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

Maryland’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Maryland

The Old Line State has 46 colleges and universities, 30 of which are public and 16 of which are private. The United States Naval Academy offers programs in physical sciences, aeronautical engineering, and naval architecture. The largest private institution, Johns Hopkins University, has just over 24,000 students and a tuition rate of $54,000. Located in Baltimore, this research university is known for its science and medical discoveries.

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The University of Maryland in College Park boasts over 35,000 students with a price tag of $11,000. The school has 15 campuses, and students can choose from areas of study like criminal justice, communications, physics, and sociology. The most affordable school in the state, Baltimore City Community College comes in at $3,000 and has 37 associate degree programs to choose from. Maryland also provides loan forgiveness programs for its residents, including those for dentists and public servants. Students can also check out the Maryland SmartBuy Home Buyer Assistance and Forgiveness Program, where eligible applicants can receive up to 15% of the home purchase price toward outstanding student loan, to be paid off as part of closing.

Maryland is a state bursting with history, from its numerous museums to its historic battlegrounds. Students who attend school in Maryland can explore the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Park and walk the same streets as many influential Marylanders, including Francis Scott Key, Babe Ruth, Billie Holiday, and Thurgood Marshall.

Whether you’re looking to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, Maryland offers its students history, legacy, and numerous degree paths.


What are Maryland’s Colleges & Universities?

Maryland’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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 18 liberal arts colleges and universities in Maryland, 12 of which meet 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 50%. The top 10 have a graduation rate of greater than 60%.

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How do we determine Maryland'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.

10 Best Liberal Arts Colleges & Universities in Maryland

  1. #1

    United States Naval Academy

    #189 institution's historical influence
    #52 overall school desirability

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1350/29

    Annapolis, MD

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    What is United States Naval Academy known for?

    United States Naval Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • History
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Goucher College

    #739 institution's historical influence
    #503 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/25

    Baltimore, MD

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    What is Goucher College known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Law
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    St. Mary's College of Maryland

    #2289 institution's historical influence
    #900 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/25

    St. Mary's City, MD

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    What is St. Mary's College of Maryland known for?

    St. Mary's College of Maryland’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Washington College

    #1193 institution's historical influence
    #453 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    1K

    Chestertown, MD

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    What is Washington College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

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  5. #5

    Loyola University Maryland

    #710 institution's historical influence
    #524 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $51K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    5K

    Baltimore, MD

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    What is Loyola University Maryland known for?

    Loyola University Maryland’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

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  6. #6

    Mount St. Mary's University

    #1970 institution's historical influence
    #522 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/21

    Emmitsburg, MD

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    What is Mount St. Mary's University known for?

    Mount St. Mary's University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • History
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    McDaniel College

    #2158 institution's historical influence
    #335 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    2K

    Westminster, MD

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    What is McDaniel College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Hood College

    #2505 institution's historical influence
    #400 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    2K

    Frederick, MD

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    What is Hood College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Literature
  9. #9

    St. John's College, Annapolis campus

    #10786 institution's historical influence
    #901 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

    Annapolis, MD

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    What is St. John's College, Annapolis campus known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Salisbury University

    #2299 institution's historical influence
    #1005 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    8K

    Salisbury, MD

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    What is Salisbury University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
  11. #11

    Notre Dame of Maryland University

    #3382 institution's historical influence
    #518 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/21

    Baltimore, MD

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    What is Notre Dame of Maryland University known for?

    Notre Dame of Maryland University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
  12. #12

    Stevenson University

    #3903 institution's historical influence
    #758 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/21

    Stevenson, MD

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    What is Stevenson University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
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