Best Colleges in Maryland

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Updated on July 6, 2023
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Maryland has the third-highest college attainment rate in the United States, with 40% of adults holding a bachelor's degree. Those who enter this educated workforce can find lucrative opportunities: In 2019, Maryland's median household income was $82,910, significantly higher than the national median income of $68,700. The state also had the nation's second-lowest poverty rate in 2019.

Maryland's top industries include innovative STEM fields like biohealth sciences, aerospace engineering, cybersecurity, and sustainable energy. Cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. offer ample options for students and graduates pursuing internships, networking opportunities, and employment.

With an educated population, prosperous industries, and a variety of accredited colleges and universities, Maryland is a great choice for prospective students. Browse our list of the best colleges in Maryland to find the best fit for your academic and professional goals.

Top 10 Colleges in Maryland

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#1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
#2 University of Maryland-College Park College Park, MD
#3 University of Maryland-Baltimore County Baltimore, MD
#4 Towson University Towson, MD
#5 Salisbury University Salisbury, MD
#6 Washington College Chestertown, MD
#7 St Mary's College of Maryland St. Mary's City, MD
#8 Bowie State University Bowie, MD
#9 Loyola University Maryland Baltimore, MD
#10 Frostburg State University Frostburg, MD

How We Rank Schools

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At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Best Accredited Colleges in Maryland

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Best Colleges in Maryland

  1. Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore, MD



    Established in 1876, John Hopkins University is considered the first research university established in the United States. The institution features a flagship campus in Baltimore and satellite locations in the District of Columbia, Singapore, Italy, and China. John Hopkins oversees a competitive admissions process that requires undergraduate candidates to submit an official application, school reports, two teacher evaluations, and ACT/SAT scores. Prospective graduate students must usually possess a minimum 3.0 GPA. The university also provides generous financial aid, awarding over $100 million in scholarships and grants in 2018.

    Johns Hopkins offers bachelor's programs in topics such as space science and engineering, marketing and communication, and Africana studies. Students may pursue an entrepreneurship and management degree, focusing their studies on areas like business law and organizational behavior. Graduate offerings include master's degrees in applied physics, international public policy, and real estate and infrastructure. Candidates can also pursue a dual-degree track in nursing.

  2. University of Maryland-College Park

    College Park, MD



    The University of Maryland, College Park serves more than 41,000 students, making it the largest higher education institution in the state. The school offers 92 undergraduate majors, 107 master's degrees, and 83 doctoral programs. First-year applicants need to demonstrate a A-/B+ grade average in a rigorous high school curriculum that includes IB/AP classes and at least two years of a foreign language. Graduate criteria differ by program, but typically consist of relevant professional experiences reflected through resume items and three recommendation letters.

    UMD provides undergraduate majors like behavioral and community health, human development, supply chain management, and environmental science. Bachelor's candidates may design their own major through the school's individual studies program. Graduate degrees cover fields like applied economics, veterinary medicine, and industrial/organizational psychology. The university also delivers a master of innovative technology entrepreneurship program that prepares students to launch and grow IT ventures. UMD delivers online learning through Canvas.

  3. University of Maryland-Baltimore County

    Baltimore, MD



    The University of Maryland, Baltimore County was founded in 1966 and was the first public higher education institution in the state to welcome students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Learners can choose from 48 undergraduate and 60 graduate programs. Bachelor's degree options include sociology, information systems, computer game development, and modern languages and linguistics. UMBC also offers an emergency health services program that comes with a concentration in paramedic duties or management.

    Graduate students can choose from master's programs in atmospheric physics, biotechnology, intercultural communication, and economic policy analysis. Candidates can also pursue an aging services management degree, which prepares them to lead nursing homes and hospice care organizations. UMBC also delivers research-oriented doctoral credentials in fields like applied mathematics, geography and environmental systems, and computer science.

    Application materials for first-year students include the Common Application, official school transcripts, two recommendation letters, and ACT/SAT scores. The average incoming student possesses a 3.86 GPA. Graduate applicants need at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA.

  4. Towson University

    Towson, MD



    As the largest higher education institution in the Baltimore area, Towson University serves about 23,000 students each year. The school operates 64 undergraduate, 46 master's, and four doctoral programs.

    First-year candidates undergo a holistic evaluation process that factors a student's weighted GPA, academic rigor, and school profile. Application materials include ACT/SAT scores and a 300-to-800-word essay. Graduate applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA. TU bases its tuition prices on residency status. The university offers a variety of financial aid, which includes need-based grants and merit scholarships for incoming undergraduate students.

    Bachelor's candidates can pursue programs in women's and gender studies, business systems and processes, and environmental science. Additional undergraduate programs include a business administration program that features concentrations in legal studies, marketing, finance, and project management. TU enables students to augment their major studies by pursuing a complementary minor. Graduate offerings include master's degrees in global humanities and actuarial science/predictive analysis. The university also delivers a doctoral program in instructional technology that students may complete entirely online.

  5. Salisbury University

    Salisbury, MD



    Salisbury University provides 42 undergraduate and 14 graduate programs to about 8,600 students. Like other institutions within the University System of Maryland, SU operates a holistic evaluation process that considers a candidate's academic strengths and extracurricular accomplishments. First-year applicants with a GPA below 3.5 must submit ACT/SAT scores. Students can enroll on a transfer basis if they possess at least 24 credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. The university offers a plethora of financial awards, like the Geary Scholarship for communication majors.

    SU delivers bachelor's programs in accounting, political science, international business, and conflict analysis and dispute resolution. Undergraduate students can also pursue an information systems major to prepare for careers working at government defense bureaus and management consulting firms. The majority of SU's graduate programming focuses on education, including master's programs in reading specialist education and mathematics education. Students can also earn a master's degree in teaching, which provides an alternative track to initial teacher certification.

  6. Washington College

    Chestertown, MD



    Based in Chestertown, Washington College was chartered in 1782; it is one of the 10 oldest higher education institutions in the United States. Approximately 1,500 students attend the school, taking advantage of relatively affordable tuition prices and generous financial support. WC offers academic tuition scholarships for international candidates and high-performing, full-time students. The college also facilitates departmental awards for English and history majors. Application materials for first-time students include official transcripts, a counselor recommendation, a personal essay, and ACT or SAT scores.

    The school's academic catalog contains bachelor's programs in human development, world languages and cultures, engineering, and psychology. WC also offers a business management degree that students may augment with minors in marketing, finance, and data analytics. In addition to two pre-professional tracks for law and medicine, the college delivers teacher certification programs in elementary and secondary education. Learners can also design their own major with faculty guidance. Additionally, WC offers a variety of study abroad and undergraduate research opportunities.

  7. St Mary's College of Maryland

    St. Mary's City, MD



    St. Mary's College of Maryland was founded in 1840 and is one of two public honors colleges in the United States. The school supports about 1,600 students and operates 38 academic programs.

    First-year candidates must submit official school transcripts, two teacher recommendations, and ACT/SAT scores. Although optional, the admissions office strongly recommends that applicants complete personal interviews. St. Mary's charges tuition based on residency status, and the college offers a variety of financial aid opportunities. Graduates of St. Mary's possess the lowest average debt among all Maryland public four-year institutions.

    Degree-seekers can choose undergraduate majors such as public policy studies, computer science, anthropology, and mathematics. They can also personalize their curricula through complementary minors. For example, history students can focus a portion of their coursework on museum studies to prepare for careers as curators and archivists. Additionally, St. Mary's allows candidates to craft their own interdisciplinary major with the approval of two faculty members. The college prioritizes undergraduate research by providing grant funding and facilitating departmental projects.

  8. Bowie State University

    Bowie, MD



    Founded in 1865 as the first historically black university in Maryland, Bowie State University currently supports around 6,200 students. The institution delivers over 55 academic programs, including bachelor's tracks in sports management, fine arts, nursing, and computer technology. Candidates can enroll in a bioinformatics program to prepare for careers as portal engineers and clinical scientists. The university also awards a comprehensive bachelor of business administration; students can concentrate on subfields like economics, banking and finance, and entrepreneurship and small business management.

    At the graduate level, BSU provides master's programs in counseling psychology and management information systems. Professional nurses can earn a master of science in nursing to access advanced practice roles. Graduate candidates may also obtain doctoral credentials in computer science and educational leadership.

    First-year candidates need to submit ACT or SAT scores. To enroll as a transfer student, applicants need at least 24 college credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prospective graduate students must display an undergraduate GPA of at least a 2.5.

  9. Loyola University Maryland

    Baltimore, MD



    Loyola University Maryland is based in Baltimore and features a student body of over 6,400 learners. The institution offers comprehensive academic programming grounded in the liberal arts, preparing graduates for professional service and leadership. Undergraduate majors include visual arts, global studies, data sciences, and applied mathematics. Students can also pursue a bachelor's degree in communication, which offers concentrations in digital media, journalism, and advertising/public relations.

    Loyola delivers a dual-degree teaching program that enables candidates to earn their bachelor's and master's in five years -- as well as initial state certification. Students who want to enroll in conventional graduate programs can choose from options like modern studies, spiritual and pastoral care, and speech-language pathology. The university also facilitates online master of education programs that follow a cohort learning format.

    First-year applicants submit the Common Application, two recommendations, official high school transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer candidates need a minimum 2.7 GPA. In addition to affordable tuition and financial aid resources, Loyola offers international exchange opportunities and dedicated career guidance.

  10. Frostburg State University

    Frostburg, MD



    Frostburg State University provides over 60 career-relevant programs to support the economic development of local communities. The school's 6,400 students benefit from athletics clubs, honor societies, and leadership training programs. FSU provides affordable tuition prices based on residence, though candidates can reduce the cost of their higher education by applying for financial aid. Learners can apply for many institutional scholarships, such as the Cobey/Lane/Footen Award for outstanding student leaders.

    FSU offers 47 undergraduate majors in fields like secure computing and information assurance, exercise and sport science, and environmental analysis and planning. Learners can augment their degree plans by pursuing a complementary minor. For example, students enrolled in the parks and recreation management program can focus their degree on sustainability studies, preparing for careers in ecotourism and conservation science.

    Graduate students can pursue master's degrees in fields such as applied computer science, school counseling, and athletic training. FSU also offers an online MBA track accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Additionally, the university operates a doctor of educational leadership program that prepares graduates to work as school supervisors and policy specialists.

Top Degree Programs in Maryland