12 Oldest Universities In USA For 2022

These are the 12 oldest universities in USA that spearheaded the educational renaissance in the United States. 

12 Oldest Universities In USA For 2022

Knowing the history of these universities is important so as to understand the present and future of the United States educational system. 

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12 Oldest Universities In USA

This list of oldest universities in USA was selected on the basis of the year of establishment and its operational status.

#1 University of Georgia

Year Founded: 1785                                                                    

Operational Status: Active

The University of Georgia is one of the oldest universities in USA and the United States’ first state-chartered university.

The University was chartered by the state of Georgia in 1785 and is the first to launch the USA’s great tradition of world-class public education. 

With its comprehensive reach, the university’s 17 colleges and schools enroll more than 38,000 students and have produced over 332,000 alumni living worldwide. The University of Georgia’s initiatives extend globally while touching every corner of the state, realizing the university’s land- and sea-grant missions. 

The University of Georgia inspires the next generation to grow stronger through global research, hands-on learning, and extensive outreach. Additionally, the university attracts students nationally and internationally. 

Click here to see the University of Georgia’s acceptance rate.

#2 Washington & Jefferson College

Year Founded: 1781


Operational Status: Active

Washington College was formed in 1782 and is situated in Washington, Pennsylvania. It merged with Jefferson College to become Washington & Jefferson College, a small liberal arts institution after the American Revolution during the Civil War.

Washington & Jefferson College is a  residential, four-year college committed to fostering the personal and professional success of our students through interconnectedness, individualized academic programs, and hands-on learning experiences. 

W&J students profit from a personalized educational experience intended to meet the needs of each individual. 

#3 Transylvania University

Year Founded: 1780

Founder: Approved by Governor Thomas Jefferson   

Operational Status: Active

Transylvania is a renowned private liberal arts college established in 1780. It is one of the oldest universities in the USA and west of the Allegheny Mountains. 

The University is located in the heart of downtown Lexington, Kentucky. It features a personalized, community-driven approach to a liberal arts education through its 46 majors.

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On campus, students gain access to internships and jobs, arts and culture, community service, interaction with a diverse population, and numerous other opportunities.

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#4 Hampden-Sydney College

Year Founded: 1775


Operational Status: Active

Hampden-Sydney was established in 1775 and is one of the oldest colleges in the United States. It is also the last American college founded in British Colonial America.

At Hampden-Sydney, there are small classes and the student-to-faculty ratio at Hampden-Sydney is 10:1, which means that students have a lot of guidance from professors in a close and collaborative environment.

#5 Dickinson College

Year Founded: 1773

Founder: Benjamin Rush                                        

Operational Status: Active

Dickinson was the first college established in the new United States of America.

Dickinson College provides innovative and interdisciplinary education in the liberal arts and sciences to prepare students to lead rich and fulfilling lives.

Currently, the university has over 2,345 full-time students from across 49 countries in the world and 38 U.S. states.

#6 Salem College

Year Founded: 1772

Founder: The moravian community of Salem                 

Operational Status: Active

Salem College was founded in April 1772 and is the oldest educational institution for girls and women in America. The college has a proud history of fostering independence in women.

Salem College, a liberal arts college for women, operates as a single-gender institution and values its students as individuals, developing their unique potential to change the world.

Through the Martha H. Fleer Center for Adult Education, men 23 years of age and older are admitted into the school’s graduate degree programs and its Continuing Education program. Salem college is located in Winston-Salem.

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#7 College of Charleston

Year Founded: 1770

Founder: Lieutenant Governor William Bull              

Operational Status: Active

The College of Charleston is a nationally recognized public liberal arts and sciences university founded in 1770. It is located in the heart of historic Charleston, South Carolina, and the College is among our list of oldest universities in the USA. 

The College of Charleston is one of the U.S great public universities offering 63 majors, 22 master’s degree programs, 81 minors, and 9 graduate-level certificate programs.

#8 Dartmouth College

Year Founded: 1769

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Founder: Eleazar Wheelock

Operational Status: Active

Dartmouth University was established in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock, a Puritan minister, and began as a men’s college but started to admit women in 1972.

Dartmouth is a member of the Ivy League and is home to about 4,200 undergraduates in the liberal arts and 1,900 graduate students.

There are more than 25 advanced degree programs in the Arts & Sciences and at Dartmouth’s professional schools: Thayer School of Engineering, one of the nation’s first professional schools of engineering;  the Geisel School of Medicine, the nation’s fourth-oldest medical school, and the Tuck School of Business, the world’s first graduate school of management.

#9 Rutgers University

Year Founded: 1766


Operational Status: Active

Officially known as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers University changed its name to  Rutgers College to pay tribute to Revolutionary War veteran Colonel Henry Rutgers.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has 71,000-plus students and hundreds of degree program locations across New Jersey. It is also one of the leading comprehensive public research universities in the U.S.

It has three campuses located in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden.

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#10 Brown University

Year Founded: 1764


Operational Status: Active

Brown was founded in 1764 and is one of the oldest universities in the USA. It is also a leading research university home to world-renowned faculty.

There are over 7,043 undergraduate students and 2,629 graduate students and their undergraduate and graduate programs offer students intensive learning and research experiences.

#11 Columbia University

Year Founded: 1754

Founder: King George II of England

Operational Status: Active

Columbia University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York. It was founded in 1754 as King’s College by the royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest college in the US.

The University offers three undergraduate schools, thirteen graduate schools, a world-renowned medical center,  twenty-five libraries, four affiliated colleges and seminaries, and more than one hundred research centers and institutes.

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#12 Washington and Lee University

Year Founded: 1749

Founder: George Washington & General Robert E. Lee 

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Operational Status: Active

Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, is a small, private, nationally ranked, liberal arts university located in the mountains of western Virginia. It was founded in 1749.

At W&L, students choose from a remarkable variety of majors and minors, courses, and in-depth study opportunities. They also enjoy small classes, close relationships with professors, and the flexibility to combine interests and pursue different passions.  


These are the oldest colleges still in existence today; some may have briefly shut down due to outside reasons, such a war, but they have always existed in the form they took when they were founded. The criteria for what qualifies as a university in the contemporary era also apply to the institutions on this list.

FAQs Oldest Universities In USA For 2022

What are the top 5 oldest universities in the world?

University of Cambridge, 1209.
University of Salamanca, 1134.
University of Oxford, 1096.
University of Bologna, 1088.
University of Karaouine, 859

What are the 9 colonial colleges?

1636 Harvard.
1693 William & Mary.
1701 Yale.
1746 Princeton.
1754 Columbia.
1755 U of Pennsylvania.
1764 Brown.
1766 Rutgers.

What is the oldest English-speaking university in the world?

University of Oxford

The oldest institution in the English-speaking world consistently ranks at the top of national and international rankings and is one of the greatest universities in the world.

Is Cambridge older than Oxford?

Oxford is older; in fact, it is the oldest English-speaking institution still in operation.
Although its precise establishment date is unknown, it is known that it existed in 1096.
The second-oldest university in England and the fourth-oldest in all of Europe is Cambridge.

What was the first University?

The earliest university in the sense of being a prestigious degree-awarding institution was the University of Bologna (Università di Bologna), founded in 1088.
despite being run by both clergy and non-clergy, being separate from ecclesiastical schools.


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