Best Liberal Arts Schools
U.S. News Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings 2016

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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#72

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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#72

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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#72

University of Puget Sound

Tacoma, WA

Located in beautiful Tacoma, WA, the University of Puget Sound offers a small-college residential experience with an emphasis on student-faculty interaction, civics, research and practical experience. Popular majors include Business Administration, Literature and Psychology.

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#79

Austin College

Sherman, TX

Located in Sherman, Texas, Austin College is a private liberal arts institution. The school was founded in 1849 and now resides on 70 urban acres about 60 miles north of Dallas. For the entire month of January, all Austin College students take only one course, which they study in depth both on and off campus.

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#79

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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#79

St. John’s University

Collegeville, MN

St. John's University, located in Collegeville, Minn., is a private institution founded in 1857. Saint John’s and the College of Saint Benedict are leading liberal arts colleges whose unique partnership offers students the educational choices of a large university and the individual attention of a premier small college. Students attend classes and activities together on both campuses.

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#82

College of the Atlantic

Bar Harbor, ME

Founded in 1969, College of the Atlantic is a private institution in rural Bar Harbor, ME. The college focuses on one undergraduate and one graduate degree, both in Human Ecology. Instead of following established curriculum, students work with faculty to build highly individualized coursework based on personal interests and career goals.

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#82

Hendrix College

Conway, AR

Hendrix College, located in Conway, Ark., is a private institution founded in 1876. It’s a small school affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Students can take advantage of many special initiatives, including the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics & Calling. Alumni include Sarah Caldwell, the first female conductor of the NYC Metropolitan Opera.

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#82

New College of Florida

Sarasota, FL

A public liberal arts institution founded in 2001, New College of Florida is located in Sarasota, Florida. It is situated on 119 suburban acres just a few miles from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. New College of Florida is one of 11 members of the State University System and is widely considered a national leader in the arts and sciences.

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#82

St. Mary’s College

Notre Dame, IN

St. Mary's College, located in Notre Dame, Indiana, is a private institution founded in 1844. This Catholic college for women is located across the street from Notre Dame University, and many of Notre Dame’s resources and events are open to Saint Mary’s students. Graduates of women’s colleges tend to be remarkable achievers, so alumni excel in all fields – from politics to art to business.

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#82

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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#82

Transylvania University

Lexington, KY

Transylvania University, located in Lexington, Kentucky, is a private institution founded in 1780. Transylvania offers a high quality liberal arts education through a personal approach to learning characterized by small classes, a caring faculty, and a supportive campus community. Its location in Lexington creates numerous student internship opportunities.

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#82

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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#82

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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#90

College of St. Benedict

St. Joseph, MN

College of St. Benedict is a private women's institution in St. Joseph, MN, that is committed to academics, leadership and art. Through a partnership with Saint John's University, St. Benedict students have access to both campuses' resources and facilities, totaling 3,300 acres of woods and lakes.

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#90

Luther College

Decorah, IA

Luther College, located in Decorah, Iowa, is a private institution founded in 1861. Luther is an undergraduate liberal arts college affiliated with the Lutheran church. One of the outstanding undergraduate institutions in the Midwest, Luther offers more than 60 majors, minors, pre-professional and special programs leading to the bachelor of arts degree.

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#90

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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#93

Bennington College

Bennington, VT

Bennington College is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1925. It is located in Bennington, Vermont on 470 rural acres near the beautiful Green Mountain National Forest. Bennington College adheres to a master-apprentice model of education, and students are heavily involved in directing their own course of study.

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#93

Cornell College

Mount Vernon, IA

Cornell College, located in Mount Vernon, IA, has a rich history that dates back to 1837. Along with renowned academics, Cornell offers a wide variety of campus clubs; intramural and NCAA Division III sports; and distinct classroom, internships and international learning experiences. Nearly two-thirds of Cornell graduates pursue advanced degrees.

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#93

Millsaps College

Jackson, MS

Millsaps College, located in Jackson, Miss., is a private institution founded in 1890. Millsaps is one of the few liberal arts schools in the U.S. to hold both a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and accreditation at both undergraduate and graduate level by AASCB International. Many opportunities exist for professional research, internships, study abroad, and community service.

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#93

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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#93

St. Mary’s College of Maryland

St. Mary's City, MD

St. Mary's College of Maryland, located in St. Mary’s City, Maryland, is a public institution founded in 1840. As Maryland’s public honors college, St. Mary’s College of Maryland offers an undergraduate, liberal arts education and small-college experience like those found at exceptional private colleges. It features a spectacular waterfront setting in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay region.

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#93

Ursinus College

Collegeville, PA

Ursinus College, founded in 1869, is a private institution about 20 miles from Philadelphia. Students who study at Ursinus have outstanding records of placement into graduate, law and medical schools, and the college is one of 50 nationwide whose seniors can compete for Watson fellowships.

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#93

Westmont College

Santa Barbara, CA

Located in Santa Barbara, California, Westmont College is a private liberal arts institution. The school was founded in 1937 and resides on 130 suburban acres just south of beautiful Gould Park. Westmont College is a Christian institution that seeks to create thoughtful scholars, grateful servants and faithful leaders.

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#100

Albion College

Albion, MI

Albion College is a private liberal arts institution founded in 1835. It is located in Albion, Michigan on 574 acres of suburban land. Albion college is committed to high academic performance, combining a liberal arts curriculum with opportunities to specialize in business, education, law, medicine and the sciences.

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