In this article, we profile 30 great small colleges for STEM degrees.
As we see a rise in science, technology, engineering, and math-related jobs, students are spending their college years elbow deep in math problems, computer projects, and science experiments. Unfortunately, a STEM degree is most often associated with larger campuses where huge class sizes and high student-to-faculty ratios provide limited research opportunities or room to forge relationships with peers and faculty. However, through research and data collection, we located 30 great small colleges for STEM degrees.
30 Great Small Colleges for STEM Degrees Methodology
Some of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges and small institutions offer STEM degrees for both undergraduates and graduates. The schools on our list were awarded points based on the following criteria:
- Size: The schools on this list have an undergraduate population of less than 5,000 students.
- Research Opportunities: Schools with undergraduate research opportunities were awarded 1 point, while schools with unique or multiple research opportunities were given additional points.
- Awards & Recognition: Schools received 1 point for ranking with U.S. News and World Report.
- Variety of STEM majors: Finally, schools were rewarded for their degree offerings and were awarded 1 point for each STEM major.
In the event of a tie, the schools were listed alphabetically. Below are the resulting selections for our 30 great small colleges for STEM degrees.
Alaska Pacific University
Recognized as a top regional institution, Alaska Pacific University offers STEM degrees for students interested in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. In fact, undergraduate degrees are available in health sciences, marine and environmental sciences, pre-nursing, and sustainability studies. For graduate students, there are several STEM-focused degrees available. While APU offers a city setting, the school is surprisingly small. In fact, College Navigator reports the total enrollment of approximately 500 students, with over half listed as undergraduates. In addition to offering a small classroom environment, APU is fully accredited and ranked with U.S. News and World Report: APU ranks #82 in best regional universities in the West.
Kenyon College is a top-ranked national liberal arts college that is recognized for its academics and reputation. In fact, Kenyon ranks with all major publications. For the sake of this profile, we focus on the rankings by U.S. News and World Report, which include #27 in best national liberal arts colleges. Also, Kenyon has received a top ranking (#70) among best value schools in the nation. As far as STEM degrees offered at Kenyon, there are several to choose from. Biology, chemistry, mathematics and statistics, and physics are among the popular STEM majors available at Kenyon. Also, the small undergraduate enrollment of 1,700 students provides an intimate learning environment.
Located in the heart of Pittsburgh, Carlow University offers a unique learning environment for those looking for great small colleges for STEM degrees. With a total enrollment of 2,076 students (1,333 undergraduates), Carlow provides an intimate learning environment and low student-to-faculty ratio of just 12:1. And while the city is large, the campus maintains an intimate environment. STEM degrees available at Carlow include behavioral neuroscience, chemistry, data analytics, health sciences, mathematics, and pre-med, to name a few. Carlow is fully accredited and ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 75th best regional university in the North and the 45th best college for veterans.
Miles College is an historically black college recognized for its reputation for motivating and preparing students to achieve successful careers through education. STEM-focused programs include biology, chemistry, computer and information sciences, environmental science, mathematics, and various programs designed to prepare students to teach STEM subjects. All students, regardless of chosen program, learn the importance of research and technological literacy, illustrating Miles’ commitment to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as a crucial element of social society. In addition to being fully accredited, Miles College has earned recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top regional college in the South and historically black college or university.
Adrian College, a private institution founded in 1859, offers a large number of STEM degrees for undergraduates and those interested in pre-professional programs. Some of the popular STEM majors offered at Adrian include biology, chemistry and biochemistry, mathematics, and physics. Also, several STEM minors, such as the minor in computer information systems, may help tailor a student’s major to better align with career goals. Adrian College is fully accredited and ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, Adrian’s recent rankings include #18 in best regional colleges in the Midwest and #17 in best value schools.
One of the best small colleges for STEM degrees on our list is Franklin College. This private, nationally ranked liberal arts school has a total student population of approximately 980 students (960 of which are undergrads). With a low student population, the school offers an equally low student-to-faculty ratio of just 11:1. There are a total of 50 majors offered at Franklin. For those interested in STEM degrees, the school offers plenty. In fact, popular STEM degrees are available in disciplines like biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, and software engineering. In addition to offering quality STEM programs, Franklin College ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 145th best national liberal arts college in the country.
Recognized as a top national liberal arts college, Bowdoin College offers quality STEM degrees and one of the lowest student-to-faculty-ratios on our list. This four-year, private liberal arts college is located in the suburban setting of Brunswick, Maine. Total enrollment is approximately 1,800 students, all of which are undergraduates. The small enrollment size allows Bowdoin to maintain a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio. In addition to small class sizes, there are numerous STEM degrees and major to choose from. According to Bowdoin’s website, the top declared majors included several STEM degrees like biology, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics. Also, Bowdoin ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 6th best national liberal arts college.
Earning a top spot on our list of great small colleges for STEM degrees, Amherst College is an ideal choice. Not only are there STEM offerings for undergraduates, but the school maintains one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios on our list (7:1). The student population (all undergraduates) is also low, according to the most recent report published by College Navigator (1,855 students). Some of the most popular STEM degrees at Amherst include biology, chemistry, computer science, neuroscience, and physics and astronomy. In addition to small class size and degree offerings, Amherst is highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report. In fact, Amherst ranks #2 in best national liberal arts colleges as of 2020.
Carleton College, a nationally ranked liberal arts school, offers a rural Minnesota environment and plentiful STEM degrees. Ranked 7th in the country for top national liberal arts colleges, Carleton offers STEM programs in disciplines like biochemistry, biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics, and pre-medicine. Carleton’s small-campus learning environment gives way to an equally small student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1. Additionally, the school has earned full accreditation and rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. These rankings, as listed above, include #7 in best national liberal arts colleges, #1 in best undergraduate teaching programs, and #32 in best value schools.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
STEM-inclined students at Colorado College can choose from a variety of majors, including chemistry and biochemistry, computer science, mathematics, molecular biology, neuroscience, and physics, among others. More than 100 clubs and activities also exist on campus, many of which are STEM-related and provide students with hands-on experience working in STEM-focused areas. Also, there is a 3-2 engineering program designed for students interested in pursuing engineering careers. Colorado College is accredited and ranked with major publications. In fact, the most recent rankings from U.S. News and World Report list Colorado College as the 27th best national liberal arts college and 26th best value school.Connecticut College