Nevada’s Best Small Colleges & Universities of 2021

Small colleges in Nevada are a great option for students interested in a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Whether the focus is on the technical or on the liberal arts, small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

Nevada’s Best Small Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Nevada

From bigger universities, like the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to smaller schools, like Western Nevada College, students have plenty of options. While the University of Nevada, Las Vegas serves 25,000 students, making it Nevada’s largest higher education institute, their friendly rival university in the north, the University of Nevada, Reno, comes in at a close second, with just over 19,000 students.

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Though Western Nevada College is much smaller in student population, this school offers three campuses and seven other instructional sites across the state. With yearly tuition at the three major universities being under $10,000 and tuition at several smaller colleges coming in at $5,000 or less, students are sure to find an affordable degree. Additionally, those hoping to pursue a career in healthcare or a related field may want to consider attending one of Nevada’s three private colleges or the two biggest universities, all of which offer unique degrees in areas spanning radiology, pediatrics, and nursing. Nevada is also home to one Judaic college, Touro University Nevada, located in Henderson, a city just outside of Las Vegas.

Though most know Nevada for the glitzy casinos and attractions in Las Vegas, it is also home to beautiful Lake Tahoe, a favorite of skiers, hikers, beachgoers, locals, and vacationers. In Nevada, students can bet big and enjoy the outdoors, all while earning their degree at one of The Silver State’s exemplary colleges and universities.

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What are Nevada’s Colleges & Universities?

Nevada’s Best Overall

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How do we determine Nevada's best small 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 call “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.

The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Nevada is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 4 small colleges in Nevada, 2 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best small colleges in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. Its student body must consist of 5,000 or fewer students.
  4. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

Best Small Colleges & Universities in Nevada

  1. #1

    Sierra Nevada University

    Incline Village , NV

    Tuition + fees






    Student body


    Median SAT/ACT


    What is Sierra Nevada University known for?

    Sierra Nevada University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Nevada State College

    Henderson , NV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees






    Student body


    What is Nevada State College known for?

    Nevada State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni


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