Missouri’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Here are the best colleges and universities in Missouri. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you.

Missouri’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Missouri

Tuition costs in Missouri fall below the national average, allowing students access to many affordable options. For example, at Missouri State University, the second largest public school, tuition fees are around $7,000. Students of actor John Goodman’s alma mater can major in fields like religious studies, history, and business, and even have the option of earning an associate degree in arts or a bachelor’s in business at the university’s sister school in China. Missouri also offers more than 40 private schools.

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Tuition and student populations vary greatly among these schools, but students who attend these higher education institutes also have the option to attend classes at other campuses. For example, Saint Louis University, a college with Jesuit roots, has campuses in both St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Additionally, Missouri offers special loan forgiveness programs for nurses and other health professionals, including dentists, psychiatrists, and primary care physicians, who work in designated, high-need areas.

When you aren’t exploring one of its 6,000 caves, chowing down on some barbecue, or taking in a live jazz performance, Missouri can serve as the perfect place to begin a road trip. The Show Me State is bordered by eight other U.S. states, making it ideal for students love travelling and planning weekend getaways. During the week days, students can continue on their road to success by pursuing their degree at one of Missouri’s 72 higher education institutes.

See where Missouri’s many roads can take you while earning your degree at one this state’s top learning institutions.

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What are Missouri’s Colleges & Universities?

Missouri’s Best Overall


Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Missouri'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 “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.

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Every fall, more than 2 million high-school graduates will enroll in colleges and universities across the United States. Finding the best college for your educational, personal, and professional goals may be challenging. The purpose of this ranking is to help you manage this challenge with an accurate, objective, and up-to-date ranking of the best colleges and universities in Missouri for earning a bachelor’s degree.

We’ve identified a total of 38 colleges and universities in Missouri, 20 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best schools in the state focuses on those that offer four-year undergraduate degrees, includes both public and private colleges and universities, and also meet the following two conditions:

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%.

20 Best Colleges & Universities in Missouri

  1. #1

    Washington University in St. Louis

    #67 institution's historical influence
    #20 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1520/34

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is Washington University in St. Louis known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #2

    University of Missouri

    #98 institution's historical influence
    #1169 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

    Columbia, MO

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    What is University of Missouri known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Saint Louis University

    #343 institution's historical influence
    #714 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is Saint Louis University known for?

    Saint Louis University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Westminster College

    #1952 institution's historical influence
    #471 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/22

    Fulton, MO

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    What is Westminster College known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Webster University

    #1080 institution's historical influence
    #814 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is Webster University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • History
    • Law
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Missouri University of Science and Technology

    #727 institution's historical influence
    #1443 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1325/29

    Rolla, MO

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    What is Missouri University of Science and Technology known for?

    Missouri University of Science and Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    William Woods University

    #3323 institution's historical influence
    #1166 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    2K

    Fulton, MO

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    What is William Woods University known for?

    William Woods University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Social Work
  8. #8

    Drury University

    #3312 institution's historical influence
    #1457 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/25

    Springfield, MO

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    What is Drury University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    William Jewell College

    #2046 institution's historical influence
    #1125 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1190/24

    Liberty, MO

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    What is William Jewell College known for?

    William Jewell College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Evangel University

    #2818 institution's historical influence
    #1339 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    2K

    Springfield, MO

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    What is Evangel University known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Business
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #11

    Rockhurst University

    #2323 institution's historical influence
    #403 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1169/24

    Kansas City, MO

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    What is Rockhurst University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Fontbonne University

    #4934 institution's historical influence
    #866 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is Fontbonne University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Truman State University

    #1117 institution's historical influence
    #1189 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    Kirksville, MO

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    What is Truman State University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Literature
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Missouri State University

    #1214 institution's historical influence
    #1219 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/24

    Springfield, MO

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    What is Missouri State University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    University of Missouri–St. Louis

    #2030 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is University of Missouri–St. Louis known for?

    University of Missouri–St. Louis’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    University of Central Missouri

    #1720 institution's historical influence
    #1136 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    9K

    Warrensburg, MO

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    What is University of Central Missouri known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    College of the Ozarks

    #5148 institution's historical influence
    #60 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1084/23

    Point Lookout, MO

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    What is College of the Ozarks known for?

    College of the Ozarks’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    Maryville University

    #3455 institution's historical influence
    #991 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/22

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is Maryville University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    REQUEST INFO
  19. #19

    Cottey College

    #5459 institution's historical influence
    #505 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    Nevada, MO

    View profile

    What is Cottey College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. #20

    Ranken Technical College

    #8072 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    2K

    Saint Louis, MO

    View profile

    What is Ranken Technical College known for?

    Ranken Technical College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

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