By royal charter of King George II of England, Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King's College. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York State and the fifth oldest in the nation. Columbia University has, since its inception, addressed the issues of the moment, making important contributions to American life through the teaching and research conducted within its schools and departments. Columbia University now comprises 16 schools and departments and is affiliated with major research-oriented medical centers, most notably Columbia University Medical Center.
Located on the Upper West Side of New York City, the University is associated with 71 research and public service institutes and 22 scholarly journals. The library system contains more than 30 million manuscripts, microfilm tapes, and printed volumes. Faculty members currently number 1,800. Since 1906, 41 Columbia University alumni and faculty have received the Nobel Prize in various fields - a testament to the academic preeminence of the University. Candidates from the top of their high school classes and from the best undergraduate institutions in America compete for places in the University's schools.