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

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Kansas 2022

Colleges and Universities in Kansas

Beyond the 23 community and technical colleges, Kansas also has nine public universities, the largest being the University of Kansas (KU) with over 28,000 students. The school’s main campus is located in Lawrence, Kansas, but there are four other locations where students can attend KU classes: Overland Park, Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina. Kansas is also home to 22 private higher education institutions, with tuition ranging from $7,000 to $31,000.

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In addition, students can choose from one of 18 religiously affiliated schools, including Newman University, Wichita — a Catholic liberal arts university serving the state’s largest private school student population at just over 2,000. Just under the national tuition average at $9,230, Kansas is also an affordable state in which to earn your degree. The state awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in common fields of study, like economics, nursing, business, and education. Specialized degrees include aerospace engineering at the University of Kansas and agribusiness from Kansas State University. Those in the medical and health fields can check out loan forgiveness programs, such as the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, which awards up to $50,000, tax free, for those who serve two years at an approved site.

Arguably, it was the 1939 cinema classic, The Wizard of Oz, that put Kansas on the map. But The Sunflower State is also known for its mouth-watering barbecue, open plains, and vast sunflower fields. Prospective students can also choose from 50 colleges and universities across this Midwestern state.

See what Kansas has to offer by checking out the top programs and career paths available.


What are Kansas’s Colleges & Universities?

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Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Kansas'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 20 liberal arts colleges in Kansas. To be ranked among the 30 best liberal arts colleges in Kansas, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Kansas 2022

  1. #1

    Pittsburg State University

    Pittsburg , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    What is Pittsburg State University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Emporia State University

    Emporia , KS
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1002/22

    What is Emporia State University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    10K

    What is Fort Hays State University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Ottawa University

    Ottawa , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    975/19

    What is Ottawa University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • History
    • Education
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Friends University

    Wichita , KS
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/22

    What is Friends University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Benedictine College

    Atchison , KS
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/24

    What is Benedictine College known for?

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

    • Physics
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1041/21

    What is Kansas Wesleyan University known for?

    Kansas Wesleyan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Southwestern College

    Winfield , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    995/21

    What is Southwestern College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Hesston College

    Hesston , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Hesston College known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Bethel College

    North Newton , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    What is Bethel College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Tabor College

    Hillsboro , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/19

    What is Tabor College known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    2K

    What is MidAmerica Nazarene University known for?

    MidAmerica Nazarene University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Newman University, Wichita

    Wichita , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1087/21

    What is Newman University, Wichita known for?

    Newman University, Wichita’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Donnelly College

    Kansas City , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    13%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Donnelly College known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    McPherson College

    McPherson , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    What is McPherson College known for?

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

    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Social Work
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Sterling College

    Sterling , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/20

    What is Sterling College known for?

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

    • Communications
    • Literature
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  17. #17

    Bethany College

    Lindsborg , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Bethany College known for?

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

    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    University of Saint Mary

    Leavenworth , KS

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    What is University of Saint Mary known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Central Christian College of Kansas known for?

    Central Christian College of Kansas’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Law
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Kansas’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. Friends University
  2. MidAmerica Nazarene University
  3. Southwestern College
  4. Ottawa University
  5. Bethel College
  6. Benedictine College
  7. Kansas Wesleyan University
  8. Tabor College
  9. Pittsburg State University
  10. McPherson College
  11. Emporia State University
  12. Sterling College
  13. Newman University, Wichita
  14. Fort Hays State University
  15. Bethany College
  16. University of Saint Mary