Best Colleges in Oregon

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by Staff Writers
Published on August 19, 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Home to more than 100 colleges and university campuses, including 17 community colleges, 22 private nonprofit universities, and eight public universities, Oregon makes higher education accessible for both in-state and out-of-state learners. In 2017, despite 37% of young adults in the state holding a bachelor's degree or higher, Oregon fell short of meeting the growing workforce demands for highly educated professionals.

In an effort to increase educational attainment throughout the state, Oregon established their "40-40-20" education goal. By 2025, the state aims to have 40% of its young adult population earn a four-year degree, ​40% earn a two-year degree, and 20% earn a high school diploma or its equivalent.

To help Oregonians meet this goal and help readers find their optimal program, we've ranked the best colleges in Oregon by quality and affordability. Read on to learn more about the top Oregon schools.

Top 10 Colleges in Oregon

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#1 Reed College Portland, OR
#2 University of Portland Portland, OR
#3 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
#4 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
#5 Corban University Salem, OR
#6 Linfield College McMinnville, OR
#7 Lewis & Clark College Portland, OR
#8 Bushnell University Eugene, OR
#9 Southern Oregon University Ashland, OR
#10 George Fox University Newberg, OR
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.

Best Accredited Colleges in Oregon

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Reed College View School Profile Portland, OR

Founded in 1908, Reed College focuses almost exclusively on liberal arts education for undergraduate students. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 10-to-1 and conference-style classes, learners at the college receive close attention and mentorship from expert faculty members.

The college offers more than 40 majors, including anthropology, comparative race and ethnic studies, linguistics, and neuroscience. Dual-degree programs also allow students to focus on subjects like engineering and environmental sciences. To earn a bachelor's, each undergraduate student at Reed must take at least one year-long humanities course and write a senior thesis.

Reed's sole master's program is a liberal arts degree, which students can shape to fit their academic and professional interests.

Admission to the college is highly selective. First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, a counselor recommendation, and two teacher evaluations. Reed is committed to meeting all of the demonstrated financial need of its admitted students.

University of Portland View School Profile Portland, OR

The University of Portland -- a Catholic university -- offers more than 40 undergraduate programs and 18 graduate programs in areas of study such as civil engineering, environmental policy, integrative health and wellness studies, and organizational communication. UP does not currently provide online access to any of its programs.

All undergraduate students, regardless of their major, take 13 courses in science, the arts, and humanities. This liberal arts core helps students develop critical-thinking skills, exposes them to new perspectives, and allows them to examine pressing questions of existence through an interdisciplinary lens. UP encourages students to participate in internships.

To apply to UP, you must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. First-year applicants must also submit ACT or SAT scores, one letter of recommendation, and a personal essay. Most graduate programs require a bachelor's degree and satisfactory GRE or GMAT scores.

University of Oregon View School Profile Eugene, OR

As the state's flagship school, the University of Oregon serves nearly 23,000 students each year through approximately 325 degree and certificate programs in subjects like business administration, journalism, and law. While the university provides the resources of a large institution, the median class size is only 20 students.

UO is deeply committed to expanding educational opportunities. More than a third of all newly admitted students self-identify as racial or ethnic minorities, and 40% of new college students are the first in their families to attend college.

To support the needs of these learners, the university provides comprehensive advising, career, and academic support, along with a host of scholarships and financial aid programs.

Prospective undergraduate students must submit high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and a personal essay. They may also elect to submit a second essay describing their personal commitment to equity and inclusion.

Oregon State University View School Profile Corvallis, OR

Operating as one of only two land-, sea-, space-, and sun-grant universities in the U.S, Oregon State prepares students for diverse careers in fields like forestry, robotics, and data analytics. After graduating, Oregon State alumni have gone on to win research awards, found companies like E-TRADE, and invent the artificial heart valve.

As an international university, Oregon State hosts more than 4,500 students from approximately 114 countries. In addition, learners can participate in more than 100 study abroad programs. The university's "International Degree" program also gives learners the opportunity to master a foreign language and write a thesis that draws on their experience abroad.

Applying to Oregon State as an undergraduate requires you to hold a high school diploma and submit ACT or SAT scores. Admitted students generally have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Corban University View School Profile Salem, OR

A Christian institution, Corban University equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to make a difference in the world. Along with programs in divinity and worship arts, students at the university can also pursue bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in subjects like biokinetics, marketing, and sports and recreation management.

Corban also offers four fully online degrees to better serve students with professional or personal obligations. Online classes are asynchronous and taught by the same faculty who lead on-campus courses. Distance education classes run for eight weeks and feature multiple start dates throughout the year.

Applying to the university as a first-year student requires submitting high school transcripts and ACT or SAT results. All students must also sign a statement of faith indicating that they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.

Linfield College View School Profile McMinnville, OR

Linfield College -- a private undergraduate college with two campuses in Oregon -- combines liberal arts education with practical career training. Students at the college explore subjects like accounting, elementary education, and political science. Fully online programs serve learners interested in fields such as health administration, project management, and nursing.

Experiential and service learning play a key role at the college. More than 40% of students participate in a study abroad trip, and collaborative research projects give learners the opportunity to work closely with faculty. Career counselors also help students find internships, with Linfield providing stipends and scholarships for unpaid positions.

To apply to Linfield, you must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. While the college does not set minimum GPA requirements for admission, applicants with a high school GPA below 3.0 must also submit ACT or SAT scores. All prospective students must also write a personal essay.

Lewis & Clark College View School Profile Portland, OR

At Lewis and Clark College, students enjoy a wealth of services that help position them for career success. The college offers a variety of summer internship grants that allow students to take advantage of unpaid learning and networking opportunities. Lewis & Clark even hosts a diplomat-in-residence to advise students majoring in international relations.

In addition to graduate programs in law and education, the college offers bachelor's degrees in areas of study like computer science, economics, philosophy, and world languages. Lewis & Clark also guarantees that undergraduate students can earn a bachelor's degree in eight semesters; otherwise, the college will cover the cost of a ninth term.

To apply, you must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. As a test-optional institution, Lewis & Clark lets students choose whether or not to submit ACT or SAT scores; applicants decide whether they believe their results on these exams accurately demonstrate their academic achievement and potential.

Bushnell University View School Profile Eugene, OR

Faith and service are central to the experience at Bushnell University. On top of classroom learning, all undergraduate students at the university complete some form of field experience, such as a community service project with a nonprofit or faith-based organization in nearby Eugene or an extended mission trip to a country like Cambodia, Romania, or Mexico.

On-campus undergraduate programs provide instruction in areas such as Christian ministry, computer engineering, and teacher education. For students who need to balance their studies with a full-time job or family responsibilities, Bushnell offers evening and fully online programs. Online classes start six times throughout the year.

While students who plan to learn on campus must submit ACT or SAT scores, Bushnell does not require online applicants to take these exams. All prospective undergraduate students must have a high school or GED diploma.

Southern Oregon University View School Profile Ashland, OR

Each year, Southern Oregon University enrolls more than 6,200 students in 37 degree programs. Alongside on-campus offerings in subjects like healthcare administration and theater, the university hosts hybrid and fully online programs in areas such as business administration, emerging media and digital arts, and international studies.

The university's "Acc Bacc" program allows undergraduate students to earn a bachelor's degree in just three years. This accelerated program awards credit for select high school coursework and provides priority registration status. Applicants must commit to a major prior to enrolling and have a high school GPA of at least 3.4.

Undergraduate applicants generally need a GPA of 2.5 or higher. All admitted students receive automatic consideration for need- and merit-based aid, including the Raider Scholarship, which provides $4,500 in annual support to Oregon residents with a GPA of 3.85 or above.

George Fox University View School Profile Newberg, OR

George Fox University maintains four campuses across Oregon and serves roughly 4,000 students each year. In addition to the university's traditional undergraduate and graduate programs, George Fox offers online and accelerated bachelor's degree completion programs, with majors available in organizational leadership, elementary education, project management, and nursing.

As the oldest Christian university in the state, George Fox provides graduate-level education in areas like divinity, theological studies, and spiritual formation. Many of the university's seminary programs are also available online or in a hybrid format.

Although George Fox does not require a minimum high school GPA for admission, most incoming students have a GPA of 3.0 or above. First-year applicants must also share standardized test results; the majority of admitted students have an ACT score of 20 or higher or an SAT score of 1000 or higher.

Willamette University View School Profile Salem, OR

Originally founded in 1842, Willamette University is one of the oldest universities in Oregon. The college enrolls just over 2,100 students and offers bachelor's degrees, law degrees, and a top-ranked master of business administration. More than 28,000 Willamette alumni live and work in the Pacific Northwest.

The university hosts several accelerated dual-degree programs. A "3+3" program allows students to earn both a bachelor of arts and a juris doctorate in six years. Similar accelerated programs in business and public management give learners the option to earn an undergraduate and master's degree in as little as five years.

Undergraduate applicants must submit high school transcripts and a counselor recommendation. Willamette does not require standardized test scores or recommendation letters from teachers, though prospective students can submit these materials. Each year, the university awards roughly $42M in scholarships to admitted students.

Portland State University View School Profile Portland, OR

Situated in the heart of the city, Portland State University provides easy access to internship and career opportunities, arts and cultural activities, and research and service learning. Students who cannot commute to campus can benefit from the university's fully online programs in advanced crime analysis, curriculum and instruction, and global supply chain management.

PSU guarantees that all of its undergraduates will receive the support they need to earn their bachelor's degree in four years. Students who do not complete their studies on this schedule pay no tuition for any of their remaining required courses.

First-year applicants must have a high school diploma with a GPA of at least 3.0. Prospective students must also share results from the ACT or SAT, though PSU does not set minimum scores for these exams. The university's Four Years Free program provides qualifying Oregon residents with tuition-free education.

Concordia University-Portland View School Profile Portland, OR

In addition to its graduate programs in education, management, and law, Concordia University hosts 15 undergraduate majors, including exercise and sport science, homeland security and emergency management, and social work. The university also offers fully online and asynchronous bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs.

All Concordia students benefit from a comprehensive set of support services. The university's writing center provides personalized feedback on essays and research papers, while peer tutors offer additional instruction in subjects like biology, math, and foreign languages. A free, online summer program also helps recent high school graduates prepare for college-level study.

To enter a bachelor's program at Concordia, you must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Prospective students who do not meet minimum academic requirements may need to submit a personal essay and letters of recommendation. For some online programs, professional or volunteer experience may be accepted as a substitute for prior education.

Western Oregon University View School Profile Monmouth, OR

Undergraduate programs at Western Oregon University help students build a foundation of skills and knowledge in disciplines like community health, gerontology, music, and public policy and administration. Several of the university's graduate programs, including master's tracks in teaching and organizational leadership, are also available in online and hybrid formats.

Professional advisors guide learners throughout their educational experiences. After being admitted, incoming students are matched with a dedicated professional who assists with enrollment, financial aid, assessments, and selecting a major. In addition, advisors ensure students meet specific graduation benchmarks by matching them with tutoring, counseling, and career preparation services.

Undergraduate applicants typically need a high school GPA of at least 3.0. Prospective students who do not meet this requirement may also need to submit ACT or SAT scores and a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor.

Multnomah University View School Profile Portland, OR

Multnomah University provides a liberal arts education from a biblical perspective. While the university's seminary offers degrees in applied theology and Christian leadership, students may also explore subjects like organizational psychology, health and fitness management, and global development and justice. Three bachelor's degrees and eight master's degrees can also be earned entirely online.

The university's Voices Scholarship program aims to create a more diverse and culturally competent study body. Participating students learn to lead and facilitate conversations related to racial reconciliation and cultural sensitivity. The program provides a $2,500 per year stipend that can be renewed annually.

All undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma and a minimum 2.5 GPA. As a test-optional institution, Multnomah does not require ACT or SAT scores. However, prospective students must provide a Christian character reference from a pastor, youth minister, or spiritual mentor.

Top Degree Programs in Oregon

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