Best Colleges in Michigan
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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
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|#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
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
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Best Colleges in Michigan
University of Michigan-Ann ArborLocation
Ann Arbor, MITuition
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.
Michigan State UniversityLocation
East Lansing, MITuition
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.
Michigan Technological UniversityLocation
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.
University of Michigan-DearbornLocation
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.
Berrien Springs, MITuition
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.
Lake Superior State UniversityLocation
Sault Ste Marie, MITuition
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.
Grand Rapids, MITuition
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.
Grand Valley State UniversityLocation
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.
Grand Rapids, MITuition
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.
University of Detroit MercyLocation
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.
In addition to programs available at four campus locations, Madonna University offers fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas such as criminal justice leadership and intelligence, higher education administration, and public health. Many online programs at the university allow students to advance through their coursework at their own pace, giving them the chance to graduate faster or fit their studies around personal or professional responsibilities.
On-campus programs prepare graduates for careers in business, social work, and nursing. MU was also the first university in the nation to offer a fully immersive bachelor's degree in sign language interpretation.
To apply as an undergraduate student, you must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and take either the ACT or SAT. MU prefers students with at least a 2.75 high school GPA and looks for applicants with a minimum ACT composite score of 20 or an SAT score of 1000 or above.
Hope College is a private Christian liberal arts school located in Holland that accepts students of all faiths. Formal programs of study at Hope include biochemistry and molecular biology, kinesiology, peace and justice, and theater. More than 90% of students supplement their classroom instruction with an internship or other hands-on learning experience.
The university provides robust support services to help learners prosper academically. Through the college's academic success center, students can access tutoring and academic coaching, participate in group-study opportunities, and join peer learning partnerships. A writing center provides personalized guidance on essays and papers, while the library's research staff offer assistance on finding, using, and citing scholarly sources.
Applicants must submit the Common Application, high school transcripts, and official ACT or SAT scores. Homeschooled students must also submit a letter of recommendation from an adult outside of their family who can speak to their academic achievement.
Kalamazoo College is a highly selective college. Admitted students hold an average high school GPA of 3.9, and more than 90% took at least one college-level class -- such as an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate course -- during high school. The college holds faculty to similarly high standards, with more than 96% holding a Ph.D. or terminal degree in their field.
Students at Kalamazoo explore subjects such as art history, critical ethnic studies, economics, and Spanish language and literature. All learners follow the K-Plan, which incorporates a rigorous but flexible curriculum, hands-on learning experiences, study abroad or intercultural experiences, and a senior project that requires students to conduct original research or develop a unique piece of creative work.
Although admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate, Kalamazoo is a test-optional institution, meaning students can choose whether to report results from the ACT or SAT. Entrance exam scores may be required to qualify for certain scholarship opportunities.
University of Michigan-FlintLocation
The University of Michigan-Flint offers undergraduate and graduate programs to match nearly every academic interest and career path. Students can earn bachelor's degrees in fields such as early childhood studies, music performance, and radiation therapy. The university also features master's and doctoral degrees in areas such as anesthesia and public administration. Additionally, UM-Flint hosts more than 100 online courses and over two dozen fully online programs.
An honors program serves undergraduate learners with exceptional academic potential. Alongside their interdisciplinary coursework, honors students participate in conferences and colloquia, join an off-campus research program for one semester, and complete a thesis or creative project during their senior year.
Standard undergraduate admission requires a high school diploma with a GPA of at least 2.7. Honors program applicants should have a high school GPA of 3.7 or higher and score at least 27 on the ACT (or 1260 on the SAT).
Wayne State UniversityLocation
Situated in the heart of Detroit, Wayne State University is one of the most diverse universities in Michigan. Roughly 35% of undergraduates self-identify as students of color, while international learners hail from more than 75 countries around the globe.
Along with technical and graduate certificates, the university offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in disciplines like alternative energy technologies, data science and business analytics, employment and labor relations, and mortuary science. In addition, nine fully online programs give students the flexibility to earn their degree on their own terms.
Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and take the ACT or SAT. Admissions officers conduct a holistic assessment of each candidate's qualifications, but the average admitted student has a high school GPA of 3.37 and a composite ACT score of 24.
WSU administers a variety of scholarship programs. The Discover Detroit Scholarship provides the equivalent of in-state tuition to nonresidents with at least a 3.5 high school GPA, while the Detroit Leadership Award provides up to $5,000 per year to students from Michigan who demonstrate a commitment to public service.
Lawrence Technological UniversityLocation
Students at Lawrence Technological University develop engineering skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. Through more than 100 academic programs in fields like aeronautical engineering, industrial design, and technical communication, the university encourages values like curiosity, collaboration, and the creation of value for others.
Since 2006, LTU has offered fully online master's degrees in fields such as business administration, construction engineering management, and information technology. All distance education programs at the university hold accreditation and align with best practices formulated by some of the nation's leading online learning professional organizations.
Undergraduate applicants must submit official copies of their high school transcripts, scores from either the ACT or SAT, and an essay outlining their educational background and academic goals.
All admitted students receive automatic consideration for a host of financial aid awards. The prestigious Donley Scholarship serves students with records of exceptional academic achievement and covers the full cost of tuition, fees, and room and board for four years of undergraduate study.
Central Michigan UniversityLocation
Mount Pleasant, MITuition
Central Michigan University reaches more than 8,000 students each year through online education and outreach programs at 30 locations across North America. Additionally, roughly 20% of students at the university's main campus in Mount Pleasant supplement their classroom learning with at least one online class.
CMU offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs in areas of study such as child development, integrative public relations, mechanical engineering technology, and real estate development and finance. The university launched the first undergraduate neuroscience program in Michigan and today offers the state's only bachelor's degrees in meteorology and recreation and event management.
Students at CMU receive more than $300 million annually in financial aid. Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and take either the ACT or SAT.
Eastern Michigan UniversityLocation
Founded in 1849 as a local teachers college, Eastern Michigan University now offers more than 200 undergraduate programs and 150 graduate programs in fields such as accounting information systems, health administration, experimental psychology, and urban and regional planning. The school also delivers more than a dozen high-quality and fully online programs to meet the needs of students with full-time jobs or family responsibilities.
EMU provides customized support programs to serve learners with unique needs, such as a mentorship program for those who lived in foster care. Additionally, the Brotherhood and Sisterhood Scholars programs provide both financial aid and academic assistance to students of color.
Undergraduate admission to EMU requires a high school diploma or GED certificate and results from the ACT or SAT. While the university does not set minimum requirements for admission, incoming learners have, on average, a high school GPA of 3.28, an ACT score of 22, and an SAT score of 1100.
Spring Arbor UniversityLocation
Spring Arbor, MITuition
Spring Arbor University offers a Christ-centered liberal arts education. Students can pursue associate, bachelor's, and master's programs in subjects such as advertising and public relations, children's ministry, health and exercise science, and political economy. In addition, online graduate programs provide flexible and advanced training in areas such as nursing, social work, and special education.
All undergraduate students at SAU participate in a series of core experiences. Freshmen travel to a camp in northern Michigan for an orientation weekend, while juniors embark on a three-week study abroad trip. A capstone seminar during senior year gives students the opportunity to reflect on their learning and consider next steps in their careers and lives.
Undergraduate applicants must submit high school transcripts or GED test scores. SAU also requires all applicants to take the ACT or SAT. Graduate applicants do not need to take an entrance exam, though they must submit at least two letters of recommendation.
Rochester Hills, MITuition
Oakland University is home to more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students exploring fields such as art history, homeland security, management information systems, and wellness and health promotion.
OU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and delivers more than 275 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university also offers more than 100 online classes and 15 fully online degree and certificate programs.
The university's business school is one of only 186 in the world with accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for both its business and accounting programs.
Freshman applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and submit results from the ACT or SAT. Admitted students generally possess a high school GPA of 3.2 or above, though OU does offer conditional admission to applicants with significant extracurricular achievements and a GPA of at least 2.5.
An exclusively undergraduate institution, Alma College features formal majors in areas such as American studies, economics, and sports communication. The college also allows students to create a self-designed course of study in collaboration with a dedicated academic advisor. The Alma Commitment guarantees that students can earn their bachelor's in just four years, or the college will cover the cost of tuition for an extra term in your fifth year.
More than 90% of students at Alma participate in some kind of service-learning experience. Some learners jointly conduct a research project with a member of the faculty, while others volunteer in their community or spend a semester studying abroad in one of 14 countries. Numerous scholarship programs provide financial support to students pursuing these opportunities.
Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate. Beginning in 2020, Alma will adopt a test-optional policy that allows applicants to choose whether to submit results from the ACT or SAT.
Albion College offers 49 undergraduate majors and concentrations that prepare graduates for careers in fields such as biology, human services, integrated marketing communication, and public policy. Though on-campus students can access a variety of online learning resources -- including web-based tutoring -- the college does not currently offer any fully online programs.
Albion's Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program serves undergraduate students with exceptional academic ability and potential. In addition to taking a curated curriculum and regular seminars with fellow honors students, participants in the program conduct original research and complete a senior honors thesis. Honors graduates have won both National Science Foundation research awards and Fulbright fellowships.
To apply to Albion, you must submit high school or GED transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, a letter of recommendation, and a personal essay. Prospective honors students follow a separate application process that includes an interview with an admissions officer and a lengthier essay requirement.
Northern Michigan UniversityLocation
Northern Michigan University provides students with numerous opportunities for experiential learning. Learners can participate in internships at the Goddard Space Flight Center and Intel, while study abroad opportunities give students the chance to explore the cultures and histories of countries such as India, Morocco, Thailand, and Belgium.
NMU offers associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in areas such as accounting, community health education, fisheries and wildlife management, and secondary education. Students can also pursue a doctorate of nursing practice or enroll in one of more than two dozen distance education programs through the university's global campus.
NMU is one of the most affordable schools in Michigan. In addition to low tuition rates, the university operates numerous merit and need-based aid programs. These include the Wildcat Achievement Scholarship, which provides up to $5,000 each year to incoming students who earn a score of 33 or above on the ACT.
Prospective students earn automatic admission if they have a high school GPA of at least 2.25 and a composite ACT score of at least 19 (or an SAT score of at least 990).
Ferris State UniversityLocation
Big Rapids, MITuition
Ferris State University offers the unique Ferris Statewide program, in which learners can take FSU courses at any community college campus in Michigan. Students learn from the same expert faculty who teach at the university's main campus in Big Rapids, and a dedicated advisor helps them navigate the enrollment process and access student resources. The university also offers fully online programs in areas such as business administration, dental hygiene, and HVACR engineering.
While all applicants to FSU must have a high school diploma or GED certificate, the university operates under a test-optional policy that gives prospective students the choice of whether to share results from the ACT or SAT. Homeschooled and international applicants, however, must submit test scores.
In addition to financial aid and scholarship opportunities available to all admitted students, the university's Ferris Youth Initiative provides significant financial support to those who have lived in foster care. Military personnel and veterans also qualify for in-state tuition regardless of where they live.
Grand Rapids, MITuition
A Dominication institution, Aquinas College centers student life around prayer, study, service, and community. Learners at the college regularly gather for group prayer, learn both inside and outside of the classroom, and commit themselves to advancing racial and social justice during their studies and after graduation.
Students at AQ pursue degrees in sustainable business, theology, data analytics, and community leadership. The college guarantees that all undergraduate students will earn their degree in four years and covers up to one full year of tuition and fees for those who do not. In addition, through a partnership with Western Michigan University, AQ students can earn both a bachelor's and master's degree in just five years of accelerated study.
Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and ACT or SAT scores. The college does not charge an application fee and encourages applicants to submit letters of recommendation.