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

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Michigan 2022

Colleges and Universities in Michigan

With over 80 public and private colleges to choose from, students hoping to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree can find a program that suits their educational needs and budget. Michigan State University and the University of Michigan are the two largest schools, both serving around 42,000 students and costing $16,000 in tuition. Most of the schools in The Wolverine State, however, serve smaller student populations, with tuition fees ranging from $3,000 to $49,000.

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Additionally, students pursuing their degree at a school with religious affiliations have more than 20 options to choose from, including Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Grand Rapid’s Calvin College, and Hope College in Holland. Students attending one of Michigan’s private schools, like Davenport University, can earn their degrees in fields like nursing, education, criminal justice, and history. Michigan, like many other states, also provides a special loan forgiveness program to those in medical, dental, and mental health professions who work in underserved communities. Recipients can receive up to $200,000 of tax-free funds over an eight-year period.

The great state of Michigan famously serves as the major hub of the United States auto industry — and also boasts the longest freshwater coastline in the nation. Students who love the outdoors but are also drawn to the metropolitan energy of big cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids will feel very much at home in Michigan.

To find your degree program, explore some of the top schools in Michigan.


What are Michigan’s Colleges & Universities?

Michigan’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Michigan's best colleges and universities?

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

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Michigan 2022

  1. #1

    Calvin University

    Grand Rapids , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    What is Calvin University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #3

    Northern Michigan University

    Marquette , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    What is Northern Michigan University known for?

    Northern Michigan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Anthropology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #4

    Kalamazoo College

    Kalamazoo , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/28

    What is Kalamazoo College known for?

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

    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • History
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    Albion College

    Albion , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/24

    What is Albion College known for?

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

    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Grand Valley State University

    Allendale , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    22K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    What is Grand Valley State University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Philosophy
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • History
    • Business
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Kettering University

    Flint , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    What is Kettering University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Adrian College

    Adrian , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    What is Adrian College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • History
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Madonna University

    Livonia , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    What is Madonna University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #10

    Olivet College

    Olivet , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Olivet College known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • History
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Lawrence Technological University

    Southfield , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/24

    What is Lawrence Technological University known for?

    Lawrence Technological University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    What is University of Michigan–Dearborn known for?

    University of Michigan–Dearborn’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Lake Superior State University

    Sault Ste Marie , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    What is Lake Superior State University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Saginaw Valley State University

    University Center , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    What is Saginaw Valley State University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Biology
    • Social Work
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #15

    Davenport University

    Grand Rapids , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Davenport University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Alma College

    Alma , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    What is Alma College known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • History
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Concordia University Ann Arbor

    Ann Arbor , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Concordia University Ann Arbor known for?

    Concordia University Ann Arbor’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • History
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Spring Arbor University

    Spring Arbor , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1097/23

    What is Spring Arbor University known for?

    Spring Arbor University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #19

    Cornerstone University

    Grand Rapids , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    What is Cornerstone University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    Schoolcraft College

    Livonia , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Schoolcraft College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Northwestern Michigan College

    Traverse City , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Northwestern Michigan College known for?

    Northwestern Michigan College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #22

    Finlandia University

    Hancock , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/19

    What is Finlandia University known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #23

    Siena Heights University

    Adrian , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Siena Heights University known for?

    Siena Heights University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #24

    Kuyper College

    Grand Rapids , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    965/23

    What is Kuyper College known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Psychology
  24. #25

    Jackson College

    Jackson , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Jackson College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • Engineering
  25. #26

    Henry Ford College

    Dearborn , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    10%

    Student body

    8K

    What is Henry Ford College known for?

    Henry Ford College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  26. #27

    Aquinas College

    Grand Rapids , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/23

    What is Aquinas College known for?

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

    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  27. #28

    Lake Michigan College

    Benton Harbor , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Lake Michigan College known for?

    Lake Michigan College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Engineering
  28. #29

    Rochester College

    Rochester Hills , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/19

    What is Rochester College known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  29. #30

    Alpena Community College

    Alpena , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Alpena Community College known for?

    Alpena Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Political Science
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Michigan’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. Kalamazoo College
  2. Kettering University
  3. Lawrence Technological University
  4. University of Michigan–Dearborn
  5. Hope College
  6. Albion College
  7. Calvin University
  8. Aquinas College
  9. Madonna University
  10. Alma College