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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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National Liberal Arts Colleges Tier 1   |   Tier 2   |   Unranked


#51

Denison University

Granville, OH

Denison University is a small private liberal arts college in Granville, Ohio. Denison's 850-acre campus is home to fraternities and sororities, recreation and NCAA Division III North Coast Athletics. All students are required to live on campus, creating a close-knit living/learning environment.

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#51

DePauw University

Greencastle, IN

DePauw University, a residential liberal arts college, is located in Greencastle, IN. Affiliated with The United Methodist Church, a DePauw education emphasizes values and experiential learning. Former Vice President Dan Quayle and FOX News anchor Bret Baier are notable alumni.

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#51

Furman University

Greenville, SC

Furman University, located in Greenville, South Carolina, is a private institution founded in 1826. Furman has emerged as a national leader among liberal arts colleges. Outside of class, students can grow through programs at the on-campus Shucker Leadership Institute. Through a series of stages – Explore, Engage and Emerge – Furman students learn how to be effective leaders in their community.

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#54

Rhodes College

Memphis, TN

A private liberal arts institution founded in 1848, Rhodes College is located in Memphis, Tennessee. It is situated on 100 urban acres a miles east of the city’s downtown area. Famous Rhodes College alumni include Chuck McGrady, president of the Sierra Club, and Charlaine Harris Schulz, author of The Southern Vampire Mysteries.

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#54

St. Olaf College

Northfield, MN

St. Olaf College, located in Northfield, Minn., is a private institution founded in 1874. St. Olaf is an Evangelical Lutheran college and encourages students to examine and live a life of faith. Students are required to take, at a minimum, the Bible in Cultural and Community course and a class on Christian theology. True to its roots, St. Olaf still offers a robust program in Scandinavian culture.

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#56

St. John’s College

Annapolis, MD

St. John's College, located in Annapolis, Maryland, is a private institution founded in 1696. Known for its distinctive ‘great books’ curriculum, St. John’s all-required course of study is based on the reading, study and discussion of the most important books of the Western tradition. There are no majors and no departments; all students follow the same program.

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#56

St. Lawrence University

Canton, NY

St. Lawrence University, located in Canton, New York, is a private institution founded in 1856. New York’s oldest coed university, St. Lawrence is located between the high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains and the national capitol of Canada – which provides students unparalleled access to international government, cultural opportunities and outdoor recreation.

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#56

Wheaton College

Wheaton, IL

A private, Christian liberal arts institution founded in 1860, Wheaton College is located in Wheaton, Illinois. It is situated on 80 suburban acres just 25 miles east of Chicago. Wheaton College builds students success by adhering to four traditions: attending classes, going to chapel, participating in extracurricular activities and living on campus.

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#59

Lawrence University

Appleton, WI

Lawrence University, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, is a private institution founded in 1847. It is a liberal arts school with a music conservatory. About a quarter of its students complete degrees at the conservatory. Lawrence is a test-optional university, and a quarter of its applicants opt not to submit SAT or ACT scores when they apply. Alumni include Tom Orek, CEO of Orek vacuum cleaners.

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#61

Beloit College

Beloit, WI

A private liberal arts institution founded in 1846, Beloit College is located in Beloit, Wisconsin. The school is situated on 47 urban acres about an hour south of Milwaukee. Sports are very popular at Beloit College, where 70% of students participate in athletics and 19 intercollegiate varsity teams compete in the Division III Midwest Conference.

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#61

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Geneva, NY

Hobart and William Smith Colleges, located in Geneva, New York, is a private institution founded in 1822. Hobart College and William Smith College are coordinate liberal arts colleges, which means that men attend Hobart College and women attend William Smith College. Male and female students attend classes together and share one campus, but receive degrees from their respective college.

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#61

Wabash College

Crawfordsville, IN

Wabash College is an all-men's liberal arts college in Crawfordsville, IN, just one hour from Indianapolis. Students can expect intense academics, on-campus living for at least two years, Greek life and North Coast Athletic Conference NCAA Division III sports. The school's daily newspaper, The Bachelor, has received multiple journalism awards.

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#64

Gustavus Adolphus College

St. Peter, MN

Gustavus Adolphus College, located in St. Peter, Minn., is a private Lutheran institution founded in 1862. Students receive personal attention in small-sized classes and engage in collaborative research with their professors. The college is fully accredited and known for its academic excellence and strong music, science, writing, athletics, study-abroad, and service-learning programs.

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#64

Kalamazoo College

Kalamazoo, MI

Kalamazoo College, located in Kalamazoo, Mich., is a private institution founded in 1833. Kalamazoo students can study in more than 25 undergraduate liberal arts fields, and often learn through immersive, career-related programs. For example, in the Discovery Externship Program, freshmen and sophomores spend about two weeks living and working with alumni who work in the students’ areas of study.

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#64

Muhlenberg College

Allentown, PA

Muhlenberg College is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1848. It is located in Allentown, Pennsylvania on 75 suburban acres just north of Trexler Memorial Park. Muhlenberg College is widely known for its warm, caring environment and unusually accessible faculty.

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#64

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, VA

The Virginia Military Institute, founded in 1839 and located in Lexington, VA, is the oldest state military college in the nation. Students, called military cadets, experience a full college curriculum along with military discipline. Cadets must participate in ROTC but are not required to serve active-duty following graduation.

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#64

Willamette University

Salem, OR

Willamette University is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1842. It is located in Salem, Oregon on 61 urban acres about an hour from Portland. Willamette offers students more than 100 clubs and organizations, and has an partnership with Tokyo International University, which allows those interested in Japanese language and culture the chance to interact with Japanese students.

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#69

Berea College

Berea, KY

Located in Berea, Kentucky, Berea College is a private liberal arts institution. The school was founded in 1855 as is located on 140 acres of land near the center of town. Unlike most colleges, Berea does not charge tuition; it instead relies on contributions, endowment income and financial aid to cover the cost of teaching students. All students are required to work 10 hours per week at a campus-approved job.

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#69

College of Wooster

Wooster, OH

College of Wooster is a private institution known for undergraduate research and an excellent liberal arts education. Founded in 1866, College of Wooster is located in Wooster, named one of Ohio's best hometowns.

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#69

Hillsdale College

Hillsdale, MI

Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College is a private institution located in Hillsdale, Michigan. Its campus has a rural setting stretching across 220 acres. The most popular majors at the college are Business, Management, Marketing, Social Sciences, History, English Language and Biological and Biomedical Sciences. The school has a high freshman retention rate which is an indicator of student satisfaction.

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#69

Wheaton College

Norton, MA

Wheaton College is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1834. It is located in Norton, Massachusetts on 473 suburban acres just south of the Norton Reservoir and the many parks that surround it. Wheaton College offers students about 40 majors and more than 70 student-run clubs and organizations.

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#73

Agnes Scott College

Decatur, GA

A private women’s institution founded in 1889, Agnes Scott College is located in Decatur, Georgia. It is a liberal arts school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, but is open to students of all faiths. Agnes Scott College shows its dedication to educating women by delivering on its promise: “The World for Women.”

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#73

Earlham College

Richmond, IN

Diversity is key at Earlham, a private Quaker college in tree-lined Richmond, IN. Earlham recruits students from around the world and is known for programs that focus on the study of Japanese culture and language. Famous alumni include actor Michael C. Hall, star of the television show Dexter.

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#73

Illinois Wesleyan University

Bloomington, IL

Illinois Wesleyan University, located in Bloomington, Illinois, is a private institution founded in 1850. Less than two hours from Chicago and St. Louis, students have the opportunity to experience a rural and urban lifestyle of their choosing. Illinois Wesleyan prides itself on providing individual attention and guidance to its students – its freshman retention rate is one of the best in the U.S.

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