Small Liberal Arts Colleges: List of Most Prestigious Schools

Liberal arts schools are typically small, private institutions that focus on a general-knowledge undergraduate education. Get information on the rankings, program offerings and other outstanding qualities of some of the nation's best small liberal arts colleges.

School Overviews

Liberal arts schools typically provide students with small class sizes and significant attention from faculty members, in addition to a well-rounded education in a variety of subjects. Williams College and Pomona College are two top-ranked liberal arts schools in the U.S. Both schools offer degree programs primarily at the bachelor's level, but Williams College does have a few master's degree options. Read on the learn more.

1. Williams College in Williamstown, MA

School Highlight: 96% of Williams students are involved in at least one extracurricular activity.

Williams College, a liberal arts school in northwestern Massachusetts, was named the best liberal arts college in the country by U.S. News and World Report in 2015. The Princeton Review included Williams College at number 10 in its Top 50 - Colleges That Pay You Back of 2015. The 4-year college offers over 30 undergraduate majors in over 20 departments, including art history, economics, comparative literature, anthropology and American studies. Master's degree programs in development economics and art history are also available.

2. Pomona College in Claremont, CA

School Highlight: Pomona College was the only school in the western region of the country to be ranked in the top five of U.S. News and World Report's best liberal arts colleges in 2015.

Located approximately an hour away from Los Angeles, Pomona College ranked tied for fifth in the U.S. News and World Report's ranking of best liberal arts colleges in 2015. Pomona offers 47 majors in natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. Areas of study include English, music, philosophy, art history, theater and romance languages and literature. The school features a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1 and classes with an average size of 15 students.

Top Liberal Arts Colleges

College/University Name Distinction Location
Carleton College All seniors complete a research capstone or a major artistic production in every major Northfield, MN
Claremont McKenna College Campus includes 10 research centers and institutes covering topics like financial economics, human rights leadership, state and local government and the environment Claremont, CA
Colgate University Students can develop a for-profit or non-profit entrepreneurial venture and receive guidance from faculty and other professionals through the university's Thought Into Action Student Incubator Hamilton, NY
Hamilton College College's Oral Communication Center helps students improve their proficiency through courses, workshops, seminars and tutoring Clinton, NY
Middlebury College College has international schools in 16 countries, including China, India, Argentina, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom Middlebury, VT
Oberlin College First college in America to admit African Americans and to grant women degrees in coeducational programs Oberlin, OH
Smith College Women's college; students can take classes at institutions that are members of the Five College Consortium, which includes Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass) Northampton, MA
Washington and Lee University University has more than 200, four-week immersion courses that provide intensive study in a broad range of topics Lexington, VA
Wellesley College Women's college; college's Davis Scholars program is designed for adult students, and it includes options for full-time or part-time study Wellesley, MA
Wesleyan University Named for John Wesley, found of Methodism Middletown, CT

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