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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
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.
2020 Best Accredited Colleges in Maryland
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Johns Hopkins University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 93%||
Established in 1876, John Hopkins University is considered the first research university established in the United States. The institution features a flagship campus in Baltimore and satellite locations in the District of Columbia, Singapore, Italy, and China. John Hopkins oversees a competitive admissions process that requires undergraduate candidates to submit an official application, school reports, two teacher evaluations, and ACT/SAT scores. Prospective graduate students must usually possess a minimum 3.0 GPA. The university also provides generous financial aid, awarding over $100 million in scholarships and grants in 2018.
Johns Hopkins offers bachelor's programs in topics such as space science and engineering, marketing and communication, and Africana studies. Students may pursue an entrepreneurship and management degree, focusing their studies on areas like business law and organizational behavior. Graduate offerings include master's degrees in applied physics, international public policy, and real estate and infrastructure. Candidates can also pursue a dual-degree track in nursing.
University of Maryland-College Park
|College Park, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 85%||
The University of Maryland, College Park serves more than 41,000 students, making it the largest higher education institution in the state. The school offers 92 undergraduate majors, 107 master's degrees, and 83 doctoral programs. First-year applicants need to demonstrate a A-/B+ grade average in a rigorous high school curriculum that includes IB/AP classes and at least two years of a foreign language. Graduate criteria differ by program, but typically consist of relevant professional experiences reflected through resume items and three recommendation letters.
UMD provides undergraduate majors like behavioral and community health, human development, supply chain management, and environmental science. Bachelor's candidates may design their own major through the school's individual studies program. Graduate degrees cover fields like applied economics, veterinary medicine, and industrial/organizational psychology. The university also delivers a master of innovative technology entrepreneurship program that prepares students to launch and grow IT ventures. UMD delivers online learning through Canvas.
University of Maryland-Baltimore County
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County was founded in 1966 and was the first public higher education institution in the state to welcome students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Learners can choose from 48 undergraduate and 60 graduate programs. Bachelor's degree options include sociology, information systems, computer game development, and modern languages and linguistics. UMBC also offers an emergency health services program that comes with a concentration in paramedic duties or management.
Graduate students can choose from master's programs in atmospheric physics, biotechnology, intercultural communication, and economic policy analysis. Candidates can also pursue an aging services management degree, which prepares them to lead nursing homes and hospice care organizations. UMBC also delivers research-oriented doctoral credentials in fields like applied mathematics, geography and environmental systems, and computer science.
Application materials for first-year students include the Common Application, official school transcripts, two recommendation letters, and ACT/SAT scores. The average incoming student possesses a 3.86 GPA. Graduate applicants need at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA.
|Towson, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
As the largest higher education institution in the Baltimore area, Towson University serves about 23,000 students each year. The school operates 64 undergraduate, 46 master's, and four doctoral programs.
First-year candidates undergo a holistic evaluation process that factors a student's weighted GPA, academic rigor, and school profile. Application materials include ACT/SAT scores and a 300-to-800-word essay. Graduate applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA. TU bases its tuition prices on residency status. The university offers a variety of financial aid, which includes need-based grants and merit scholarships for incoming undergraduate students.
Bachelor's candidates can pursue programs in women's and gender studies, business systems and processes, and environmental science. Additional undergraduate programs include a business administration program that features concentrations in legal studies, marketing, finance, and project management. TU enables students to augment their major studies by pursuing a complementary minor. Graduate offerings include master's degrees in global humanities and actuarial science/predictive analysis. The university also delivers a doctoral program in instructional technology that students may complete entirely online.
|Salisbury, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
Salisbury University provides 42 undergraduate and 14 graduate programs to about 8,600 students. Like other institutions within the University System of Maryland, SU operates a holistic evaluation process that considers a candidate's academic strengths and extracurricular accomplishments. First-year applicants with a GPA below 3.5 must submit ACT/SAT scores. Students can enroll on a transfer basis if they possess at least 24 credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. The university offers a plethora of financial awards, like the Geary Scholarship for communication majors.
SU delivers bachelor's programs in accounting, political science, international business, and conflict analysis and dispute resolution. Undergraduate students can also pursue an information systems major to prepare for careers working at government defense bureaus and management consulting firms. The majority of SU's graduate programming focuses on education, including master's programs in reading specialist education and mathematics education. Students can also earn a master's degree in teaching, which provides an alternative track to initial teacher certification.
|Chestertown, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 78%||
Based in Chestertown, Washington College was chartered in 1782; it is one of the 10 oldest higher education institutions in the United States. Approximately 1,500 students attend the school, taking advantage of relatively affordable tuition prices and generous financial support. WC offers academic tuition scholarships for international candidates and high-performing, full-time students. The college also facilitates departmental awards for English and history majors. Application materials for first-time students include official transcripts, a counselor recommendation, a personal essay, and ACT or SAT scores.
The school's academic catalog contains bachelor's programs in human development, world languages and cultures, engineering, and psychology. WC also offers a business management degree that students may augment with minors in marketing, finance, and data analytics. In addition to two pre-professional tracks for law and medicine, the college delivers teacher certification programs in elementary and secondary education. Learners can also design their own major with faculty guidance. Additionally, WC offers a variety of study abroad and undergraduate research opportunities.
St Mary's College of Maryland
|St. Mary's City, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 78%||
St. Mary's College of Maryland was founded in 1840 and is one of two public honors colleges in the United States. The school supports about 1,600 students and operates 38 academic programs.
First-year candidates must submit official school transcripts, two teacher recommendations, and ACT/SAT scores. Although optional, the admissions office strongly recommends that applicants complete personal interviews. St. Mary's charges tuition based on residency status, and the college offers a variety of financial aid opportunities. Graduates of St. Mary's possess the lowest average debt among all Maryland public four-year institutions.
Degree-seekers can choose undergraduate majors such as public policy studies, computer science, anthropology, and mathematics. They can also personalize their curricula through complementary minors. For example, history students can focus a portion of their coursework on museum studies to prepare for careers as curators and archivists. Additionally, St. Mary's allows candidates to craft their own interdisciplinary major with the approval of two faculty members. The college prioritizes undergraduate research by providing grant funding and facilitating departmental projects.
Bowie State University
|Bowie, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Founded in 1865 as the first historically black university in Maryland, Bowie State University currently supports around 6,200 students. The institution delivers over 55 academic programs, including bachelor's tracks in sports management, fine arts, nursing, and computer technology. Candidates can enroll in a bioinformatics program to prepare for careers as portal engineers and clinical scientists. The university also awards a comprehensive bachelor of business administration; students can concentrate on subfields like economics, banking and finance, and entrepreneurship and small business management.
At the graduate level, BSU provides master's programs in counseling psychology and management information systems. Professional nurses can earn a master of science in nursing to access advanced practice roles. Graduate candidates may also obtain doctoral credentials in computer science and educational leadership.
First-year candidates need to submit ACT or SAT scores. To enroll as a transfer student, applicants need at least 24 college credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prospective graduate students must display an undergraduate GPA of at least a 2.5.
Loyola University Maryland
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 81%||
Loyola University Maryland is based in Baltimore and features a student body of over 6,400 learners. The institution offers comprehensive academic programming grounded in the liberal arts, preparing graduates for professional service and leadership. Undergraduate majors include visual arts, global studies, data sciences, and applied mathematics. Students can also pursue a bachelor's degree in communication, which offers concentrations in digital media, journalism, and advertising/public relations.
Loyola delivers a dual-degree teaching program that enables candidates to earn their bachelor's and master's in five years -- as well as initial state certification. Students who want to enroll in conventional graduate programs can choose from options like modern studies, spiritual and pastoral care, and speech-language pathology. The university also facilitates online master of education programs that follow a cohort learning format.
First-year applicants submit the Common Application, two recommendations, official high school transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer candidates need a minimum 2.7 GPA. In addition to affordable tuition and financial aid resources, Loyola offers international exchange opportunities and dedicated career guidance.
Frostburg State University
|Frostburg, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Frostburg State University provides over 60 career-relevant programs to support the economic development of local communities. The school's 6,400 students benefit from athletics clubs, honor societies, and leadership training programs. FSU provides affordable tuition prices based on residence, though candidates can reduce the cost of their higher education by applying for financial aid. Learners can apply for many institutional scholarships, such as the Cobey/Lane/Footen Award for outstanding student leaders.
FSU offers 47 undergraduate majors in fields like secure computing and information assurance, exercise and sport science, and environmental analysis and planning. Learners can augment their degree plans by pursuing a complementary minor. For example, students enrolled in the parks and recreation management program can focus their degree on sustainability studies, preparing for careers in ecotourism and conservation science.
Graduate students can pursue master's degrees in fields such as applied computer science, school counseling, and athletic training. FSU also offers an online MBA track accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Additionally, the university operates a doctor of educational leadership program that prepares graduates to work as school supervisors and policy specialists.
Notre Dame of Maryland University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
Notre Dame of Maryland University delivers comprehensive academic programming across three colleges. The school delivers nine fully online degrees and certificates through Moodle, including bachelor's programs in business and nursing (RN-to-BSN). Students can also pursue master's degrees in areas like risk management and contemporary communication.
Learners who prefer campus-based academics can select undergraduate programs in art therapy, entrepreneurship, leadership and management, and criminology. Graduate offerings cover areas like teacher education and hospitality/event management. NDMU also offers a doctor of pharmacy program that explores human elements of patient care and the practical skills necessary to oversee healthcare programs. Additionally, the university facilitates flexible degree completion pathways for working professionals; these learners can take classes in the evening, on weekends, and online.
Prospective first-year students must display a minimum 3.0 GPA to qualify for early admission. NDMU does not require ACT or SAT scores, but candidates may submit these results to bolster their application portfolio. Financial aid includes transfer scholarships and awards for pharmacy technology majors.
|Westminster, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 68%||
Located in Westminster, McDaniel College is a private liberal arts institution that serves about 2,800 students every semester. The school delivers degrees in 70 undergraduate areas of study and oversees 30 graduate programs. Prospective students undergo a selective but holistic evaluation process that considers their GPA, previous coursework, writing capability, and extracurricular interests and achievements. Financial aid packages may include legacy scholarships for children of McDanel graduates, children of educators, and military personnel and their families.
Bachelor's degree-seekers can pursue majors like business administration, computer science, criminal justice, and classical civilizations. The biology program offers specializations in environmental studies and molecular biology, as well as a dual-major option with mathematics. Biology students also gain the skills needed to pursue pre-professional studies in dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the allied health fields.
McDaniel also provides dual-degree programs that enable learners to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in five years. Options include human services management, gerontology, and secondary teaching. The college operates conventional graduate programs in areas like school librarianship and public administration.
Mount St Mary's University
|Emmitsburg, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
Mount St. Mary's University supports about 2,400 students and boasts one of the highest job placement rate for graduates in Maryland. First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts and an academic recommendation. Candidates can also submit standardized test scores and a personal essay to bolster their application portfolio. Prospective graduate learners need a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA. The university charges affordable tuition prices based on program type. Financial aid opportunities includes merit scholarships for incoming students and need-based award for transfer candidates.
The Mount offers traditional undergraduate programs in fields like forensic accounting, health sciences, sport management, and biochemistry. Students may also enroll in a dual-degree track that allows them to earn bachelor's credentials in both health sciences and nursing. Additionally, the university delivers flexible undergraduate options for working professionals. These programs operate accelerated classes that span 5-8 weeks.
Graduate programming covers areas like instructional leadership, biotechnology and management, and health administration. Additional options include a master of business administration that candidates can complete in one or two years.
|Stevenson, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Founded in 1947 as a training school for female medical secretaries, Stevenson University is now a coeducational institution with more than 3,600 students. The school delivers over 90 undergraduate majors, minors, and pre-professional tracks. Bachelor's programs include medical laboratory science, graphic design, counseling and human services, and biomedical engineering. Candidates may also pursue a cybersecurity and digital forensics degree, which prepares them for some of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States.
For learners who want to accelerate their education, Stevenson offers five-year, dual-degree tracks in areas like business administration and legal studies. The university also provides standalone graduate programs that students can complete entirely online in fields such as communication studies, nursing, and community-based education and leadership. Additionally, distance learners may earn a master of arts in teaching, which leads to initial state certification.
Undergraduate applicants should submit ACT/SAT scores, official academic transcripts, up to three recommendation letters, and a 500-word personal statement. Graduate candidates need a minimum 3.0 GPA. Stevenson provides affordable tuition rates that ignore residency status.
Morgan State University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Morgan State University enrolls roughly 7,700 students each year, making it Maryland's largest historically black university. Morgan welcomes learners of all backgrounds and is designated as a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution. The university uses a holistic student evaluation process that considers a student's academic performance, previous coursework, recommendations, and ACT/SAT scores. Undergraduate students must submit a 500-word essay that responds to designated prompts. Graduate applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Students can pursue bachelor's programs in visual arts, military science, multimedia journalism, and architectural and environmental design. Students who earn an engineering degree can choose from concentration options in transportation systems, industrial engineering, and electrical/computer engineering.
Graduate programs cover fields such as bioinformatics, hospitality management, and public health. Students may also obtain a doctoral degree in urban educational leadership, which prepares them for advanced roles as school principals and social policy researchers. Candidates can earn four graduate degrees online through flexible classes delivered using Blackboard.
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 66%||
Goucher College was established in 1885 as a women's academy. Today, the school offers several degrees to a coeducational student body. Prospective undergraduates can submit either the Common Application or a two-minute video application plus supplemental materials. Goucher operates a test-optional admissions process that lets candidates decide whether ACT/SAT scores accurately represent their academic potential. The school provides low tuition prices and 97% of incoming students receive financial aid.
Goucher delivers undergraduate programs in fields like sociology, historic preservation, equine studies, and computer science. Bachelor's candidates may pursue a business management major, which offers concentrations in arts administration and international business. Graduate students can enroll in traditional two-year programs or opt for distance education and low-residency options.
Students benefit from numerous experiential learning opportunities; for instance, some learners engage in summer science research with guidance from faculty mentors. Goucher also facilitates semester- and year-long study abroad trips in places such as Costa Rica (where students have examined the effects of globalization on the environment) and Russia (where they explored the language and regional cultures).
Washington Adventist University
|Takoma Park, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
Based in Takoma Park, Washington Adventist University enrolls more than 1,000 students in 32 associate, bachelor's, and master's programs. The school bases tuition prices on program type but not residency status. All learners can apply for financial support, including institutional awards based on GPA and ACT/SAT performance. WAU also funds scholarships specifically for transfer candidates, music majors, and student athletes.
At the undergraduate level, academic options include associate degrees for general studies and radiologic technology. Students can enroll in bachelor's programs like psychology, health/fitness management, and computer science. WAU also delivers an RN-to-BSN track that emphasizes leadership training and research practice.
Master's candidates may pursue training in areas like clinical mental health counseling and public administration. WAU also oversees a 37-credit MBA program. To accommodate the busy schedules of working professionals, the university delivers accelerated degree completion tracks that only require students to attend class one night a week.
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
|Princess Anne, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
A historically black higher education institution, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is also a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The school's main campus in Princess Anne delivers 37 undergraduate tracks, 15 master's degrees, and eight doctoral programs. First-year candidates must submit an official application, high school transcripts, and ACT/SAT scores. They can strengthen their application portfolio by including recommendations and a 250-word personal essay. Prospective graduate students need a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Students can pursue bachelor's degrees in fields like exercise science, urban forestry, engineering technology, and rehabilitation psychology. Students can also enroll in a four-year agriculture program, which comes with distinct tracks in plant and soil science, animal and poultry business technology, and pre-veterinary science. Undergraduate students may access a variety of research opportunities, including projects centered on food safety and wind energy.
UMES delivers graduate programs in applied computer science, toxicology, and organizational leadership. Master's candidates can also earn a teaching degree that leads to initial state certification.
Coppin State University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 24%||
Based in Baltimore, Coppin State University is a member of the University System of Maryland. CSU hosts about 2,900 learners across 53 undergraduate majors and nine graduate programs. To enroll as a first-year student, candidates must submit an online application, official school transcripts, and ACT/SAT scores. The university operates a flexible transfer policy that allows students to apply up to 70 credits from community colleges and 90 credits from four-year institutions. Transfer applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
CSU delivers bachelor's programs in accounting, management information systems, and early childhood care. Students can also pursue a histotechnology degree that prepares them to detect and treat tissue abnormalities. The university provides three nursing tracks, including an accelerated track.
Graduate degrees are available in topics such as substance abuse counseling, contemporary educational leadership, and criminal justice and law enforcement. Individuals may also enroll in a doctor of nursing practice program, which offers traditional, online, and hybrid learning formats. CSU delivers distance classes through Blackboard.
University of Maryland-University College
|Adelphi, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 9%||
The University of Maryland Global Campus specializes in affordable and career-relevant distance education delivered by the LEO platform. The school charges tuition based on residency. Institutional financial aid is available for candidates with a minimum 3.0 GPA. UMGC also funds completion scholarships for Maryland community college graduates. Furthermore, students save money on textbooks because the university prioritizes free digital course materials. UMGC does not require applicants to submit standardized test scores.
The academic catalog contains online bachelor's degrees in software development and security, human resource management, and public safety administration. UMGC also delivers a biotechnology program that features an on-site component and prepares candidates for careers as laboratory technologists and industrial quality control specialists. Additionally, the university provides a flexible bachelor of science in nursing track for working RNs.
Master's programming covers areas like data analytics and accounting/financial management. Students can also earn an IT degree that offers eight specialization options. UMGC offers two online doctoral programs in business administration and community college policy management.