West Virginia’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Interested in attending a STEM school in West Virginia? Our ranking of top research universities for bachelor’s degrees displays schools that will best prepare you for STEM careers.

West Virginia’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in West Virginia

West Virginia has 20 public higher education institutions, all at a sticker price of $9,000 or less, making it one of the more affordable states to earn a degree. With over 25,000 students in attendance, West Virginia University is the largest and charges $9,000 in tuition. Aside from the community and state colleges, six other public universities have populations ranging from about 2,100 to just over 10,000, and all schools have a tuition rate of about $8,000.

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The state is also home to 12 private schools, eight of which are religiously affiliated. The University of Charleston is the largest private university, but its student population is still small. About 2,000 students take classes in fields such as chemistry, political science, and history, and the tuition totals $21,000. At $32,000 in tuition and fees, West Virginia Wesleyan College is the most expensive, but its student population is only slightly above 1,300.

As the only state contained entirely within the Appalachian range, West Virginia is rightfully nicknamed The Mountain State. Those who love the outdoors will feel at home hiking through the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve or skiing at Canaan Valley Ski Resort. History buffs can visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, where they can take a walk through life in the 1800s. In addition, the state offers over 30 private and public colleges and universities to those looking to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

Check out the state’s top programs and see why West Virginia could be a good fit for your educational goals and budget.


What are West Virginia’s Colleges & Universities?

West Virginia’s Best Overall

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How do we determine West Virginia's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

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.

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

A research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Research universities invest heavily in research, which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. There are 3 research universities in West Virginia, all of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best research universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a fully accredited university.
  2. It must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
  3. It must report high levels of research activity based upon the number of research and/or practice doctorates awarded each year.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

Best Research Universities in West Virginia

  1. #1

    West Virginia University

    Morgantown , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    What is West Virginia University known for?

    West Virginia University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Marshall University

    Huntington , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/22

    What is Marshall University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Medical
    • History
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    REQUEST INFO
  3. #3

    University of Charleston

    Charleston , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1041/21

    What is University of Charleston known for?

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

    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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