Top 50 Best Life Science Universities In The World
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Top 50 Best Life Science Universities In The World

We all want to get degrees from prestigious universities in the world. If you are into life sciences, getting admitted into a university that really specializes in your field and has all the right equipment, facility, and research program can be tough. Thankfully, that is made one level easier, thanks to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data. We can now take a sneak peek to the top universities and what makes them unique and a go-to institution.

So, if you are one of those who is torn between several universities, you’re reading the right article. On the other hand, if you have been planning to take a degree in biochemistry, Biotechnology, Microbiology or other life sciences subjects, you’re in for a treat.

Times Higher Education’s ranking for life sciences is the answer to your dilemma, and it has all the information you need with regard to finding the best universities in the world for your chosen degree.

Before we go and tackle this top five universities, let us first discuss life sciences. In a nutshell, life sciences cover a wide range of subjects, including, but not limited to, forestry and biotechnology. If you choose to go on this path and end up with a degree, you can go and work on various fields as well. Most of the jobs directly use life science research and knowledge. These jobs involve working for pharmaceutical companies, environmental work, and even forensic science.

For starters, you should know by now that most of these the top universities that offer life sciences are located in the USA and the UK. In fact, the ranking shows that at least 150 schools out of 500 that offer life sciences degrees are concentrated in these two countries, with Harvard University landing on the top spot and with the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and Stanford University tailing closely behind.

This ranking is based on thirteen indicators of excellence that evaluate teaching, research, research influence, innovation and international outlook. If you wish to take a closer look at how the universities are assessed using this thirteen indicators, you may check out the full methodology here.

Without further ado, here are the top 5universities for your chosen life sciences degree:

1. Harvard University

Like most colleges and universities in the USA and the UK, undergraduates who study at Harvard University do not need to take hasty decisions with regard to their majors. They have the opportunity to take and try on various courses before they are required to declare a major subject.

In terms of life sciences, Harvard University offers many interdisciplinary foundational courses that are grouped together in nine concentrations. This is done to help students “explore the diversity of living systems.” When it comes to choosing a major, they have the following options: biomedical engineering, neurobiology, and human evolutionary biology.

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Furthermore, a number of these courses are hands-on, and life sciences students are encouraged to conduct their own research and come up with an original.

According to the university, most of the life science graduates decide to indulge in postgraduate work, which includes medical or scientific research. Other graduates, on the other hand, pursued careers in business, consulting, and environmental advocacy.

Harvard University has been one of the universities around the world with a great reputation. In fact, it is the best-known university, regularly taking the top spot in global reputation surveys conducted by several agencies and organizations. It has been around for more than 300 years, having been founded in 1636.

Quite bluntly, the tuition at Harvard University is undeniably expensive; however, there are several university grants that provide students from low-income families with equal opportunity to be schooled in this prestigious institution. For the class of 2019, only 5.3 percent of applicants made it through the competitive application process.

2. University of Cambridge

Another prestigious school in the UK is the University of Cambridge. It is also one of the oldest universities that follow a collegiate system.

Like Harvard, its School of Biological Sciences also has nine departments and with a number of research centers, including the departments of biochemistry, pharmacology, and zoology.

To add to these nine departments, the University of Cambridge also has a Graduate School of Life Sciences that offers master’s degrees and doctorates. Of all these undergraduate programs, a student can major in three: biological sciences as a natural science specialism, a preclinical veterinary science program, and a psychological and behavioral sciences program.

There is a tutorial system in this university, making teachers work closely with their students. Furthermore, the students also become automatic members of their college community, giving them the freedom to eat meals, live in college-owned buildings, and attend recreational activities.

Charles Darwin was an alumnus of Christ’s College in Cambridge, alongside many other prominent biologists.

3. University of Oxford

Unlike the first two, life science degrees at the University of Oxford are different. They are spread across a number of specialized departments and fall under two divisions: science and clinical.

This university, located at the west of London, is renowned for its architectural structure. This is mainly because the university is also of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities. It has impressive colleges too, which is something really special for a small town.

Some of the world’s world-leading academics have worked or are still working at the university. For instance, the famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is connected with the university, Thus, you may often see him around the area and in public events. Some prominent politicians, cultural figures, and award-winning scientists are associated with the university as well.

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Oxford students belong to a college, where they live, eat and attend small group tutorials with teachers. Postgraduate students are more likely to live outside college and will not necessarily be taught within their college.

In general, based on researches, most of the Oxford graduates move forward in life and land high-profile careers.

4. Stanford University

Standofrd University boasts not only of its large and beautiful campus but also of its reputation as one of the best universities in the world. No wonder it has become the top spot and a popular destination for the US and international students.

Of the more than 15,000 students, more than 20 percent are international, and close to 90 percent of undergraduates live on campus, especially since all first-year students are required to live on campus.

The schools have created a name for itself and have been renowned for its science and innovation. To add, university researchers, students, and alumni also play a vital role in the school. They significantly contribute to technological development in Silicon Valley, located right near the university.

Stanford’s department of biology leads the way for life science research, while the bioengineering department creates a fusion of engineering and life sciences by inventing new technologies.

The following are some of the courses offered by the biology department: biochemistry, biophysics, computational biology, conservational biology, and many other subdisciplines.

Stanford alumni have been published internationally and have won prestigious awards, including Nobel Prizes, Rhodes Scholarships, and Turing Awards.

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

It might be an institute of technology, but you will be surprised to know that MIT offer courses on life science topics. For them, this is a way to contribute toward either a major or a minor degree subject.

These courses range from biological engineering, a pioneering new discipline that combines principles of engineering and biological systems, to “Science, Technology and Society”, which offers a more comprehensive overview of life sciences and its applications.

The school accepts both undergraduates and postgraduates for life sciences degrees, with further study in health sciences or engineering as the most common post-graduation option. To add, a number of life sciences graduate also embark on to medical school while others pursue careers in finance, intellectual property law, and forensics.

MIT has been known to have an excellent reputation in all their science and technology disciplines. Admissions too are accordingly very selective with only 8 percent of applicants winning a spot. More than 80 affiliates of the university have won Nobel Prizes, and many more have achieved recognition through other awards.

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Below is the list of Top 50 World University Rankings 2018 in Life Science Category:

Life Sciences Rank 2018UniversityCountry
1Harvard UniversityUnited States
2University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom
3University of OxfordUnited Kingdom
4Stanford UniversityUnited States
5Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUnited States
6Johns Hopkins UniversityUnited States
7Princeton UniversityUnited States
8California Institute of TechnologyUnited States
9Yale UniversityUnited States
10Imperial College LondonUnited Kingdom
11University of ChicagoUnited States
12University of California, San DiegoUnited States
13ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichSwitzerland
14Cornell UniversityUnited States
15Columbia UniversityUnited States
16Duke UniversityUnited States
17University of PennsylvaniaUnited States
18University of California, BerkeleyUnited States
19University of California, Los AngelesUnited States
20Wageningen University & ResearchNetherlands
21University of British ColumbiaCanada
22University of TorontoCanada
23University of EdinburghUnited Kingdom
23Peking UniversityChina
25Karolinska InstituteSweden
26National University of SingaporeSingapore
27University of MichiganUnited States
28University of California, DavisUnited States
29Washington University in St LouisUnited States
30King’s College LondonUnited Kingdom
31McGill UniversityCanada
32University of MelbourneAustralia
33École Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneSwitzerland
34Heidelberg UniversityGermany
35University of QueenslandAustralia
36University of TokyoJapan
37Kyoto UniversityJapan
38Uppsala UniversitySweden
39LMU MunichGermany
40University of Wisconsin-MadisonUnited States
41University of Hong KongHong Kong
42Northwestern UniversityUnited States
43Technical University of MunichGermany
44Ghent UniversityBelgium
45Australian National UniversityAustralia
46Lund UniversitySweden
47University of SydneyAustralia
48Emory UniversityUnited States
49University of GlasgowUnited Kingdom
50Humboldt University of BerlinGermany


Before deciding which school to attend, be sure that you have done your research and that the program, course, or major you want to pursue is being offered. Also, it would be wise to choose your top three, even if it’s not on the top five that we just enumerated. This way, you will have several options to choose from and will have some fallbacks just in case the first choice won’t or can’t work out. What is important when choosing a university is the kind of education and training you get from it, regardless if it’s on the top or not.

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