Michigan’s Best Research Universities of 2021

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.

Michigan’s Best Research 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 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. There are 12 research universities in Michigan, 10 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the 10 best research universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a fully accredited university.
  2. It must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
  3. It must report high levels of research activity based upon the number of research and/or practice doctorates awarded each year.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

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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. 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 Research Universities in Michigan

  1. #1

    University of Michigan

    #12 institution's historical influence
    #37 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    26%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

    Ann Arbor, MI

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    What is University of Michigan known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    University of Detroit Mercy

    #769 institution's historical influence
    #262 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Detroit, MI

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    What is University of Detroit Mercy known for?

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

    • Law
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History
    • Psychology
    REQUEST INFO
  3. #3

    Michigan State University

    #89 institution's historical influence
    #1461 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    East Lansing, MI

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    What is Michigan State University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Michigan Technological University

    #955 institution's historical influence
    #1220 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/27

    Houghton, MI

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    What is Michigan Technological University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Physics
    • History
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
  5. #5

    Andrews University

    #876 institution's historical influence
    #241 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/25

    Berrien Springs, MI

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    What is Andrews University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Western Michigan University

    #556 institution's historical influence
    #434 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    Kalamazoo, MI

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    What is Western Michigan University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #7

    Oakland University

    #1051 institution's historical influence
    #587 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    Rochester Hills, MI

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    What is Oakland University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Political Science
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  8. #8

    Central Michigan University

    #1053 institution's historical influence
    #746 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/23

    Mount Pleasant, MI

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    What is Central Michigan University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
  9. #9

    Eastern Michigan University

    #754 institution's historical influence
    #891 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/22

    Ypsilanti, MI

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    What is Eastern Michigan University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
  10. #10

    Ferris State University

    #1881 institution's historical influence
    #402 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    Big Rapids, MI

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    What is Ferris State University known for?

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

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

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