20 Best Colleges in New Jersey

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The aspiration to excellence in the higher education system is key to the United States’ future: for its continuing prosperity today and in the years to come.

It is an aspiration that New Jersey has taken on board. A 2015 report by the Governor’s Council on Higher Education recommended that 65 percent of all adults complete a post-secondary degree or certification by 2025. And with four-year colleges that range from the Ivy league to a top ten research university, it is one New Jersey is well placed to achieve.

With New York on its eastern border and Philadelphia on its western side, New Jersey has three public research universities, eight state colleges and universities and 15 independent four year colleges. All are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Of which 25 are detailed below.

New Jersey also has the unique distinction of being home to two of the nine colleges established in the thirteen colonies prior to the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The College of New Jersey, known today as Princeton University, was founded in 1746, Queen’s College, known today as Rutgers University, was founded in 1766. The State is also adapting to the age we live in. Which is why also ranked the Best Online Schools in New Jersey.

All the colleges located in New Jersey also have easy access to a wide variety of world-class events, both cultural and sporting, that a city like New York attracts. Extra-curricular activities that many of the New Jersey colleges access on a regular basis.

Top 10 Best Colleges in New Jersey

Rank School Location
1 Princeton University Princeton, NJ
2 Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ
3 Ramapo College of New Jersey Mahwah, NJ
4 Monmouth University West Long Branch, NJ
5 Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
6 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
7 Rutgers University-Camden Camden, NJ
8 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
9 Caldwell University Caldwell, NJ
10 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ

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What are the best colleges in New Jersey?

College Choice has done the heavy lifting in comparing all the four-year degree colleges and universities in New Jersey. Accessing information from college and university websites, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the U. S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, U.S. News and World Report and the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, College Choice has ranked the top 25.

Using metrics that include graduation rate, institutional reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, endowment size, tuition costs, average student indebtedness after graduation and graduates expected early career salary, College Choice has compiled the list below.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Princeton University
    Location

    Princeton, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, it was renamed Princeton University when the college moved to its present day 500-acre campus in 1896. Princeton is one of the eight world-famous Ivy League universities known for their academic excellence, selective admissions, and social elitism. Among its alumni can be counted two U.S. Presidents, 41 Nobel laureates, 12 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, along with numerous living billionaires and foreign heads of state. In 1969 this liberal arts university became coeducational. Former first lady Michelle Obama was from the Class of 1985.

    Features

    Providing undergraduate and graduate teaching in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, Princeton has a population of just over 8,000 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1. It offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctor’s degrees and from 2001 to the present-day Princeton has been ranked in the top two of national universities by the U.S. News & World Report, holding the top spot for 15 of these 17 years. Popular majors include:

    • Engineering
    • Social Sciences
    • Public Administration
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • History

    Notables

    Over 98 percent of students live on campus with freshmen and sophomores mandated to live in residential colleges. Much of Princeton’s social life gravitates around these six residential colleges that also sponsor trips to New York to see the ballet, the opera, Broadway shows, and sporting events. And should Princeton beat Harvard and Yale Universities at football in the same season, a Ceremonial Bonfire is held in Common Green. The most recent of this was in November of 2013.

  2. Stevens Institute of Technology
    Location

    Hoboken, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    As the first college in America dedicated to mechanical engineering, the Stevens Institute of Technology was incorporated in 1870 from an 1868 bequest by the American engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur, Edwin Augustus Stevens. With two Nobel Prize winners amongst its alumni, one each in Chemistry and Physics, Stevens has three designated national Centers of Excellence from the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. In 1971 Stevens became a coeducational institution and in 1982 it became the first major U.S. educational body to mandate the use of personal computers in the classroom.

    Features

    With a student population of just under 5,000 graduates and undergraduates Stevens has an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. The four schools, the Schaefer School of Engineering & Science, the School of Business, the School of Systems & Enterprises, and the College of Arts and Letters attracts a diverse, multi-cultural range of students from around the world. Top subject majors include:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer and Information Sciences
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Engineering Technology

    Notables

    As well as having alumni involved with the invention of IMAP (the modern form of email), bubble wrap, and the Gantt chart, the Stevens’ Hoboken campus abuts four of the city’s parks. This embrace of inclusion and diversity is likewise present in the hundred plus student organizations that include 18 social sororities and fraternities. All of these promote Stevens Institute of Technology as a community of learners that think critically and act responsibly.

  3. Ramapo College of New Jersey
    Location

    Mahwah, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains, the Ramapo College of New Jersey is a public liberal arts and professional studies university. Due to its unique interdisciplinary academic structure, size, and pastoral setting it is viewed by some as being similar to a private college. Established in 1969 as a coeducational four-year college it was accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in 1975. Ramapo College is also a founding member of the national alliance of leading public liberal arts colleges, the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges.

    Features

    The College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, humanities, social sciences, and the sciences, along with professional studies, in nursing and social work, and teacher certification for the elementary and secondary levels. The 6,000 students can choose their studies from one of five schools that have more than 539-course offerings and 36 academic programs. With a student-to-faculty ration of 18:1, the average class size is 23 students. Popular majors include

    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Health Professions
    • Communications & Journalism
    • Biological & Biomedical Science

    Notables

    Ramapo’s 300-acre campus has a variety of accommodation facilities for the 75% of first-year students who live on campus that ranges from dormitory-style to apartments. Based on six-year graduation rates, 72 percent of students graduate and one year after graduating 87 percent are employed or at graduate school. And for the last 11 years Ramapo has been ranked in the “100 best values in public colleges” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

  4. Monmouth University
    Location

    West Long Branch, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    With two historic buildings on campus, the Woodrow Wilson Hall and the Guggenheim Cottage, Monmouth University is just one mile from the Atlantic Ocean. It is also an affiliate of the Los Angeles-based GRAMMY Museum. This private university began life as a junior college in 1933. In 1956, it started offering four-year bachelor degrees and less than a decade later master’s degrees. Monmouth was granted university status by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education in 1995.

    Features

    Even with a student population of over 6,000, Monmouth maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The University offers 32 undergraduate and 24 graduate degree programs and a multitude of certificate programs. The programs are delivered by schools in business, education, humanities and social sciences, nursing and health studies, science and social work. Popular majors include

    • Business
    • Communication and Journalism
    • Health Professions
    • Psychology
    • Social Sciences

    Notables

    Monmouth University has numerous on-campus clubs and organizations. They include a television station, Hawk TV, a radio station, WMCX-FM, a student-run newspaper, The Outlook, which has been published since 1933, and a student-run independent record label, Blue Hawk Records. WMCX-FM was one of the last media outlets to interview Bob Marley and the first in America to announce his death. With New York less than an hour away group excursions and class trips to theaters, Fortune 500 companies, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Fox News are regular outings.

  5. Rutgers University-New Brunswick
    Location

    New Brunswick, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the oldest and largest campus of Rutgers University – The State University of New Jersey. It was founded prior to the War of Independence in 1766 as Queens College. In 1825, it was renamed as Rutgers College and became Rutgers University in 1928. It became the State University of New Jersey by acts of the New Jersey Legislature in 1945 and 1956. Rutgers New Brunswick consists of five campuses: Busch, College Avenue, Livingston, Cook, and Douglass. And along with its campuses in Newark and Camden, Rutgers University is one of the country’s top ten public research institutions.

    Features

    Eighteen schools and colleges service over forty thousand students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. Offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s degrees Rutgers offers over a hundred undergraduate majors amongst which the most popular are:

    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
    • Health Professions
    • Social Sciences

    Notables

    With over 16,000 residential students, each of the five campuses has its own individual identity based around its academic profile. There are 136 resident’s halls, four dining halls and over 30 food courts and cafes. Along with 19 libraries and a campus bus and shuttle service that operates seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Rutgers also brings more federal research dollars to New Jersey than the combined efforts of all other New Jersey colleges and universities.

  6. Rowan University
    Location

    Glassboro, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in the southern New Jersey town of Glassboro, Rowan University, with its four campuses, was officially recognized by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education in 1997. Prior to that it was known as the Rowan College of New Jersey. It was named after Henry and Betty Rowan who in 1992 gave the Glassboro State College a gift of $100 million with the understanding that the school create a College of Engineering. Today Rowan University has 14 schools offering students a wide range of professional tracks.

    Features

    With over 16,000 students, Rowan offers 74 bachelor’s, 51 master’s, four doctoral degrees, and two professional programs with a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. The average class size of 22 students ensures targeted learning along with strong student-professor networking opportunities. Popular undergraduate majors include

    • Business
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Communication & Journalism
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences

    Notables

    Rowan’s 200-acre campus provides housing in halls, apartments or townhouses for over 3,600 students. Non-commuting full-time students are required to live on-campus for their first two years. Due the university’s continued growth freshman students are offered an incentive to live in tripled units (three students sharing a standard two-person room). The incentives include $1,000 off housing costs and free summer housing. Rowan University contends that students who live on campus are more likely to complete their degree within four years.

  7. Rutgers University-Camden
    Location

    Camden, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    In the 1920’s a group of South Jersey citizens founded the South Jersey Law School and the College of South Jersey. In 1950 these two schools merged with the State University of Jersey to become Rutgers University-Camden. Since then it has expanded beyond its liberal arts program to include the School of Business–Camden. In 2007 Rutgers–Camden added a PhD degree in childhood studies, a national first. Two additional PhD degrees in integrative biology and public affairs have followed this lead.

    Features

    With a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, Rutgers-Camden’s 6,000-plus students enjoy the prestige of a major research institution with a small campus atmosphere. With over 40 major programs, 50 minors, and 29 graduate programs, the university’s four schools and colleges have an average class size of 26 students. The most popular undergraduate programs are

    • Business
    • Health Professions
    • Psychology
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
    • Homeland Security & Law Enforcement

    Notables

    With over 75 clubs and organizations on campus, Rutgers-Camden’s student body comes from 29 states and 33 counties. Its diversity shines through the various ethnic and racial groups, various religious denominations, political associations, and the LGBTQ club that share the campus. And the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts hosts performances, exhibitions, educational programs and community events to inspire an appreciation and enjoyment of the arts.

  8. The College of New Jersey
    Location

    Ewing, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    With its seven schools: Arts & Communication; Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Education; Engineering; Nursing, Health, & Exercise Science; and Science, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) is a far cry from its beginnings as a teacher training institution. Mandated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature in 1855 it became the first teacher training institution in the state and the ninth in the country. Over the years TCNJ has changed its name five times and broadened its curriculum to accommodate more than 50 liberal arts and professional programs.

    Features

    TCNJ’s seven and a half thousand students enjoy an average class size of 21 that sees the College maintaining a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Over 400 employers actively recruit on campus. Popular majors include:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Social Sciences
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

    Notables

    The 298-acre landscaped suburban campus is situated in the township of Ewing in Mercer County, New Jersey and is less than an hour and a half train trip from both New York and Philadelphia. But for three out of four weekends, the 95 percent of freshmen who live on campus remain at the 14 residential college apartment buildings they call home and where they are guaranteed the right to reside for their first two years. For the academically prepared student, TCNJ offers a challenging undergraduate education with a rewarding residential experience.

  9. Caldwell University
    Location

    Caldwell, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Just 20 minutes from New York, Caldwell University is a Catholic liberal arts university. It opened its doors 1939 as the Caldwell College for Women. Almost half a century later, in 1986, it became co-educational and shortened its name to Caldwell College. In July of 2014 Caldwell University was born after the college received university status from the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. Caldwell encourages students to use New York City as a place to learn by engaging in internships and shadowing opportunities, experience cultural events, shopping or catching a game.

    Features

    With around 2200 full-time, part-time and graduate students, the student-to-faculty ratio is 12:1. Caldwell offers 30 undergraduate degrees and a similar number of graduate and certificate programs. Amongst undergraduates the most popular majors include

    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Health Professions
    • Social Sciences
    • Communication & Journalism

    Notables

    Caldwell has over 20 clubs that range from French and Italian clubs via accounting and socio-political societies to Greek life and criminal justice. As well, there is the Campus Ministry which encourages students to reach out. Caldwell’s students are invited each year to involve themselves in both their world and local communities with these and other outreach programs. Activities include volunteering at a soup kitchen, feeding the homeless in New York or assisting in repairing or building homes for low-income families in Eastern Kentucky.

  10. Seton Hall University
    Location

    South Orange, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    To honor the name of his aunt who was the first American-born saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Bishop of Newark James Roosevelt Bayley founded Seton Hall College in 1856. Eighty-one years later, in 1937 a University College was established and in 1968 the College became coeducational. Six years short of its Centenary, in 1950, Seton Hall was organized as a University with a College of Arts and Sciences and schools of business, nursing, and education on its 58-acre campus in South Orange, New Jersey. A year later the University opened a School of Law at its Newark Campus.

    Features

    The nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students at Seton Hall have access to over 90 programs. With an average class size of 21 students and Freshman English classes of 15, Seton Hall has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The most popular majors taken are

    • Business
    • Health Professions
    • Social Sciences
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Communication and Journalism

    Notables

    Situated just 14 miles from Manhattan, Seton Hall has all that a world-class city can offer on its doorstep. While on campus, there are 22 Greek Societies, 25 plus intramurals and sport clubs, and over 130 student organizations. And even today, 161 years after its founding, Seton Hall University still adheres to its founder’s vision of providing “a home for the mind, the heart, and the spirit.”

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