Best Research Universities in Minnesota 2022

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

Best Research Universities 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

Minnesota's Best Best Research Universities
Download Badge

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 8 research universities in Minnesota. 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).

Back to Top

Best Research Universities in Minnesota 2022

  1. #2

    University of St. Thomas

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/26

    What is University of St. Thomas known for?

    University of St. Thomas ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Law
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #3

    St. Catherine University

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/24

    What is St. Catherine University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #4

    Metropolitan State University

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Metropolitan State University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    Bethel University

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    What is Bethel University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    4K

    What is College of St. Scholastica known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Walden University

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    100%

    Student body

    40K

    What is Walden University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Capella University

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Student body

    30K

    What is Capella University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

Back to Top

Find the Best Research Universities in Minnesota 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.
Back to Top

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.
Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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 Minnesota
  2. University of St. Thomas
  3. Bethel University
  4. St. Catherine University
  5. College of St. Scholastica