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

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Minnesota 2022

Colleges and Universities in Minnesota

One of largest public higher education institutes in the country, the University of Minnesota has main campuses in both of the Twin Cities, Saint Paul and Minneapolis. This school costs about $15,000 in tuition, and provides its students with competitive programs in fields like nursing, education, economics, and psychology. And the options don’t stop there. There are more than 20 schools in the state with religious affiliations, including larger schools like the University of St. Thomas, which campuses in both Twin Cities, and smaller schools like Oak Hills Christian College in Bemidji.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

For students striving to keep costs low in a smaller school environment, Southwest Minnesota State University offers tuition below the national average and serves about 3,500 students. Additionally, those on track to become a teacher or health care provider may be eligible for one of Minnesota’s loan forgiveness programs after graduation. Minnesota also boasts a large network of private colleges, two of which, Walden University and Capella University, primarily cater to online students.

Ever heard the phrase, There’s an app for that? Well, in Minnesota they say something similar, There’s a festival for that. This fun state doesn’t hold back when it comes to celebrating. With events like the Grumpy Old Men Festival, World Festival, and the Perham Turtle Fest, students earning their degrees at one of Minnesota’s more than 70 colleges won’t miss out on a good time.

Discover some of Minnesota’s top programs and learn how you can earn your associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree while cashing in on some of this state’s unique experiences.


What are Minnesota’s Colleges & Universities?

Minnesota’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Minnesota'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 24 liberal arts colleges in Minnesota. To be ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in Minnesota, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Minnesota 2022

  1. #1

    Carleton College

    Northfield , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1450/32

    What is Carleton College known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/23

    What is University of Minnesota Duluth known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #4

    Hamline University

    Saint Paul , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    What is Hamline University known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    St. Olaf College

    Northfield , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1310/29

    What is St. Olaf College known for?

    St. Olaf College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Gustavus Adolphus College

    Saint Peter , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Gustavus Adolphus College known for?

    Gustavus Adolphus College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    13K

    What is Minnesota State University, Mankato known for?

    Minnesota State University, Mankato’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    What is Minnesota State University Moorhead known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    St. Cloud State University

    Saint Cloud , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1064/21

    What is St. Cloud State University known for?

    St. Cloud State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    Concordia College

    Moorhead , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1149/24

    What is Concordia College known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #11

    Augsburg University

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/20

    What is Augsburg University known for?

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

    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    What is University of Minnesota Morris known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Physics
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1147/25

    What is College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University known for?

    College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. #14

    Winona State University

    Winona , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/21

    What is Winona State University known for?

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

    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Bemidji State University

    Bemidji , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Bemidji State University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • History
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1113/23

    What is Saint Mary's University of Minnesota known for?

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    What is University of Minnesota Crookston known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    997/21

    What is Southwest Minnesota State University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/24

    What is University of Northwestern – St. Paul known for?

    University of Northwestern – St. Paul’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    North Central University

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1077/21

    What is North Central University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Bethany Lutheran College

    Mankato , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/23

    What is Bethany Lutheran College known for?

    Bethany Lutheran College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #22

    Dunwoody College of Technology

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Dunwoody College of Technology known for?

    Dunwoody College of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #23

    Concordia University, St. Paul

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Concordia University, St. Paul known for?

    Concordia University, St. Paul’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #24

    Crown College

    Saint Bonifacius , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/20

    What is Crown College known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • History
    • Education
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

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Minnesota’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. Carleton College
  2. Macalester College
  3. University of Minnesota Morris
  4. St. Olaf College
  5. North Central University
  6. Hamline University
  7. College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University
  8. Gustavus Adolphus College
  9. Augsburg University
  10. Minnesota State University Moorhead
  11. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
  12. Concordia College
  13. University of Minnesota Duluth
  14. Southwest Minnesota State University
  15. St. Cloud State University
  16. Bemidji State University
  17. Concordia University, St. Paul
  18. University of Northwestern – St. Paul
  19. Crown College
  20. Minnesota State University, Mankato
  21. Dunwoody College of Technology
  22. Winona State University
  23. University of Minnesota Crookston
  24. Bethany Lutheran College