Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Arkansas 2022

Liberal arts colleges are a great option for students seeking a well-rounded education in an intimate campus setting. The best liberal arts colleges in Arkansas offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Arkansas 2022

Colleges and Universities in Arkansas

Colleges and universities in Arkansas are uniquely affordable, with just under half providing tuition rates of $9,000 or less. We’ve also found 7 high quality olleges offering online degree programs in Arkansas. Included in this list are the state’s two largest universities, the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University. Though students can find some overlapping degree programs at the two schools, each has its specialties. For example, students hoping to pursue degrees in architecture, agriculture, or business may want to consider the University of Arkansas, while those interested in biology, nursing, or political science may want to attend Arkansas State University.

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Additionally, about one third of the schools in Arkansas have a religious affiliation. Student populations at these schools range from just under 200 students up to 5,000, and allow students to pursue degrees merging religious studies with fields like chemistry and history. While tuition at each of the state’s 12 private schools varies greatly, costing anywhere between $9,000 and $46,000, many of these colleges boast high graduation rates and small class sizes.

While Arkansas is perhaps best-known and loved for countless lakes, Hot Springs National Park, and the United States’ only active diamond mine. The Natural State houses many higher education institutes where students can earn associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in a full range of disciplines.

With so many affordable schools and competitive degree programs, students attending school in Arkansas have the luxury of combining their individual budget needs with their desired degree paths. For more information on attending school in Arkansas, check out some of the state’s top schools.


What are Arkansas’s Colleges & Universities?

Arkansas’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Arkansas's best liberal arts colleges ?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! 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 in their fields of study.

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

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

A liberal arts college is a school that puts a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree. We’ve identified 17 liberal arts colleges in Arkansas. To be ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in Arkansas, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Arkansas 2022

  1. #2

    Arkansas Tech University

    Russellville , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Arkansas Tech University known for?

    Arkansas Tech University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Earth Sciences
    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • History
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #3

    John Brown University

    Siloam Springs , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/26

    What is John Brown University known for?

    John Brown University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #4

    Henderson State University

    Arkadelphia , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1044/21

    What is Henderson State University known for?

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

    • History
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/18

    What is University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff known for?

    University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Ouachita Baptist University

    Arkadelphia , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    What is Ouachita Baptist University known for?

    Ouachita Baptist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #7

    Southern Arkansas University

    Magnolia , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1067/21

    What is Southern Arkansas University known for?

    Southern Arkansas University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    2K

    What is University of Arkansas at Monticello known for?

    University of Arkansas at Monticello’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Philander Smith College

    Little Rock , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Philander Smith College known for?

    Philander Smith College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    Lyon College

    Batesville , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    What is Lyon College known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • History
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Crowley's Ridge College

    Paragould , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Crowley's Ridge College known for?

    Crowley's Ridge College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
  11. #12

    University of the Ozarks

    Clarksville , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/20

    What is University of the Ozarks known for?

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

    • Education
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Arkansas Baptist College

    Little Rock , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Arkansas Baptist College known for?

    Arkansas Baptist College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    5K

    What is University of Arkansas–Fort Smith known for?

    University of Arkansas–Fort Smith’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Central Baptist College

    Conway , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/19

    What is Central Baptist College known for?

    Central Baptist College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
  15. #16

    Williams Baptist University

    Walnut Ridge , AR

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/20

    What is Williams Baptist University known for?

    Williams Baptist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Business
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    5K

    What is University of Arkansas Grantham known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

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Arkansas’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Your Area of Interest

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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Resources for College-Bound Students

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. Hendrix College
  2. Lyon College
  3. Ouachita Baptist University
  4. John Brown University
  5. Henderson State University
  6. Philander Smith College
  7. Southern Arkansas University
  8. University of the Ozarks
  9. Williams Baptist University
  10. Arkansas Tech University