National Liberal Arts College Rankings

National Liberal Arts College Methodology

Among the National Liberal Arts Colleges are schools like Pomona College and Bowdoin College, which emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study.

To see full rankings, SAT/ACT scores, scholarship and grant information, graduation rates and more, sign up for the U.S. News College Compass!

Tuition and fees:
$46,600 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,052
Setting:
rural
#1 Overall Score: 100 out of 100.

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

Williams College, a private institution in Williamstown, Mass., has three undergraduate academic branches: humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Classes at Williams are small and use an Oxford-style teaching method that relies heavily on student participation.

Tuition and fees:
$46,574 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,817
Setting:
rural
#2 Overall Score: 96 out of 100.

Amherst College

Amherst, MA

Amherst College, a private school in Amherst, Mass., is known for its rigorous academic climate. Because Amherst is a member of the Five Colleges consortium, students can also take courses at Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts--Amherst.

Tuition and fees:
$44,718 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,552
Setting:
suburban
#3 Overall Score: 94 out of 100.

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, PA

About 10 miles outside of Philadelphia, Penn. is Swarthmore College, a private liberal arts institution that also offers a unique engineering degree program. Because Swarthmore is part of the Tri-College Consortium, students can also take courses at nearby Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College.

Tuition and fees:
$45,446 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,839
Setting:
suburban
#4 Overall Score: 92 out of 100.

Bowdoin College

Brunswick, ME

Submitting SAT and ACT scores is optional for admission to Bowdoin College, a private institution located in the coastal New England town of Brunswick, Maine. The college is home to many organizations including the Peucinian Society, one of the oldest literary and intellectual societies in the country.

Tuition and fees:
$45,314 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,516
Setting:
rural
#4 Overall Score: 92 out of 100.

Middlebury College

Middlebury, VT

Among the academic focuses at Middlebury College are programs in environmental studies, international studies, the sciences, and literature. The private institution is located in Middlebury, Vt. in a valley between the Green Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains.

Tuition and fees:
$43,580 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,607
Setting:
suburban
#4 Overall Score: 92 out of 100.

Pomona College

Claremont, CA

Pomona College is located in Claremont, Calif., about 35 miles away from downtown Los Angeles. Students can take advantage of this private institution's unique location during the annual Ski Beach Day, a morning of skiing at a local resort before an afternoon on a beach in Orange County.

Tuition and fees:
$46,167 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,055
Setting:
rural
#7 Overall Score: 91 out of 100.

Carleton College

Northfield, MN

Carleton College is a private school in the historic river town of Northfield, Minn. Carls, as its students are known, have about 35 majors to choose from and more than 170 organizations to check out.

Tuition and fees:
$43,554 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,481
Setting:
suburban
#7 Overall Score: 91 out of 100.

Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA

Wellesley is a private liberal arts college for women about 10 miles from Boston in Wellesley, Mass. Students at Wellesley have more than 1,000 courses and more than 50 majors to choose from and can also cross-register for classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tuition and fees:
$45,625 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,264
Setting:
suburban
#9 Overall Score: 89 out of 100.

Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. is a member of The Claremont Colleges, which include Scripps College, Pomona College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer College. Claremont McKenna students can take classes, play sports, and attend social functions at the other member schools.

Tuition and fees:
$42,849 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,790
Setting:
suburban
#9 Overall Score: 89 out of 100.

Davidson College

Davidson, NC

Davidson College, a private institution about 20 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina, has a need-blind admissions policy. Through the Davidson Trust, the school aims to graduate students without debt by meeting all demonstrated need with a combination of grants and work-study programs rather than loans.

Tuition and fees:
$45,426 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,205
Setting:
suburban
#9 Overall Score: 89 out of 100.

Haverford College

Haverford, PA

About 10 miles outside Philadelphia is Haverford College, a private liberal arts school in Haverford, Pa. Students have more than 150 organizations and sports teams to get involved in, including the only varsity cricket team in the country.

In-state tuition and fees:
$0 (2012-13)
Out-of-state tuition and fees:
$0 (2012-13)
Enrollment:
4,536
Setting:
city
#12 Overall Score: 88 out of 100.

The United States Naval Academy is a public school located in the waterfront town of Annapolis, Md. Students, known as midshipmen, are officers in training, and tuition is fully funded by the U.S. Navy in return for active-duty service after graduation.

Tuition and fees:
$47,890 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,406
Setting:
suburban
#13 Overall Score: 87 out of 100.

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, NY

Vassar College is a private liberal arts institution in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Though Vassar was a women’s college until 1969, males now make up more than 40 percent of the student body.

Tuition and fees:
$46,080 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,884
Setting:
rural
#14 Overall Score: 86 out of 100.

Hamilton College

Clinton, NY

Hamilton College is a private institution located in Clinton, N.Y. The school stresses effective writing skills, and students must pass at least three writing-intensive courses before graduation.

Tuition and fees:
$44,507 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,838
Setting:
rural
#14 Overall Score: 86 out of 100.

Washington and Lee University is a private institution named for George Washington, who gave a generous endowment to the school, and Robert E. Lee, a former president of the college. The school is located in historic Lexington, Va., where about 80 percent of the student body is involved in Greek life.

Tuition and fees:
$46,509 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
783
Setting:
suburban
#16 Overall Score: 85 out of 100.

Harvey Mudd College

Claremont, CA

Harvey Mudd College is a private liberal arts school known for its strong programs in math, science, and engineering. Harvey Mudd is located in Claremont, Calif., about 35 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

Tuition and fees:
$43,656 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,674
Setting:
rural
#17 Overall Score: 84 out of 100.

Grinnell College

Grinnell, IA

Students at Grinnell College, a private school in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa, are known for their social activism. Grinnell ranks top among schools of its size in sending volunteers to the Peace Corps.

In-state tuition and fees:
$0 (2013-14)
Out-of-state tuition and fees:
$0 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
4,592
Setting:
suburban
#17 Overall Score: 84 out of 100.

The United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, is the oldest of the country’s five federal service academies. The public school is located in West Point, N.Y., where graduates earn a bachelor of science degree and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

Tuition and fees:
$46,944 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,940
Setting:
city
#17 Overall Score: 84 out of 100.

Wesleyan University

Middletown, CT

Wesleyan University is located in Middletown, Conn., overlooking the Connecticut River. The private institution’s sports teams compete in the Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference, as well as in the unofficial Little Three athletic conference with Amherst College and Williams College.

Tuition and fees:
$46,380 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,871
Setting:
rural
#20 Overall Score: 83 out of 100.

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY

Colgate University is a private institution located in Hamilton, N.Y., a small town with a population about equal to the size of the student body. Students can explore the surrounding region and beyond through Colgate’s unique Outdoor Education Program, which includes winter camping, kayaking and skiing trips.

Tuition and fees:
$43,114 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,664
Setting:
city
#20 Overall Score: 83 out of 100.

Smith College

Northampton, MA

Smith College, a private school in Northampton, Mass., is one of the largest liberal arts schools for women in the country. Students live in group houses, not dormitories, at Smith.

Tuition and fees:
$45,650 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,753
Setting:
city
#22 Overall Score: 82 out of 100.

Bates College

Lewiston, ME

Bates College is located in Lewiston, Maine and was the first coeducational college in New England. The private school’s unique academic calendar includes a five-week spring term, during which students can study a single subject or partake in an off-campus program.

Tuition and fees:
$45,760 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,863
Setting:
rural
#22 Overall Score: 82 out of 100.

Colby College

Waterville, ME

Colby College’s campus in Waterville, Maine is a State Wildlife Management Area and is home to a wildlife refuge. The private school operates on a 4-1-4 academic calendar, which includes a four-week January term for internships, study abroad trips, and research projects.

Tuition and fees:
$45,388 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,070
Setting:
urban
#24 Overall Score: 81 out of 100.

Macalester College

St. Paul, MN

Macalester College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,070, with a gender distribution of 40.3 percent male students and 59.7 percent female students. At this school, 62 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 38 percent of students live off campus.

Tuition and fees:
$44,272 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,926
Setting:
suburban
#25 Overall Score: 80 out of 100.

Founded in 1843, College of the Holy Cross is a private institution. College of the Holy Cross follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

Tuition and fees:
$46,870 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,930
Setting:
suburban
#25 Overall Score: 80 out of 100.

Oberlin College

Oberlin, OH

Students at Oberlin College can study in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music, a renowned undergraduate music school. The private school, located in Oberlin, Ohio, is also home to the largest student cooperative housing organization in the country.

Tuition and fees:
$45,564 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
945
Setting:
suburban
#25 Overall Score: 80 out of 100.

Scripps College

Claremont, CA

Scripps College is a liberal arts college for women in Claremont, Calif. Because Scripps is a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium, students can also take classes and participate in extracurricular activities at Claremont McKenna College, Pomona College, Pitzer College, and Harvey Mudd College.

In-state tuition and fees:
$0 (2013-14)
Out-of-state tuition and fees:
$0 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
4,120
Setting:
suburban
#25 Overall Score: 80 out of 100.

A public institution, United States Air Force Academy was founded in 1954.

Tuition and fees:
$45,320 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
3,074
Setting:
suburban
#25 Overall Score: 80 out of 100.

University of Richmond

Univ. of Richmond, VA

University of Richmond has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,074, with a gender distribution of 45.2 percent male students and 54.8 percent female students. At this school, 89 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 11 percent of students live off campus.

Tuition and fees:
$43,900 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,322
Setting:
suburban
#30 Overall Score: 79 out of 100.

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr, PA

Founded in 1885, Bryn Mawr College is a private institution. Bryn Mawr College follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

Tuition and fees:
$44,222 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,008
Setting:
city
#31 Overall Score: 78 out of 100.

Colorado College

Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado College is a private institution that was founded in 1874. The school has 65.2 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students, and the student-faculty ratio at Colorado College is 10:1.

Tuition and fees:
$44,790 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,504
Setting:
urban
#32 Overall Score: 77 out of 100.

Barnard College

New York, NY

Barnard College was established in 1889 as a private institution. Barnard College follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered most selective.

Tuition and fees:
$46,902 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
3,536
Setting:
rural
#32 Overall Score: 77 out of 100.

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, PA

A private institution, Bucknell University was founded in 1846. Bucknell University offers a Greek system, where 43 percent of the student body is involved in a sorority and 39 percent is involved in a fraternity.

Tuition and fees:
$45,640 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,667
Setting:
rural
#32 Overall Score: 77 out of 100.

Kenyon College

Gambier, OH

Kenyon College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,667, with a gender distribution of 47.3 percent male students and 52.7 percent female students. At this school, 98 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 2 percent of students live off campus.

Tuition and fees:
$43,402 (2012-13)
Enrollment:
1,084
Setting:
suburban
#35 Overall Score: 76 out of 100.

Pitzer College

Claremont, CA

Founded in 1963, Pitzer College is a private institution. Pitzer College follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

Tuition and fees:
$43,970 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,488
Setting:
city
#36 Overall Score: 75 out of 100.

Lafayette College

Easton, PA

Lafayette College is a private institution that was founded in 1826. The school has 59 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students, and the student-faculty ratio at Lafayette College is 11:1.

Tuition and fees:
$47,510 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,301
Setting:
urban
#36 Overall Score: 75 out of 100.

Trinity College

Hartford, CT

Trinity College was established in 1823 as a private institution. Trinity College follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

Tuition and fees:
$46,370 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,051
Setting:
rural
#38 Overall Score: 74 out of 100.

Bard College

Annandale on Hudson, NY

A private institution, Bard College was founded in 1860.

Tuition and fees:
$41,456 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,322
Setting:
suburban
#38 Overall Score: 74 out of 100.

Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, MA

Mount Holyoke College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,322, with a gender distribution of 0.1 percent male students and 99.9 percent female students. At this school, 95 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 5 percent of students live off campus.

Tuition and fees:
$35,756 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,478
Setting:
rural
#38 Overall Score: 74 out of 100.

Founded in 1857, Sewanee--University of the South is a private institution. Sewanee--University of the South follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

Tuition and fees:
$46,270 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,176
Setting:
urban
#41 Overall Score: 73 out of 100.

Occidental College

Los Angeles, CA

Occidental College is a private institution that was founded in 1887. The school has 64.1 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students, and the student-faculty ratio at Occidental College is 10:1.

Tuition and fees:
$29,092 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
436
Setting:
suburban
#41 Overall Score: 73 out of 100.

Soka University of America

Aliso Viejo, CA

Soka University of America was established in 1987 as a private institution. Soka University of America follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

Tuition and fees:
$46,785 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,241
Setting:
city
#41 Overall Score: 73 out of 100.

Union College

Schenectady, NY

A private institution, Union College was founded in 1795. Union College offers a Greek system, where 38 percent of the student body is involved in a sorority and 38 percent is involved in a fraternity.

Tuition and fees:
$43,500 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,539
Setting:
city
#41 Overall Score: 73 out of 100.

Whitman College

Walla Walla, WA

Whitman College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,539, with a gender distribution of 42.6 percent male students and 57.4 percent female students. At this school, 67 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 33 percent of students live off campus.

Tuition and fees:
$46,085 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,926
Setting:
city
#45 Overall Score: 72 out of 100.

Connecticut College

New London, CT

Founded in 1911, Connecticut College is a private institution. Connecticut College follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

Tuition and fees:
$46,094 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,386
Setting:
suburban
#45 Overall Score: 72 out of 100.

Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA

Dickinson College is a private institution that was founded in 1783. The school has 73.2 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students, and the student-faculty ratio at Dickinson College is 10:1.

Tuition and fees:
$46,285 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,365
Setting:
city
#45 Overall Score: 72 out of 100.

Franklin and Marshall College was established in 1787 as a private institution. Franklin and Marshall College follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

Tuition and fees:
$45,724 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,660
Setting:
suburban
#45 Overall Score: 72 out of 100.

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, NY

A private institution, Skidmore College was founded in 1903.

Tuition and fees:
$36,000 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
1,344
Setting:
city
#49 Overall Score: 71 out of 100.

Centre College

Danville, KY

Centre College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,344, with a gender distribution of 47.4 percent male students and 52.6 percent female students. At this school, 98 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 2 percent of students live off campus.

Tuition and fees:
$43,910 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,336
Setting:
suburban
#50 Overall Score: 70 out of 100.

Denison University

Granville, OH

Founded in 1831, Denison University is a private institution. Denison University follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

Tuition and fees:
$45,870 (2013-14)
Enrollment:
2,597
Setting:
suburban
#50 Overall Score: 70 out of 100.

Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, PA

Gettysburg College is a private institution that was founded in 1832. The school has 68.7 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students, and the student-faculty ratio at Gettysburg College is 10:1.

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