Hawaii’s Best Research Universities of 2021

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

Hawaii’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Hawaiʻi

The majority of the universities and colleges in The Aloha State are public institutions, including Hawaiʻi’s largest school, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The nearly 15,000 students who attend this school pay tuition fees around $12,000. However, Hawaiʻi does have a few private schools, two of which have religious affiliations. While tuition at these private schools varies, from $6,000 at Brigham Young University Hawaiʻi to $26,000 at Hawaiʻi Pacific University, each serves between 2,000–3,000 students.

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Students who attend higher education institutes in Hawaiʻi have the option to major in fields like biology, education, history, criminal justice, physics, and many others. However, students who graduate with degrees in the health care field have an extra advantage. Hawaiʻi offers a student loan forgiveness program for health care workers who work at designated, high-need locations within the state for at least two years. So, even though Hawaiʻi comes in just above the national average for tuition costs, if you are considering a career in health care, this may be the place for you.

Some dream of vacationing in paradise — but why not take it a step further and live there? Students attending school in Hawaiʻi won’t have to say aloha, or goodbye, to the beautiful white sand beaches, perfect waves, and tropical drinks. Students can enroll in one of Hawaiʻi’s 15 higher education institutes and live their best life in these picturesque island communities.

For more information on obtaining your degree in Hawaiʻi, explore some of the top programs and schools this state has to offer.


What are Hawaiʻi’s Colleges & Universities?

Hawaiʻi’s Best Overall

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How do we determine Hawaii'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.

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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. There are 2 research universities in Hawaii, both satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best research universities in the state satisfies the following four 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.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 35%.

Best Research Universities in Hawaii

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/23

    What is University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa known for?

    University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Law
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/20

    What is University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo known for?

    University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
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