Best Colleges in Louisiana

portrait of Staff Writers
Staff Writers
Read Full Bio


The staff writers for BestColleges collaborate to deliver unique, student-driven content on topics such as career development, college life, and college planning....
Updated on July 6, 2023
Learn more about our editorial process

The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) projects employment in the state to increase by 8.3% from 2016 to 2026, slightly faster than the anticipated rate of growth for the entire United States economy. Certain industries in Louisiana should experience even more rapid expansion. For example, the LWC projects employment in the field of healthcare and social assistance to grow by nearly 12% during that time period, adding roughly 34,000 new jobs.

To take advantage of the most lucrative of these new opportunities, however, you will likely need some form of postsecondary education. Registered nurses in Louisiana, for instance, earned an annual mean wage of $63,970 in 2018, or approximately $21,000 more per year than the average pay for all other occupations. Occupational health and safety specialists — the individuals who inspect workplaces and ensure compliance with government regulations — earned $76,280 that same year. Both of these positions require, at a minimum, an associate degree.

Top 10 Colleges in Louisiana

#1 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
#2 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA
#3 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, LA
#4 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
#5 McNeese State University Lake Charles, LA
#6 University of Holy Cross New Orleans, LA
#7 Louisiana State University-Alexandria Alexandria, LA
#8 Centenary College of Louisiana Shreveport, LA
#9 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
#10 Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA

Our ranking of the best colleges in Louisiana can help you decide where to continue your education. It includes information on each school's admission standards, areas of study, online and hybrid programs, and financial aid opportunities. Crucially, all of the colleges profiled below are regionally accredited.

Best Accredited Colleges in Louisiana

Best Colleges in Louisiana

  1. Tulane University of Louisiana

    New Orleans, LA



    Tulane University features a world-class faculty and high-quality degree programs that draw students from all 50 states and nearly 60 countries around the globe. Undergraduate students can major in fields such as Asian studies, engineering, and philosophy, while graduate students receive advanced instruction in subjects such as finance, law, and public health. Students at Tulane can also earn their degrees at a distance, including through the fully online master of social work program.

    Community service lies at the heart of both Tulane's mission and its educational philosophy. Originally founded to train medical professionals fighting yellow fever and cholera in New Orleans, students at the university continue to log roughly 780,000 hours of civic service and volunteerism each year.

    Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and submit results from either the ACT or SAT. To qualify for guaranteed admission, you must be a Louisiana resident, maintain a high school GPA of at least 3.6, and score 31 or higher on the ACT (or 1450 or higher on the SAT).

  2. Louisiana Tech University

    Ruston, LA



    Established in 1895, Louisiana Tech University now serves roughly 12,500 students each year through a combination of undergraduate and graduate programs in fields such as agricultural business, environmental science, health information management, and sociology. Working professionals can also take advantage of the university's fully online programs in engineering management, business administration, and history.

    Students at Louisiana Tech also have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research. For example, students at the university's Center for Secure Cyberspace can learn about cyber forensics, information fusion, and secure information dissemination. In addition, the Institute for Micromanufacturing provides hands-on learning experiences related to nanotechnologies.

    Admission to Louisiana Tech as an undergraduate student requires a high school diploma and scores from either the ACT or SAT. Graduate admission requirements vary by program, but applicants typically need a bachelor's degree and scores from the GRE or GMAT. Scholarships are available on the basis of both academic merit and financial need.

  3. University of Louisiana at Lafayette

    Lafayette, LA



    The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second-largest university in the state, with more than 19,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in areas such as chemical engineering, educational leadership, geology, and nursing. Many of these students pursue their degree online; they enjoy the convenience of distance education and pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live.

    In addition to state and federal financial aid, students at UL Lafayette can apply to a host of scholarship and tuition waiver programs. For example, out-of-state applicants with a high school GPA of at least 2.5 and an ACT score of 23 or higher may qualify for a fee waiver worth nearly $55,000 over the course of four years. Room and board scholarships -- with an estimated value of nearly $20,000 per year -- are also available to students who excel academically.

    To enter an undergraduate program at UL Lafayette, you must have a high school diploma and take either the ACT or SAT. You must also meet minimum academic requirements to qualify for guaranteed admission.

  4. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

    Baton Rouge, LA



    Louisiana State University is the flagship school of the Louisiana State University System and the largest institution of higher education in the state, with over 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled each year. More than 90% of all students at the university receive scholarships or financial aid, and two out of every three students graduate with no student loan debt. In addition, LSU alumni make an average of $12,000 more per year than graduates of other public colleges and universities in the state.

    LSU is home to 14 colleges and schools that prepare students for careers in fields such as business, engineering, mass communication, and veterinary medicine. Through LSU Online, students can also earn bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at whatever time and place is most convenient for them.

    Applicants must submit official copies of their high school transcript, ACT or SAT scores, and at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher. No test scores are required to enter an online program.

  5. McNeese State University

    Lake Charles, LA



    In addition to its substantial on-campus offerings, McNeese State University delivers 17 fully online bachelor's and master's programs in fields such as business administration, criminal justice, instructional technology, and psychology. Students may also pursue online graduate certificates in gifted education, school library science, and mental health nursing.

    Students who study at the university's campus in Lake Charles enjoy easy access to more than 2,000 acres of farm property -- a convenient field lab for agriculture and environmental science majors. The campus is also home to a 65-acre athletics complex, an entrepreneurship and economic development center, and more than 100 active student organizations.

    Along with ACT or SAT scores, undergraduate applicants must submit their high school or GED transcripts. During the admissions process, prospective students can also apply for a variety of scholarship awards. For example, the Presidential Scholarship provides up to $4,700 per semester for undergraduates who score higher than 30 on the ACT, while the McNeese Transfer Scholarship offers $1,000 per semester to students who maintained at least a 3.75 GPA at another college or university.

  6. University of Holy Cross

    New Orleans, LA



    Students at the University of Holy Cross benefit from small class sizes, a faith-based atmosphere, and personal attention from the university's faculty and staff. Undergraduate students can pursue degrees in topics such as accounting, food science, history, and theology. Holy Cross also offers graduate programs in management and counseling, along with a diverse selection of fully online degrees and certificates.

    At the university's career center, students can receive feedback on their resume, participate in mock interviews, and explore possible professions through assessments, job shadowing, and internship opportunities. Both online and on-campus students can also take advantage of free tutoring, academic advising, and mental health counseling services.

    To enter a bachelor's program at Holy Cross, you must have a high school diploma or GED. The university provides guaranteed admission to applicants with a high school GPA above 2.5 and an ACT score of 20 or higher. Holy Cross provides limited scholarship funding to students on the basis of academic merit and financial need.

  7. Louisiana State University-Alexandria

    Alexandria, LA



    An institution specifically for undergraduates, Louisiana State University of Alexandria offers bachelor's programs in fields such as cardiovascular technology, emergency management, international business, and sports broadcasting. An additional 10 programs are available online and in an accelerated format, allowing students to schedule their coursework around the demands of a full-time job or family responsibilities.

    An optional seminar for all incoming freshman introduces students to campus resources, community engagement opportunities, and possible courses of study. Students who participate in the seminar maintain, on average, a higher GPA than their peers and are more likely to earn their degree in just four years. Additional support services for freshman include a student mentor program and enrollment advising.

    To earn admission to LSUA, you must have a high school diploma or equivalency with a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Applicants who score lower than 19 on the ACT or 1030 on the SAT may also need to take developmental courses prior to formally enrolling in a program.

  8. Centenary College of Louisiana

    Shreveport, LA



    Founded in 1825, Centenary College of Louisiana is the oldest liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River. The college boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, giving students extraordinary access to the expertise and guidance of their professors.

    While Centenary does not currently offer any online programs, on-campus students can major in subjects such as biochemistry, economics, geology, and music. Undergraduate students can also construct their own major by working with a faculty advisor to develop a unique course of study and a capstone project proposal that integrates their coursework.

    Additionally, the college's Trek program provides a range of experiential learning opportunities. For example, students may participate in internships, design their own research project, compete in entrepreneurship and innovation competitions, or volunteer in their community.

    Admission to an undergraduate program requires a high school diploma or GED, ACT or SAT scores, and an essay. The college also strongly recommends that applicants submit a letter of recommendation and schedule an interview with an admissions counselor.

  9. University of Louisiana at Monroe

    Monroe, LA



    Each year more than 9,000 students at the University of Louisiana Monroe pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in disciplines such as education, financial management, allied health, and the visual and performing arts. Graduates join a network of roughly 65,000 alumni working in northern Louisiana and around the world.

    The university hosts 35 fully online programs in areas such as criminal justice, risk management and insurance, and medical laboratory science. Online classes are available in four-, eight-, and 16-week formats, and distance learners do not pay any out-of-state fee, no matter where they live.

    Whether you choose to study online or in person, you must have a high school diploma or GED to apply to an undergraduate program. Prospective students must also submit results from either the ACT or SAT. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor's degree and submit scores from either the GRE or GMAT. ULM welcomes transfer students from all community colleges in the state, though they must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in their prior coursework to receive transfer credit.

  10. Loyola University New Orleans

    New Orleans, LA



    As a Jesuit university, Loyola University New Orleans combines the strength of a liberal arts curriculum with the hands-on learning of community service. The Loyola Core, a set of common classes and experiences incorporated into all undergraduate programs at the university, helps students develop critical thinking, communication, information literacy, and ethical reasoning skills.

    Loyola offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer information systems, digital filmmaking, music education, and physics. Online students can also seek an associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in fields such as business, criminal justice, ministry and theology, and nursing.

    The university strongly encourages both online and in-person students to participate in a service learning opportunity. For example, through Loyola's Hunger Relief program, students serve food with dignity to homeless residents of New Orleans, while the university's collaboration with the Best Buddies program gives students the chance to work with and learn from individuals with Down's Syndrome.

    Undergraduate admission to Loyola requires a high school diploma or GED. Most applicants must also submit ACT or SAT scores, though Loyola waives this requirement for prospective online students aged 22 or older.

Click here to see the best community colleges in Louisiana.