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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


#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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#52

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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#52

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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#54

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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#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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#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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#57

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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#57

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

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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#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

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

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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#61

Thomas Aquinas College

Santa Paula, CA

Thomas Aquinas College, located in Santa Paula, Calif., is a private institution founded in 1971. At Thomas Aquinas, there are no majors, no minors, no electives and no specializations. The four-year interdisciplinary course of study makes use of the original writings of the West’s great philosophers, historians, mathematicians, poets, scientists and theologians.

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#61

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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#65

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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#65

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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#65

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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#65

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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#65

Southwestern University

Georgetown, TX

Southwestern University, located in Georgetown, Texas, is a private institution founded in 1840. The United Methodist-affiliated university was the first institution of higher learning in the state of Texas. Southwestern consists of The Brown College of Arts and Sciences and The Sarofim School of Fine Arts. More than half of the students study abroad or participate in an off-campus program.

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#65

Spelman College

Atlanta, GA

Spelman College, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private institution founded in 1881. Spelman is a highly selective, historically Black college that prepares women to change the world. Its holistic liberal arts education empowers women to excel intellectually, think creatively, serve wholeheartedly, act globally and lead boldly. Alumni include Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple.

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#65

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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#65

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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#65

Wofford College

Spartanburg, SC

A private liberal arts institution founded in 1854, Wofford College is located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It is situated on 170 urban acres that have been designated as an arboretum (since 1992, nearly 5,000 trees have been planted throughout the campus). Wofford is a United Methodist-affiliated school that welcomes students of all faiths.

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#74

Lewis & Clark College

Portland, OR

Lewis & Clark College, located in Portland, Oregon, is a private institution founded in 1867. Lewis & Clark is a classic liberal arts college in a famously livable city, surrounded by majestic natural beauty. Its students come from over 50 countries, studying with a scholarly faculty who teach only undergraduates. It truly is a national college with an international reach.

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#74

Reed College

Portland, OR

Located in Portland, Oregon, Reed College is a private liberal arts institution. The school was founded in 1911 and eschews some traditional college staples like course grades, Greek organizations and varsity sports. Though professors do assign a letter grade for coursework, Reed College students are ultimately evaluated on a pass/no-pass scale.

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