From big Ivy Leagues to teeny tiny liberal arts colleges, there’s no shortage of gorgeousness when it comes to higher education. These are our 11 picks for the most beautiful academic establishments in the country.


Cornell University: Ithaca, New York

A mix of historic and modern, the quad--overlooking the Cayuga Lake area and its many gorges--features a hall designed by Rem Koolhaas and an art museum by I.M. Pei, which acts like an outdoor movie screen on summer nights.


University of Washington: Seattle, Washington

Known as “U Dub,” this city school counts the majestic Mount Rainier as its backdrop. In the springtime, 30 Yoshino cherry blossoms decorate the campus in pink.


Bard College: Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

This small liberal arts campus is famous for the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center for the Performing Arts--a modern spectacle of undulating glass and brushed steel.


Furman University: Greenville, South Carolina

This Southern school’s landmark Bell Tower overlooks the campus lake. There’s also a former Buddhist temple and a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s home.


Swarthmore College: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Well known for its Scott Arboretum outdoor amphitheater, this university with Quaker-inspired ethics emphasizes sustainability and has three green roofs on campus.


Florida Southern College: Lakeland, Florida

Here’s a great piece of trivia--this relatively unknown university has the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the country.


Yale University: New Haven, Connecticut

Frequently referred to as an outdoor museum, the campus is one of the best examples of American architecture over the last 100 years--from Georgian-style brick to buildings by Eero Saarinen to an upcoming project by Norman Foster (the guy behind Apple’s spaceship campus).


University of Virginia: Charlottesville, Virginia

This grandiose Jeffersonian village is the only college in the U.S. to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Vanderbilt University: Nashville, Tennessee

For good luck, students are urged to kiss the statue of school founder Cornelius Vanderbilt their first night on campus.


Indiana University: Bloomington, Indiana

IU’s colorful flagship campus is planted with 80 varieties of trees.


Pepperdine University: Malibu, California

Sometimes referred to as heaven’s gate, this sprawling campus is perched on the bluffs high above California’s rugged coastline. It’s a wonder how anyone gets any work done here.