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

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in New Jersey 2022

Colleges and Universities in New Jersey

Nearly half of the colleges and universities in this state are private, and tuition rates range from $6,000 to $52,000. With a graduation rate of 97% and a student population of just over 7,000, Princeton University is the state’s most esteemed institution. Narrowing in on the sciences and arts, this Ivy League school offers unique areas of study, including robotics, intelligent systems, and public life. The remaining 31 public colleges and universities range in tuition from $4,000 to $17,000.

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The state’s largest and top-ranked public research institution is Rutgers University. With campuses in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden as well as smaller locations across the state, Rutgers awards degrees in physics, economics, criminal justice, and psychology. New Jersey also has 11 religiously affiliated colleges and universities, including the oldest diocesan university in the United States, Seton Hall University. This Roman Catholic university has a tuition rate of $42,000 and a student population of over 8,000.

New Jersey, known for its sandy shores and busy expressways, also has more diners than any other state in the U.S., as well as the world’s longest boardwalk, located in Atlantic City. Many influential people, including Buzz Aldrin, Frank Sinatra, and Thomas Edison, have called The Garden State home. Visitors can even peek at some of Edison’s early light bulbs at the Menlo Park Museum. And with 50 higher learning institutions to choose from, students can find a school that suits their career path and budget.

Learn more about earning your degree from one of New Jersey’s highly regarded colleges and universities.


What are New Jersey’s Colleges & Universities?

New Jersey’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine New Jersey's best colleges and universities?

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 19 liberal arts colleges in New Jersey. To be ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in New Jersey, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in New Jersey 2022

  1. Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1260/27

    What is The College of New Jersey known for?

    The College of New Jersey’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #4

    Monmouth University

    West Long Branch , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/24

    What is Monmouth University known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • History
    • Communications
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #5

    Rider University

    Lawrenceville , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/22

    What is Rider University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #6

    Kean University

    Union , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/20

    What is Kean University known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #7

    Stockton University

    Galloway , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/23

    What is Stockton University known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    9K

    What is William Paterson University known for?

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

    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #9

    New Jersey City University

    Jersey City , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    6K

    What is New Jersey City University known for?

    New Jersey City University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #10

    Ramapo College

    Mahwah , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/23

    What is Ramapo College known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #11

    Berkeley College

    Woodland Park , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Berkeley College known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #12

    Saint Peter's University

    Jersey City , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/20

    What is Saint Peter's University known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Student body

    4K

    What is Thomas Edison State University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #14

    Georgian Court University

    Lakewood , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1059/22

    What is Georgian Court University known for?

    Georgian Court University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature
    • History
    • Communications
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. #15

    Felician University

    Lodi , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/17

    What is Felician University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
  14. #16

    Bloomfield College

    Bloomfield , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    965/17

    What is Bloomfield College known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  15. #17

    Caldwell University

    Caldwell , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    What is Caldwell University known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • History
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  16. #18

    Centenary University

    Hackettstown , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1043/20

    What is Centenary University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #19

    Saint Elizabeth University

    Morristown , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    993/17

    What is Saint Elizabeth University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Philosophy
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

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New Jersey’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. Drew University
  2. Saint Peter's University
  3. Monmouth University
  4. Caldwell University
  5. The College of New Jersey
  6. Rider University
  7. Ramapo College
  8. Stockton University
  9. William Paterson University
  10. Centenary University
  11. Kean University