Many dream of studying in the United States, yet getting into a renowned university in the country requires much more from international students. For centuries, the USA has been hosting many established and outstanding universities in the country, all of which are acknowledged by scholars worldwide.

The USA holds the most significant number of international students in the world, which is alone a valid reason for enrolling at a university in the country, as students are encouraged to pursue their academics while enjoying a diverse cultural environment. Moreover, the American model of education is pioneering in the world with its unique curriculum and multicultural atmosphere.

There are about 2,000 state universities in the USA, each of which has its regulations depending on the university or state. Hence, different requirements and restrictions may apply to international students. In order to take advantage of an opportunity, international students need to make sure they meet the criteria of the program, university, and state before completing their applications. Below is a list of the best public universities in the USA with the top-quality higher education and facilities.

Top Public Universities in the USA

1. University of California (UC)

With nine main campuses located in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Davis, San Francisco, San Diego, and more, the University of California is a leading institution recognized worldwide. For decades, the university has ranked at the top for its unique approach to education; UC is currently the eighth best university in the world, with more than 280,000 students and 2.0 million alums worldwide. In addition to its academics, UC promises international students cultural diversity and equity, a modern vision of life and profession, and top-class opportunities only UC students can take advantage of.

The University of California offers a wide range of degree programs for international students in 150 academic disciplines. At the moment, the university has international students from more than 100 countries, and the number of overseas enrollments aims to increase even more with each admission.

2. Georgia Institute of Technology

Established in 1885, Georgia Institute of Technology is the top national university in the USA, hosting students from 150 countries. In addition to its main campus located in Atlanta, Georgia Tech has overseas campuses in France and China, all of which have prominent degree-seeking programs in fields like engineering, design, business, and liberal arts.

Georgia Tech is regarded as the highest-ranked institution in engineering and computer sciences with a vision of advanced technology and creating a better future for everyone. For 135 years, the university has led thousands of research projects to promote innovations with multidisciplinary collaborations. Georgia Tech is accepting all talented and ambitious students from around the world to take the university’s vision into action.

3. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan has a long history and traditions. It was established in 1817, 20 years before the foundation of the state of Michigan. Besides being one of the oldest universities in the USA, the institution ranks 25th globally according to reports and is among the most outstanding public universities in the United States.

Operating as a public research university, Michigan encourages international student enrollment by involving diversity in its academics and creating equity in campus life. Currently, 15% of the student population comprises international students from over 130 countries.

Michigan offers around 250 disciplines at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, yet the university is specifically known for its medical, pharmacy, public health, and dentistry schools.

4. Purdue University

Founded in 1869 by the businessman John Purdue, Purdue University is a public land-grant research university in West Lafayette, Indiana. Since its foundation, Purdue has been a respected institute recognized worldwide for its engineering school.

In addition to being the 10th best public university in the USA, Purdue is at the top tier list of many university rankings, including being the 7th best value school in the USA and 9th in best undergraduate engineering programs.

Purdue provides world-class education to international students with unique talents in their pursuit of academic development. Each year, the university opens its doors to students from different parts of the world with unique scholarship opportunities and a multicultural atmosphere at the campus.

5. Arizona State University

Arizona State University is a top-class institution ranked #1 for innovation, quality of online education, sustainability, international trade, and more. Since its foundation in 1885, ASU has been delivering academic excellence, influential leadership, revolutionary public health services, and advanced research opportunities.

Having more than 800 unique degree programs, Arizona State University encourages successful students from all countries to enroll. In 2022, ASU was reported to be one of the most reputable public universities for international students, and it is estimated to have over 15,000 students by the end of 2022.

6. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is located in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has been operating as a public university since its foundation in 1819. Virginia differs from other public universities in the USA with its unique structure and historical foundations.

With its diverse and distinguished faculty, the University of Virginia is ranked 25th among national universities in the USA. More than 2,000 international students are currently seeking a degree at the university.

7. University of Florida

The University of Florida is an excellent public university in the USA, with more than 56,000 students. It is regarded as a preeminent university and holds many rankings, such as the 5th best public university and 28th best university in the USA (2022).

The University of Florida is also known for its continuing support of providing international students with great opportunities during their education. Its campuses are reported to have over 30,000 international students from 200 different countries.


FAQs: Studying in U.S. Public Universities

Can International Students Enroll in Public Universities in the USA?

Yes. Every year, more and more international students choose to continue their education in the USA for an enriching and exciting study-abroad experience. Most public universities in the country encourage having more students from all around the world to create a multicultural environment in which students can inspire each other academically and culturally.

Eligibility requirements depend on the degree of study, the university’s requirements, and the regulations of the state the university is in. Overall, some of the most acknowledged public universities in the USA encouraging international student enrollment are Arizona State University, the University of California, Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University, and the University of Michigan.


The USA has some of the top public universities in the world. It is without a doubt that studying at a public university in the USA will be a great experience for international students since most of the universities are established, prestigious, and authentic. Successful and determined students from all over the world can experience this exceptional experience at one of the best public universities in the world and shape their future most efficiently.


We hope this article on the best public universities in the USA for international students was helpful. If you’re interested in knowing more, feel free to visit our USA Scholarships Page for more information about the different universities and scholarship opportunities in the USA! Head to our open courses page to explore the programs in America that currently accept international applicants.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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