Best Research Universities in Illinois 2023

Best Research Universities in Illinois 2023

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

Colleges and Universities in Illinois

Prospective students searching for colleges in Illinois have plenty of excellent schools to choose from. Illinois offers over 130 higher education institutes throughout the state. Thanks to an expansive public university system and several top private institutions, students can select from an extremely wide array of brick-and-mortar and online colleges in Illinois.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois at Chicago, the state’s two largest public universities in Illinois. Students can access a full spectrum of undergraduate and graduate degrees for in-state tuition rates of $13,000 to $15,000 respectively. Both public universities also offer a full selection of online degree programs.

It’s also worth noting that Illinois residents who pursue online degrees at public colleges in Illinois will qualify for in-state tuition rates. Out of state students will generally pay more whether pursuing on-campus or online degrees.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

More than half of the colleges in Illinois are actually private schools. Among these private colleges and universities, the most notable are DePaul University, Northwestern University, and Loyola University Chicago. Tuition from these three private schools can be costly, ranging from $44,000 to $55,000. However, each of these private schools boasts a high graduation rate and excellent professors.

Illinois is also home to many small private schools, including Benedictine University and National Louis University.

Popular disciplines in Illinois include disciplines like criminal justice, social work, nursing, education, religious studies, communications, and medicine. Both traditional and online students have a wide range of options in each of these subject areas.

Degree completion programs are also widely available for lapsed students who have already accumulated some college credits. This is an especially popular online degree option among working professionals in Illinois.

Additionally, Illinois offers several loan forgiveness-based financial aid programs for qualifying students pursuing careers as teachers, public defenders or prosecutors, or nurses.

From the skyscrapers in Chicago to the vast prairie lands in the north, Illinois is a place where city meets country. Students can grab a Chicago-style hotdog on the way to a Cubs game, explore the ancient sandstone cliffs in the Shawnee National Forest, or admire an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, all while attending one of The Prairie State’s universities or colleges.

The higher education institutes in Illinois have also produced many prominent alumni, including Stephen Colbert, Phillip Glass, and Kurt Vonnegut. Students hoping to walk the same streets as these well-known individuals can check out some of the state’s top programs and universities.


What are Illinois’s Colleges & Universities?

Illinois’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

Illinois's Best Colleges and Universities Badge
Download Badge

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 17 research universities in Illinois. To be included in our ranking, schools must be a fully accredited universities and must must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

Back to Top

Best Research Universities in Illinois 2022

  1. #1

    University of Chicago

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1535/34

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1490/34

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/25

    University of Illinois Chicago’s Online Degrees

    BS in Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 123
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/28

    Loyola University Chicago’s Online Degrees

    BA in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Web Technologies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Paralegal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Strategic Digital Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #7

    DePaul University

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    19K

    DePaul University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Decision Analytics
    • Required Credits: 192
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Computing
    • Required Credits: 192
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Behavioral Sciences
    • Required Credits: 192
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BA in Leadership Studies
    • Required Credits: 192
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #11

    Roosevelt University

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/22

    Roosevelt University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 147
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Health Science Administration
    • Required Credits: 131-135
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Bachelor'S In Psychology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    Benedictine University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Digital Marketing
    • Human Resources Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Professional Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #14

    Aurora University

    Aurora , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/21

    What is Aurora University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Aurora University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/23

    Trinity International University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Business
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Christian Ministries
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    6K

    National Louis University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Sciences
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BABS in Communications
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Services
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Leadership
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/23

    University of St. Francis’s Online Degrees

    BS in Healthcare Management
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
Back to Top

Find the Best Research Universities in Illinois for Your Area of Interest

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 utilized 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. University of Chicago
  2. Northwestern University
  3. Illinois Institute of Technology
  4. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  5. University of Illinois Chicago
  6. Trinity International University
  7. DePaul University
  8. Loyola University Chicago
  9. Illinois State University
  10. Benedictine University

Check out our directory of research universities throughout the U.S. for a look at the top research institutions in every state.