3. Georgia Technology Institute (Atlanta, GA)
Georgia Tech is a hidden gem of sorts. It has all the rigor and prestige of an MIT while maintaining a friendly learning environment.
Consistently top-rated in engineering and computer science, the school sits in Midtown Atlanta, near the city’s growing movie production hub, which one PhD student got to experience for herself.
De’Aira Bryant was chosen to program a robot for the 2020 HBO Max film Superintelligence, starring Melissa McCarthy. The robot, nicknamed Cookie, performed communicative gestures as it interacted with other characters.
There are unique opportunities like this for students in all fields of study at Georgia Tech, which prides itself on its rigorous research culture.
Former president Jimmy Carter is perhaps Georgia Tech’s highest-profile alumni.
2. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)
CalTech is one of the few U.S. universities that primarily studies STEM subjects. Thus scholars and administrators can focus more effort and resources on major endeavors like NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
JPL is a world-renowned research center whose current projects include the Mars Curiosity rover, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Jupiter-orbiting spacecraft Juno. The lab is also responsible for helping develop FINDER, a tool to assist first responders in locating people trapped under debris.
Almost 90% of undergrads complete at least one research project by graduation. The most popular program is the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), where students work with faculty mentors to develop and complete funded research projects over a 10-week period.
Visiting professors have included Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Alumni are no less impressive: scientist Linus Pauling discovered the cause of sickle cell anemia, determined the structure of proteins, and figured out the nature of chemical bonds.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
A well-known rival of CalTech, MIT is the top U.S. university for an education in technology.
Admission is highly selective (6.7%), but those who make the cut can take advantage of world-class research opportunities, faculty, and resources.
One group, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), conducts crucial research on widening wealth gaps due to the pandemic. For example, the lab is currently studying the impact of disease on women’s employment in Pakistan. Their findings will help inform local policies and affect meaningful change.
It was at MIT that Robert Weinberg discovered the first human cancer gene, the oncogene ras.
Not counting Tony Stark, a few famous MIT graduates include Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy.
MIT is consistently on the cutting edge of today’s problems and tomorrow’s solutions, cementing its place in the number one spot.