Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Florida 2022

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Florida 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 Florida offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Colleges and Universities in Florida

Coming in under the national tuition average at $6,360, Florida’s colleges and universities make earning your degree affordable. Prospective students in Florida can choose from 40 public and 50 private colleges that award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields like anthropology, nursing, law, religious studies, and earth sciences. Nearly 40 colleges and universities in Florida offer online degrees that provide extra flexibility for educational opportunities. With over 165,000 students across eight campuses and 21 outreach centers, Miami Dade College is the largest public college in the state with a tuition of $3,000.

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Students seeking a religious school can choose from 21 colleges and universities that are grounded in Judeo-Christian, Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, and Christian principals. Ranked as the top two schools, the University of Florida (UF) and Florida State University (FSU) both have large student populations, with just over 45,000 at UF and just under 39,000 as FSU. Both are also affordable, with tuition at $6,000 and $7,000, respectively.

At $50,000, the University of Miami is the most expensive private college in the state and has graduated influential people, such as Gene Roddenberry, Sylvester Stallone, and Dwayne The Rock Johnson. Florida also offers its nursing students up to $4,000 in loan forgiveness through their Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program.

Coastal cities, sandy beaches, orange groves, and vibrant flowers — it’s no wonder Florida is called The Sunshine State. Home to the famous Everglades National Park and Disney World, Florida also boasts 90 higher education institutes.

With so many options and in such a beautiful setting, Florida has a lot to offer higher education students. Check out Florida’s best degree programs and top career paths.


What are Florida’s Colleges & Universities?

Florida’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Florida's best liberal arts colleges and universities?

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 57 liberal arts universities in Florida. To be ranked among the 25 best liberal arts colleges in Florida, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities in Florida 2022

  1. #1

    Rollins College

    Winter Park , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Rollins College known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • History
    • Education
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Stetson University

    DeLand , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $51K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Stetson University known for?

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

    • Law
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    University of West Florida

    Pensacola , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    What is University of West Florida known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    Miami Dade College

    Miami , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    45K

    What is Miami Dade College known for?

    Miami Dade College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Florida Southern College

    Lakeland , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1192/26

    What is Florida Southern College known for?

    Florida Southern College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Eckerd College

    Saint Petersburg , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    What is Eckerd College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Jacksonville University

    Jacksonville , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    What is Jacksonville University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Valencia College

    Orlando , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    34K

    What is Valencia College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    University of Tampa

    Tampa , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/25

    What is University of Tampa known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Ave Maria University

    Ave Maria , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/24

    What is Ave Maria University known for?

    Ave Maria University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #12

    Florida Gulf Coast University

    Fort Myers , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

    What is Florida Gulf Coast University known for?

    Florida Gulf Coast University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    10K

    What is Saint Leo University known for?

    Saint Leo University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • History
    • Economics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Full Sail University

    Winter Park , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    28K

    What is Full Sail University known for?

    Full Sail University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Broward College

    Fort Lauderdale , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    27K

    What is Broward College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Sociology
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Santa Fe College

    Gainesville , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    11K

    What is Santa Fe College known for?

    Santa Fe College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    St. Petersburg College

    Clearwater , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    19K

    What is St. Petersburg College known for?

    St. Petersburg College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Tallahassee Community College

    Tallahassee , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Tallahassee Community College known for?

    Tallahassee Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    11K

    What is Florida SouthWestern State College known for?

    Florida SouthWestern State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    St. Thomas University

    Miami Gardens , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/19

    What is St. Thomas University known for?

    St. Thomas University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Lynn University

    Boca Raton , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/23

    What is Lynn University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #22

    Daytona State College

    Daytona Beach , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    10K

    What is Daytona State College known for?

    Daytona State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #23

    Indian River State College

    Fort Pierce , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    11K

    What is Indian River State College known for?

    Indian River State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    12K

    What is Seminole State College of Florida known for?

    Seminole State College of Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    17K

    What is Florida State College at Jacksonville known for?

    Florida State College at Jacksonville’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #26

    Warner University

    Lake Wales , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Warner University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  26. #27

    Webber International University

    Babson Park , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    975/18

    What is Webber International University known for?

    Webber International University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  27. #28

    Chipola College

    Marianna , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Chipola College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  28. #29

    Florida Memorial University

    Miami Gardens , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Florida Memorial University known for?

    Florida Memorial University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Literature
  29. #30

    Hodges University

    Fort Myers , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Hodges University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Law
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
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Find the Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Florida for 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. New College of Florida
  2. Eckerd College
  3. Ave Maria University
  4. Rollins College
  5. Stetson University
  6. Flagler College
  7. Florida Southern College
  8. Everglades University
  9. Eastern Florida State College
  10. University of South Florida Sarasota–Manatee