Best Colleges in Michigan

portrait of Staff Writers
Staff Writers
Read Full Bio


The staff writers for BestColleges collaborate to deliver unique, student-driven content on topics such as career development, college life, and college planning....
Published on Aug 19, 2021
Updated May 31, 2023
Learn more about our editorial process

As colleges and universities navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we're continuing our efforts to provide you with useful student resources and the latest online program information. Check our coronavirus resources page to learn more.

The Great Lakes State is home to 15 public four-year colleges and dozens more private universities. Whether you want to complete a bachelor's degree at a small liberal arts college, pursue your master's degree at a Big 10 school, or complete doctoral research in state-of-the-art facilities, Michigan has a school to suit your needs.

We've ranked the best colleges in Michigan based on affordability, accreditation status, and academic quality. As prospective students review the schools highlighted in this ranking, they should consider whether each school fits their unique academic and professional goals.

Top 10 Colleges in Michigan

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

#1 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
#2 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
#3 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
#4 University of Michigan-Dearborn Dearborn, MI
#5 Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI
#6 Lake Superior State University Sault Ste Marie, MI
#7 Calvin College Grand Rapids, MI
#8 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
#9 Kuyper College Grand Rapids, MI
#10 University of Detroit Mercy Detroit, MI

How We Rank Schools

Chevron Down

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 Michigan

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

Best Colleges in Michigan

  1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

    Ann Arbor, MI



    Ranked as one of the best schools in the country for academics, research, innovation, and affordability, the University of Michigan easily tops our list of the best colleges in Michigan. Students can choose from more than 250 undergraduate and graduate programs like aerospace engineering, creative writing, global health studies, and political economy. Learners may also pursue eight fully online degrees or enroll in more than 100 self-paced distance education courses.

    U-M features one of the largest and most esteemed alumni networks in the world. More than 580,000 graduates of the university work around the globe, and alumni include one U.S. president, three Supreme Court justices, and eight Nobel Prize winners.

    Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and a recommendation from either a teacher or counselor. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor's degree and usually need to take an entrance exam like the GRE or GMAT.

  2. Michigan State University

    East Lansing, MI



    Founded in 1855, Michigan State University now serves more than 50,000 students each year across more than 200 academic programs such as actuarial science, biostatistics, construction management, and special education. The university also offers dozens of programs and more than 100 individual courses online, giving access to students who need to schedule their learning around professional and personal obligations.

    Through the Spartan Success program, MSU matches students with cocurricular learning experiences like internships, research fellowships, and study abroad opportunities. Learners can also work with dedicated counselors to choose a career path, hone their interview skills, and identify alumni mentors. More than 90% of MSU graduates find a job or enroll in graduate school within one year of earning their degree.

    Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalency, as well as ACT or SAT scores. The average admitted student has a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher.

  3. Michigan Technological University

    Houghton, MI



    Michigan Technological University prepares graduates for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    MTU offers over 120 undergraduate and graduate programs in topics such as geological and mining engineering, cognitive and learning sciences, computer network administration, and health informatics. The university also delivers 12 fully online certificates and master's degrees.

    Undergraduate admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate and either ACT or SAT scores. First-year students have an average high school GPA of 3.75 and earn an average score of 1259 on the SAT. Additionally, more than half of admitted freshmen graduated in the top 20% of their high school class.

    During the admissions process, students can apply for a host of merit- and need-based scholarships. For instance, the Leading Scholar Award covers all tuition, fees, and room and board for those with exemplary academic achievement and leadership potential.

  4. University of Michigan-Dearborn

    Dearborn, MI



    The University of Michigan-Dearborn creates intimate and engaging learning environments. While more than 9,000 students pursue bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at the university, the average class size is only 26 and more than 70% of classes have fewer than 30 students. UM-Dearborn boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of just 17-to-1.

    The university features programs of study in areas such as cybersecurity and information assurance, finance, robotics engineering, and sociology. About 75% of students at the university work while earning their degree, and another 44% have dependent care responsibilities. To better serve these learners, UM-Dearborn offers online and hybrid courses through all of its colleges.

    Prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. The university also requires ACT or SAT scores, and international applicants may need to demonstrate English language proficiency. Close to 90% of incoming students receive some form of financial aid, including scholarships specifically for transfer students and those pursuing particular majors.

  5. Andrews University

    Berrien Springs, MI



    A Christian institution, Andrews University welcomes students from all faiths and backgrounds. The university enrolls roughly 4,700 learners across 130 undergraduate programs and 70 graduate programs. In addition to on-campus offerings, Andrews administers fully online associate and bachelor's programs in business, nursing, and religion.

    To supplement their classroom learning, Andrews encourages students to participate in an annual service day, extended volunteer opportunities, and global mission initiatives in countries such as Madagascar, Lebanon, and Peru.

    Freshman applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and take either the ACT or SAT. While Andrews does not set strict academic admission requirements, the university recommends applicants have a high school GPA of at least 2.5. All incoming students receive automatic consideration for the Andrews Partner Scholarship, an award program that provides up to $12,000 in annual aid to learners with strong entrance exam scores.

  6. Lake Superior State University

    Sault Ste Marie, MI



    Lake Superior State University meets the professional needs of graduates by offering cutting-edge degree programs. For example, the university launched the country's first bachelor's program in fire science to help train the next generation of fire investigators and emergency management personnel.

    LSSU also offers associate and bachelor's degrees in fields like cannabis business, conservation biology, forensic chemistry, and medical laboratory science. Although the university does not host any online programs, LSSU does maintain regional learning centers across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

    Prospective undergraduate students must submit official copies of their high school or GED transcripts along with scores from either the ACT or SAT. However, LSSU waives the entrance exam requirement for candidates who graduated from high school more than two years prior to applying.

    Scholarship programs can help lower the cost of education at LSSU significantly. The Laker Gold and Philip A. Hart scholarships cover all tuition and fees, while the Board of Trustees Scholarship provides up to $5,000 in aid each year to students with strong test scores and a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  7. Calvin College

    Grand Rapids, MI



    A Christian university rooted in the Christian Reformed tradition, Calvin University offers theological degrees and undergraduate programs in areas such as business entrepreneurship, health communication, graphic design, and neuroscience.

    The Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning helps members of the community develop discrete professional skills in accounting, technology, and project management. The university does not currently offer any online programs.

    Calvin provides extensive support to first-year students. The Calvin LifeWork Program encourages freshmen to work with academic advisors and career counselors to explore different vocations and choose a major. Extracurricular workshops and service-learning opportunities also help students learn about financial planning and how to lead with conviction.

    Applying to Calvin requires a high school diploma or GED certificate. Prospective students must also submit ACT or SAT results. Although the university does not set minimum scores for these exams, the average admitted student scores at least a 26 on the ACT or 1212 on the SAT.

  8. Grand Valley State University

    Allendale, MI



    Grand Valley State University enrolls more than 24,000 students in undergraduate and graduate degrees such as anthropology, hospitality and tourism management, multimedia journalism, and public and nonprofit administration. To help students experience new cultures and perspectives, the university also offers more than 4,000 study abroad opportunities in countries around the world.

    The GVSU Veterans Network caters to the needs of military students and their families. Staff help veterans and active-duty personnel navigate the process of securing federal benefits, choose a major that aligns with their experience and aspirations, and connect with peer support groups. Veterans can also receive college credit for their training and service.

    To enter a bachelor's program at GVSU, you must submit high school transcripts and results from the ACT or SAT. In addition to a bachelor's degree and acceptable GRE scores, certain graduate programs may require multiple years of professional experience.

  9. Kuyper College

    Grand Rapids, MI



    As a Christian college, Kuyper College creates an educational experience informed by Scripture. In addition to extracurricular spiritual development activities, instructors integrate conversations about faith and purpose into every class. Kuyper also encourages students to practice Christ-modeled leadership through internships and service-learning experiences.

    The college offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields of study like audio production, community development, human services, and social media marketing.

    Learners can also develop skills outside of the classroom. For instance, the Triple Bottom Line Business Idea Contest provides $1,000 in funding to students who create a business plan that positively impacts people, improves the environment, and generates a profit.

    First-year applicants must have a high school diploma with a GPA of 2.25 or higher. Kuyper also requires prospective students to score at least 18 on the ACT or 960 on the SAT. All incoming students must demonstrate a commitment to both academic and spiritual growth.

  10. University of Detroit Mercy

    Detroit, MI



    The University of Detroit Mercy is the largest Catholic college in Michigan, serving approximately 5,000 students each year through more than 100 academic programs.

    Degrees span subjects such as addiction studies, health services administration, mechanical engineering, and industrial-organizational psychology. The university offers many graduate programs online, and accelerated tracks allow students to earn both a bachelor's and master's degree in just five years.

    The university's Institute for Leadership and Service gives students the chance to learn while contributing to positive social change. The institute offers courses in leadership, organizes paid community service summer internships, and connects learners with volunteer opportunities in their community.

    Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, a 250-word essay on a topic of their choice, and one letter of recommendation.

    Various scholarship programs support students with strong records of academic achievement, a demonstrated commitment to community service, and financial need. UD Mercy also provides aid to students from Catholic high schools in the Detroit area.

Top Degree Programs in Michigan