Archetypal Top Universities
August 21, 2017 7:10 AM   Subscribe

The School TM to go to for business, according to popular culture and wider society, is Harvard. For music, Julliard. For engineering, MIT. What other Archetypal/Stereotypical Schools are there for each subject?

I'm not necessarily talking about top-ranked schools according to some list or other, more like the first Big Deal School that comes to mind when many people think of a particular subject or field.

(If this question differs by region or culture I'm interested too!)
posted by divabat to Grab Bag (65 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
math: Princeton
posted by mr vino at 7:13 AM on August 21, 2017


Teaching: Bank Street
posted by Soliloquy at 7:16 AM on August 21, 2017


Human Factors: Carnegie Mellon
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:18 AM on August 21, 2017


Art: the Sorbonne
Engineering: MIT
posted by Valancy Rachel at 7:23 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Creative writing: Iowa
posted by Caxton1476 at 7:26 AM on August 21, 2017 [10 favorites]


I would have thought Wharton for business. (Certainly people at Wharton would tell you so. Including a certain orange person.)
posted by madcaptenor at 7:26 AM on August 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


Economics: UChicago
posted by coppermoss at 7:31 AM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


Aeronautical Engineering - Purdue Univerity
posted by COD at 7:32 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Law: Yale.
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:33 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Computer Science - Stanford or Berkeley
posted by parm at 7:34 AM on August 21, 2017


PPE (Philosophy, Politics, Economics) at Oxford.

Classics: Oxbridge (is that cheating?)

Development Economics: Sussex
posted by Ziggy500 at 7:41 AM on August 21, 2017


Law is Harvard. (The Paper Chase).
posted by kerf at 7:42 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Animation: Sheridan.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:43 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Drinking: Bishop's
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:53 AM on August 21, 2017


Journalism: Northwestern
posted by donajo at 7:55 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Middlebury's language program (foreign languages)
posted by bearette at 8:04 AM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


Psychology: University of Michigan
Psychometrics: University of Minnesota
Drama: Northwestern
posted by DrGail at 8:14 AM on August 21, 2017


Colorado School Of Mines (underground engineering)
posted by gac at 8:15 AM on August 21, 2017


Also computer science: CMU and UIUC
posted by stoneandstar at 8:16 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Medicine: Johns Hopkins
posted by overhauser at 8:16 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Ooh, see, I was going to say Columbia University for journalism, or University of Missouri - Columbia.
posted by kat518 at 8:22 AM on August 21, 2017


Germanic Languages: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Large Animal Veterinary: Michigan State University (It's nicknamed Moo U for a reason)
posted by Chrischris at 8:32 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Film: NYU
Environmental Law: Lewis & Clark or Vermont Law
posted by jessamyn at 8:37 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh, this might be a bit niche, but in the UK, Loughborough University for Sports Sciences.
posted by Ziggy500 at 8:37 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


French Elitist Bureaucrat /Plutocrat : ENA
posted by JPD at 8:39 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Hmm, well for Anthropology, for the U.K. it would be Cambridge, though for Classics Oxford has the edge.

In the U.S., University of California, Berkeley is what comes to mind (with the big caveat that the field gets pretty specialized on the Phd level, so there are certain schools that are just known to be iconic when it comes to certain subspecializations of Anthropology, Archaeology, Physical Anthropology, Forensic Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, etc., etc..)
posted by gudrun at 8:42 AM on August 21, 2017


Economics: UChicago

I don't think there's as big a consensus in econ as in, for example, law, but if you had to pick one, it's Harvard, definitely not UChicago. Harvard is ranked #1 here, here, and here. Chicago is ranked 2, 4, and 7.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:47 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'd say that law really kind of has both. Your archetypical litigator went to Harvard. Your archetypical law professor went to Yale.
posted by Sequence at 8:47 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I've heard Syracuse for journalism.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:54 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Brown is the experimental creative writing school to Iowa's more traditional style.
posted by dame at 8:57 AM on August 21, 2017


Agricultural - and Food Science: Wageningen University.
posted by jouke at 9:06 AM on August 21, 2017


RISD for Art
posted by momochan at 9:11 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Julliard - Dance, Music
Yale - Acting
Carnegie Mellon - Technical Theater
posted by edbles at 9:21 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Fashion Design: Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York City
posted by ananci at 9:25 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Caltech - Physics
posted by vacapinta at 9:29 AM on August 21, 2017


Economics: UChicago

No, sorry, absolutely not. As Mr. Know-It-Some correctly points out, Harvard usually tops the list of econ programs. Even setting aside that quibble, Chicago econ is extremely controversial. Google "freshwater and saltwater economics" if you want to learn more about the history of why they are so controversial.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:35 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Film: USC. Much as I hate to say it as a UCLA Bruin myself.
posted by widdershins at 9:57 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


People answering Harvard for economics seem to be misunderstanding the question.

It's not about what the best or most respected in the field program is, it's about the Archetypal/Stereotypical Schools. I think that's still Chicago for economics even all these years after the death of Milton Friedman, because it's also been a long time since anything like PBS's "Free to Choose" has broken through to the public consciousness.
posted by Jahaza at 10:05 AM on August 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


A lot of good comments so far, so I'll chime in with some less-serious replies:

Men wearing pink shirts: Miami University of Ohio.

Marijuana usage: UC Santa Cruz.

Superiority complexes: Notre Dame (my wife's alma mater, it's a joke!).

Jingling car keys at football games thinking it's somehow cheering on your team: University of Michigan.

Witty comments on AskMe: The Ohio State University.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:06 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


Oh, I forgot one: being a super-ricj, privileged bro who drinks entire kegs by oneself in one sitting: Dartmouth.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:09 AM on August 21, 2017


But seriously, a lot of times there isn't one school; there are two or three. The Columbia/Mizzou/Northwestern journalism example is a good one. Their alumni will argue amongst themselves who is best, but those three are head and shoulders above anyone else. Likewise for USC and NYU in film.

And a lot of the discussion on this thread so far is due to the fact that a lesser school will have a particular focus that will bring them greater fame than even higher-ranked schools. So Harvard probably is the best school for economics, but if you're in a room full of economists and you say "I studied Econ at Harvard", they'll probably just think "oh this person must be reasonably smart". Whereas if you say "I studied Econ at U of Chicago", they'll think they know a lot more about you. And if you're in a group of non-economists, but rather a room full of Friedman-worshipping libertarians, a degree in Econ from U of Chicago will be a lot more respected than one from Harvard.

Brown creative writing is similar: Iowa's program is probably better-known, and probably higher-ranked, but saying "I have an MFA in creative writing from Brown" gives a lot more information about what you actually do.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:19 AM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think that's still Chicago for economics even all these years after the death of Milton Friedman, because it's also been a long time since anything like PBS's "Free to Choose" has broken through to the public consciousness.

No, it's not. I'm really sorry, but it's just... not. I work in economics. I promise this is the case.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 10:29 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Cal: Physics.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 10:41 AM on August 21, 2017


Jingling car keys at football games thinking it's somehow cheering on your team: University of Michigan.

Regarding displaying emotion whilst cheering for your football team as slightly uncouth: Michigan.
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:48 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I would say Embry-Riddle for Aeronautics, but back in my day there seemed to be about 8 schools that were "top 3" for the subject, so ymmv.

How about Cornell for Hospitality? :)
posted by rhizome at 10:54 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


In the UK - physical sciences/engineering - Imperial College London? (not biased...)
posted by sedimentary_deer at 11:06 AM on August 21, 2017


Eldritch Studies and Non-Euclidean Geometry - Miskatonic

(but really, there are plenty more examples available if you're interested in fictional schools as well as real-life institutions..)
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:16 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Animation: Calarts
posted by icosahedron at 11:53 AM on August 21, 2017


Artificial intelligence / robotics - Carnegie Mellon
posted by houseofleaves at 12:27 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Eldritch Studies and Non-Euclidean Geometry - Miskatonic

Old hat. Unseen University is now the recognized leader.
posted by ubiquity at 1:00 PM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


In the UK: Cambridge (specifically Trinity College) - Maths
posted by crocomancer at 1:02 PM on August 21, 2017


Ornithology: Cornell
posted by Lurch at 1:12 PM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


Foreign Service: George Washington

Architecture: Rice
posted by DarlingBri at 1:23 PM on August 21, 2017


Foreign Service :George Washington.

AYFKM?
posted by JPD at 1:27 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


UK:
RADA for drama
LSE for economics (I think)
City (in London) or Cardiff for journalism
and seconding Loughborough for sports.
posted by penguin pie at 1:38 PM on August 21, 2017


Right-wing terror: School of the Americas
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 2:44 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Latin American Studies: UT Austin
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:02 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm not in the field, but I always think of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University for human sexuality research.
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:15 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh, Brigham Young University for ballroom dance, I think?
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:22 PM on August 21, 2017


And how could I forget -- University of Connecticut for women's basketball.
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:36 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm in higher ed in Art & Design, so I want to quibble a scoche with the way people are handling "Art" as a higher ed subject and which school is the "Big Deal." One thing to note is that each sub-discipline (traditionally a media, but not quite as much nowadays) really has its own big deal school. Another thing to note is that it differs a bit according to what kind of artist the student is wanting to be... So...

For "Art" where the student wants to be a New York artist with gallery representation and a shot at things like Whitney Biennials or Art Fair Basels - Yale. Yale is the program that New York gallery owners poach up-and-coming MFA students for their showrooms. Yale kinda combines the various media which are dominant in those venues, so this is a blanket "Big Deal" for things like Painting, Sculpture, Photography, and the nexus of those media, such as Installation or Conceptual Art.

Ceramics - Alfred University (NY)
Printmaking - University of Iowa
Fibers - Cranbrook Academy of Art
Digital Media/Computer Art - Carnegie Mellon

My field, graphic design, is a pretty tough one to call - it probably boils down to a choice between Virginia Commonwealth and North Carolina State. My view is informed in part by not seeing graphic design as being as analogous to studio arts as other rankings do (which might declare Cranbrook a top graphic design program, although Cranbrook definitely treats design like a kind of studio art). NC State is one of the few US programs to offer a PhD in graphic design and is a big player in our academic conferences.
posted by Slothrop at 6:38 PM on August 21, 2017


More than one at a time this time!

Equestrian - Mount Holyoke
Citrus Science - University of Florida
Lemurs - Duke University

And while Carnegie Mellon has most of computer science on lock, Natural Language Processing / Computational Linguistics is squarely in Stanford's court.
posted by batter_my_heart at 7:13 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm marking Best Answer those that described the spirit of the question: it's not so much about which schools people in the field might recognise as the Best, but more of a wider cultural idea, like how every damn musical genius in movies is always trying to get to Juilliard. (I picked HBS for my business example based on my family who are big HBS fans as well as my country of origin's general belief in Harvard being the #1 University for Everything).
posted by divabat at 10:06 PM on August 21, 2017


Much as it pains me to to admit it, public policy is probably Harvard too, at least for domestic policy (international relations/foreign policy and international development might be different).
posted by une_heure_pleine at 4:51 AM on August 22, 2017


it's not so much about which schools people in the field might recognise as the Best, but more of a wider cultural idea

I have no particular connection to the field of journalism, and I thought of Columbia for journalism (probably due to Columbia's administration of the Pulitzer Prizes).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:10 AM on August 22, 2017


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