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

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Missouri 2022

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.


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 liberal arts colleges ?

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 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Missouri 2022

  1. #1

    Webster University

    Saint Louis , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    What is Webster University known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Law
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Truman State University

    Kirksville , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    What is Truman State University known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1119/22

    What is Northwest Missouri State University known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    University of Central Missouri

    Warrensburg , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    9K

    What is University of Central Missouri known for?

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

    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Literature
    • History
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    William Jewell College

    Liberty , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1190/24

    What is William Jewell College known for?

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

    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Southeast Missouri State University

    Cape Girardeau , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Southeast Missouri State University known for?

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

    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Physics
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Evangel University

    Springfield , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Evangel University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  8. #8

    Rockhurst University

    Kansas City , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1169/24

    What is Rockhurst University known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Drury University

    Springfield , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/25

    What is Drury University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Stephens College

    Columbia , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    What is Stephens College known for?

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

    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Park University

    Parkville , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    8K

    What is Park University known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Central Methodist University

    Fayette , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/22

    What is Central Methodist University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. #13

    Fontbonne University

    Saint Louis , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    What is Fontbonne University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Law
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Missouri Western State University

    Saint Joseph , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Missouri Western State University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/21

    What is Missouri Southern State University known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Business
    • History
    • Law
    • Nursing
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  16. #16

    Southwest Baptist University

    Bolivar , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1027/22

    What is Southwest Baptist University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  17. #17

    Lincoln University

    Jefferson City , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Lincoln University known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Biology
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    Avila University

    Kansas City , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1082/21

    What is Avila University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #19

    Westminster College

    Fulton , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/22

    What is Westminster College known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Anthropology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #20

    Culver–Stockton College

    Canton , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    995/20

    What is Culver–Stockton College known for?

    Culver–Stockton College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #21

    Missouri Valley College

    Marshall , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    965/18

    What is Missouri Valley College known for?

    Missouri Valley College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #22

    Columbia College

    Columbia , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Columbia College known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #23

    College of the Ozarks

    Point Lookout , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1084/23

    What is College of the Ozarks known for?

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

    • Literature
    • History
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #24

    Missouri Baptist University

    Saint Louis , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/21

    What is Missouri Baptist University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #25

    Harris–Stowe State University

    Saint Louis , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Harris–Stowe State University known for?

    Harris–Stowe State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  26. #26

    Cottey College

    Nevada , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    What is Cottey College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  27. #27

    Hannibal–LaGrange University

    Hannibal , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/21

    What is Hannibal–LaGrange University known for?

    Hannibal–LaGrange University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  28. #28

    Ranken Technical College

    Saint Louis , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    2K

    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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Missouri’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. Westminster College
  2. Webster University
  3. Stephens College
  4. Drury University
  5. William Jewell College
  6. Southeast Missouri State University
  7. Evangel University
  8. Rockhurst University
  9. Fontbonne University
  10. Truman State University
  11. Central Methodist University
  12. Southwest Baptist University
  13. Northwest Missouri State University
  14. University of Central Missouri
  15. College of the Ozarks
  16. Avila University
  17. Cottey College
  18. Hannibal–LaGrange University
  19. Culver–Stockton College
  20. Ranken Technical College