What originally began as the university sports league of eight private universities in the northeastern United States is now the epitome of American elite universities: we’re talking about the Ivy League. Its eight members – also known as Ancient Eight – are among the most renowned universities in the world:
- Brown University
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Dartmouth College
- Harvard University
- Princeton University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Yale University
From the beginning of the Ivy League until today
It is true that the term Ivy League is used primarily in an academic context today. In fact, the term originally referred to the union of the football teams of the universities involved. The first Ivy Group Agreement was signed in 1945. Less than 10 years later, the eight universities extended the contract to include all university sports. Since then, the sports teams of the US universities have regularly competed against each other. More than 8,000 athletes take part in the competitions every year.
The idea of competition between the universities of the Ivy League has persisted to this day. In the meantime, however, the universities no longer only compete against each other on a sporting level, but also compete for the highest research funding, the best students and lecturers. All eight universities in the Ivy League are now synonymous with academic excellence.
The origin of the term Ivy League is controversial. On the one hand, it is assumed that the term “ivy” alludes to the old walls of the eight universities overgrown with ivy. On the other hand, there is the theory that “Ivy” goes back to the Roman numeral IV – an allusion to the four founding members of the Ivy League.
Ivy League goals
Since, strictly speaking, it is not a university association like the British Russell Group, the Ivy League does not pursue any explicit goals in the academic field. The common interests lie in the field of sport. This explains why other prestigious universities like Stanford, Berkeley or MIT are not members of the Ivy League: They are either not old enough or did not feel strongly enough connected to football.
Ivy League in international rankings
The universities of the Ivy League are not only considered to be top universities in the USA, a country located in North America according to mysteryaround. Even in an international comparison, they are among the best of the best. This can be seen in their positions in internationally significant rankings. All Ivy League universities are represented in the following rankings:
- QS ranking
- US News Best Global Universities Ranking
- Academic Ranking of World Universities
- Times Higher Education World University Rankings
Six of the eight universities in the Ivy League make it into the top 20 in all four rankings. Princeton and Columbia University are even in the top 10 of the world rankings, and Harvard is repeatedly voted the best university in the world.
Benefit for international students
Anyone who decides to study at one of the eight Ivy League universities is studying at one of the most renowned universities in the world. The enormous wealth of the universities is reflected in, among other things, excellent facilities. In addition, lectures at the universities of the Ivy League are often given by top professors.
Because the Ivy League is a research university, international students benefit from the high teaching and research standards and receive a first-class education. Therefore, a degree from an elite university always looks good on the résumé and often brings with it a significant career advantage.
State counterpart to the Ivy League: the Public Ivies
In the 1980s, the term Public Ivies was coined in the United States. The term refers to a group of more than 30 US state universities today. These universities in the USA also stand for many years of experience and excellent education. Therefore, they are seen as the state equivalent of the private universities of the Ivy League – with the difference that they charge lower tuition fees.
Richard Moll originally named the following universities as Public Ivies in a book publication:
- College of William and Mary
- Miami University
- University of Michigan
- University of California (Moll originally referred to all universities in the University of California System. Today, UC Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara are often referred to as Public Ivies)
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Vermont
- University of Virginia
Meanwhile, other state universities belong to the Public Ivies, for example the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington.