Arizona’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Interested in attending a STEM school in Arizona? Our ranking of top research universities for bachelor’s degrees displays schools that will best prepare you for STEM careers.

Arizona’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Arizona

Students hoping to attend college in Arizona can choose from associate to doctoral degree programs spanning across the state. The state’s largest university, the University of Arizona located in Tucson, offers a competitive tuition rate, at $12,000, for its 39,000 students. However, Arizona’s most affordable schools, such as the tribally-owned Diné College, offer tuition as low as $1,000. Private schools make up about one third of the higher education institutes in Arizona; and offer a comprehensive range of degrees from fine arts to naturopathic medicine. Arizona’s public universities and colleges, such as Northern Arizona University located in Flagstaff, offer students a variety of study concentrations, including mathematics, education, political science, and psychology.

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Additionally, Arizona is home to three religiously affiliated schools: Arizona Christian University, Phoenix Seminary, and International Baptist College. While tuition varies greatly among these three schools, each school provides unique degree programs, such as music ministry at International Baptist College, for students interested in combining their faith and education.

Year-round sunshine, the Grand Canyon, award-winning restaurants, and several professional sports teams — what more could a student ask for? With more than 30 colleges and universities to choose from, Arizona allows students to get their degrees while cashing in on some of life’s greatest pleasures.

Whether students are interested in obtaining an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, Arizona offers plenty of colleges and universities for students to choose from.


What are Arizona’s Colleges & Universities?

Arizona’s Best Overall


Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Arizona's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Arizona’s Best Research Universities for Undergraduates

A research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Research universities invest heavily in research, which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. We’ve identified 4 research universities in Arizona that satisfy the following three conditions:

  1. It must be a fully accredited university.
  2. It must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
  3. It must report high levels of research activity based upon the number of research and/or practice doctorates awarded each year.

  1. #1

    University of Arizona

    #88 institution's historical influence
    #605 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    39K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/25

    Tucson, AZ

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    What is University of Arizona known for?

    University of Arizona’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Arizona State University

    #131 institution's historical influence
    #1312 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    74K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1240/25

    Tempe, AZ

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    What is Arizona State University known for?

    Arizona State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Northern Arizona University

    #1104 institution's historical influence
    #303 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    27K

    Flagstaff, AZ

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    What is Northern Arizona University known for?

    Northern Arizona University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Physics
  4. #4

    Grand Canyon University

    #2848 institution's historical influence
    #336 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    88K

    Phoenix, AZ

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    What is Grand Canyon University known for?

    Grand Canyon University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

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