Best Colleges in Missouri

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Updated on July 6, 2023
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of November 2019 Missouri boasted a 3.1% unemployment rate, a figure slightly lower than the national average. As a result, employers offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract the best candidates.

To take advantage of Missouri's booming job market, consider joining one of the state's largest employment sectors, such as healthcare, education, or business and financial occupations. However, these lucrative and fulfilling jobs usually require a college degree. This guide highlights the top 25 colleges and universities in Missouri to help you select the school that best meets your personal and professional goals.

Top 10 Colleges in Missouri

  1. College of the Ozarks - Point Lookout, MO
  2. Truman State University - Kirksville, MO
  3. Washington University in St Louis - Saint Louis, MO
  4. Missouri University of Science and Technology - Rolla, MO
  5. University of Missouri - Columbia, MO
  6. Saint Louis University - Saint Louis, MO
  7. Lindenwood University - Saint Charles, MO
  8. Webster University - Saint Louis, MO
  9. Missouri State University - Springfield, MO
  10. University of Missouri - Kansas City, MO

The following ranking outlines essential information on school elements such as academic majors, honors colleges, online learning opportunities, and application requirements. We also provide links to each school's homepage, where you can learn more information and locate contact information if you have more questions.

Additionally, reviewing these excellent colleges and universities can teach you what to look for in a school.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Accredited Colleges in Missouri

Best Colleges in Missouri

  1. College of the Ozarks

    Point Lookout, MO



    The top Missouri college on this ranking, College of the Ozarks is a private Christian school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The college's 1,500 undergraduates can select from 28 majors and 40 minors.

    Degree-seekers preparing for careers in medicine or law can complete an interdisciplinary preprofessional program. The college also features a rigorous teacher preparation program that qualifies graduates for teaching licensure.

    All degree programs at C of O emphasize vocational, Christian, cultural, and patriotic education. Students benefit from many opportunities to reaffirm their faith, such as mission trips, campus ministries, and on-campus worship services. Additionally, on-campus political organizations help learners engage with the political process.

    Unlike other schools on this list, C of O considers each applicant's financial need when making admissions determinations. The college does not accept GED scores, and applicants must possess a minimum 3.0 high school GPA. Incoming degree-seekers who live in the Ozarks region enjoy additional financial aid opportunities.

  2. Truman State University

    Kirksville, MO



    Missouri's premier public university, Truman State University delivers 50 undergraduate degrees and eight graduate programs. Undergraduate majors include biochemistry and molecular biology, classics, and creative writing.

    Regardless of their major, all students complete a core curriculum in liberal studies that emphasizes modes of inquiry and lifelong learning skills. The university also offers one online program -- a graduate certificate in data science.

    Eight departments comprise Truman's academic support services. Learners can turn to the Center for Academic Excellence to receive tutoring resources and attend workshops about time management and study skills. Additionally, the Foreign Language Learning Center features computer labs where students can practice listening to and speaking foreign languages.

    Applicants must have a high school diploma and complete specific high school course prerequisites. Other application materials include a resume and an essay of 1-3 pages. Separate application requirements apply to prospective graduate students.

    Incoming undergraduates with an excellent high school GPA and standardized test scores can receive up to $8,000 per year in automatic scholarships.

  3. Washington University in St Louis

    Saint Louis, MO



    A research university based in St. Louis, Washington University features additional campuses throughout the area. The university's 11 schools and colleges provide over 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students with more than 90 degree options. The online University College offers seven degrees and certificates, including an AA degree that prepares graduates for transfer to a four-year college or university.

    In Washington University's Faculty Fellows Program, some professors live in a residence hall, allowing them to provide vital mentoring services to undergraduates. The university also offers other valuable student services, such as a career center that works with degree-seekers to explore career options and practice interviewing skills.

    Prospective undergraduates submit high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, recommendations, and at least one essay. All incoming students provide FAFSA results, and those with demonstrated financial need receive aid automatically. Washington University also proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program to provide veterans and active-duty military students with additional financial aid opportunities.

  4. Missouri University of Science and Technology

    Rolla, MO



    Programs at Missouri University of Science & Technology prepare the next generation of engineers, mathematicians, and scientists. However, the university also offers traditional liberal arts majors in fields like philosophy, psychology, and history.

    Additionally, students at Missouri S&T can pursue three on-campus undergraduate certificate programs in explosives engineering, explosives technology, and technical writing.

    Online education brings Missouri S&T's master's degrees and certificates to learners throughout the world. Degree-seekers learn asynchronously and can earn a degree online in 2-3 years. Prospective online students can attend a monthly online webinar to learn more. The university also accepts online doctoral students on a limited basis.

    Missouri S&T accepts the Common Application. Prospective students must have a high school diploma and submit ACT or SAT scores.

    Degree-seekers interested in university-funded financial aid opportunities should submit FAFSA results by the February 1 deadline. The university considers prospective students' high school GPAs and standardized test scores when making merit-based scholarship decisions.

  5. University of Missouri-Columbia

    Columbia, MO



    The University of Missouri - Columbia offers 97 undergraduate majors to a diverse student body. Majors such as business administration, chemical engineering, and clinical and diagnostic sciences feature extensive options for specialization.

    The university also delivers more than a dozen online master's programs -- including public affairs and social work -- in addition to a robust selection of continuing education opportunities.

    Students at Mizzou can choose from more than 1,000 online courses each year. Many online courses feature semester and self-paced options; self-paced courses give learners up to six months to complete assignments.

    Mizzou does not accept GED diplomas alone. However, transfer students with a GED diploma and adequate transfer credit can apply. Generally, freshmen applicants must also meet high school course prerequisites.

    Incoming learners with excellent standardized test scores may qualify for up to $6,500 per year in automatic scholarships.

  6. Saint Louis University

    Saint Louis, MO



    A private Jesuit institution established in 1818, St. Louis University offers more than 100 undergraduate and 80 graduate programs to 13,000 students. Undergraduate programs at SLU include law and health degrees that prepare degree-seekers for graduate school. The school also offers delivers study abroad programs in more than a dozen countries.

    The Honors Program at SLU includes exclusive seminar and capstone courses, as well as coursework in ethics, theology, and philosophy. Additionally, all Honors Program learners qualify for fellowships and scholarships not open to other SLU students.

    Prospective undergraduates should have either a high school diploma or GED scores. SLU charges the same tuition rate to all students regardless of residency.

    Automatic merit-based scholarships award up to $23,000 per year, and incoming degree-seekers may qualify for other competitive merit scholarships.

  7. Lindenwood University

    Saint Charles, MO



    With 121 majors available through 10 schools, Lindenwood University prepares graduates for careers as educators, scientists, and business leaders. The university features numerous undergraduate programs in fields such as international relations, paramedicine, and entrepreneurial studies. Degree-seekers can also complete one of 12 pre-professional programs in areas such as nursing and physical therapy.

    Student life plays a significant role in enhancing learners' educational experience. More than 80 student organizations and 2,000 on-campus events each year provide opportunities for learners to network and prepare for academic and career success. Both degree-seekers and alumni can visit the Career Services Office to connect with local employers and discover internship opportunities in the Saint Charles area.

    Lindenwood holds transfer agreements with community colleges throughout the state. Full-time students pay a flat per-semester tuition rate, saving them money compared to part-time degree-seekers. Each scholarship opportunity at this Missouri university requires a separate application.

  8. Webster University

    Saint Louis, MO



    Founded in 1915, Webster University was the first Catholic women's college west of the Mississippi. Today the fully coeducational institution features dozens of campuses throughout North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia in addition to offering programs online.

    The university delivers traditional undergraduate and graduate degrees and dozens of certificate programs. Online students can earn a degree in one of six areas, including healthcare, education, and technology.

    Webster delivers extensive on-campus student services, such as a Behavioral Intervention Team that promotes a safe learning environment for each student. The university's mental health and drug education programs also aid students' mental wellness and academic success. Webster additionally offers a food pantry to ensure that no learner goes hungry.

    Prospective undergraduates should have a high school diploma. Webster awards credit for prior college experience and satisfactory AP exam results.

    Incoming freshmen may qualify for up to $18,000 per year in merit-based scholarships. Scholarships do not stack but renew automatically as long as recipients maintain a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA.

  9. Missouri State University-Springfield

    Springfield, MO



    One of the top choices for Missouri high school graduates, Missouri State University - Springfield provides 150 undergraduate degrees, 45 graduate programs, and numerous online certificates. Nearly 9 in 10 professors, including those who teach online courses, possess a terminal degree. In 2000, MSU opened an accredited satellite campus in China that educates both Chinese students and MSU degree-seekers studying abroad.

    Greek life plays a significant role at MSU. The campus hosts 20 fraternities and eight sororities.

    The university also features more than 300 student organizations that have events throughout the year. Additionally, learners can turn to the Center for Learning and Writing to receive one-on-one academic assistance.

    MSU accepts GED and HiSET scores, and all undergraduate applicants submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students who earned an associate degree from a Missouri community college receive 42 transfer credits automatically.

    MSU awards up to $6,500 per year in merit-based scholarships to incoming freshmen.

  10. University of Missouri-Kansas City

    Kansas City, MO



    With nearly 16,000 students, the University of Missouri - Kansas City awards undergraduate and graduate degrees across 12 academic divisions. The school also offers a six-year BA/MD program for aspiring physicians. Learners at the university's Volker campus benefit from numerous housing options that include traditional dormitories and apartments.

    Like many colleges and universities on this ranking, UMKC hosts an Honors College. Degree-seekers in honors courses enjoy small class sizes, exclusive scholarship opportunities, and an honors internship. In their final year, these learners undertake a senior honors thesis wherein they work closely with a faculty advisor to select a topic, perform in-depth research, and write a paper.

    UMKC uses GPA and test score cutoffs but accepts learners with minimum GED scores. Some applicants who do not meet all application requirements may still receive conditional admission.

    The university offers many automatic and competitive scholarships to reduce students' financial burden. UMKC also helps degree-seekers explore outside scholarship and grant opportunities.

Click here to see the best community colleges in Missouri.