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

Michigan’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities of 2021

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

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 31 liberal arts colleges and universities in Michigan, 14 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the 10 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%.

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

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.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

10 Best Colleges & Universities in Michigan

  1. #1

    Kalamazoo College

    #1144 institution's historical influence
    #566 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/28

    Kalamazoo, MI

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    What is Kalamazoo College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Kettering University

    #1291 institution's historical influence
    #1207 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    Flint, MI

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    What is Kettering University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
  3. #3

    Lawrence Technological University

    #1671 institution's historical influence
    #1026 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/24

    Southfield, MI

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    What is Lawrence Technological University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    University of Michigan–Dearborn

    #2351 institution's historical influence
    #894 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    Dearborn, MI

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    What is University of Michigan–Dearborn known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Hope College

    #1046 institution's historical influence
    #868 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

    Holland, MI

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    What is Hope College known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Economics
    • Political Science
  6. #6

    Albion College

    #931 institution's historical influence
    #376 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $51K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/24

    Albion, MI

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    What is Albion College known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Political Science
    • Education
  7. #7

    Calvin University

    #588 institution's historical influence
    #1196 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    Grand Rapids, MI

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    What is Calvin University known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Physics
    • History
    • Communications
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  8. #8

    Aquinas College

    #4849 institution's historical influence
    #384 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/23

    Grand Rapids, MI

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    What is Aquinas College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Madonna University

    #3467 institution's historical influence
    #1209 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    Livonia, MI

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    What is Madonna University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #10

    Alma College

    #1823 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    Alma, MI

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    What is Alma College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

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