10 of the Most Photogenic Universities in the World
By Emily Valentine
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to sometimes. Why study somewhere dark and dingy, when you could be getting your degree while surrounded by elaborate gothic architecture that would give Hogwarts a run for its money, or cutting-edge modern design. Study somewhere that will give you a great education but also inspire you every day. After all, who said you can’t have both beauty and brains?
Voted as the most beautiful university in the UK in 2016, Oxford is a place of beauty, complete with gothic spires and picturesque green spaces. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s really easy to channel your inner Harry Potter as some of the scenes from the movie were filmed on campus.
The University of Minnesota’s Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum pushes the uni into our top 10. Complete with an angular design and silver stainless steel cladding, this space-age-style art museum was designed by architect Frank Gehry, and still resembles a building of the future, despite 20 years having passed since it was built. Beneath the unusual exterior lies a center of education, creating “experiences that spark discovery, critical thinking, and transformation, linking the university and the community”.
Also the top young university in the world, Nanyang has more than just good looks on its side. The university’s reputation as being at the center of cutting edge technology, engineering and research is clearly reflected in its architecture. A mix of modern design and recreational space with plenty of natural light make this university one of the most aesthetically pleasing on the list.
Another newly built university, Taroudant combines modern and traditional design in perfect harmony. Set in the southern desert, its carefully thought-out design allows for shady areas to combat the intense Moroccan heat. Aside from being a bit of a looker, with its rustic orange walls and sweeping lines, the location of the university is also worth mentioning. Set at the foot of the mighty Atlas mountains, this is definitely a university with a view.
The University of Salamanca, set in the UNESCO world heritage city of Salamanca, is the oldest university in Spain, dating all the way back to the 13th century. The stunning Baroque architecture is a feast for the eyes, but the university isn’t just a pretty face. With a long and prestigious history, the university has educated some pretty famous alumni, including Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote.
With a backdrop of Table Mountain and a view out over the Cape Peninsula, The University of Cape Town’s dramatic location will take your breath away. The university also happens to be a top ranker in South Africa so studying here will ensure you get the best of both worlds.
Designed by architectural wizard Henning Larsen, the state of the art School of Communications and Design at the Southern University of Denmark’s Odense campus is deserving of a place in the top 10. With 20% of the campus consisting of woodland, the university is a shining example of Scandinavian simplicity at its best. The charming town of Odense is just on your doorstep too, so you’re in for a double treat of eye candy if you study here.
Chinese architecture is arguably some of the most ornate in the world, and there’s plenty of traditional design to be enjoyed at Peking University. The campus is based in the former Qing Dynasty imperial gardens and is a haven of tranquility, complete with pagodas, peaceful gardens, lakes and traditional buildings. Aside from its beauty, the university is also known for its string of influential alumni and is rated year after year as one of the top universities in China.
If you like the idea of getting a healthy dose of fresh air and a backdrop of rolling mountains with your education, then look no further than The University of Tasmania. You can enjoy a whole range of outdoor activities that take advantage of the university’s beautiful island location, so if you’re into kayaking, surfing, mountain climbing, then you’ll be in your element. The university is also the perfect place to study an environment-related degree.
If it’s a view to die for that you’re after, then Pepperdine University in Malibu should definitely be on your shortlist of places to study at. Surrounded by mountains and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you can’t get much better than this if you want a sea view. If you ever tire of the view (which let’s face it, you probably won’t) then Los Angeles is around an hour’s drive away.
Emily Valentine writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, who specialize in matching career starters with graduate jobs. For everything from analytical roles to marketing internships, click here.
This article was originally published in June 2017 . It was last updated in January 2020