Best Public Universities in 2017

Best Public Universities

What is a Public University?

Public universities are educational institutions of the highest level predominantly funded through public means – through a national or sub national government. Whether a university is considered public varies from region to region and country to country and largely depends on the specific education landscape. In Canada, for example, education is a constitutional responsibility of each individual province. In Germany, the vast majority of higher education institutions are public, operated by the states and generally held in higher esteem than their private counterparts.

Whether a public university is free of tuition cost or has obligatory fees depends on the specific university and social context of each country. By and large, though, public universities tend to have lower costs than private ones, offering large discounts to residents of their states. They run over a very large spectrum: From small, liberal arts colleges to large research institutions.

Best Public University List

The University of Cambridge: Founded in 1209, this collegiate public research institution has more than 800-years of history and currently serves more than 18.000 students from all around the world. It is split into thirty one autonomous colleges, with six schools spread across the university’s colleges, housing about one hundred fifty faculties and other institutions. The six schools are: Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Humanities and Social Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology.

Housing more than a hundred libraries, the university holds more than fifteen million books in total. In addition, it is home to nine museums, open to the public throughout the year, as well as a botanical garden.

Ninety two affiliates of the university have been awarded Nobel Prizes, covering every category. In other words: You can hardly go wrong with Cambridge.

ETH Zurich: One of the world’s most prestigious universities in science and technology, ETH Zurich was first established in 1855. It has produced over 20 Nobel Prize Laureates, amongst them the great Albert Einstein. It is considered one of Europe’s most notable contributors to the science and technology industry.

It has sixteen distinct departments conducting solid academic interdisciplinary research covering subjects such as biology, physics and chemistry. It has strong ties with researchers, foreign partners and key stakeholders who provide ample support on its research.

Regular exhibition and concerts but also significant academic events are held on campus, readily available for students to attend.

University of California, Berkeley: Regarded as one of the most prestigious state universities in the US, the University of California, Berkeley was founded in 1868. Located in San Francisco’s Bay Area, it is home to about 37.000 students in total.

People hailing from Berkeley have won 19 Nobel Prizes, on subjects such as physics, chemistry and economics. Notable alumni of the university include important figures such as former prime minister and president of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and novelist and journalist Jack London.

Berkeley has a long lasting tradition as a centre of political activism. For example, during the 60s and 70s students protested heavily against the Vietnam War,

Its campus includes a Botanic Garden first established in 1890 and the California Memorial Stadium used by the university’s sports team, which has a capacity of 60.000.

University of California, Los Angeles: This world renowned university teaches roughly 230 undergraduate and graduate majors, with many of its academic programs ranking among the top twenty in their respective disciplines.

More than half of UCLA students graduate with substantial research experience in the humanities, social sciences or STEM disciplines. UCLA also supports more than 275 programs in 39 foreign countries, encouraging students to study abroad greatly.

For extracurricular activities, the university offers roughly a thousand student organizations ready to provide students with opportunity to pursue a wide variety of interests and complete projects with their fellow students.

Notably, UCLA is also home to an elite Division I athletics program.

Pennsylvania State University: A founding member of the Association of American Universities, the University of Pennsylvania claims to be the first multi faculty university in the United States. The Pennsylvania University has exploded into a sprawling, enormous campus housing more than two hundred buildings.

The university has a very significant list of notable alumni of various backgrounds. It has affiliations with more than twenty five Nobel Laureates, including the well known economist Lawrence Klein, and has accounted for many heads of state. For example, former prime minister and president of Ghana, Kwame Nikrumah, gained multiple degrees from the institution.

The University of Oxford: The University of Oxford is a rather peculiar case. While it is a “public” university, in the sense that it receives public funds from the British government, it is a “private” university in the sense that it is entirely self-governing and, in theory, could choose to become entirely private by rejecting public funds.

In any case, we feel our list would not be complete with no mention of this legendary institution. The University of Oxford is the world’s second oldest living university, with evidence pointing that teaching took place as far back as 1096.

It houses the largest library system in the United Kingdom, and it’s palette of students’ covers more than 140 countries. Oxford currently has an alumni network of the staggering number of more than 250.000, including more than 120 Olympic medalists, 26 Nobel Prize winners, and over 30 modern world leaders.

It currently ranks number one in the world for Medical Sciences, and among the top ten universities globally for life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences and the arts and humanities.

All in all, one could safely say that Oxford University lives up to its name.


The aforementioned list presents to you the highest ranked public Universities of the world. To be perfectly honest, you cannot go wrong with choosing either of them. If you are interested in pursuing an academic future in them, you might want to consider other factors, such as location, living costs, tuition fees and cultural background as every single one of them is epic in its academic delivery and you will definitely get your investments worth back.

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