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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


#148

Oglethorpe University

Atlanta, GA

Oglethorpe University is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1835. It is located in Atlanta, Georgia on 100 suburban acres in the city’s Brookhaven area. Oglethorpe University is dedicated to teaching students how to become community leaders who are distinctive in their ability to think, communicate and contribute.

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#148

Salem College

Winston-Salem, NC

The oldest school in the nation dedicated to the education of women, Salem College opened its doors in 1772. The school, which sets on 57 acres in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has since welcomed men as well, in accordance with the evolution of their mission. Students attending Salem College will experience rigorous academic work while preparing for leadership positions.

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#148

St. Vincent College

Latrobe, PA

St. Vincent College, located in Latrobe, Penn., is a private institution founded in 1846. St. Vincent is a friendly and supportive educational community rooted in the Catholic, Benedictine tradition that provides contemporary programs through which students can integrate their professional goals with the broader purpose of human life.

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#148

Wells College

Aurora, NY

Wells College is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1868. It is located in Aurora, New York on 360 rural acres and is affiliated with Cornell University, which is about 30 minutes away. Some notable Wells College alumni include former First Lady Frances Cleveland and Pleasant Co. founder Pleasant Rowland.

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#155

Carthage College

Kenosha, WI

Carthage College is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1847. It is located in Kenosha, Wisconsin on 95 suburban acres near the shore of Lake Michigan. Carthage College is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is known for hiring faculty from the top graduate schools in their disciplines.

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#155

Georgetown College

Georgetown, KY

Georgetown College, located in Georgetown, Kentucky, is a private institution founded in 1787. Georgetown distinguishes itself from many other small liberal arts colleges by offering a combination of rigorous and respected academic programs, a wealth of opportunities for leadership and involvement in extracurricular activities, and a strong commitment to Christian values and principles.

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#155

Illinois College

Jacksonville, IL

Illinois College, located in Jacksonville, Illinois, is a private institution founded in 1829. It is a community committed to the highest standards of scholarship and integrity in the liberal arts. The College develops qualities of mind and character needed for fulfilling lives of leadership and service. The faculty expects excellence and provides the personal attention to help students succeed.

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#155

William Jewell College

Liberty, MO

Located in Liberty, Missouri, William Jewell College is a private liberal arts institution. The school was founded in 1849 and resides on 200 suburban acres just west of Martha Lafite Thompson National Sanctuary. William Jewell College is dedicated to enhancing students’ ability to apply learning to complex ethical, scientific and cultural problems.

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#159

College of Idaho

Caldwell, ID

College of Idaho, a private institution founded in 1891, is affiliated with the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities. Its distinct PEAK curriculum (Professional, Ethical, Articulate and Knowledgeable) lets students design personal major and minor programs across four areas.

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#159

Lycoming College

Williamsport, PA

Lycoming College, located in Williamsport, Penn., is a private institution founded in 1812. The College has established a teaching effectiveness program to focus on new strategies for the classroom, including those involving cutting-edge technology. Students will have the opportunity to bring their academic work together in some sort of major research or artistic presentation.

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#159

University of North Carolina--Asheville

Asheville, NC

University of North Carolina- Asheville, founded in 1927, sits on 265 acres in beautiful Asheville, NC. Students benefit from top academics, award-winning faculty and internships while enjoying the City of Asheville's arts, music, and year-round outdoor recreation.

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#159

Wartburg College

Waverly, IA

Wartburg College is located in Waverly, IA, and is associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. From its rural 118-acre campus, Wartburg emphasizes intellectual growth while fostering service, personal beliefs, community and convictions.

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#159

Westminster College

Fulton, MO

Westminster College is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1851. It is located in Fulton, Missouri on 86 rural acres just east of the University of Missouri Ashland Wildlife Research Area. Westminster College is known for valuing the traditions it was founded on: integrity, respect, fairness and responsibility.

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#164

Doane College

Crete, NE

Doane College promotes a family-oriented approach to living and learning on its rural 300-acre campus in Crete, NE. Along with a quality education and the opportunity to study abroad, the college guarantees students will graduate in four years and also promises job placement for its teaching majors.

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#165

Fisk University

Nashville, TN

Fisk University, located in Nashville, Tenn., is a private institution founded in 1866. Fisk is one of America’s premier Historically Black Universities. From its earliest days, Fisk faculty and alumni have been among the country’s intellectual leaders. Famous alumni include: co-founder of the NAACP, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois; poet, Nikki Giovanni; and congressman and civil rights leader, John Lewis.

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#165

Hartwick College

Oneonta, NY

Hartwick College, located in Oneonta, New York, is a private institution founded in 1797. As a small liberal arts college, it focuses on fostering student-faculty relationships – Hartwick’s faculty bring the latest insights from the world into the classroom to deepen student learning. Hartwick offers a Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree that dramatically reduces the cost of a private college education.

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#165

Lyon College

Batesville, AR

Lyon College, located in Batesville, Ark., is a private institution founded in 1872. One of the country’s best liberal arts colleges, Lyon is a residential, undergraduate school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The oldest institution in Arkansas, it’s distinguished by the quality of its faculty, the beauty of its campus, and its endowed international studies program.

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#165

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

North Adams, MA

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, located in North Adams, Mass., is a public institution founded in 1894. MCLA delivers a high-quality, affordable education that provides students with the critical thinking and communication skills of greatest value to their community and their future employers. More than 40 clubs and organizations offer students many chances to further their development.

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#165

Monmouth College

Monmouth, IL

Monmouth College, located in Monmouth Illinois, is a private institution founded in 1853. It has earned respect among its peers for the impressive percentage of graduates who attend top graduate and professional schools, and form successful careers in science, education, business and the arts. The campus is acclaimed for its beauty and for facilities that surpass those of comparable schools.

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#165

Warren Wilson College

Asheville, NC

Warren Wilson, located in Asheville, NC, is one of six work colleges in the United States. The school's holistic approach to education allows students to focus on service-learning, work and community service, enhancing their cultural experiences and preparing them to make a difference in the world.

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#171

Purchase College--SUNY

Purchase, NY

Located in Purchase, New York, Purchase College – SUNY is a public liberal arts institution. The school was founded in 1967 and resides on 550 suburban acres about 25 miles north of Manhattan. Purchase College – SUNY claims excellent programs in the School of the Arts, the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the School of Liberal Studies & Continuing Education.

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#172

Eastern Mennonite University

Harrisonburg, VA

Christian liberal arts institution Eastern Mennonite University is located in the scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Guided by the Anabaptist peace-oriented tradition, all university coursework emphasizes faith, ethics and values, and community service and study abroad are required of every student.

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#172

Emory and Henry College

Emory, VA

Emory and Henry College, located on a rural setting in Emory, Virginia, is a private institution founded in 1836. Many of its professors have been named Virginia Professor of the Year of the Carnegie Foundation. Each year, Emory & Henry features close to 100 concerts, theater and dance performances, films, exhibits and poetry readings to complement its students’ academic experience.

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#172

Guilford College

Greensboro, NC

Guilford College, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, is a private institution founded in 1837. Guilford draws on Quaker and liberal arts traditions to produce lifelong learners and agents of change in the world. Because of its scheduling flexibility – classes are held Monday through Saturday, from early morning to 10 at night, Guilford attracts both traditional residential students and adults.

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#172

Northland College

Ashland, WI

Northland College is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1892. It is located in Ashland, Wisconsin on 130 rural acres just south of the Lake Superior shore. Northland College is an environmentally conscious school, one in which the natural world and humanity's place in it are recognized as intrinsic to success.

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