Maine’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities of 2021

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

Maine’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Maine

At $9,970, Maine is right on target with the national average, making the state an affordable choice for those looking to receive an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. The 16 public colleges and universities range in tuition from $4,000 to $14,000. The 10 private schools tend to cost more, ranging from $27,000 to $55,000, though the class sizes are often much smaller. The largest private university is the University of New England, with just under 6,000 students, and a tuition of $38,000.

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The University of Maine (UMaine), with just under 10,000 students, is the largest public school, with a tuition rate of $11,000. Based in Orono, the public research university offers degrees in fields like literature, earth sciences, and physics. Stephen King and Bernard Lown are among the influential alumni who attended this school. The cost for higher education in Maine varies, but the state offers loan forgiveness programs for many professions, including dentists, lawyers, educators, health professionals, and veterinarians. The Alfond Leaders program forgives up to $60,000 for residents working in eligible science, technology, engineering, and mathematics occupations.

The northernmost state in New England, Maine is known for its fishing, quaint coastal towns, and of course, lobster. Maine is also home to over 60 lighthouses. Students looking to earn their degree while living in a state that has both ocean beaches and lush forests can choose from 26 private and public higher education institutions.

Come see why Maine is an excellent option for earning your higher education degree and starting a career.


What are Maine’s Colleges & Universities?

Maine’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Maine'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.

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 a total of 15 liberal arts colleges and universities in Maine, 10 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best liberal arts schools in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

10 Best Liberal Arts Colleges & Universities in Maine

  1. #1

    Bowdoin College

    #258 institution's historical influence
    #17 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Brunswick, ME

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    What is Bowdoin College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Bates College

    #549 institution's historical influence
    #74 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    <1K

    Lewiston, ME

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    What is Bates College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    College of the Atlantic

    #1889 institution's historical influence
    #1229 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    <1K

    Bar Harbor, ME

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    What is College of the Atlantic known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Colby College

    #649 institution's historical influence
    #75 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    10%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1450/32

    Waterville, ME

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    What is Colby College known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Physics
  5. #5

    Unity College

    #5107 institution's historical influence
    #269 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    <1K

    Unity, ME

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    What is Unity College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Law
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    University of Maine at Farmington

    #3169 institution's historical influence
    #727 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Farmington, ME

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    What is University of Maine at Farmington known for?

    University of Maine at Farmington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Biology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
  7. #7

    Maine Maritime Academy

    #3112 institution's historical influence
    #972 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/24

    Castine, ME

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    What is Maine Maritime Academy known for?

    Maine Maritime Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Engineering
  8. #8

    Saint Joseph's College of Maine

    #5650 institution's historical influence
    #721 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/21

    Standish, ME

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    What is Saint Joseph's College of Maine known for?

    Saint Joseph's College of Maine’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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  9. #9

    Thomas College

    #3794 institution's historical influence
    #412 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    1K

    Waterville, ME

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    What is Thomas College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Andover College

    #9074 institution's historical influence
    What is Andover College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Law
    • Medical
    • Business
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Literature
    • Communications

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