The Top 7 Public Universities, 2017

The Top 7 Public Universities, 2017

We all know about those fancy and prestigious private universities like Yale, Harvard or Stanford. But they may be much more pricey to attend than public schools. The reason is funding - because of state financing, public universities usually offer low tuition fees for in-state students. Among other advantages of state universities are extensive lists of academic programs, active athletic programs, more student resources and research, networking, and job (due to reputation and national recognition) opportunities.

So we’ve prepared the top 7 public universities of our choice with a brief overview of their degree programs, learning opportunities, public service programs and research focus to guide you through the overwhelming amount of U.S. public schools.

The list of universities is sorted by graduation rate from highest to lowest.

1. University of Virginia, Charlottesville

UVA is comprised of 11 schools, including schools of education, leadership and public policy, arts and sciences, business, commerce, architecture, continuing and professional studies, engineering and applied science, law, medicine, nursing, and The University of Virginia's College at Wise.

Among an extensive array of majors, undergraduate students can obtain degrees in interdisciplinary sciences, including cognitive science, American studies and statistics. UVA also offers 82 master’s and 54 doctoral degrees.

The International Studies Office promotes global learning and research, provides programs for international students and scholars (431 international scholars and 387 international faculty working at UVA currently), offers 50 programs for education abroad.

UVA addresses complex social and intellectual challenges. Researchers and students conduct a wealth of fascinating investigations - reversing depression symptoms in mice using probiotics, constructing an infrared camera to get a map of lava lake on Jupiter moon, creating gizmos like a clock with a digital timepiece, LED lighting and computer-controlled concentric gears, etc.

However, the core area of studies is health and medicine. The UVA Health System (612 bed medical center), the Emily Couric Cancer and UVA Children’s Hospital deliver patient care and train medical and nursing professionals. Groundbreaking studies like the discovery of new connections between the brain and the immune system or an artificial pancreas development to defeat type-1 diabetes are conducted here.

UVA’s faculty, students, and staff constantly develop innovative and wholesome solutions and things across over 100 research centers and labs. The UVA Licensing & Ventures Group helps creators to turn their inventions into commercially successful products, tools and services, through close collaboration and optimizing, patents, copyrights and trademarks. Over the past 10 years, the LVF has assisted in founding of the 54 companies, including Rivanna Medical, an ultrasound device to guide epidurals, or MadiDrop, a technology of disinfecting household water to provide affordable drinking water. Thus, it’s not just about profit, it’s about solving the daunting problems, improving society, making helpful innovations accessible.

2. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, or Cal boasts 170 academic departments and programs across 14 colleges and schools, including information, law, education, chemistry, engineering, environmental design, business, etc. There are 7 Nobel Prize and 4 Pulitzer Prize winners among faculty.

Departments offer undergraduate degrees, master’s, doctoral and professional programs, leadership training, undergraduate minor programs, teacher preparation, MBA programs and executive education. The classes are surprisingly small for a large university - 73% of undergraduate classes have under 30 students, student-to-faculty ratio is 17 to 1. Since 1961 Cal has implemented RRR week (stands for reading, review and recitation) before final exams - no projects, tests or other activities are scheduled during this week.

Student Learning Center delivers tutoring, training, pedagogical and academic support, maintains summer program for freshmen. Educational opportunity program provides resources and advising to first-generation and low-income students. The Disabled Students' Program provides support and resources, proper accommodations and services for students with disabilities.

Cal faculty and students conduct research through academic departments, institutes and centers, museums, and biological field stations - 116 research facilities in total. Students work alongside faculty on various research projects: redesigning cumbersome interferometer (precisely measures distance and gravity) to fit a shoe-box or making robots able to learn and improve performance, perceive environment through deep learning and reinforcement learning. The latter allowed Berkley’s robot BRETT learn how to fold towels, screw a cap, place a hanger on a rack and pull out a nail.

BRETT is amazed at his new skills

3. University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA strives to combine education, research and service. University offers 125 majors and 90 minors alongside 150 graduate degree programs and 100 continuing higher education certificate programs across 109 academic departments. Six divisions offer undergraduate majors and minors - college of letters and science, schools of the arts and architecture, of engineering and applied science, music and nursing, school of theater, film and television. There is an option to complete a double major. 17 more schools, departments and institutes offer graduate programs. Instruction is available in 40 different languages.

Through UCLA’s Center for Community Learning students participate in internships (students have an opportunity to gain academic credit for an internship), in service learning courses, complete Civic Engagement minor, or conduct research on civic engagement during the academic year through The Astin Scholars Program. There is an abundance of other learning and research opportunities, including concurrent and articulated programs, summer travel programs and Study abroad.

UCLA annually receives 1 billion dollars of research funding. UCLA has a rich research history: its faculty and alumni had a hand in the creation of an Internet and laid the groundwork of reverse osmosis. The faculty comprises 13 Nobel Prize laureates. Over 140 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA and 3000 inventions have been developed at UCLA’s research facilities. The faculty and students have 350 centers, labs and institutes at their disposal for research and analyses. Two centers make sure undergraduate students have a possibility to conduct their own researches and work on research projects alongside faculty - Center for the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and Undergraduate Research Center - Sciences. Both provide research scholarships possibilities, research programs, including summer programs on- and off-campus, fellowships and travel grant programs, encourage students to take part in workshops and conferences.

4. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

5. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

6. College of William and Mary

7. University of California, Irvine

This is our choice of the best public universities that provide robust education and an extensive range of learning and research opportunities to help you get the most out of your university years. Do you agree with our list? Or, maybe you have other universities in mind when it comes to public education? Feel free to start a discussion in the comment section below.

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