Best Research Universities in Michigan 2022

Interested in attending a STEM school in Michigan? Our ranking of top research universities for bachelor’s degrees displays schools that will best prepare you for STEM careers.

Best Research Universities 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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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 research 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 research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Research universities invest heavily in research, which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. We’ve identified 12 research universities in Michigan. To be included in our ranking, schools must be a fully accredited universities and must must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

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Best Research Universities in Michigan 2022

  1. #1

    University of Michigan

    Ann Arbor , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    26%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

    What is University of Michigan known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Anthropology
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Michigan State University

    East Lansing , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    What is Michigan State University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Wayne State University

    Detroit , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/24

    What is Wayne State University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Western Michigan University

    Kalamazoo , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    What is Western Michigan University known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Oakland University

    Rochester Hills , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    What is Oakland University known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    University of Detroit Mercy

    Detroit , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    What is University of Detroit Mercy known for?

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

    • Law
    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Eastern Michigan University

    Ypsilanti , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/22

    What is Eastern Michigan University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Earth Sciences
    • History
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/27

    What is Michigan Technological University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Central Michigan University

    Mount Pleasant , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/23

    What is Central Michigan University known for?

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

    • Earth Sciences
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Andrews University

    Berrien Springs , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/25

    What is Andrews University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Ferris State University

    Big Rapids , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    What is Ferris State University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/23

    What is University of Michigan–Flint known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
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Find the Best Research Universities in Michigan for 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. University of Michigan
  2. University of Detroit Mercy
  3. Michigan State University
  4. Michigan Technological University
  5. Andrews University
  6. Western Michigan University
  7. Oakland University
  8. Central Michigan University
  9. Eastern Michigan University
  10. Ferris State University