StudyAdvantage Magazine

Nerd Meccas – World’s Geekiest Universities

Published: January 9, 2017


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6 University of Wisconsin

Remember the Lord of the Rings movies? Well, they were based on a book series with the same name and were written by a chap named J.R.R. Tolkien. Much like modern day nerd obsessions like the Game of Thrones TV series, the fantasy world of the Lord of the Rings saga featured made-up languages. If you’re a true nerd, you already knew this. What you may not know, however, is that you can study one of these fantasy languages – Sindarin (or Elvish in common tongue) – at university. Taught by David Salo who worked on the films as a linguistics expert, a course in Sindarin is offered at the University of Wisconsin. You better be a real LOTR geek to take this course, as you will likely not get anything out of this course other than enjoyment (and credits..).


Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien worked and studied at University of Oxford? Find out more about the birthplace of the LOTR trilogy here.


Also, read our interview with Eric, who ditched Harvard to instead attend Oxford.


Georgetown University

Can you go back in time and kill your grandmother? Is data a person? Are these dilemmas everyday ponderings of a Star Trek geek or actual philosophical questions? Well, if you’re a student at Georgetown University, they could be both. This notoriously studious school in Washington D.C. attracts disproportionately many Star Trek fans, all thanks to its well known course – “Philosophy and Star Trek”.

Check out the video below, which gives a clear example of the kind of material covered by students at Georgetown University (hint: It’s got to do with sci fi):

Sound interesting? Check out Yuki’s blog from Georgetown to find out more about student life at this school.


Brown University

Possibly the biggest nerd in modern pop culture – Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter book series – graduated from Brown with a degree in English literature. Although Emma Watson, the actress famed from playing Hermione, has left Brown’s campus, the school maintains its reputation as (unofficially) most intellectual Ivy League school.

To further confirm the nerd rumours, Brown offers a wide range of extracurriculars, ranging from normal activities to Disney A Cappella groups. Yes, that’s right – young adults get together to sing Disney theme music in their free time. As if this isn’t enough to solidify the university’s reputation, the school has organized Wikipedia “Edit-a-thons” where participants (voluntarily) polish Wikipedia pages on female leaders in the science and technology fields for more than five hours straight!?


Check out a performance by the Disney A Capella Group below:


Interested in knowing what it’s like to study at the “most intellectual Ivy League University”? Read Filip’s blog to get first-hand insight.


Having trouble choosing the right Ivy League University? Do our quiz to find out which school suits you best!


MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Okay, this is an obvious one, but MIT is simply impossible to out-nerd. Whether you’re a handsome, young janitor secretly fantasizing about mathematical equations or an outspoken coding nerd, this geek-Mecca has the capacity cater to all of your interests like no other institution on planet earth. It is perhaps this ability that has produced some of the world’s brightest people (objectively speaking). As of 2015, MIT has produced 85 Nobel Laureates, 52 National Medal of Science Recipients, 45 Rhodes Scholars and 34 astronauts.

To further cement MIT’s godly status among nerds worldwide – the university offers a course called “Lego robotics”. While you don’t have to be a nerd to love Legos, you most definitely are one if you study Lego on university level.



Does this sound like a school for you? Find out more about MIT by reading Safa’s blog.


Imperial College, London

Imperial College is situated in the heart of the buzzing city of London, with a rich offering of social events and activities. The school’s students don’t really care much for London’s nightlife though, unless nightlife refers to an “all-nighter in the library”. According to legend, Imperial College is among the most academically demanding schools in the UK, and offer mostly technical degrees. One Student Room member put it in these words:

“Little access to girls, social life, or arts students with philosophical perspective. Imperial also has the 2nd largest science fiction library in the world (1st is held at MIT – who would be the clear winners but at least they teach things like architecture there).”

Although MIT may, at its best, trump Imperial College in terms of nerdiness, they do offer creative and “artsy” subjects such as architecture which balances out the geek factor. To further enforce this Sci Fi obsession at Imperial College, students arrange an annual science fiction conference called Picocon in true geek spirit. Watch the video below to find out more.



1 Carnegie Mellon

In his famed appearance at Carnegie Mellon University’s graduation ceremony in 2007, controversial Hollywood actor Bill Cosby opened his commencement speech with the words “Um… Nerds”. Perhaps a bit too direct and accurate, the comment hit home and was received with an uncomfortable, yet admitting laughter from the crowd.

Carnegie Mellon has a long tradition of commitment to academic rigor, and their studiousness and brains are no secret, rather the opposite. This school actually celebrates Geek Pride Day every year and are proud of their nerdy student culture, and rightfully so. The school has produced some of the brightest minds in recent history, including 19 Nobel Prize Laureates, 19 Members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 72 Members of the National Academies, 114 Emmy Award Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 4 Rhodes Scholars.



Other articles on StudyAdvantage you might find interesting:


Remarkable Student Societies: A Cappella Groups

7 Young, Superstar International Professors

5 Best Student Debating Clubs in the World




Other magazine articles