Which is the Oldest Public University in USA? Read here to Find Out!

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Oldest Public Universities in USA

The United States is host to numerous esteemed higher education establishments. This piece will delve into some of the most ancient public universities in the USA. Established during the 17th and 18th centuries, these universities skillfully blend their extensive historical legacies with an unwavering dedication to progress and ingenuity. Keep reading to discover more about the oldest public university in US.


Also Read: 10 Oldest Universities in the World

Top Oldest Public Universities in USA

Here is a list of some of the oldest top public universities in the United States, along with other important details: 

University Name Year of Establishment Average Tuition Fees (Approx)
College of William & Mary169340,089
College of Charleston177030,846
University of Delaware174334,164
University of Georgia178531,120
Rutgers University176631,700
University of Tennessee179431566
University of Vermont179131,700
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill178933,150
Castleton University178731,500

Also Read: How to Defer Admission in UK

Overview of Oldest Public Universities in US

Here is an overview of the oldest public universities in the USA: 

College of William & Mary

QS World Ranking 2024: 901-950

Credits: Britannica

Founded in 1693, the College of William & Mary (W&M) holds the distinction of being the oldest public university in the United States. Currently, W&M attracts a diverse student body, boasting an enrollment of nearly 9,000 students hailing from over 60 countries globally.

Offering a comprehensive educational experience, the College of William & Mary provides a broad spectrum of over 40 undergraduate and graduate courses across various subject areas. 

University of Delaware

QS World Ranking 2024: 489

Credits: University of Delaware

Established in 1743 and situated in Newark, Delaware, the University of Delaware has a rich history and global presence. Offering an extensive array of programs, the university boasts 150 undergraduate courses, 250 postgraduate courses and 100 study abroad programs.

Currently, the University of Delaware has a student population exceeding 23,600, with a robust network of over 185,000 alumni worldwide. International students aspiring to join the university must meet specific admission criteria, including English language proficiency scores (IELTS/TOEFL), standardized test scores (SAT/ACT), personal statements, letters of recommendation, and other requirements. 

Rutgers University

QS World Ranking 2024: 751-800

Credits: FuGen Times

As the top-ranked university in New Jersey, Rutgers stands as one of the United States’ oldest colonial colleges. This public research university is a proud member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Rutgers University, New Brunswick provides a diverse selection of over 150 majors and minors for undergraduate courses.

Renowned nationally for its impactful research, Rutgers invests heavily in research and development, dedicating hundreds of millions annually.

Also Read: Fall Intake: Deadline, Universities and Countries

College of Charleston

QS World Ranking 2024: 251-300

Credits: Study in the USA

Situated in Charleston, South Carolina, the College of Charleston is a public university with a rich history, dating back to its establishment in 1770. Not only is it the oldest college in the state, but it also holds the distinction of being the 13th oldest in the entire country. Admissions at the College of Charleston follow a holistic approach, considering factors beyond academic test scores. 

For prospective undergraduate students, the College of Charleston accepts applications in both the fall and spring, while graduate students can apply in the fall, spring, and summer. Successful admission relies on providing academic records reflecting consistent average grades within the A or B range. To enhance the likelihood of acceptance, applicants are encouraged to achieve SAT and ACT score falling within the range of 1100 to 1250. 

University of Georgia

QS World Ranking 2024: 501-550

Credits: College Vine

The University of Georgia presents a comprehensive selection of 430+ programs catering to both international and domestic students. Among its 18 schools and colleges, the College of Education and Law School are particularly noteworthy for their high enrollment rates. 

Diverse academic offerings include 170 undergraduate programs, 148 master’s programs, and 114 doctoral programs. Standout programs include Communication and Media Studies ranked at #51, along with Accounting and Finance securing the #101 spot. Admission opportunities are available in the Fall and Spring intakes for the majority of programs at the University of Georgia, making it accessible to aspiring students throughout the academic year.

Castleton University

Credits: Castleton University 

Known for its cutting-edge education, Castleton University attracts students from 36 countries globally. As the 18th oldest university in the USA, Castleton annually enrolls 2,400 students in its 75 undergraduate and 8 postgraduate programs. With a high acceptance rate of 83.8%, the university welcomes students with strong academic records. Applications for admission are accepted for both fall and spring semesters, and prospective students can apply online through the CommonApp portal. Key supporting documents such as reference letters and personal statements play a crucial role in the evaluation process. 

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

QS World Ranking 2024: 132

Credits: UNC Global

Offering a diverse array of undergraduate and graduate programs, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, boasts 74 bachelor’s, 104 master’s, 65 doctoral, and seven professional degree programs through the College of Arts & Sciences and professional schools. The university is home to a student body of 19,743 undergraduates and 11,796 graduate and professional students from 100 different countries. Admission applications are accepted for both Fall and Spring sessions, with a January 15 deadline for regular admission for undergraduates. The university considers a minimum of 100 marks in TOEFL or 7 bands in IELTS for language proficiency.

University of Vermont

QS World Ranking 2024: 901-950

Credits: US News & World Report

The University of Vermont, a reputable institution in the US education system, opens its admissions applications for both fall and spring terms globally. Offering bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and accelerated master’s degree programs across various disciplines, the university has a 67.2% admit rate. Admitted freshmen represent less than 75% in the top 50% of their class. The University of Vermont provides over 100 bachelor’s, 61 master’s, 27 doctoral, and 35 accelerated master’s degrees.

University of Tennessee

QS World Ranking 2024: 446

Credits: RCMA

With a rich history of over 225 years, the University of Tennessee is a premier public university in the USA. Renowned for its spirit of excellence, the university offers more than 900 undergraduate and postgraduate programs, attracting over 30,559 students from diverse backgrounds. Ranked among the top 350 universities globally, UT enrolls international students from over 100 countries annually.

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Q1. What is the oldest public university in the United States?

Ans: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill holds the distinction of being the oldest public university in the United States. It was founded in 1789, making it a pioneer in the American higher education system.

Q2. How does the University of Virginia contribute to the list of oldest public universities in the US?

Ans: The University of Virginia, founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, is also recognized as one of the oldest public universities in the country. Its establishment reflects a commitment to intellectual exploration and civic responsibility.

Q3. What role does the College of William & Mary play in the history of public universities in the US?

Ans: The College of William & Mary, founded in 1693, is among the oldest public universities in the United States. Located in Virginia, it has a rich historical heritage and has successfully blended its past with a commitment to change and innovation in higher education.

So, this was all about the oldest public university in USA. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad.

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