no surprise the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) claims to be the first fully fledged (multi-faculty) “university” in the USA.
Though Penn’s origins date back to 1740, it was until 1749 when Benjamin Franklin published his famous essay, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth, circulated it among Philadelphia’s prominent citizens, and organized 24 trustees to form an institution of higher education based on his proposals. It was 30 years later when Penn was granted university status. Since then, Penn has expanded into a sprawling 302-acre campus with 200 buildings. It boasts many notable “first” landmarks on campus including the country’s first student union, double-decker college football stadium, and the world’s first collegiate business school – The Wharton School.