Diversity in higher education refers to the student body composition and the variety of curricula available to students of different races, ethnicities, socioeconomic status, gender, sex, sexual orientation, ages, abilities, and religions. Diversity is invaluable to higher education for many reasons, primarily because postsecondary education is the pathway to social mobility in the U.S. It is critically important to ensure underrepresented groups are appropriately reflected in student populations.

Diversity also prepares students for success in citizenship, recognition of racism, participation in volunteer work, and overall wellbeing. Studies have shown that interactions among racially and ethnically diverse groups results in positive learning outcomes. Effects include enhanced cognitive skills and self-motivation, a greater sense of purpose, and a higher measure of personal growth.

Rank School Location Description Toggle

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Well known and respected for its rigorous academics, Stanford University is a private teaching and research institution located near Silicon Valley in California's Bay Area. Founded in 1885, Stanford exemplifies diversity in every aspect.

Composed of seven schools for undergraduate and graduate students, Stanford is a breeding ground for innovation, discovery, and cutting-edge research. With 2,100 faculty members and 16,400 students, Stanford conducts groundbreaking research projects in everything from medicine and law to education, business, and engineering. The school offers pre-collegiate studies, executive education, online learning, and a continuing studies program with approximately 600 different courses each year.

Stanford supports its diversity and inclusion efforts with its Diversity and Access Office, Center on Poverty and Inequality, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and Diversity and First-Gen Office.


University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

UCLA, a public research university in the Westwood District, offers a comprehensive multidisciplinary academic experience, a rich research environment, and a strong, diverse community of scholars. The school has been recognized for its internships, research opportunities, and study-abroad experiences. With more than 40,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, UCLA awards more than 13,000 degrees each year. The school offers 3,800 courses, 150 graduate degrees, 125 undergraduate majors, and 100 certificate programs.

UCLA supports its diversity and inclusion efforts through the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Campus Resource Center, Dashew Center for International Students, the Office for Students with Disabilities, and the Community Programs Office. Designed to increase participation of underrepresented students, the school also hosts an annual Diversity Project, a 10-week undergraduate research program.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a prestigious independent institution located in Cambridge. Founded in 1861 as a pioneer of educational innovation, MIT is widely recognized for its leadership in scientific breakthroughs and technological advances. The school is home to approximately 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students, including more than 3,300 international students.

MIT is dedicated to hands-on problem-solving in science, engineering, and technology. The school boasts more than 1,000 faculty members across five schools, where students and faculty research topics such as AI and robotics, sustainable energy, and nanotechnology.

To support its interdisciplinary approach to innovation, invention, and inclusion, MIT's Office of Multicultural Programs offers more than 75 multicultural student groups, including the Black Student Union, the Care TEAM, the Institute Community and Equity Officer, the Latino Cultural Center, and the Office of Minority Education.


Columbia University

New York, NY

Columbia University is a world-renowned research university in New York City. One of the nation's oldest institutions of higher learning, Columbia is home to a prestigious medical center, 200 research centers, 25 libraries, three undergraduate schools, and 13 graduate and professional schools. The university awards more than 12,000 degrees per year, including certificates, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Students from all over the world travel to Columbia to research fields including engineering, business, and journalism.

Columbia supports its diverse student body with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, and more than 60 social justice-related organizations, clubs, and initiatives. The Multicultural Recruitment Committee at Columbia is a volunteer group of students that helps the admissions office with outreach programs to historically underrepresented groups. Committed to creating academic relationships around the world, the International Students and Scholars Office provides immigration-related resources.


Rice University

Houston, TX

Located in Houston, the country's fourth-largest city, Rice University is a world-class research university. Rice offers 50 majors, continuing studies, and pre-professional programs across six schools. With hands-on research, experiential learning, and a distinctive honor code, students learn and research architecture, engineering, humanities, music, natural sciences, and social sciences.

Illustrating its commitment to fostering diversity, the school creates an environment where student safety, comfort, and acceptance is paramount. Rice supports this mission through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). OMA provides counseling, financial assistance, and references to students.

Student organizations include the Black Student Association, Chinese Student Association, Hispanic Association for Cultural Education at Rice, South Asian Society, Japanese Association of Students and Scholars, Korean Student Association, the Muslim Student Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, and Queers and Allies.


University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Located in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is California's oldest private research university. USC's academically diverse faculty consists of 4,000 researchers, teachers, scholars, and mentors. With a commitment to innovation, interdisciplinary study, and collaboration, USC boasts more than 400 graduate programs. The student body emcompasses 45,500 students, including more than 11,000 regularly enrolled international students from China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

USC has a history of creating inclusive learning communities. The graduate school's Diversity, Inclusion and Access Initiative offers students a stipend and health coverage to participate in a 10-week summer research opportunity. Students can also join student groups such as the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs, Asian Pacific American Students Services, and the LGBT Resource Center.


Stony Brook University

Long Island, NY

A part of the State University of New York System, Stony Brook University sits approximately 60 miles east of Manhattan on the north shore of Long Island. Established in 1957 as a teaching school, Stony Brook is now an internationally recognized research institution offering 58 graduate programs and more than 200 majors, minors, and combined-degree programs. The school is home to six undergraduate colleges that conduct research in health and medicine, engineering, business, arts and sciences, and journalism.

A center of learning and scholarship, Stony Brook recently celebrated its most diverse graduating class to date. The school ensures a world-class education is accessible to all by creating a dynamic, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment. Stony Brook boasts an Office of Global Affairs and a Center for Inclusive Education, which foster diversity and inclusion through various recruitment efforts. The school financially assists, socially supports, and advocates for scholars from traditionally disadvantaged populations.


University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

Founded in 1868, the University of California-Berkeley is situated in an entrepreneurial hub near Silicon Valley. With more than 180 academic departments and programs across 14 colleges and schools, UC Berkeley offers nearly 300 degree programs to 35,000 students per year. Students research business, law, public health, chemistry, education, engineering, and environmental design.

With a student body representing all 50 states and 92 countries, UC Berkeley recognizes the importance of equity across all aspects of university life. The Division of Equity and Inclusion recently launched the Campus Climate, Community Engagement, and Transformation unit, which focuses on reshaping policies to create more opportunities for underserved populations. The school's Center for Educational Justice and Community Engagement is a collaborative effort between six offices to promote leadership development, access, activism, and educational justice.


New York University

New York, NY

Founded in 1831, NYU is a distinguished member institution of the Association of American Universities. The school offers a breadth of undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and specialized degrees, each exemplifying academic enterprise and innovation. One of the nation's largest private universities, NYU enrolls more than 50,000 students annually.

With campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai, and academic centers and research programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North, and South America, NYU is a truly global university. The student body consists of learners from every U.S. state and 133 foreign countries. The class of 2022 was recently recognized for the highest proportion of underrepresented minorities to date, making it the most diverse in school history.

Demonstrating its commitment to a culture of inclusion, the school created an Ad Hoc Advisory Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Comprised of faculty, students, administrators, and deans, the task force focuses on advancing the school's diversity efforts.


Emory University

Atlanta, GA

Emory University is a private research university internationally recognized for its strong liberal arts education. Located in the culturally diverse and historic Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, Emory offers a multitude of undergraduate and graduate areas of study, including business, nursing, law, medicine, public health, and theology. With more than 70 undergraduate programs and 40 Ph.D. programs across nine schools and colleges, the school awards approximately 4,700 undergraduate and graduate degrees annually. Emory is also home to a leading, comprehensive healthcare system that employs more than 17,000 people.

Emory boasts an extensive network of cross-disciplinary collaboration among schools, centers, and partners. With the International Student and Scholar Services and the Office of Global Strategy and Initiatives, the school shows its commitment to creating a community of international students. These offices ensure successful enrollment and employment of international and exchange students, and host a variety of events.


Pepperdine University

Mailbu, CA

Emory University is a private, nonprofit, Christian research university located 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles in Malibu, California. Committed to academic excellence and intellectual, personal, and spiritual growth, Pepperdine offers more than 70 graduate and undergraduate programs. Students can experience hands-on learning, academic rigor, and countless internship opportunities. As a truly international educational institution, Pepperdine boasts six international campuses across six continents.

The school's commitment to diversity is rooted in its Christian beliefs that everyone should be treated equally. With the understanding that true knowledge comes from experiencing diverse perspectives, Pepperdine aims to recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups. To support this effort, the school formed a Diversity Council comprised of faculty, administration, and students. The Council leads Pepperdine's diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.


University of California - Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA

UC Santa Barbara is a leading educational institution that offers a dynamic teaching and research environment. With a multicultural and global community, the school emphasizes creativity, critical reasoning, and interdisciplinary collaboration. UCSB offers students more than 200 graduate and undergraduate degree programs across five schools and 12 national institutes and centers.

Committed to equal opportunity for all, UCSB promotes inclusiveness with a welcoming, conducive learning environment promoted by the Equal Opportunity and Discrimination Prevention Office. The Office of Education Partnerships creates educational outreach programs and initiatives to increase the number of low-income and first-generation college students. With a large Hispanic student body, UCSB was designated by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and subsequently became the first HSI to become a member institution of the Association of American Universities.


University of California - Davis

Davis, CA

The University of California-Davis is located in a small town in Yolo County. Founded in 1908, UC Davis is known for its top academics surrounding the environment and society, including sustainability, food, and health. With more than 100 undergraduate majors and 99 graduate programs, the school caters to a wide variety of academic interests, such as biotechnology, economics, anthropology, linguistics, music, and philosophy.

As an inclusive university, the school welcomes first-generation, out-of-state, multicultural, and international students. Demonstrating its understanding of the value of global thinking and equal opportunity, the school boasts multiple equity and inclusion centers, committees, councils, and support services, as well as an Office of Global Affairs, Office of Campus Community Relations, and Office of Student and Resident Diversity.


Carnegie Mellon University

Pitssburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon is a private, global research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Emphasizing research, creativity, and entrepreneurship, CMU distinguishes itself with its big ambitions and continual innovation. The university boasts 100 centers and institutes across seven schools. Students research a variety of topics across engineering, humanities, social sciences, public policy, science, and business. The school's educational philosophy emphasizes a social responsibility to solving both local and global issues.

As a global university with an international identity, CMU boasts more than 12 degree-granting locations and 20 research partnerships. The school aims to create a collaborative environment of diverse perspectives, identities, backgrounds, and cultures where people from all over the world can create, learn, and and impact society. The school's community of students, faculty, and staff represent all 50 states and more than 65 countries. The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion cultivates an inclusive community where historically underrepresented students can access the resources they need to succeed.


University of California - Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA

Founded in 1965, the University of California-Santa Cruz is a public research university internationally recognized for its commitment to community, public service, and environmental stewardship. With cutting-edge research opportunities, the school offers certificates, bachelor's degrees, graduate programs, master's degrees, and doctorates to more than 18,000 students each year. UC Santa Cruz students can take classes at any of its 10 colleges as well as the University of New Hampshire, the University of New Mexico, and other host institutions that are part of the Education Abroad Program.

The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion works to create a welcoming environment by promoting programs that support the identities of all students, faculty, and staff. The school demonstrates its understanding that diversity accelerates excellence through the school's Principles of Community, which provides exposure to different perspectives.


University of California - San Diego

San Diego, CA

The University of California San Diego is a top research university located on a coastal woodland in La Jolla, California. Designated a "Changemaker Campus," UC San Diego takes a multidisciplinary approach to social innovation and education by pushing boundaries and encouraging creativity, cooperation, and entrepreneurship.

With six undergraduate colleges and five graduate and professional schools, UC San Diego enrolls more students than any other institution in San Diego County. With a large, diverse population, the school maintains an international reputation for respect for various cultural, racial, and social affiliations.

Dedicated to inclusion and social justice, UC San Diego students and faculty foster innovation and create a learning environment of excellence and community. The school has an Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion plus Campus Community Centers, including the Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern Desi American Programs and Services, the Black Resource Center, the Cross-Cultural Center, the Intertribal Resource Center, and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center.


Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Founded in 1865, Cornell University is a private research university with more than 21,900 students and 1,600 professors. Dedicated to public service, engagement, and outreach, Cornell is a pioneer for cutting-edge biomedical research, innovative medical education, and a collaborative environment. Cornell offers 4,000 courses across 109 fields of study in 10 educational units in Ithaca, New York, two units in New York City, and one unit in Doha, Qatar.

Cornell has an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, an Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, and an Inclusive Excellence Academy. The school also has a diversity council that advances inclusion initiatives and priorities. With a variety of academic departments, cultural, resource, and advising centers, plus customized courses and workshops, Cornell offers an inclusive educational environment.


University of Miami

Miami, FL

Established in 1925, the University of Miami is a top private research university located in the artistic and adventurous cities of Coral Gables, Virginia Key, and downtown Miami, Florida. The school serves more than 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students with 180 majors and programs across 11 schools and colleges.

With major research in medicine, marine science, engineering, education, and psychology plus multitudes of internationally acclaimed programs in art, cinema, interactive media, music, and theatre, UM represents a diverse academic community with an interdisciplinary approach to research and education. The school demonstrates its respect for diversity through the Office of Institutional Culture, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Diversity and Inclusion Council, and the Community Engagement and Cultural Diversity Program. Additionally, UM's "Roadmap to Our New Century," explains the school's vision to elevate diverse voices and expand opportunities for all.


Brown University

Providence, RI

Founded in 1764, Brown University is one of the nation's oldest educational institutions. Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island, Brown is an independent leading research institution with more than 750 faculty and nearly 10,000 students, including more than 6,000 summer, visiting, and online students. Offering undergraduate and graduate programs to students from more than 115 countries, the school boasts a vastly diverse community of learners.

With a commitment to global learning and a "spirit of free inquiry," Brown offers 2,000 courses across 81 bachelor's degrees, 32 master's programs, and 51 doctoral programs. Students are encouraged to participate in cultural events, community service programs, study-abroad programs, and international collaborations.

Brown supports its inclusive academic community with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the LGBTQ Center, and the Brown Center for Students of Color.


University of California - Irvine

Irvine, CA

A member of the Association of American Universities, the University of California-Irvine is located in a safe and economically thriving community in Orange County. UCI provides rigorous academics and access to cutting-edge research to more than 35,000 students across 192 degree programs. The school awards more than 9,000 degrees annually in a variety of academic studies, including law, science, business, education, and engineering.

Recently named a Hispanic-serving institution as well as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution, UCI's student body is largely diverse. As a major cultural center, UCI shows its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion through training programs, partnerships, and initiatives including the Diversity Opportunities database, the Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience Program, and the UCI ADVANCE Program. UCI offers an Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, the Office of Inclusive Excellence, and the Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion.


University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania is a private global research university located in the heart of Philadelphia. Penn offers intellectual rigor to a community of 20,000 learners from 100 different countries across 12 schools. Students study in a variety of fields including medicine, nursing, education, communication, law, and design.

Penn Global and its seven divisions, including the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, Perry World House, Penn Abroad, International Student and Scholar Services, Global Support Services, and Penn Global Finance and Administration each support the school's multicultural community with innovative interdisciplinary global strategies, initiatives, and programs. Penn offers many programs that support inclusion such as the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program, the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, Education Culture and Society, Intercultural Communication, International Educational Development, the Center for Minority-Serving Institutions, and the Racial Empowerment Collaborative.


Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Established in 1636, Harvard University is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As the country's oldest institution of higher education, Harvard has earned a prestigious reputation with a strong and enduring commitment to learning and research. Harvard enrolls more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students across 12 schools annually. Harvard is also home to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Harvard Extension School.

Through its Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership and Office of the Assistant to the President for Institutional Diversity and Equity, Harvard offers many community initiatives, partnerships, and programs that support diversity and inclusion. Harvard's admissions office also sponsors an Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program that arranges on-campus visits for middle and high school students in traditionally underrepresented ethnicities. Harvard Divinity School offers a three-day diversity and explorations program, which introduces students to religious and cultural graduate programs.


Rutgers University - New Brunswick

New Brunswick, NJ

Chartered as Queen’s College in 1766, Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the nation's eighth-oldest college and New Jersey's oldest campus. As a leading national research university, Rutgers is home to 17 schools and more than 175 research centers. The school serves 49,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from all 50 states and 115 countries. Recognized for its excellence in athletics, the school is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance.

Rutgers University-New Brunswick serves its diverse population with the Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics, Center for Race and Ethnicity, the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities, the Institute for Women's Leadership, and the Office of Disability Services. The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion partners with many different departments to advocate for equity and implement inclusion policies and programming.


University of Washington

Seattle, WA

The University of Washington is a public university with campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell, plus a medical center. With nearly 300 research centers, innovation thrives here. UW's students have access to rich, culturally diverse resources to explore everything from medicine, nursing, and pharmacy to public policy, law, engineering, and education. The school educates more than 54,000 students and awards more than 12,000 degrees annually.

UW is home to the Jackson School of International Studies, an internationally recognized leader in global education. The school also boasts the National Resource Centers, awarding several Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships to students. UW shows its commitment to diversity through various programs and projects, including the Business Diversity Program, Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology , the Dream Project, Engineers Without Borders, Global Health and Justice Project, the Intergroup Dialogue, Education and Action Center, and the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity.


University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

Founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1890, the University of Chicago is a private, nonprofit urban research university located in Hyde Park. With a commitment to "free and open inquiry," UChicago boasts a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to education and research. The school has pioneered many scientific breakthroughs surrounding genetics, economics, and education. With more than 150 areas of study, UChicago is home to six professional schools, a medical center, and many research centers and laboratories.

As a leader in international programming, UChicago offered the country's first international affairs graduate program. The school enrolls nearly 4,000 students from 100 countries each year. UChicago supports its diverse community with the Center for Identity and Inclusion, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Diversity Advisory Council, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Leadership Advancement and Diversity.