Universities Producing The Most Nobel Prize Winners

Princeton University produces many Nobel Price laureates. Editorial credit: Spiroview Inc / Shutterstock.com
Princeton University produces many Nobel Price laureates. Editorial credit: Spiroview Inc / Shutterstock.com

Times Higher Education, a respected online publication about the institution of higher learning, annually releases a list of the top universities in the world based on the number of Nobel laureates associated with them. In the 2017 edition, Princeton University emerged as the top university globally, with Stanford University coming in at second place. American universities dominate the top-ten list with Israel’s Technion Israel Institute of Technology being the sole non-American university on the list. The dominance of American universities on the list was expected since the United States has produced the highest number Nobel Prize winners.

Universities Producing the Most Nobel Prize Laureates

1. Princeton

Established in 1746, Princeton University is among the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States. The university’s alumni include numerous Nobel Prize winners with 40 of its alumni being recipients of the Nobel Prize. The Nobel laureates from Princeton include chemists Edwin McMillan and Richard Smalley, economists Angus Deaton and Paul Krugman, and physicists Robert Hofstadter and Richard Feynman. Other prominent persons who have gone through Princeton University include Woodrow Wilson and James Madison both of whom being former US presidents, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and former US First Lady Michelle Obama.

2. Stanford

Stanford is one of the leading universities, not only in the United States but in the whole world. The university is named after its founders Leland and Jane Stanford who started the institution in 1885. However, the university was opened six years later in 1891. Among the first graduates from Stanford was former US president Herbert Hoover who in 1895 received a degree in geology from the university. A total of 19 Nobel laureates have been part of Stanford University, making the university one of the highest number of Nobel Prize winners.

3. University of Chicago

Among the reputable institutions of higher learning in the United States is the University of Chicago. Established in 1890, the university has grown to become a global brand in the educational sector. As a global university, the University of Chicago has a presence in other nations including France, China, and India. The university is ranked at third place in the universities with the highest number of Nobel Prize winners in the world. A total 90 Nobel Prize winners have roots in the University of Chicago, and these include the university’s alumni, faculty, and researchers.

4. Columbia University

Founded in 1754, Columbia University is among the oldest institutions of higher learning in the country and is also highly respected in the world. Amplifying the repute of the university is the fact that it has produced numerous Nobel Prize winners since the inaugural award ceremony in 1901. More than 80 Nobel laureates have a connection with the university where they were alumni, members of the faculty, or adjunct staff. Former US presidents Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt were both educated at Columbia University, as was Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father of the nation. Other influential people who have gone through Columbia University include Katie Holmes and Jake Gyllenhaal.

5. MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is among the largest universities in the United States as it is home to over 11,000 undergraduates and over 1,000 faculty members. Students attending the university are trained in science and technology, the arts, as well as numerous other fields. Established in 1861, the university is recognized for producing a total of 85 Nobel laureates. Not to mention that it has also produced a UN Secretary-General, Kofi Anan. The development of radar and the chemical production of penicillin are some of the innovations attributed to the university. Many of the university’s alumni have gone on to launch successful companies which cumulatively have generated over $1.9 trillion in revenue.

6. University of California, Berkeley

Nestled in the Bay Area, the University of California, Berkeley is one of the top institutions of learning in the country. Better known as Berkeley, the university offers a wide range of fields of study to over 27,000 undergraduate students. The university’s faculty members have been Nobel laureates on 19 different occasions including in 2011 when Saul Perlmutter won the acclaimed prize. Chemistry, economics, and physics are the fields in which Berkeley faculty has won Nobel Prizes. Sports is another area in which Berkeley is known for, with the university’s graduates amassing a total of 17 medals during the 2012 London Olympics.

7. Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Another institution which has churned Nobel laureates is the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The institution is named after its founder, Howard Hughes who set up the institution in 1953. A successful business and founder of the Hughes Aircraft Company, Howard established the institution with the goal of making insights into medicine and biology. The institution is presently located in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

8. Harvard University

Harvard University is renowned throughout the globe as a prestigious institution of higher learning. The university is notable for being the oldest in the country as it was founded in 1636. The university has conferred honorary degrees to 13 US presidents over the course of its history. More than 45 individuals who are associated with the university are Nobel Prize winners. Former US Vice-President Al Gore who is an alumnus of the university received the Nobel Peace Prize. Seamus Heaney, a former professor at the university, is another Nobel laureate from Harvard.


The University of California, Santa Barbara is another institution which has produced Nobel laureates. Established in 1891, the university has developed from originally only teaching economics to offering over 200 degrees in different fields of study. Nonetheless, the university currently specializes in teaching liberal arts. Also known by its acronym UCSB, the university is popular for being the only one in the world that owns a lagoon and a beach. Carol Greider, an alumnus of the university, is a recipient of the Nobel Prize.

10. Technion Israel Institute of Technology

Established in 1912, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology is older than the state of Israel. Nestled in Haifa, the university is the largest of its kind in Israel. The university has produced numerous Nobel laureates in chemistry. Most recently was in 2013 when Arieh Warshel, a graduate from the institution won the Nobel Prize. Other recipients of the award from Technion Israel Institute of Technology include Dan Shechtman, Avram Hershko, and Aaron Ciechanover.

Universities Producing The Most Nobel Prize Winners

2017 rankInstitutionCountryScore
1Princeton UniversityUS3.25
2Stanford University US3.16
3University of Chicago US3.00
4Columbia UniversityUS2.83
5Massachusetts Institute of Technology US2.67
6University of California, Berkeley US2.25
7Howard Hughes Medical Institute US1.94
8Harvard University US1.78
9University of California, Santa Barbara US1.74
10Technion Israel Institute of Technology Israel1.66

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