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2020 Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities

Approximately 516,754 liberal arts / sciences and humanities degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be difficult finding the best fit for you. This year's Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities ranking analyzed 341 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.

The vast majority of the colleges on this list are in at least the top 25% of our overall quality ranking.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 344 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Above Average Earnings After Graduation

A liberal arts / sciences and humanities degree from schools on this list usually results in above average earnings following graduation. A liberal arts / sciences and humanities bachelors degree from a school in the United States helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 earn $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 full 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 341 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Colleges

3rd Most Popular In VA
9.5% Growth in Graduates

It is difficult to beat University of Virginia - Main Campus if you wish to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities. Located in the suburb Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 33 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means University of Virginia is a great school overall.

There are about 954 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates studying this program at University of Virginia.

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#2

Georgetown University

Washington, DC
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In DC

It's hard to beat Georgetown University if you want to pursue liberal arts / sciences and humanities as a major. Georgetown is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. A Best Colleges rank of 42 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Georgetown is a great school overall.

There are roughly 68 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates studying this program at Georgetown.

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#3

New York University

New York, NY
Master Highest Degree Type
11th Most Popular In NY
7.0% Growth in Graduates

Any student pursuing a degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities needs to look into New York University. Located in the city New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. This college ranks 129th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There are approximately 667 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads studying this degree at NYU.

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#4

Bentley University

Waltham, MA
13th Most Popular In MA
8.7% Growth in Graduates

Any student who is interested in liberal arts / sciences and humanities has to look into Bentley University. Located in the small city Waltham, Bentley is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 59 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Bentley is a great college overall.

There are roughly 127 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates studying this degree at Bentley.

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#5

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA
Master Highest Degree Type
26th Most Popular In MA

Located in the medium-sized city Cambridge, Harvard is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 5 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great school overall.

With 32 undergrads, Harvard University is one of most popular schools to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States.

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6th Most Popular In WA

Located in the suburb Olympia, Evergreen is a public school with a small student population. This school ranks 1085th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There are roughly 772 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads studying this degree at Evergreen.

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Master Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In OK
8.8% Growth in Graduates

Located in the medium-sized suburb Norman, University of Oklahoma is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 211th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Oklahoma.

For those interested in something more advanced, University of Oklahoma also offers 2 different higher degree levels in liberal arts / sciences and humanities, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#8

Villanova University

Villanova, PA
Certificate Highest Degree Type
25th Most Popular In PA

Villanova is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Villanova. A Best Colleges rank of 71 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Villanova is a great school overall.

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

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Master Highest Degree Type
123rd Most Popular In CA
25.8% Growth in Graduates

SMC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Moraga. This school ranks 246th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

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

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#10

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL
Certificate Highest Degree Type
47th Most Popular In IL
3.9% Growth in Graduates

UChicago is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chicago. A Best Colleges rank of 8 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means UChicago is a great college overall.

A popular choice for liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates, there are about 128 students enrolled in this degree at UChicago.

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Certificate Highest Degree Type
70th Most Popular In TX
11.7% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large suburb Dallas, SMU is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. This college ranks 87th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

A preferred major for liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates, there are roughly 111 learners enrolled in this degree at SMU.

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#12

DePaul University

Chicago, IL
Certificate Highest Degree Type
18th Most Popular In IL

DePaul is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Chicago. This school ranks 260th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There are approximately 334 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads enrolled in this program at DePaul.

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Certificate Highest Degree Type
43rd Most Popular In NY
4.2% Growth in Graduates

Columbia is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York. A Best Colleges rank of 26 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Columbia is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Columbia also offers 3 different higher degree levels in liberal arts / sciences and humanities, the most popular of which is a Postbaccalaureate Certificate.

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#14

Union College New York

Schenectady, NY
70th Most Popular In NY

Located in the city Schenectady, Union College Schenectady is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 55 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Union College Schenectady is a great college overall.

A popular choice for liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates, there are approximately 26 students studying this degree at Union College Schenectady.

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#15

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
16th Most Popular In VA
13.7% Growth in Graduates

Located in the suburb Fairfax, GMU is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 230th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, GMU offers a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship) in liberal arts / sciences and humanities.

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Master Highest Degree Type
62nd Most Popular In TX

Located in the large city Austin, UT Austin is a public college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 78th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

UT Austin offers liberal arts / sciences and humanities degrees as low as a First Year Certificates and all the way up to a Master's.

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#17

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX
Master Highest Degree Type
73rd Most Popular In TX
3.4% Growth in Graduates

TCU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Fort Worth. This college ranks 115th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

A popular choice for liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads, there are roughly 87 individuals studying this program at TCU.

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#18

Emory University

Atlanta, GA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
21st Most Popular In GA
22.7% Growth in Graduates

Emory is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Atlanta. A Best Colleges rank of 27 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Emory is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Emory also offers 2 different higher degree levels in liberal arts / sciences and humanities, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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8th Most Popular In NJ

Located in the large suburb Teaneck, FDU is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. This school ranks 934th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

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

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#20

Seattle University

Seattle, WA
33rd Most Popular In WA
8.1% Growth in Graduates

Seattle U is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Seattle. This college ranks 174th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Washington.

Seattle University is one of the most popular college to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States exceeding 62 graduates last year.

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#21

Yale University

New Haven, CT
25th Most Popular In CT

Yale is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New Haven. A Best Colleges rank of 4 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great school overall.

A preferred choice for liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergrads, there are approximately 11 learners enrolled in this program at Yale.

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#22

Tulane University of Louisiana

New Orleans, LA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
22nd Most Popular In LA

Tulane is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New Orleans. This school ranks 94th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Louisiana.

For those interested in something more advanced, Tulane also offers 2 different higher degree levels in liberal arts / sciences and humanities, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#23

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ
20th Most Popular In NJ

Located in the suburb South Orange, Seton Hall is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. This school ranks 287th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

There are about 172 liberal arts / sciences and humanities undergraduates studying this degree at Seton Hall.

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#24

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
14th Most Popular In IN
35.8% Growth in Graduates

Notre Dame is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Notre Dame. A Best Colleges rank of 13 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Notre Dame is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Notre Dame also offers a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship) in liberal arts / sciences and humanities.

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#25

University of Richmond

University of Richmond, VA
Master Highest Degree Type
40th Most Popular In VA

Located in the medium-sized city University of Richmond, U of Richmond is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 60 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means U of Richmond is a great college overall.

With 20 undergraduates, University of Richmond is one of most popular colleges to study liberal arts / sciences and humanities in United States.

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

Remaining Award Winners

This section represents the remainder of the schools awarded a Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 341 different United States liberal arts / sciences and humanities schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH

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
52 Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA
53 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
54 University of San Diego San Diego, CA
55 Regis University Denver, CO
56 Ramapo College of New Jersey Mahwah, NJ
57 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
58 Colorado College Colorado Springs, CO
59 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
60 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
61 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
62 University of Redlands Redlands, CA
63 University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA
64 University of South Florida - Main Campus Tampa, FL
65 St John’s University - New York Queens, NY
66 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
67 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
68 Wofford College Spartanburg, SC

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 516,754

View All Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Related Majors >

Majors Similar to Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities

Related Major Annual Graduates
Visual & Performing Arts 154,258
English Language & Literature 57,989
Foreign Languages & Linguistics 34,883
Theology & Religious Vocations 31,559
Philosophy & Religious Studies 16,163

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).

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