Best Liberal Arts Colleges in North Carolina 2023

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in North Carolina 2023

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 North Carolina offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

Among these schools are over 60 public colleges and universities, including the state’s largest school, North Carolina State University, which serves almost 30,000 students. Tuition costs average about $9,000, just below the national average, and students also have the option to enroll in over 1,000 online courses. Another notable public school is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is one of the country’s oldest universities.

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The 25,000 students who attend UNC will walk the same halls as Francis Collins, Thomas Wolfe, and former president James K. Polk. North Carolina’s private schools have also made a name for themselves, including the well-known Duke University located in Durham. Here, students can earn degrees in some of the top programs, like nursing, political science, and business. Additionally, students can attend one of the many small schools which serve less than 5,000 students, like Campbell University in Buies Creek, or a religiously affiliated school, like Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City.

From its coastal beaches to its lush forests, it’s no wonder the Wright Brothers dreamed of taking flight over North Carolina. This state is rich with history, scenic views, and famous people who once called it home, like John Coltrane and Nicholas Sparks. Students hoping to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree also have the option of choosing from over 100 schools in the Tar Heel State.

Whether you prefer ocean views or wooded forests, North Carolina has something for everyone. Discover more about the state’s higher learning options.


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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 36 liberal arts colleges in North Carolina. To be ranked among the 25 best liberal arts colleges in North Carolina, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in North Carolina 2022

  1. #1

    Davidson College

    Davidson , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1380/31

  2. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Appalachian State University’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Management
    • Required Credits: 53
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Workforce Leadership & Development
    • Required Credits: 50-59
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Child Development - Birth Through Kindergarten
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 70
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Middle Grades Education
    • Required Credits: 73
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    Western Carolina University’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Innovation Leadership And Entrepreneurship
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Business Administration And Law
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Concentration In Administration Of Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency And Disaster Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Birth-Kindergarten Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Medical Care
    • Required Credits: 16
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #9

    Catawba College

    Salisbury , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1040/19

    Catawba College’s Online Degrees

    BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Management
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Professional Accounting
    • Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAE in Birth-Kindergarten Education.
    • Required Credits: 56
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    What is University of North Carolina at Asheville known for?

    University of North Carolina at Asheville’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #12

    Warren Wilson College

    Swannanoa , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    <1K

  7. #15

    Fayetteville State University

    Fayetteville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    920/18

    Fayetteville State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • General
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Fire & Emergency Services Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Intelligence Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Birth Through Kindergarten (Non-Teaching)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English Language And Literature
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Professional Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn-Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #17

    Winston-Salem State University

    Winston-Salem , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    965/18

    Winston-Salem State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Bachelor Of Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Birth To Kindergarten Education
    • Clinical Laboratory Science
    • Required Credits: 120-126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Bachelor Of Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Integrative Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Bachelor Of Science In Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn-Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/19

    University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Online Degrees

    BIS in Applied Professional Studies (Financial Administration)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration (Finance Track)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration (Marketing)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Applied Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • General
    • Office Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration (Management Track)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration (Economics Track)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Hospitality
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Public And Nonprofit Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • General
    • Allied Health Administration
    • Public Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Applied Management Information Systems
    Degree Concentrations
    • Operations Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Criminal Justice Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Sociology
    • Substance Abuse
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Applied Education Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Learning And Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #19

    Greensboro College

    Greensboro , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/19

    Greensboro College’s Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Organizational Leadership And Management
    • Required Credits: 72
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Psychology
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    890/15

  12. #21

    Elizabeth City State University

    Elizabeth City , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    920/17

    Elizabeth City State University’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management & Entrepreneurship
    • Marketing & Mis
    • Economics & Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Global Studies
    • Community Services
    • Individualized
    • Security Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. #22

    Mars Hill University

    Mars Hill , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    1K

  14. #23

    University of Mount Olive

    Mount Olive , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/19

    What is University of Mount Olive known for?

    University of Mount Olive’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Mount Olive’s Online Degrees

    BA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Agribusiness
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Agricultural Communication And Leadership
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Finance
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Computer Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice And Criminology
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education (B-K)
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Leadership
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Religion
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Healthcare Management
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 126-141
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. #24

    Livingstone College

    Salisbury , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    850/14

  16. #25

    Montreat College

    Montreat , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/20

    Montreat College’s Online Degrees

    BS in Bachelor Of Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Bachelor Of Science In Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Bachelor Of Science In Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Bachelor Of Science In Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Bachelor Of Science In Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Bachelor Of Science In Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Bachelor Of Science In Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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North Carolina’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges 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. Davidson College
  2. Guilford College
  3. Warren Wilson College
  4. Queens University of Charlotte
  5. Appalachian State University
  6. Catawba College
  7. Johnson C. Smith University
  8. Salem College
  9. High Point University
  10. University of North Carolina at Asheville
  11. Meredith College
  12. Western Carolina University
  13. Barton College
  14. University of Mount Olive

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