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Best Liberal Arts Schools
U.S. News Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings

Liberal arts colleges, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as National Liberal Arts Colleges, confer only undergraduate degrees. At least half of the degrees awarded at these institutions are in a liberal arts field. Search below to find the top-ranked liberal arts colleges and universities in the nation. To locate bachelor degree programs or online master's degrees in liberal arts be sure to search our listings of accredited degree programs.

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#24

United States Military Academy

West Point, NY

The United States Military Academy, or West Point, was founded in 1802. Cadets can expect to live on campus in barracks and to be developed intellectually, physically and ethically as an officer-in-training. Tuition is paid for by the U.S. Army in exchange for active-service duty.

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#27

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr, PA

A private women’s liberal arts institution founded in 1885, Bryn Mawr College is located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The school is situated on 135 suburban acres near the outskirts of Philadelphia. Bryn Mawr College has partnerships with Haverford College, Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania that allow students to take classes at these other institutions.

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#27

Colorado College

Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado College sits at the base of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, CO. An alternate calendar gives students plenty of time for both studies and the area's many year-round recreational opportunities. Alumni include Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman.

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#27

United States Air Force Academy

USAF Academy, CO

United States Air Force Academy, located in USAF Academy, Colorado, is a public institution founded in 1954. Students, called cadets, adhere to a strict daily schedule that doesn’t allow for much free time, though there are a number of extracurricular clubs and activities. The Academy emphasizes character building, military discipline, physical fitness and academic excellence.

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#30

Kenyon College

Gambier, OH

Kenyon College, located in Gambier, Ohio, is a private institution founded in 1824. Kenyon, among the nation’s finest liberal arts institutions, takes pride in exceptionally strong programs in English (Kenyon is home of the internationally known Kenyon Review), the sciences and drama. Notable alumni include actor Paul Newman, poet James Wright and former Prime Minister of Sweden, Olof Palme.

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#30

University of Richmond

Univ. of Richmond, VA

University of Richmond, located in Virginia's beautiful historic capital, offers quality undergraduate and graduate education, including the well-respected T.C. Williams School of Law. Students are encouraged to engage with the community and take advantage of both in-classroom and out-of-classroom learning opportunities.

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#32

Barnard College

New York, NY

Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts institution that was founded in 1889. It is located in New York, New York on four urban acres on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Barnard College has a partnership with Columbia University, which is right across the street. Barnard women can take classes and join organizations (including sports teams) at Columbia.

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#32

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, PA

Bucknell University is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1846. It is located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania on 445 rural acres about three hours from both New York and Washington, D.C. Bucknell University’s 25 varsity sports teams – known as the Bucknell Bison – compete in the NCAA Division I Patriot League.

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#34

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA

Founded in 1843, Holy Cross is the nation's only Jesuit undergraduate institution. From its Worcester, MA, campus, Holy Cross offers a top liberal arts education in the heart of a thriving college town. Notable alumni include Hardball host Chris Matthews and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

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#35

Lafayette College

Easton, PA

Lafayette College, located in Easton, Penn., is a private institution founded in 1826. Lafayette is classified as one of the nation’s most academically competitive colleges and is committed to academic excellence in providing the best undergraduate education in the liberal arts and engineering. Extracurricular activities in the winter include skiing and snowboarding in the nearby Pocono Mountains.

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#35

Pitzer College

Claremont, CA

Pitzer College is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1963. It is located in Claremont, California on 31 suburban acres about 35 miles from Los Angeles. Pitzer College is part of the network of Claremont Colleges, along with Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pomona College, and Scripps College.

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#37

Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA

Dickinson College was founded in 1773 in historic Carlisle, PA. Its mission is to provide students with an arts and science-based education that emphasizes internal studies, preparing them to be both responsible citizens and effective leaders.

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#37

Franklin and Marshall College

Lancaster, PA

Franklin and Marshall College is a private institution founded in 1787. The tree-lined campus is in walking distance of downtown Lancaster, Penn. One unique component of student life is the Harry Potter-esque living situation. All first-year students are assigned to one of four college houses, known as Bonchek, Brooks, Schnader and Ware. Each house is overseen by faculty called dons and prefects.

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#37

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, NY

Skidmore College, located in Saratoga Springs, New York, is a private institution founded in 1903. The College’s rigorous academic program begins with the First-Year Experience, which integrates the curricular, co-curricular, and residential aspects of a student’s first year. Downtown Saratoga Springs is full of entertainment options, including shops, galleries, coffeehouses and restaurants.

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#37

Whitman College

Walla Walla, WA

Located in Walla Walla, Washington, Whitman College is a private liberal arts institution. The school was founded in 1883 and resides on 117 urban acres not far from the center of town. Whitman College offers NCAA Division III Northwest Conference athletics and more than 100 other student clubs and organizations.

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#41

Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, MA

A private liberal arts institution founded in 1837, Mount Holyoke College is located in South Hadley, Massachusetts. It was the first institution in the all-female Seven Sisters league and is now situated in 800 suburban acres just north of the Black Stevens Conservation Area. Mount Holyoke women can study for one or two semesters at 11 other schools, including Dartmouth and Vassar colleges.

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#41

Soka University of America

Aliso Viejo, CA

Soka University of America, located in Aliso Viejo, Calif., is a private institution founded in 1987. Although the University doesn’t offer a religious curriculum and admits students without regard to religious affiliation, the founding spirit is inspired by Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life. Half of the student body is international, giving SUA a rich diversity.

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#41

Union College

Schenectady, NY

Union College, located in Schenectady, New York, is a private institution founded in 1795. Faculty, staff and administrators welcome diverse and talented students into the community, work closely with them to provide a broad and deep education, and guide them in finding and cultivating their passions. Notable alumni include Alan Horn, producer of Seinfeld and the Harry Potter movies.

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#44

Occidental College

Los Angeles, CA

A private liberal arts institution founded in 1887, Occidental College is located in Los Angeles, California. It is situated on 120 urban acres in the Eagle Rock neighborhood, about eight miles from the city’s downtown area. Occidental College students can join the school’s sports teams – the Tigers – which compete in the NCAA Division III Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

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#45

Bard College

Annandale on Hudson, NY

A private liberal arts institution founded in 1860, Bard College is located in Annandale on Hudson, New York. The school is situated on 600 rural acres near the Hudson river and Catskill Mountains. Bard College belongs to the NCAA Division III Eastern College Athletic Conference, and its sports teams are known as the Raptors.

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#45

Centre College

Danville, KY

Centre College sits on 118 acres in Danville, KY, and offers a liberal arts education, Greek life and NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletics. Students are required to live on campus and are guaranteed an internship, the opportunity to study abroad and the ability to graduate in four years. Fred Vinson, former U.S. Chief Justice, is a Centre College alum.

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#45

Connecticut College

New London, CT

Connecticut College's 750-acre arboretum campus sits on the southern New England Coast overlooking beautiful Long Island Sound. The school encourages art, creativity and spiritedness, with students required to take at least one creative class before graduation. Famous alumni include Tim Armstrong, chair and CEO of AOL.

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#45

Sewanee--University of the South

Sewanee, TN

Sewanee – University of the South is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1857. It is located in Sewanee, Tennessee on 13,000 rural acres and is the only school in the country governed by the Episcopal Church. Sewanee has 36 majors, and it’s sports teams – known as the Tigers – compete in the NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.

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#45

Trinity College

Hartford, CT

Trinity College, located in Hartford, Conn., is a private institution founded in 1823. Students live in an intimate setting in the midst of a bustling state capital. Attending school in Hartford also provides hundreds of opportunities for internships at various organizations. Freshmen must live on campus, and will reside and take classes with other students in their selected First-Year Program.

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#50

Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, PA

Gettysburg College, located in Gettysburg, Penn., is a private institution founded in 1832. The school is adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park, which is surrounded by many entertainment options. Students can get a feel of career life through the school’s Bright Lights! Big City! program. They take three-day trips to major east coast cities to meet with alumni and other activities.

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