Best Public Colleges in Alabama 2022

Best Public Colleges in Alabama 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Alabama provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Colleges and Universities in Alabama

Online students and traditional students alike have a lot of options in the state of Alabama. The 54 colleges and universities in Alabama allow students to pursue associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in many fields all over the state, as well as through a variety of excellent online degree programs. Some of the most notable degree areas include law, nursing, biology, history, engineering, and religious studies.

Students in Alabama can study any of these subjects either online or through online courses. If you’re looking for educational flexible education, Alabama has over 20 colleges and universities offering online degree programs.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Students hoping to obtain a four-year degree at a larger university can attend one of the two largest - as well as rivalry - schools, the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Both schools’ tuition is about $11,000, though the University of Alabama’s student population, at nearly 36,000 students, is larger than Auburn’s.

Students also have the option of attending one of Alabama’s 18 private higher education institutes, many of which have religious affiliations. Tuition costs vary widely, from $4,000 per year to $36,000 per year. Student populations also vary widely, from less than 100 students to as many as 15,000 students.

Additionally, students who need more flexibility can take advantage of the satellite campuses, like at the University of North Alabama. Alabama also has a larger number of online college offerings. With 70 online degree programs offered at the University of Alabama alone, in-state residents have a lot of degree options, both for a traditional and online education.

For die-hard football fans and lovers of sweet tea, obtaining a higher education degree in Alabama can seem like an obvious choice. The Yellowhammer State, however, is also home to a unique mixture of coastal, mountainous, and swamp environments, making it a great choice for students who love soaking up the outdoors.

And if you’re looking for a mix of the campus experience and online education, many schools in Alabama have hybrid programs. With a hybrid program, you can take both online courses and classes on campus.


What are Alabama’s Colleges & Universities?


Alabama’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 14 public universities in Alabama. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Alabama, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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Best Public Colleges in Alabama 2022

  1. #1

    University of Alabama

    Tuscaloosa , AL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    35K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/27

    University of Alabama’s Online Degrees

    BS in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 25/ 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Commerce and Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Business
    • Management
    • Accounting
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Development and Family Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Child Life
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Food and Nutrition
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Environmental Sciences, Consumer Sciences
    Degree Concentrations
    • Consumer Affairs
    • Family Financial Planning and Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Food and Nutrition
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Development and Family Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Child Life
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Environmental Sciences, Consumer Sciences
    Degree Concentrations
    • Consumer Affairs
    • Family Financial Planning and Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Environmental Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Commerce and Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Business
    • Management
    • Accounting
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 25/ 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. #2

    Auburn University

    Auburn , AL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/28

    Auburn University’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Accountancy
    Degree Concentrations
    • Second Degree
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA Business Admiministration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1227/25

    University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    Degree Concentrations
    • Financial Management Concentration
    • Investments and Institutions Concentration
    • Real Estate Concentration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Marketing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Marketing Management
    • Retail Marketing Management
    • Digital Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Care Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Concentration Tracks
    • Clinical Manager
    • Pre-professional
    • LongTerm Care Administration
    • Fast Tracks
    • Health Informatics
    • Healthcare Quality and Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Community Health and Human Services
    Degree Concentrations
    • Human Services
    • Community Health
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Industrial Distribution
    Degree Concentrations
    • Engineering or Medical Equipment and Supplies
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Systems
    Degree Concentrations
    • Data Analytics
    • Cybersecurity Management
    • Operations Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • International Business Dynamics
    • Management Planning and Control
    • Operations Management
    • Project Managemen
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Accounting
    Degree Concentrations
    • Financial Management Concentration
    • Investments and Institutions Concentration
    • Real Estate Concentration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Community Health and Human Services
    Degree Concentrations
    • Human Services
    • Community Health
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Care Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Concentration Tracks
    • Clinical Manager
    • Pre-professional
    • LongTerm Care Administration
    • Fast Tracks
    • Health Informatics
    • Healthcare Quality and Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Industrial Distribution
    Degree Concentrations
    • Engineering or Medical Equipment and Supplies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • International Business Dynamics
    • Management Planning and Control
    • Operations Management
    • Project Managemen
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Systems
    Degree Concentrations
    • Data Analytics
    • Cybersecurity Management
    • Operations Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1363/28

    University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Online Degrees

    BS/BA in Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Engineering Technology
    • Organizational Studies
    • Leadership Strategies and Dynamics
    • Technology
    • Science and Society
    • General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 26
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    University of South Alabama’s Online Degrees

    BA/BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Administrative Sciences
    • Appliied Arts
    • Applied Sciences
    • Community Services
    • Human Services
    • Liberal Studies
    • Professional Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 59
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/21

    Jacksonville State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Law Enforcement
    • Offender Rehabilitation
    • Corrections
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Family and Consumer Sciences
    Degree Concentrations
    • Human Sciences
    • Child Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Integrated Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Management with a Minor in Public Safety Telecommunications, Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 129
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #7

    Troy University

    Troy , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/21

    Troy University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Hospitality
    • Sport and Tourism Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Global Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting and Finance
    • Data Analytics
    • General Business
    • Human Resource Management
    • Information Systems
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Risk Management Insurance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Geographic Information Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Interpreter
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Science, Applied Computer Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Occupational Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Political Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • American Politics and Public Administration
    • International Politics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Social Science
    • Geography
    • Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in History
    Degree Concentrations
    • American and Latin American History
    • European/Asian/African History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    Auburn University at Montgomery’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing (Bsn To Msn)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1097/23

    University of North Alabama’s Online Degrees

    BS in Applied Health Science
    • Required Credits: 117
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality and Events Management
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Computer Information Systems
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • Professional Management
    • Professsional Marketing
    • Computer Science
    • Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 108
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    925/17

    Alabama A&M University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #12

    University of Montevallo

    Montevallo , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/22

  12. #13

    University of West Alabama

    Livingston , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    940/20

    University of West Alabama’s Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 123
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Development
    • Required Credits: 123
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Integrated Marketing Communications
    Degree Concentrations
    • Integrated Marketing Communications Program Requirements
    • Graphic Design
    • Sports Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 123
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Special Education: Collaborative Teacher, K-6/6-12
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Sport Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Administration
    • Multidisciplinary
    • Required Credits: 120-123
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Student body

    2K

    Athens State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Advanced Manufacturing Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Occupational Health and Safety Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Acquisition and Contract Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management of Cybersecurity Operations
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management of Technology
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Military Instructor
    • Early Instructor
    • Secondary Instruction
    • Post-Secondary Instructor
    • Instructional Design
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Individualized Degree Program
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Religion
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Alabama’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Auburn University
  2. University of Alabama
  3. University of Alabama at Birmingham
  4. University of Alabama in Huntsville
  5. University of Montevallo
  6. Jacksonville State University
  7. University of South Alabama
  8. Alabama A&M University
  9. Troy University
  10. University of North Alabama