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

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in New York 2022

Colleges and Universities in New York

On average, tuition at New York’s higher education institutes comes in well-below the national average at about $7,900. Students have nearly 80 public school options to choose from, ranging in fees from $1,000 at the United States Merchant Marine Academy up to $10,000 at the University at Buffalo, the largest public university. However, some of the state’s private schools, such as New York University (NYU), charge tuition fees at a much higher cost.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Although tuition fees at NYU average $52,000, students who attend this school have access to some of the best programs in fields like literature, business, medicine, communications, and law. The school also boasts famous alumni like Whoopi Goldberg and Jonas Salk. New York also offers close to 40 religiously affiliated schools. Students can expect to pay a wide range of tuition costs at these schools, but have the option to major in fields like social work, law, religious studies, business, and nursing.

They say New York is a place where dreams come true. Here, fashion, culture, food, business, art, and many languages comfortably coexist. While The Empire State’s metropolitan landmarks, like the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, are noteworthy, many forget New York also offers access to the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and countless cozy cabins tucked away in the verdant Catskills Mountains. Additionally, New York is home to over 200 colleges and universities, making it easy for students to dream big while earning their degrees.

Explore some of the top programs New York higher education institutes have to offer, and make your educational and personal dreams come true.


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Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine New York'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 92 liberal arts colleges in New York. To be ranked among the 30 best liberal arts colleges in New York, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in New York 2022

  1. #1

    Brooklyn College

    Brooklyn , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    15K

    What is Brooklyn College known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Anthropology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    United States Military Academy

    West Point , NY
    Other Rankings

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/27

    What is United States Military Academy known for?

    United States Military Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Law
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #4

    Hunter College

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    40%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    19K

    What is Hunter College known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • History
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    Vassar College

    Poughkeepsie , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    What is Vassar College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Baruch College

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    41%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    16K

    What is Baruch College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    16K

    What is Queens College, City University of New York known for?

    Queens College, City University of New York’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Colgate University

    Hamilton , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    27%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    What is Colgate University known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Biology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Bard College

    Annandale-On-Hudson , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Bard College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Economics
    • History
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    Union College

    Schenectady , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    41%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

    What is Union College known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    8K

    What is Fashion Institute of Technology known for?

    Fashion Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #12

    Sarah Lawrence College

    Bronxville , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1331/29

    What is Sarah Lawrence College known for?

    Sarah Lawrence College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Ithaca College

    Ithaca , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Ithaca College known for?

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

    • Communications
    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    13K

    What is John Jay College of Criminal Justice known for?

    John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Law
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Manhattan College

    Riverdale , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    What is Manhattan College known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • History
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  15. #16

    Cooper Union

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1417/32

    What is Cooper Union known for?

    Cooper Union’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    New York Institute of Technology

    Old Westbury , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1182/25

    What is New York Institute of Technology known for?

    New York Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Niagara University

    Niagara University , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    What is Niagara University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #19

    Iona College

    New Rochelle , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    What is Iona College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • History
    • Economics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  19. Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1272/28

    What is Hobart and William Smith Colleges known for?

    Hobart and William Smith Colleges’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Skidmore College

    Saratoga Springs , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1310/30

    What is Skidmore College known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Anthropology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/26

    What is State University of New York at Purchase known for?

    State University of New York at Purchase’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #23

    St. Lawrence University

    Canton , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1265/28

    What is St. Lawrence University known for?

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

    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #24

    Hamilton College

    Clinton , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/33

    What is Hamilton College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #25

    Lehman College

    Bronx , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    12K

    What is Lehman College known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #26

    Canisius College

    Buffalo , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    What is Canisius College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  26. #27

    Manhattanville College

    Purchase , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Manhattanville College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Business
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  27. #28

    Wagner College

    Staten Island , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Wagner College known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  28. #29

    Le Moyne College

    Syracuse , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1176/25

    What is Le Moyne College known for?

    Le Moyne College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Sociology
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  29. Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Acceptance

    24%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1260/28

    What is United States Merchant Marine Academy known for?

    United States Merchant Marine Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

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New York’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. Sarah Lawrence College
  2. Barnard College
  3. Vassar College
  4. Cooper Union
  5. Bard College
  6. United States Military Academy
  7. Colgate University
  8. Hamilton College
  9. Brooklyn College
  10. Union College
  11. State University of New York at Purchase
  12. Hunter College
  13. United States Merchant Marine Academy
  14. Queens College, City University of New York
  15. Skidmore College
  16. Wagner College
  17. Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  18. Manhattan College
  19. Marist College
  20. St. Lawrence University
  21. Wells College
  22. Alfred University
  23. St. Bonaventure University
  24. Houghton College
  25. St. Francis College