Best Universities in Chicago – Rankings, Requirements & More

Chicago is one of the most vibrant cities in the United States of America (USA). It is known as The Windy City and is known for its rich cultural and musical legacy. The list of best universities in Chicago includes two of the most reputed in the nation, namely Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, along with several other reputed private and public universities in Chicago. The city offers excellent educational infrastructure along with a welcoming environment. 

Listing with University Rankings

Here is a list of the top universities in Chicago, USA, along with some other information: 

University Rank (QS World Ranking) University Tuition Fees Top Courses
10 University of Chicago $61,179 (2022-23) Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, Mathematics, Political Science and Government, Statistics, etc. 
30 Northwestern University $60,276 (full-time degree programs) Law, education, materials engineering, chemistry, neuroscience and neurobiology, journalism, etc. 
285 University of Illinois at Chicago $34,798 tuition fees for Engineering (all programs) for instance. Fees vary across courses. PG fees may start from $11,950 per semester for out of state students.  Education, Visual and Performing Arts, Education, etc. 
444 Illinois Institute of Technology $48,670 in tuition fees approximately for undergraduate students Architecture, law, engineering, science, business, human sciences, applied technology, etc. 
801-1000 Loyola University Chicago $48,100 approximately  Biology, Accounting, Finance, Psychology, Political Science, Criminal Justice, etc. 

Universities In and Around the City 

Here are some of the leading Chicago universities that you should know more about: 

1. University of Chicago – 

One of the best universities in Chicago for masters and undergraduate programs, it is highly ranked in the world and not just in the USA. The University of Chicago is known for its picturesque Hyde Park location along with its infrastructure and diverse educational programs. 

2. Northwestern University – 

Any list of universities in Chicago should include this university. It has several branches, with the main campus northwards from Chicago in Evanston. It also has another campus in downtown Chicago. Northwestern University is highly ranked worldwide for its academic excellence and infrastructure. 

3. University of Illinois at Chicago – 

This is one of those reputed Chicago colleges with excellent academic infrastructure, sprawling campuses, and various academic programs for students. The University of Illinois at Chicago has close to 28,000 students studying in its 15 colleges and three campuses. It also has the biggest medical school in the country. 

4. Illinois Institute of Technology – 

The Illinois Institute of Technology is one of the most reputed educational institutions in Chicago. The main campus covers 120 acres, and the institution offers a variety of programs for students. It is ranked highly for its educational excellence and offers a top-class infrastructure for students. 

5. Loyola University Chicago – 

Loyola University Chicago is the biggest and only Jesuit Catholic institution in the USA. The university has four campuses, the main being the Lake Shore Campus on Lake Michigan. It is known for its top-of-the-line academic infrastructure and has been ranked highly for its high-quality academic programs. 

Basic Admission Requirements for UG/Masters

Some of the basic requirements for admissions include the following: 

  1. Scores in English language proficiency tests (TOEFL/IELTS/PTE). 
  2. Secondary school report and academic transcripts. 
  3. Supplementary essays and teacher evaluation. 
  4. ACT/SAT scores which may be optional. 
  5. Letters of recommendation. 
  6. Personal Statement. 

Cost of Living 

Chicago offers a comparatively reasonable option for students. The estimated cost of living for one individual in the city is approximately $1,025 per month, except for housing rent. If you factor in housing costs, it could be around $650-700 per month extra. This makes it imperative to budget at least $1800 per month or $22,000 (approx) per year to meet living costs. 

Housing

University housing costs vary across institutions. For example, the University of Illinois Chicago had students paying approximately $8,082 per year in 2020 for housing. There are housing units like shared homes, studios, and others which are priced from $500-1,500 for each room. You should compare housing options carefully before making a decision. This is a major contributor to monthly/yearly living costs. 

Job Opportunities

Chicago is a major employment market, scoring highly in terms of available job opportunities and growth prospects. Chicago offers sufficient employment options for skilled graduates. It is a financial hub with the second-biggest USA CBD (Central Business District). Some of the biggest employers here include JP Morgan Chase, Boeing, and also Walgreens Boots Alliance, to name a few. The city is known for its attractive salaries in various industries and business sectors. 

Study in USA with upGrad Abroad

upGrad Abroad in collaboration with some of the best universities in the USA has introduced various courses at undergraduate and graduate levels. A part of these courses can be studied online and completed on campus in the USA. Interested students can check the official website of upGrad Abroad and speak to our counsellors for more information. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Which is the most prestigious university in Chicago? 

Some of the top universities in Chicago include the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago, which are ranked number 14 and number 97 in the Times Higher Education (THE) U.S. College Rank 2022. They are followed by the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Loyola University Chicago. 

Q2. What is the best college to go to in the Chicago area? 

The best colleges in the area include the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. These are two of the highly reputed educational institutions in Chicago, along with the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology. 

Q3. What Ivy League school is in Chicago? 

Chicago does not have any official Ivy League schools. Yet, the University of Chicago has built its reputation as a leading institution in its own right. It is known for its superior quality of education and excellent academic infrastructure for students. 

Q4. What is the number 1 college in Illinois? 

Illinois is home to the University of Chicago, the top-ranked educational institution in the area. Other notable institutions include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University. Illinois is also home to the reputed Illinois Institute of Technology. 

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