Best Liberal Arts Colleges in North Carolina 2022

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in North Carolina 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 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

    20%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1397/31

  2. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    Appalachian State University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Veterinary Technician
    • 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 Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Career and Technical Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business
    • Finance and Information Technology Education
    • Business
    • Marketing and Entrepreneurship Education
    • Technology
    • Engineering and Design Education
    • Trade and Industry Education
    • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
    • Agriculture Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Child Development
    Degree Concentrations
    • Birth Through Kindergarten
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Communication
    Degree Concentrations
    • Advertising
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Middle Grades Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Workforce Leadership and Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Career and Technical Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business
    • Finance and Information Technology Education
    • Business
    • Marketing and Entrepreneurship Education
    • Technology
    • Engineering and Design Education
    • Trade and Industry Education
    • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
    • Agriculture Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Child Development
    Degree Concentrations
    • Birth Through Kindergarten
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Communication, Advertising
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Middle Grades Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Veterinary Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/22

    Western Carolina University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Birth-Kindergarten Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Professional Education
    • Early Childhood
    • Alternative Licensure
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship
    • Management
    • 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 Emergency Medical Care
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Finance
    Degree Concentrations
    • Personal Financial Planning
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #9

    Catawba College

    Salisbury , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/20

    Catawba College’s Online Degrees

    BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Management
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Information Systems
    • Professional Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAE in Birth-Kindergarten Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #15

    Fayetteville State University

    Fayetteville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    940/19

    Fayetteville State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Birth Through Kindergarten
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English Language and Literature
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Fire & Emergency Services Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Intelligence Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Leadership
    • Criminal Justice and Military Intelligence Operations
    • Criminal Justice and Military Leadership
    • Language and Intelligence Studies
    • Education and History
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Mathematics
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Public Administration
    • Environmental Politics and Policy
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #17

    Winston-Salem State University

    Winston-Salem , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/17

    Winston-Salem State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Birth to Kindergarten Education
    • Required Credits: 120-126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Clinical Laboratory Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Integrative Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/19

    University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Online Degrees

    BS in Birth-to-Kindergarten Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Applied Education Studies
    • Applied Professional Studies
    • Applied Management Information Systems
    • Criminal Justice Studies
    • General Studies
    • Hospitality
    • Public and Non-Profit Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #19

    Greensboro College

    Greensboro , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/18

    What is Greensboro College known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Greensboro College’s Online Degrees

    BA/BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #21

    Elizabeth City State University

    Elizabeth City , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    962/18

    Elizabeth City State University’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Economics and Finance
    • Management and Entrepreneurship
    • Marketing and MIS
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #22

    Mars Hill University

    Mars Hill , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

  11. #23

    University of Mount Olive

    Mount Olive , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/19

    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 Agribusiness
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Agricultural Communication and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Business Management
    • Computer Information Systems
    • Finance
    • Healthcare Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Christian Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Computer Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education (B-K)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Justice Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. #25

    Montreat College

    Montreat , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1036/20

    What is Montreat College known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Montreat College’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Data Analytics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Kinesiology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Administration
    • 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 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. 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