Best Public Colleges in Missouri 2023

Best Public Colleges in Missouri 2023

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Missouri provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

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

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 13 public universities in Missouri. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Missouri, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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Best Public Colleges in Missouri 2022

  1. #1

    University of Missouri

    Columbia , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1215/26

    University of Missouri’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education In A Mobile Society
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BES in Educational Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BGS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BHS in Radiography
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BHS in Respiratory Therapy
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BHS in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BHS in Health Science
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Fitness Programming And Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/21

    Northwest Missouri State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Communication
    Degree Concentrations
    • Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Communication – Public Relations
    • Business Management
    • Business Technology
    • Marketing
    • Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. #6

    Missouri State University

    Springfield , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/24

    Missouri State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Health Services
    Degree Concentrations
    • Health Services
    • Clinical services
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS/BS in Hospitality Leadership
    Degree Concentrations
    • Club management
    • Food and beverage
    • General operations
    • Lodging
    • Senior living management
    • Tourism
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA in Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA in Religious Studies
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Analysis
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Application Development
    • IT Infrastructure or Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Professional Writing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Finance
    Degree Concentrations
    • Corporate and Investments
    • Financial Planning
    • Required Credits: 120-121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sociology
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Business
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Relationships
    • Financial and Quantitative Analysis
    • International Business Environment
    • Markets and Economies
    • Project and Technology Management
    • Risk Management and Compliance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    8K

    University of Central Missouri’s Online Degrees

    BS in Crisis and Disaster Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Continuity
    • Emergency Management
    • Emergency Services Management
    • Environmental Hazards
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Environmental Safety and Risk Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Relations and Strategic Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1172/24

    University of Missouri–St. Louis’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Entrepreneurship
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in International Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BLS in Liberal Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Administration
    • Criminology And Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Communication
    • Gender Studies
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Psychological Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computing Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Systems And Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Information Systems And Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity: Information Systems & Technology
    • Required Credits: 123
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminology & Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Philosophy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    8K

    Southeast Missouri State University’s Online Degrees

    BAS in Applied Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Child & Family Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Child Development (
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Information Systems
    Degree Concentrations
    • Cybersecurity
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • and Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Law Enforcement
    • Corrections
    • Criminology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Environmental Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Family Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • General Management
    • Health
    • Administration
    • and Sport Management.
    • Healthcare Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Interdisciplinary Studies,
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Anthropology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • History (any prefix)
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • or Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    3K

    Missouri Western State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Corrections
    • Juvenile Justice
    • Law Enforcement
    • Legal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    975/21

    Missouri Southern State University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Applied Science
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Environmental Health and Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Dental Hygiene
    • Respiratory Therapy
    • Radiologic Technology
    • Paramedic / EMS
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Business
    • Accounting
    • International Business
    • Management
    • Human Resources Management
    • Marketing
    • Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #12

    Lincoln University, Missouri

    Jefferson City , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    2K

    Lincoln University, Missouri’s Online Degrees

    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
  10. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    1K

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Missouri’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

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 utilized 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 Missouri
  2. Missouri University of Science and Technology
  3. Southeast Missouri State University
  4. Truman State University
  5. University of Missouri–Kansas City
  6. Missouri State University
  7. University of Missouri–St. Louis
  8. Northwest Missouri State University
  9. University of Central Missouri

Check out our directory of public colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top public colleges in every state.