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2021 Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities

Approximately 458,511 liberal arts / sciences and humanities degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a challenge finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities ranking analyzed 306 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities students.

Choosing a Great Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities School

Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities The liberal arts / sciences and humanities program you select can have a big impact on your future. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. When choosing a school we recommend considering some of the following factors:

A Great Overall School

A school that excels in educating for a particular major must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 32% of our overall quality ranking.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 459 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Above Average Earnings After Graduation

A liberal arts / sciences and humanities degree from colleges on this list typically translates into higher than average salaries following graduation. A liberal arts / sciences and humanities bachelors degree from a school in the United States helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 make $30,751 a couple years later.

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other liberal arts / sciences and humanities students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized liberal arts / sciences and humanities related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities students.

Best Schools to Study Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in United States

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 306 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Colleges

#1

St John's College

Annapolis, MD

St John's College is among your top options if you want to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities. St. John's Annapolis is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Annapolis. A Best Colleges rank of 165 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means St. John's Annapolis is a great college overall.

There are roughly 107 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads enrolled in this program at St. John's Annapolis.

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#2

Soka University of America

Aliso Viejo, CA

Soka University of America is among your best bets if you're planning on studying liberal arts / sciences and humanities. Located in the suburb Aliso Viejo, Soka University is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 98 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Soka University is a great college overall.

With 118 undergraduates, Soka University of America is one of most popular colleges to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States.

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#3

Thomas Aquinas College

Santa Paula, CA

Every student who is interested in liberal arts / sciences and humanities needs to check out Thomas Aquinas College. Located in the rural area Santa Paula, TAC is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 148 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means TAC is a great school overall.

Thomas Aquinas College is a fairly popular school to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States with over 83 graduates last year.

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#4

Bentley University

Waltham, MA

Any student pursuing a degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities needs to check out Bentley University. Located in the city Waltham, Bentley is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 63 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Bentley is a great college overall.

There are roughly 86 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates studying this degree at Bentley.

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#5

DePaul University

Chicago, IL

DePaul is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chicago. This college ranks 270th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, DePaul offers a Master's Degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities.

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#6

St. John's College

Santa Fe, NM

Located in the rural area Santa Fe, St. John's is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This college ranks 421st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New Mexico.

There are roughly 92 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates enrolled in this program at St. John's.

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#7

Sarah Lawrence College

Bronxville, NY

Sarah Lawrence is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Bronxville. This school ranks 509th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There are roughly 310 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates studying this program at Sarah Lawrence.

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#8

The King's College

New York, NY

TKC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York. This school ranks 596th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

The King's College is a fairly popular college to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States exceeding 77 graduates last year.

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#9

New York University

New York, NY

Located in the large city New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 130 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means NYU is a great college overall.

There are approximately 670 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates studying this program at NYU.

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Located in the large suburb Dallas, SMU is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 114 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means SMU is a great school overall.

With 79 undergrads, Southern Methodist University is one of most popular schools to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States.

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Located in the medium-sized city Provo, BYU is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 109 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means BYU is a great school overall.

There are about 35 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates studying this degree at BYU.

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SMC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Moraga. This college ranks 261st out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, SMC also offers a Master's Degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities.

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Located in the midsize suburb Norman, University of Oklahoma is a public college with a very large student population. This college ranks 266th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Oklahoma.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, University of Oklahoma also offers a Master's Degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities.

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Located in the city Austin, UT Austin is a public school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 91 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UT Austin is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, UT Austin also offers a Master's Degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities.

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#15

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

Located in the large suburb Fairfax, GMU is a public school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 271st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There are about 337 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates enrolled in this program at GMU.

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#16

Xavier University

Cincinnati, OH

Located in the city Cincinnati, Xavier is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. This college ranks 313th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

For those interested in shorter degree, Xavier also offers a Associate's Degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities.

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#17

Villanova University

Villanova, PA

Villanova is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Villanova. A Best Colleges rank of 78 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Villanova is a great college overall.

Villanova offers liberal arts / sciences and humanities degrees as low as a Associate's and all the way up to a Master's.

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#18

Union College New York

Schenectady, NY

Located in the small city Schenectady, Union College Schenectady is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 43 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Union College Schenectady is a great college overall.

With 30 students enrolled, Union College New York is one of most popular colleges to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States.

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#19

Saint Joseph's University

Philadelphia, PA

St. Joe's is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Philadelphia. This school ranks 225th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

With 24 undergrads, Saint Joseph's University is one of most popular colleges to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States.

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Located in the distant town Geneva, The Colleges is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 116 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means The Colleges is a great college overall.

With 17 undergraduates, Hobart and William Smith Colleges is one of most popular colleges to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States.

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USF Tampa is a very large public school located in the large city of Tampa. This college ranks 218th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Florida.

A preferred major for liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads, there are about 557 students studying this degree at USF Tampa.

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Located in the large suburb Warren, Kent State University at Trumbull is a public school with a small student population. This school ranks 1337th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Kent State University at Trumbull offers a Associate's Degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities.

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UCONN is a very large public school located in the suburb of Storrs. A Best Colleges rank of 104 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UCONN is a great school overall.

There are about 136 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads enrolled in this program at UCONN.

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#24

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

Located in the city Philadelphia, Drexel is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. This school ranks 186th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

There are approximately 65 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads studying this degree at Drexel.

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ASU - Polytechnic is a medium-sized public school located in the city of Mesa. This college ranks 616th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Arizona.

There are roughly 98 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads enrolled in this program at ASU - Polytechnic.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities

#26

Longwood University

Farmville, VA
#27

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
#28

Providence College

Providence, RI
#29

William Jewell College

Liberty, MO
#30

Belmont University

Nashville, TN
#31

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
#32

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA
#37

New College of Florida

Sarasota, FL
#40

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX
#43

Union University

Jackson, TN
#45

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities award.

Rank College Location
46 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
47 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
48 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
49 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
50 Simpson College Indianola, IA
51 Rutgers University - Camden Camden, NJ
52 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
53 University of Missouri - Kansas City Kansas City, MO
54 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
55 Iowa State University Ames, IA
56 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
57 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
58 Oakland University Rochester Hills, MI
59 Rider University Lawrenceville, NJ
60 Oklahoma State University - Main Campus Stillwater, OK
61 Lesley University Cambridge, MA

Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities by Region

View the Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Liberal Arts General Studies 547,539

View All Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Related Majors >

Majors Similar to Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities

Related Major Annual Graduates
Visual & Performing Arts 153,295
English Language & Literature 59,299
Foreign Languages & Linguistics 34,386
Theology & Religious Vocations 32,172
Philosophy & Religious Studies 16,252

View All Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Jacques Sablet (Switzerland, Morges, 1749-1803). More about our data sources and methodologies.

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