Science & Tech

Happiest universities according to AI analysis of student selfies

Happiest universities according to AI analysis of student selfies
Colleges and Universities Ban TikTok on Campuses Across the US

University can be a life changing experience for those who attend, with many creating happy memories during their studies - which includes taking and smiling for tons of photos.

Instagram selfies that have geotagged universities across America, the UK and Australia have now been analysed by an AI facial recognition technology to find out which schools are the happiest.

Analysts at were able to calculate this based on the percentage of faces seen in selfies taken by students and faculty members that express happiness.

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Thousands of Instagram photos geotagged which show clear face have been analysed and the tool provides a confidence level from 0 per cent to 100 per cent on how likely a face is to be expressing happiness.

(Snaps that had a large crowd weren't included, as the threshold was set to analyse no more than five faces per photo).

For this analysis, faces that received a score equal to or greater than 75 per cent are considered to be happy, and this measurement went toward the calculation.

Here is a breakdown of the results in the US, UK and Australia.

The US

The top 20 happiest universities in the

Texas Christian University is the happiest university in the US

Texas Christian University topped the chart as the happiest university in the US with three out of four (76.47 per cent) faces registered as happy after Instagram photos tagged at the Fort Worth institution were analysed.

While Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Iowa are second and third happiest, according to the tool.

Just one of the top 20 happiest universities belongs to the prestigious Ivy League (University of Pennsylvania) placing seventh, so attended to a top university doesn't necessarily equate to happiness, as this is also reflected in a 2014 poll by Gallup.

The UK

The top 20 happiest universities in the UK

King's College London is the happiest university in the UK

The UK is home to some of the oldest universities in the world, but which ones are the happiest?

King’s College London is King with 71 per cent of faces registered as happy in Instagram photos tagging this uni, which is sixth-best university in the country according to Times Higher Education University Rankings 2023.

Perhaps it also helps how central the campus is in the UK capital, as four out of five campuses situated on the picturesque River Thames.

In second place is Harper Adams University (68.35 per cent) and Swansea University came in third (58.98 per cent).

There were some Russell Group universities in the top 20 including: King's College London (1), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (8), University of York (11), University of Manchester (19).


The top 20 happiest universities in the

University of the Sunshine Coast is the happiest university in Australia

Australia is considered to be one of the happiest countries in the world, the World Happiness Report in 2022 found - but which Aussie university are the happiest?

The answer is University of the Sunshine Coast had the most smiles according to the tool at 63.55 per cent.

While the smiles might have something to do with being nearby to the Sunshine Coast’s scenic beaches

University of Queensland came second (54.84 per cent), and is the third-best university in the country, according to the Times Higher Education University Rankings.

In third place was Macquarie University in Sydney with 54.73 per cent.

University and mental health

However, it is important to note that university is not all smiles, and a smiles doesn't always reflect a person's true feelings - with more than a third of first-year students in England who started university in September 2021 have shown symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to an ONS survey.

While Boston University (BU) found that the number of students in the US suffering from depression jumped in recent years - up 135 per cent from 2013 to 2021.

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