Arizona’s Best Small Colleges & Universities of 2021

Small colleges in Arizona are a great option for students interested in a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Whether the focus is on the technical or on the liberal arts, small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

Arizona’s Best Small Colleges & 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


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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Arizona is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified a total of 10 small colleges in Arizona that satisfy the following three conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. Its student body must consist of 5,000 or fewer students.

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

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.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

Arizona’s Best Small Colleges & Universities

  1. #1

    Prescott College

    #2487 institution's historical influence
    #493 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    <1K

    Prescott, AZ

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    What is Prescott College known for?

    Prescott College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Arizona Christian University

    #7253 institution's historical influence
    #225 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/18

    Glendale, AZ

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    What is Arizona Christian University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Diné College

    #5411 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    <1K

    Tsaile, AZ

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    What is Diné College known for?

    Diné College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
  4. #4

    Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott

    #12522 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    3K

    Prescott, AZ

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    What is Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott known for?

    Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
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  5. #5

    University of Advancing Technology

    #3933 institution's historical influence
    #869 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    <1K

    Tempe, AZ

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    What is University of Advancing Technology known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
  6. #6

    National Paralegal College

    #9631 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    <1K

    Phoenix, AZ

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    What is National Paralegal College known for?

    National Paralegal College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
  7. #7

    The Art Institute of Phoenix

    #16723 institution's historical influence
    What is The Art Institute of Phoenix known for?

    The Art Institute of Phoenix’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Business
    • History
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences
  8. #8

    Southwest University of Visual Arts

    #16459 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    <1K

    Tucson, AZ

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    What is Southwest University of Visual Arts known for?
  9. #9

    Brookline College

    #6562 institution's historical influence

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    1K

    Phoenix, AZ

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    What is Brookline College known for?

    Brookline College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
  10. #10

    International Baptist College

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    <1K

    Chandler, AZ

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    What is International Baptist College known for?

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Photo By: Prescott College