Though small in land area and population, Connecticut ranks as one of the most educated states in the country, with a large percentage of its residents possessing college degrees. Home to some of the country's top colleges, Connecticut offers many options for students seeking higher education, from prestigious private schools to career-focused public colleges and universities. Regardless of your professional and academic goals, this list can help you learn more about many of the top institutions in the state.
While this ranking represents some of the best colleges in Connecticut, you should use the information as the beginning of your research -- not the endpoint. The list below provides important facts about each school, including location, size, and academic offerings. You'll also find select details on what distinguishes each school, such as special programs, support services, and/or online enrollment options.
Best Colleges in Connecticut
|1||Yale University||New Haven, CT|
|2||Wesleyan University||Middletown, CT|
|3||University of Connecticut||Storrs, CT|
|4||Connecticut College||New London, CT|
|5||Trinity College||Hartford, CT|
|6||University of Connecticut-Stamford||Stamford, CT|
|7||Fairfield University||Fairfield, CT|
|8||University of Connecticut-Waterbury||Waterbury, CT|
|9||University of Connecticut-Avery Point||Groton, CT|
|10||Charter Oak State College||New Britain, CT|
The state's unemployment rate (3.6% as of October 2019) hovers around the national average, so finding a job shouldn't be particularly difficult. The cost of living in Connecticut, however, ranks above the national average. By earning a college degree, you can help mitigate these high costs by qualifying for higher-paying careers, boosting your odds for professional success. Connecticut is known as the country's insurance industry capital, but the state also boasts thriving industries in biosciences, manufacturing, and digital media.
Ranking Accredited Colleges in Connecticut
|New Haven, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 97%||
An Ivy League school based in New Haven, Yale University is one of the oldest schools in the country and one of the most renowned higher education institutions in the world. Established in 1701, the college educates more than 13,000 students pursuing degrees at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels. Yale has one of the world's highest university endowments, and students take can advantage of top academic programs, an iconic campus, and one of the country's largest college libraries.
Yale's undergraduate curriculum follows a liberal arts model, and students can select from dozens of academic majors, such as archaeological studies, environmental engineering, film and media studies, and neuroscience. At the graduate level, Yale offers some of the country's top programs in fields including law, business, nursing, medicine, and engineering.
|Middletown, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 90%||
One of the country's top liberal arts colleges, Wesleyan University serves approximately 3,200 students from its campus in Middletown. As a baccalaureate college, Wesleyan focuses on undergraduate education in the arts and sciences, though the school does host a selection of master's and doctoral programs. The college ranks among the most selective in the country and boasts many successful alumni, including Pulitzer Prize winners, Rhodes scholars, and MacArthur fellows.
Students at Wesleyan can select from a variety of liberal arts majors and minors, including American studies, earth and environmental sciences, gender and sexuality studies, philosophy, and theater. The school's graduate programs primarily focus on math and sciences, including options in chemistry, biology, astronomy, and computer science. Wesleyan also offers a graduate-level liberal studies program with concentration options that include history, writing, and fine arts.
University of Connecticut
|Storrs, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
Based in Storrs -- about 30 miles outside of Hartford -- the University of Connecticut ranks as the largest college in the state, enrolling more than 32,000 students annually through campus-based and online courses. As the state's flagship public university, UConn offers more than 110 majors in its 14 schools and colleges, with degrees available at all academic levels. The school hosts many top-ranked professional and academic programs, including education, primary care medicine, pharmacy, social work, and speech-language pathology.
As a major public research university, UConn offers substantial opportunities for undergraduates to participate in faculty research. The school's Office of Undergraduate Research connects students to mentorships, research seminars, workshops, funding opportunities, and other resources for independent and collaborative research.
In 2018, UConn received over $250 million in support for research, training, and public service and provided nearly $200 million in scholarships and grants to its students.
|New London, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 85%||
A small liberal arts college founded in 1911, Connecticut College provides undergraduate instruction to approximately 1,800 students annually. The school's small size allows for a highly individualized student experience; Conn boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1 and an average class size of just 18 learners. Students can choose from majors in over 50 areas of study, including anthropology, art history, film studies, and Hispanic studies.
Conn emphasizes a global approach to education, with more than half of all students participating in study abroad experiences. During their junior or senior year, students have the opportunity to examine a community issue in a foreign country, completing a college-funded internship as part of their experience. Candidates who choose not to study abroad complete a funded internship in the U.S., either in New London or another location.
A selective institution, Conn admits only 10% of all applicants. Ninety-two percent of incoming first-year students ranked in the top 20% of their high school graduating class.
|Hartford, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 81%||
Among the top liberal arts colleges in the country, Trinity College serves about 2,300 students on its campus in Hartford. The school focuses on undergraduate studies and offers more than 40 majors, including art history, engineering, Jewish studies, public policy and law, and studio arts. A student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1 helps learners receive personalized instruction and provides opportunities for engagement with classmates.
Trinity also hosts a small selection of master's programs, including tracks in American studies, English, and public policy. The school also oversees accelerated, five-year bachelor's/master's programs in neuroscience and history.
Trinity offers many educational experiences for students, including its first-year Gateway Programs. Available to qualified students, these one- or two-year programs provide specialized instruction in certain fields. For example, the InterArts Program brings together art students of various disciplines for collaboration and discussion, while the Community Action program focuses on social justice and community organizing.
University of Connecticut-Stamford
|Stamford, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Founded in 1952 as an extension center for the main University of Connecticut campus at Storrs, the University of Connecticut - Stamford now enrolls more than 2,000 students annually. The school primarily serves undergraduate learners, offering majors in fields like business, computer science, digital media and design, human development and family studies, and political science. UConn Stamford also awards a selection of graduate business degrees, including an MBA, an MS in financial risk management, and an MS in business analytics and project management.
Though UConn Stamford's campus is small, the school offers several academic and counseling resources to help students navigate college life and increase retention rates. For example, the Center for Academic Programs assists first-generation college students and those from underrepresented populations through degree planning and career counseling. Additionally, the Source for Active Learning offers tutoring in subjects including writing, math, science, ESL, and even financial literacy, with campus-based and online assistance available.
|Fairfield, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 81%||
A private Jesuit college, Fairfield University provides higher education to more than 5,000 students through bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Fairfield is home to five schools and colleges, including business, arts and sciences, nursing and health studies, education and allied professions, and engineering. Students can choose from more than 60 undergraduate majors and minors and more than 40 graduate programs. The school also offers three online/hybrid graduate degrees: creative writing, education technology, and social work.
Fairfield emphasizes the value of experiential learning, and most undergraduates participate in internships, service learning, or similar activities and projects. The school's Career Planning office assists students at all levels with placement opportunities; Fairfield students have interned with major organizations such as Disney, NBC, Yale New Haven Health, Ralph Lauren, and the NFL.
For professionals wishing to gain new skills or fulfill continuing education requirements, the Executive and Professional Education Center offers noncredit certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
University of Connecticut-Waterbury
|Waterbury, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
A regional campus of the UConn system, the University of Connecticut - Waterbury provides bachelor's, master's, and transfer degree programs to a population of approximately 850 students. The school primarily serves undergraduates through bachelor's programs in subjects like American studies, business data analytics, English, human development and sciences, and urban and community studies. UConn Waterbury also offers two graduate degrees: a master of business administration and a master of engineering.
UConn Waterbury's transfer programs allow students to complete the first half of their undergraduate studies (typically 54 credits) locally before transferring to UConn's main campus to finish their remaining coursework. Candidates can select from nearly all of UConn's 100-plus undergraduate majors. However, some degrees -- such as maritime science and digital marketing -- require additional studies on other campuses.
The school also maintains a secondary-level teacher certification program and a nursing program for professionals with a non-nursing bachelor's who wish to enter the field and qualify to take the National Council Licensure Examination.
University of Connecticut-Avery Point
|Groton, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Located in Groton and surrounded on three sides by the Connecticut coast, the University of Connecticut - Avery Point is a small school with an enrollment of approximately 500 students. Like its regional counterparts, UConn Avery Point primarily serves as a transfer institution, enabling undergraduates to complete the first half of a bachelor's degree locally before transferring to the main UConn campus in Storrs.
The college's coastal location offers unique opportunities for study and research, and the school features notable undergraduate programs in maritime sciences and maritime studies, as well as a graduate program in oceanography. These three programs benefit from several campus facilities, including the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaption and the Mystic Aquarium Research Labs.
UConn Avery Point also offers bachelor's programs in American studies, English, and general studies, as well as graduate tracks in engineering, nursing, and teaching.
Charter Oak State College
|New Britain, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 68%||
A public and primarily online school based in New Britain, Charter Oak State College serves around 2,300 students each year through classroom-based and distance learning programs at the certificate, associate, bachelor's, and master's levels.
The school caters mainly to working students, offering fully online and degree completion programs in areas such as business administration, cybersecurity, healthcare information management, and public safety administration. Charter Oak also hosts two graduate programs in healthcare administration and organizational leadership.
With a focus on working students, Charter Oak offers several alternative pathways to earn academic credit. For example, learners with professional experience relevant to their field of study can receive academic credit based on their work history. They can also submit portfolios detailing their experience and training, complete exams testing their knowledge, and receive credit for recognized professional certifications.
Sacred Heart University
|Fairfield, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
Located in Fairfield, Sacred Heart University ranks as one of the largest Catholic colleges in the Northeast, enrolling more than 8,500 students annually. Offering programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, SHU is home to eight schools and colleges. The university offers dozens of degrees in areas including arts and sciences, media, education, and engineering. Some of SHU's less traditional academic programs include actuarial science, fashion marketing, forensic accounting, and game design and development.
Along with classroom-based curricula, SHU offers an assortment of online degrees, accelerated degree completion options, and continuing education programs, creating increased flexibility for students of all backgrounds. Distance learners can pursue master's degrees in nursing, healthcare informatics, and social work.
SHU also hosts many accelerated bachelor's/master's programs in fields such as broadcast journalism, chemistry, and accounting. Full-time students typically complete the requirements for both degrees in 5-6 years.
Southern Connecticut State University
|New Haven, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Originally a training school for teachers -- with roots going back to 1873 -- Southern Connecticut State University currently boasts an enrollment of approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to five schools and colleges, SCSU offers degrees in a variety of disciplines, such as earth sciences, healthcare studies, marriage and family therapy, political science, and women's studies. The university also hosts several accelerated bachelor's/master's programs in subjects including athletic training and computer science.
As a top state school, SCSU offers many experiential learning opportunities, including study abroad programs and internships. The school maintains more than 30 international partnerships with universities and global education programs, enabling students to travel to countries including Brazil, France, China, Iceland, and Peru. Closer to home, students can participate in internships, fieldwork, and service-learning activities that correspond to their academic and professional interests.
|Hamden, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 75%||
A private school with an enrollment of over 10,000 students, Quinnipiac University offers degree programs online, on two campuses in Hamden, and on a campus in North Haven. Undergraduates can choose from an extensive selection of majors and minors, including uncommon options like biomedical marketing, behavioral neuroscience, dispute resolution, history and philosophy of science, and global public health.
Quinnipiac's online programs include multiple offerings at the graduate level. Students can select from options such as public relations, instructional design, nursing operational leadership, and business analytics. Most degree plans use a primarily asynchronous format, enabling students to complete work at their convenience. Quinnipiac offers comprehensive support services for online students, including academic advising, tutoring, and financial aid assistance.
The North Haven campus is also home to Quinnipiac's School of Medicine and School of Law.
Central Connecticut State University
|New Britain, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Established in 1949, Central Connecticut State University is the oldest public university in the state. Today, the school serves more than 11,000 students, awarding certificates and bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in many fields. Undergraduates can select from dozens of majors and minors, including civil engineering, dance education, graphic technology, and media studies. CCSU also hosts an extensive education program and offers teacher certification pathways in many primary and secondary subjects.
The university maintains an active study abroad program that enables participants to spend anywhere from a few weeks to an entire academic year studying in a foreign country. Programs often focus on an issue specific to a country or region. For example, students can explore the impact of volcanoes on the geography and climate in Portugal or the economic and political roots of the Brexit movement in London. Semester- and year-long programs take place at partner colleges in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.
Eastern Connecticut State University
|Willimantic, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
A public liberal arts college founded in 1889, Eastern Connecticut State University ranks among the oldest public higher education institutions in the state. The school serves approximately 5,400 students from its main campus in Willimantic -- located about 40 miles east of Hartford -- as well as at a satellite campus in Groton.
ECSU offers bachelor's programs in fields including art and art history, environmental earth science, and kinesiology/physical education. Students can also pursue graduate degrees in accounting, education, and organizational management.
ECSU recognizes the value of strong writing skills, regardless of a learner's academic concentration. The school's core liberal arts curriculum includes a three-stage writing program that is required for all students entering with fewer than 75 credits. ECSU's writing center also supports student writing through drop-in and scheduled sessions with experienced peer tutors. Online scheduling is also available.
The university also offers opportunity programs to enhance the chances of academic success for first-generation, low-income, undocumented, and other student populations.
University of Saint Joseph
|West Hartford, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 68%||
A Roman Catholic college based in West Hartford, the University of Saint Joseph serves around 2,500 students through programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school offers more than 25 undergraduate majors, including options such as bioengineering, actuarial science, nutrition and dietetics, prosthetics and orthotics, and sport management and promotion. Students can also choose from several online master's degrees and certificates, including biochemistry, public health, and integrative genomics.
USJ emphasizes the value of writing in all major programs, and the college maintains a comprehensive interdisciplinary writing and reasoning program. Learners develop a portfolio that tracks their writing development and encourages them to reflect on their writing practice.
Students of all levels receive support from the college's Center for Academic Excellence, where individuals can work with peers, graduate assistants, and professional tutors.
Western Connecticut State University
|Danbury, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
A public institution composed of five academic colleges and divisions (i.e., business, arts and science, professional studies, visual and performing arts, graduate studies), Western Connecticut State University serves about 5,400 students through its undergraduate and graduate programs. The school's undergraduate offerings include music, meteorology, professional writing, and anthropology, while graduate options include health administration, addiction studies, and nursing.
WCSU hosts an online master's program in applied behavior analysis, along with many online courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school also offers in-state tuition to undergraduate residents of New York and New Jersey who enroll on a full-time basis.
All students can access extensive academic tutoring services, available through the school's tutoring resource center and writing center.
For current and former members of the military, WCSU's Veterans Affairs Office provides an array of resources and benefits, including tuition waivers and academic credit for military service.
Albertus Magnus College
|New Haven, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
A Roman Catholic liberal arts college based in New Haven, Albertus Magnus College has an enrollment of approximately 1,500 students. The school boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1, allowing learners to benefit from small classes and personalized instruction. Undergraduates can choose from a variety of bachelor's programs in areas including arts and sciences, social sciences, business, and interdisciplinary studies. The school also offers several graduate programs, including writing, art therapy, public administration, and clinical counseling.
For learners who need to balance schoolwork with a job or other obligations, the college offers fully online, hybrid, and accelerated courses. Students can complete many degrees entirely online. For those able to visit campus, the school also offers hybrid flex programs that blend campus and online classes. These accelerated courses meet once per week in the evenings, with remaining coursework delivered online.
University of New Haven
|West Haven, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
A private school based in West Haven and bordering the Long Island Sound, the University of New Haven serves approximately 7,000 students. Focusing on the intersection of liberal arts and professional training, New Haven comprises six academic schools and colleges, with top-rated programs in engineering, forensic science, criminal justice, and marine biology. The school offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs.
New Haven also hosts a selection of fully online programs available to students across the U.S. Distance learners can enroll in an undergraduate program in homeland security and emergency management and graduate programs in criminal justice, emergency management, environmental engineering, investigations, and public administration. Most online courses use a primarily asynchronous format with few required login times, enabling students to complete assignments at their convenience.
University of Bridgeport
|Bridgeport, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Serving more than 5,000 students from its main campus in Bridgeport, the University of Bridgeport is a top private college in Connecticut. The school offers more than 60 degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, with several fully online options that include analytics and systems, computer science, organizational leadership and change, human resource administration, and social sciences.
UB is notable for the diversity of its student population -- a large percentage of its student body is made up of international learners. All pupils benefit from a full suite of resources, including advising, counseling, and career preparation.
The college accepts applications on a rolling basis and allows students to enroll directly in their major. UB's financial aid programs include a variety of merit scholarships for first-time, transfer, and graduate students.