12 Best Colleges in New Hampshire

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New Hampshire’s higher education sector is secured by an education commission specifically organized to help residents flourish.

The tangible results of the committee include such innovative initiatives as the Career Pathways, which works to inspire high schoolers to think about their future academic and vocational lives. Or the Extending Learning program, which encourages local school districts to create apprenticeship opportunities.

Related: Top Online Universities in New Hampshire.

Top 10 Best Colleges in New Hampshire

Rank School Location
1 Dartmouth College Hanover, NH
2 University of New Hampshire Durham, NH
3 Saint Anselm College Manchester, NH
4 University of New Hampshire at Manchester Manchester, NH
5 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
6 Rivier University Nashua, NH
7 Colby-Sawyer College New London, NH
8 Plymouth State University Plymouth, NH
9 Keene State College Keene, NH
10 Granite State College Concord, NH

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The committee has sponsored and promoted dozens of these kinds of programs and initiatives, all in an effort to see its students have thriving, affordable, and formative experiences in education, making New Hampshire a rewarding place to earn your degree. It is perhaps why the state can boast one of the highest college graduation rates in the country, at over 70 percent.

What are the Best Colleges and Universities in New Hampshire?

Best Colleges in New Hampshire Badge

New Hampshire students can earn their degree from one of the state’s twenty-eight colleges and universities, which are pretty equally split between public institutions and private schools. Determining which of these are the best in the state required extensive data mining, especially in the areas of reputation, cost, retention, and post-graduation statistics. So first we examined the national and global reputations of each school and then retention rates of its students, which reflect on their personal experience and satisfaction with the school. From there we included stats on how many graduates found work after earning the degree, how much they made, and how much the degree cost. What we finally arrived at was a list defining New Hampshire’s best colleges and universities. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, the New Hampshire Department of Education, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Dartmouth College
    Location

    Hanover, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League university founded in 1769 in the town of Hanover, New Hampshire by Rev. Eleazar Wheelock. His goal was to educate local Native American tribes and Christian ministers. Dartmouth is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution and the smallest Ivy League university. Dartmouth became coeducational in 1972, and was named by Booz Allen Hamilton as one of the worlds most enduring institutions (2004) and 8th among American universities that have produced billionaires.

    Features

    Dartmouth College offers 57 majors for 4,310 undergraduate students. The acceptance rate was 10.4 for the class of 2021. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 7-to-1. Nearly 34% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 30 student organizations. Dartmouth College participates in 34 NCAA Division I athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Economics Government Engineering History Computer science

    Notables

    The famous Dartmouth College Case of 1819 was argued before the Supreme Court decision by Daniel Webster (Class of 1801). Even today, it is considered to be one of the most important and formative documents in United States constitutional history. It strengthens the contract clause of the Constitution that allows all American private institutions to conduct their affairs in accordance with their charters and without interference from the state.

  2. University of New Hampshire
    Location

    Durham, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    University of New Hampshire (UNH) was founded in 1866 in Durham, New Hampshire as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts to educate the children of farming and laboring families. Today, it is one of the few university with a land, sea and space grants. UNH is the largest university in the state with over 15,000 students at its Durham, Manchester, and Concord campuses

    Features

    University of New Hampshire offers over 100 degree programs for 12,831 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 19-to-1. Nearly 40% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 200 student organizations. University of New Hampshire participates in NCAA Division I athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Business Psychology Biomedical sciences and medicine Communications Mechanical Engineering

    Notables

    The University of New Hampshire has an excellent dining experience for students. They are recognized by the Culinary Institute of America for their food especially their gluten free and vegan options. However, if you can peel yourself away from this gourmet experience, UNH offers over 500 study abroad programs that are equally exciting.

  3. Saint Anselm College
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Saint Anselm College was founded in 1889 by Abbot Hilary Pfr ngle, O.S.B. of Saint Marys Abbey in New Jersey and the Benedictine Catholic order. Today it is the 3rd oldest Catholic college in New England. The campus has 400 acres on a hilltop overlooking Manchester, New Hampshire and is within an hour drive of the seacoast, Boston, the White Mountains, and New Hampshires Lakes Region. Manchester, New Hampshire is New Hampshires largest city that includes cultural attractions with plenty of urban opportunities.

    Features

    Saint Anselm College offers over 30 majors for 1,924 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 11-to-1. Nearly 68% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 25 student organizations. Saint Anselm College participates in NCAA Division II athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Criminology Nursing Psychology Business

    Notables

    Saint Anselm College is named after Saint Anselm (1033 -1109). He was a Benedictine monk, Christian philosopher and scholar whose brilliance writing about the nature of faith influences scholars since the Middle Ages. He was elected to the position of abbot of the community in 1078. He became the Archbishop of Canterbury and showed great courage in disputing William II and Henry I about the abuses to the church. He was twice banished from England but always returned to be an extraordinary theologian, negotiator and statesman.

  4. University of New Hampshire at Manchester
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    University of New Hampshire at Manchester was founded in 1985 as the 6th branch of the University of New Hampshire university system. While the school is small, Manchester, New Hampshire is the largest city and the largest city in New England north of Boston. UNH is primarily a commuter campus that primarily offers undergraduate degrees. However, it does offer a few graduate degrees. Over 2,600 students use this campus to learn more about various educational fields.

    Features

    University of New Hampshire at Manchester offers 18 bachelors and several associate degrees for 763 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 11-to-1. Nearly 70% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 20 student organizations. University of New Hampshire at Manchester XX participates in NCAA Division II athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Business Biology Communications Mechanical Engineering Psychology

    Notables

    University of New Hampshire at Manchester has developed an ESOL Center to assist students develop a proficiency in English. Students can attend as its own curriculum or can integrate it into future degrees. All students are welcome.

  5. Southern New Hampshire University
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Southern New Hampshire University was founded in 1932 to reinvent higher education. The main campus is in Manchester, New Hampshire, with several regional centers in Manchester and Brunswick. However, Southern New Hampshire University is most known for its 80,000 online students. Whether you are talking about their 300-acre main campus, their regional centers or their online program, they are consistently ranked as a Best Buy, Best Business program and Best online school.

    Features

    Southern New Hampshire University main campus offers over 50 degree programs for the local 3,000 student body. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 15-to-1. Nearly 55% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 60 student organizations. Southern New Hampshire University participates in NCAA Division III athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Business Psychology Corrections Criminal Justice Education Computer Information Sciences

    Notables

    Southern New Hampshire University is becoming known as the Amazon of Higher Education. In the last 10 years, they have reinvented how students can access education online. Today, over 80,000 students call Southern New Hampshire University their educational home.

  6. Rivier University
    Location

    Nashua, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Rivier University was founded in 1933 in Nashua, New Hampshire, by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and Sister Madeleine of Jesus. The school was founded to educate the daughters of mill workers. Rivier University is named after Blessed Anne Marie River, the founder of the Sisters of Presentation of Mary whose mission was of teaching and serving the poor by making social justice and service to others a special focus of its work. It became a university in 2012 and started offering doctoral degrees.

    Features

    Rivier University offers over 25 majors for 780 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 15-to-1. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 15 student organizations. Rivier University participates in NCAA Division III athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Nursing Education Psychology Business Human development

    Notables

    Rivier University offers a solid tradition of service to those in need and celebrating the days when others succeed. For example, on graduation day, it is held at the Paul Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts. Here students are able to be involved in Pinning ceremonies, hooding ceremonies and confer of the degrees.

  7. Colby-Sawyer College
    Location

    New London, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Colby-Sawyer College is a private, comprehensive baccalaureate college situated on a 200-acre campus in New London, New Hampshire. It was founded as a coed academy in 1837. Today, it is a comprehensive college located just 90 minutes north of Boston and 4 hours south of Montreal, Canada.

    Features

    Colby-Sawyer College offers 30 degrees for 1,276 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. Average class size is 13 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 50 student organizations. Colby-Sawyer College participates in NCAA Division III athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Business Education Nursing Psychology Biology

    Notables

    During the first half of the fall semester, the bell cries out from the top of Colgate Hall. It announces to the entire campus that it is Mountain Day! The tradition was started in the 1850s as a way to build community. The campus president chooses the day to cancel classes and have as many people from the campus community climb Mount Kearsarge, a 2,937-foot mountain that overlooks the campus.

  8. Plymouth State University
    Location

    Plymouth, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Plymouth State University was founded in 1871 with the aid of Charles Brooks and the New Hampshire Legislature. It was originally intended to be a training center for teachers. In 1927, the American Council of Teacher Colleges rated it a Grade A teachers college a rating it has held ever since. Today, Plymouth State University is a regional comprehensive university that is A part of the University System of New Hampshire that offers a rich, student-focused learning environment for undergraduate, graduate, and non-traditional students.

    Features

    Plymouth State University offers 52 majors for 4,105 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 16-to-1. The average class size is 21 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 80 student organizations. Plymouth State University participates in NCAA Division III athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Criminal Studies Business Marketing Communications Education

    Notables

    Plymouth State University has a large graduate program as well. The graduate program began in 1948. Today, over 2,000 graduate students pursue over 75 degree programs that include Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Science, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies, and Doctor of Education.

  9. Keene State College
    Location

    Keene, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Keene State College is a liberal arts college founded in 1909 as a teachers college in Keene, New Hampshire. Things have developed since then. Today, the most popular major comes from the Safety Occupational Health Applied Sciences Program. Due to the increased interest, the program began holding an annual professional development conference in conjunction with the student ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers) chapter.

    Features

    Keene State College offers 40 academic degrees for 5,400 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 16-to-1. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 45 student organizations.. Top majors include:

    Psychology Education Occupational safety and health technician Business Communications

    Notables

    Keene State College has a respected teacher education program with major annual seminars in childrens literature. The film department holds an annual student film festival and assist the geography department when it hosts the annual New Hampshire State Geographic Bee. The winner of the bee gets to compete at the national level National Geographic Bee hosted by Alex Trebek.

  10. Granite State College
    Location

    Concord, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Granite State College was founded in Concord, New Hampshire to serve non-traditional, adult students in the area. Today, it is part of the University System of New Hampshire and the College Central Network. It is the most affordable 4-year college in New Hampshire offering associate and bachelors degrees, masters degrees, post-baccalaureate programs for teacher education, transfer opportunities, and 100% online degree programs through 9 state locations, partnerships with community colleges and online.

    Features

    Granite State College offers over 30 undergraduate programs for 2,883 undergraduate students. The average student is 34 years old. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 12-to-1. Nearly 80% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 20 student organizations. Top majors include:

    Business Psychology Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies Health Professions Education

    Notables

    The College Central Network is a web-based system that provides students with the opportunity to search, plan and initiate field-based experimental learning opportunities. Basically, the College Central Network is like a digital lab partner that assists with putting your academic theory into practice through guided learning.

  11. Franklin Pierce University
    Location

    Ringe, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Franklin Pierce University was founded in 1962 by the New Hampshire state legislation and Frank S. DiPietro. 45 years later in 2007, Franklin Pierce University reached university status. Franklin Pierce University is named after the 14th former President of the United States, Franklin Pierce. Today, it sits on a 1,200-acre hilltop estate in Rindge with graduate centers in Manchester, Portsmouth, and Lebanon, New Hampshire, as well as Goodyear, Arizona. Rindge is 65 miles from Boston, 112 miles from Hartford and 236 miles from New York City.

    Features

    Franklin Pierce University offers 40 academic programs for 1,662 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 12-to-1. Nearly 64%% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 20 student organizations. Franklin Pierce University participates in NCAA Division II athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Business Health Professions Biological Biomedical Sciences Education Visual and Performing Arts

    Notables

    Franklin Pierce University is committed to supporting Climate Neutrality. They want to pass on the rich natural settings of the Rindge campus to the next generation. This campus includes over 1,000 of undeveloped forests, fields, wetlands and lakeshore. It provides a place to relax, to learn and how the ecology interacts with the human world. They were one of the universities that signed the American College and University Presidents Commitment to Climate Neutrality.

  12. New England College
    Location

    Henniker, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    New England College was founded in 1946 to serve the needs of service men and women returning from WW II and using the GI Bill. Today, the 220-acre campus is in Henniker, New Hampshire just 15 minutes from the states capital, 30 minutes from Manchester and 90 minutes from Boston. New England College is Highly diverse, over one third of NECs students identify themselves as students of color.

    Features

    New England College offers 20 majors for 1,900 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 40 student organizations. New England College participates in NCAA Division III athletic conferences. Top majors include:

    Business Criminal Justice Biology/Health Sciences Psychology Education

    Notables

    New England College has a full graduate program as well. This program includes: 12 Masters degree programs, and one Doctoral degree. There is an emphasis on experimental learning and interaction with the dedicated and accomplished faculty. Every year, students participate in over 1,000 internships applying academic theory in the global economy.

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