Best Colleges in Nevada

Search Colleges

Online or Campus

Students electing to complete their postsecondary educations in Nevada have a number of two- and four- year degree options available to them, ranging from eight public schools overseen by the Nevada System of Higher Education to the four private institutions. There is also a selection of for-profit institutions operating throughout the state. Though a younger state, Nevada has numerous historical institutions within its borders, including the University of Nevada in Reno that was founded in 1874. Fortunately, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Nevada, including the top four-year and two-year schools.

Prospective baccalaureate students in Nevada have options running the gamut when it comes to completing their bachelor’s degree. Those seeking a large public institution may choose to enroll at the University of Nevada at Reno and join the nearly 38,000 other students that call the school home, while students seeking a truly intimate experience may elect to join the 800 students attending Sierra Nevada College. More than 50,000 students are currently pursuing four-year degrees at the state’s public institutions, in addition to a further 3,000 enrolled at private colleges and universities.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Location Description
1University of Nevada – Las Vegas 2/5N/ALas Vegas, NV

Emerging as a top public research institution in the country, UNLV has a diverse body of more than 23,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students, and the school boasts a large number of National Merit Scholars. About 87% of those who apply are accepted for admission.

UNLV is well known among Nevada colleges for its School of Dental Medicine, Boyd School of Law, and online master’s degree program in nursing, which U.S. News & World Report ranked sixth in the nation. The Lee Business School also provides nine undergraduate programs for students. In terms of athletics, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels fields teams in 17 different men’s and women’s sports.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile
2University of Nevada – Reno 2/5N/AReno, NV

Recognized as a U.S. News & World Report National Tier 1 University, the University of Nevada Reno provides students with hands-on research, knowledgeable faculty and a classic college experience. It also offers tuition rates that are as much as 80% less than the average Tier 1 school.

The university has taken steps to reduce its footprint in recent years, and 1% of its food services revenue goes toward sustainability efforts. It recently invested $36 million into a new Student Achievement Center to provide more comprehensive student services.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile
3Sierra Nevada College 4/5N/AIncline Village, NV

A private liberal arts institution, Sierra Nevada College offers a small-school experience on the beautiful shores of Lake Tahoe. The college guarantees four-year graduation for students, and almost 90% receive grants or scholarships to help fund their postsecondary education. Inside the classroom, the college has a student-to-faculty ratio of 11 to one.

On campus, Sierra Nevada College has the first LEED® Platinum green laboratory ever to be built in the state, and about 25% of undergraduate students entered into a business plan competition during the 2014-2015 school year alone. Overall, students may select from 14 different majors across the areas of business, arts, humanities, and science and technology.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

Of the eight public institutions overseen by the Nevada System of Higher Education, half of them are two-year schools. There are a further eight for-profit technical and trade schools awarding associate degrees and certificates. All told, over 52,000 students are enrolled in public community colleges as of 2013, representing more than half of all postsecondary students in the state. As of the 2014-2015 academic year, resident students studying at one of the NSHE community colleges paid annual tuitions of $2,700, significantly below the national average. A further survey of public two-year institution shows that between 70% and 80% of students are enrolled part-time, using the flexible nature of an associate degree to help them balance their educations with outside commitments.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Location Description
1Truckee Meadows Community College 1/5N/AReno, NV

TMCC in Reno offers associate degrees in 70 majors, covering everything from auto mechanics and welding technology to business administration and natural resources management. The college also has 32 certificate programs for established professionals. Many students go on to attend other Nevada colleges to earn bachelor’s degrees, as TMCC has formal credit transfer arrangements with three state universities.

Focused largely on the needs of working students, TMCC has five locations in Washoe County, along with numerous online courses available. About 75 percent of the 11,000 students attend part time, and there’s a free Veterans Upward Bound program to help military veterans achieve academic success.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile
2Great Basin College 1/5N/AElko, NV

GBC stands out among colleges in Nevada for its goal of “enriching lives in rural Nevada”. The school offers both two-year and four-year degrees across a wide range of majors, and its associate of applied science (AAS) program allows students to earn degrees within the areas of business administration, criminal justice, nursing, computer technology, health services and education. There are also 15 professional certificate programs available for students who would like to advance in their careers as well.

GBC’s main campus is in Elko, and it has four additional campuses in the state. Particularly noteworthy are its 20 satellite centers dotted across Nevada, which make it easier for students in rural communities to attend classes.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile
3Western Nevada College 1/5N/ACarson City, NV

With 36 different associate degree majors and serving more than 5,000 students each year, WNC specializes in customizing its curricula to help meet students’ educational and career goals. The school’s main campus is in Carson City, but it also has locations in the rural communities of Douglas, Fallon, Fernley, Smith, and Yerington. The school offers numerous courses online and via interactive video for the convenience of students who work full-time and have other obligations outside of the classroom.

In addition to academics, WNC hosts men’s baseball and women’s softball teams, which play at John L. Harvey Field and the Edmonds Sports Complex in Carson City.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile
4College of Southern Nevada 1/5N/ALas Vegas, NV

The largest postsecondary institution in the state, the College of Southern Nevada has more than 35,000 undergraduate students. It offers more than 150 degrees and certificates across more than 90 different areas, two dozen of which students are able to complete online. CSN also has formal credit transfer agreements with three state universities.

The college has campuses in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson, along with several satellite locations to allow rural students easier access to its educational resources. About 75 percent of CSN’s students attend part time. The CSN Coyotes, members the Scenic West Athletic Conference, compete in baseball, soccer, softball, and volleyball.

Tweet thisShare thisSchool Profile

If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Nevada, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Silver State.

According to 2014 U.S. Census data, Nevada currently has nearly 2,840,000 residents, of which nearly 20% live in the greater Las Vegas metro area. The state is a fair mix of both rural and urban areas, providing students with a range of settings in which to undertake their educations. The overall cost of living sits at 2% above than the national average, with housing and transportation costs totaling slightly more and utilities running approximately 14% below national numbers. According to Payscale, students in New York would pay approximately 128% more than their Nevadan counterparts. To give students a better sense of the state, we’ve highlighted two different regions below:

Regional Spotlight: Northwest Nevada

  • Major Cities: Reno, Carson City, Virginia City
  • Attractions: Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, Truckee River Whitewater Park, Riverwalk District
  • Cost of Living: Reno
  • Popular Schools: University of Nevada – Reno, Truckee Meadows Community College, Morrison University
  • Population: 300,000+
  • Unemployment: 6.8%
  • Climate: High Desert

Regional Spotlight: Las Vegas Valley

  • Major Cities: Las Vegas, Boulder City, Henderson
  • Attractions: Las Vegas Boulevard, casinos, hotels, shopping
  • Cost of Living: Las Vegas
  • Popular Schools: University of Nevada – Las Vegas, College of Southern Nevada, Le Cordon Bleu
  • Population: 2,036,338
  • Unemployment: 7.3%
  • Climate: High Desert