Arkansas’s Best Research Universities of 2021

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

Arkansas’s Best Research Universities of 2021

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. 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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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.

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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 colleges and universities?

The best colleges pound for pound!

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.

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Arkansas’s Best Research Universities for Undergraduates

What is a research universitity? 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 5 research universities in Arkansas 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.

5 Best Research Universities in Arkansas

  1. #1

    University of Arkansas

    #306 institution's historical influence
    #1356 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    Fayetteville, AR

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    What is University of Arkansas known for?

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

    • Business
    • Law
    • Education
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Arkansas State University

    #1174 institution's historical influence
    #1472 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1116/24

    Jonesboro, AR

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    What is Arkansas State University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Harding University

    #2151 institution's historical influence
    #177 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/25

    Searcy, AR

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    What is Harding University known for?

    Harding University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

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  4. #4

    University of Arkansas at Little Rock

    #1237 institution's historical influence
    #1043 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    7K

    Little Rock, AR

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    What is University of Arkansas at Little Rock known for?

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

    • Law
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    University of Central Arkansas

    #1389 institution's historical influence
    #1029 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/24

    Conway, AR

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    What is University of Central Arkansas known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

Find the Best Research Universities in Arkansas for your Major

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