Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Kentucky 2023

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Kentucky 2023

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 Kentucky offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Colleges and Universities in Kentucky

Students who wish to attend traditional and online colleges in Kentucky have plenty of excellent options. Traditional students and distance learners alike have an array of affordable, accessible, and reputable undergraduate and graduate degrees to choose from.

Between community colleges, technical schools, and universities, Kentucky has 24 public schools. The community colleges and technical schools average $4,000 for tuition, and tuition for public universities ranges from $8,000 to $12,000. Online students pay the same in state tuition rates when enrolling in these public options.

Prospective students planning to attend private colleges can choose from 26 schools, of which 21 are religiously affiliated. The cost to attend private schools tends to be higher, reaching $42,000 in Kentucky. There are, however, some affordable private options with tuition rates as low as $9,000.

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The largest and top-rated public university is the University of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky has over 30,000 students and costs about $12,000. UK offers a wide range of traditional and fully online programs in areas like political science, chemistry, and literature.

Students who attend either the University of Louisville or Western Kentucky University will become part of a friendly basketball rivalry. Both of these universities also offer highly regarded graduate and undergraduate degrees in fields like mathematics, communications, business, and history.

Eastern Kentucky University is also among the top public colleges in Kentucky, with more than 14,000 students enrolled in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs.

In addition, Kentucky encourages graduating education students to apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. This financial aid program awards $5,000 to $17,500 toward Federal Stafford loans to those remaining in the profession.

There is something for everyone in The Bluegrass State. Kentucky is home to the famous Kentucky Derby, the Daniel Boone National Forest, and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Both traditional and online Students wanting to study in a state that Abraham Lincoln and Muhammad Ali called home have 50 higher learning institutions from which to choose.

Kentucky has it all - associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Check out the top brick-and-mortar and online schools the state of Kentucky has to offer.


What are Kentucky’s Colleges & Universities?

Kentucky’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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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 Kentucky. To be ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in Kentucky, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Kentucky 2022

  1. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/22

    Eastern Kentucky University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Corrections & Juvenile Justice Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Emergency Medical Care
    Degree Concentrations
    • Emergency Services Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Child & Family Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Child Development
    • Required Credits: 120-125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Health Services Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Global Hospitality and Tourism
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Geral Psychology
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Forensic Psychology
    • Child & Family Psychology
    • Workplace Psychology
    • Psychiatric Rehabilitation
    • Brain & Cognitive Sciences
    • Substance Abuse
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Occupational Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Fire Protection Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Fire, Arson and Explosion Investigation
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Homeland Security
    Degree Concentrations
    • Disaster management
    • Intelligence studies
    • and Security operations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Risk Management & Insurance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Paralegal Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sport Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Police Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/24

    Murray State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Agricultural Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Agribusiness
    • Agriscience Technology
    • Required Credits: 169
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity and Network Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Cybersecurity
    • Wireless Communications
    • Network and Systems Administration
    • Required Credits: 102-104
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Integrated Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    7K

    Morehead State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Technology Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BUS in University Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #7

    Campbellsville University

    Campbellsville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    8K

    Campbellsville University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Leadership And Missions
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Liberal Arts And Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Pastoral Ministries
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #8

    University of Pikeville

    Pikeville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    1K

    What is University of Pikeville known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Pikeville’s Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #10

    Kentucky State University

    Frankfort , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    955/17

    Kentucky State University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #11

    Sullivan University

    Louisville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Sullivan University known for?

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

    Sullivan University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality Management
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resource Leadership
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Finance
    • Healthcare Management
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Logistics and Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Justice and Public Safety Administration
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Cyber Security Professional
    • Network Support Administration and Security
    • Web Design and Application Development
    • System Support and Administration
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #13

    Union College, Kentucky

    Barbourville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Union College, Kentucky known for?

    Union College, Kentucky’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Union College, Kentucky’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Law Enforcement
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #14

    Lindsey Wilson College

    Columbia , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    3K

    Lindsey Wilson College’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services And Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #15

    Midway University

    Midway , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/21

    What is Midway University known for?

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

    Midway University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Care Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Education Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • English
    • Math
    • Science
    • Social Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Human Resource Management
    • Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Mathematics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Middle School Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Social Studies
    • Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Secondary Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • English
    • Math
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sport Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #16

    Brescia University

    Owensboro , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/22

    What is Brescia University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Brescia University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Integrated Studies
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Integrated Studies
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Theology
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. #17

    Alice Lloyd College

    Pippa Passes , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    930/18

    What is Alice Lloyd College known for?

    Alice Lloyd College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #18

    Kentucky Wesleyan College

    Owensboro , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/21

    Kentucky Wesleyan College’s Online Degrees

    BA in Graphic Design
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice And Criminology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Religion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  14. #19

    Thomas More University

    Crestview Hills , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Thomas More University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Thomas More University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BES in Ethical Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BES in Individualized Program
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    841/18

    What is Kentucky Christian University known for?

    Kentucky Christian University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Kentucky Christian University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Counseling Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Biology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA in History
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Management
    • Sports Management
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Teacher Education- Middle School: Grades 5-9
    Degree Concentrations
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Social Studies
    • Science
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Teacher Education- Primary through grade 5
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Kentucky’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges in 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. Transylvania University
  2. Berea College
  3. Centre College
  4. Asbury University
  5. Eastern Kentucky University
  6. Murray State University
  7. Morehead State University
  8. Georgetown College
  9. Thomas More University
  10. Union College, Kentucky
  11. Kentucky Wesleyan College
  12. Kentucky State University
  13. University of Pikeville
  14. Campbellsville University
  15. Lindsey Wilson College
  16. Brescia University
  17. Midway University
  18. Alice Lloyd College
  19. Kentucky Christian University

Check out our directory of liberal arts colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top liberal arts schools in every state.