Best Western Regional Universities 1The West was the last region of the United States to be settled. Although numerous major metropolises are now thriving in this region, the West is still, in many ways, a symbol of adventure, determination, and pushing the frontier towards something greater.

For many people, this means seeking higher education to advance their career, pursue their interests, and fulfill a lifelong goal of earning a degree. Luckily, the regional universities in the West are some of the best in the nation.

No matter what academic field students wish to pursue, there’s a region of the West that’s perfectly suited to their interests. From agriculture in Oklahoma to cutting edge technology in Silicon Valley, from the thriving arts scene in Los Angeles to the many financial hubs in Texas, the West has a city, and a college, for every passion.

While cities on the East Coast have had hundreds of years to establish roots, the cities in the West are generally younger, and many are continuing to reinvent themselves as they grow. The innovative attitude that is the hallmark of the frontier is alive and well in these areas. Students with a pioneering spirit will find themselves at home in flourishing cities like Portland and Austin.

Places like San Francisco, Houston, and Denver have been world-class cities for decades, and they provide all the trappings of true city life: major centers for commerce and trade, a significant presence of culture and the arts, and of course, a distinctive personality that’s unlike any other place in the world.

Outside of these urban hubs, there’s still plenty of room to spread out: almost all of the Western states have a population density well below the national average. Home to an array of national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and many others, the West encompasses some of the most breathtaking natural beauty on the planet.

With an economic and cultural landscape that’s just as diverse as the physical one, the West is the perfect place to launch a career by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

What are the best regional universities in the West?

What exactly is a regional university? Simply put, the defining difference between a regional university and a national university is the highest degree offered by that school. A national university grants degrees up through the doctorate level, while a regional university typically offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees (although some may have very limited doctorate programs).

In order to bring you this ranking of regional universities, we’ve taken into account numerous important factors that fall under the broad categories of institutional excellence and student success.

Under the umbrella of institutional excellence, we consider factors like incoming student test scores, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, institutional reputation, endowment size, and other key data points. For student success, we look at metrics such as typical tuition costs, average student indebtedness after graduation, projected early career salary for graduates, and the amount of financial aid available. After a careful assessment of all of these data points, we’re pleased to present the following list of the very best regional universities in the West.

1

Trinity University

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $26,165

School Website

Overview

A private liberal arts college, Trinity University is an outstanding example of a regional university with rigorous standards of academic excellence. The university was founded in 1869 in Tehuacana, Texas before moving to Waxahachie and finally to its current home in San Antonio. Today, Trinity continues to uphold its tradition of preparing students to be leaders for a diverse and interconnected future.

Features

Trinity University offers 47 degrees for undergraduate students and five programs of study for graduate students, including a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Master of Science in Accounting, a Master of Arts in School Psychology, a Master of Education in School Leadership, and a program in Health Care Administration. Top undergraduate majors at Trinity include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

Details

The school boasts a world-class faculty (97% of TU faculty members hold PhDs) and exceptionally small class sizes, with a student-faculty ratio of just 9:1. The mean ACT score of incoming freshmen is an impressive 29.2, and the mean high school GPA is 3.56. The total enrollment at Trinity as of 2016 was 2,338, promoting a close-knit learning environment where students are encouraged to form meaningful friendships and collaborations with their peers.

2

Santa Clara University

College Choice Score: 98.44

Average Net Price: $37,198

School Website

Overview

The location of Santa Clara University in the heart of Silicon Valley means that the school sits at the world’s epicenter for technological innovation, and its roots in Jesuit tradition mean that SCU students will gain a strong vision for the future that’s guided by the university’s commitment to social justice. Ranked as the 6th best Catholic university in the United States, Santa Clara University is a truly excellent place to launch a career in the arts and sciences, business, law, or engineering.

Features

More than 50 majors, minors, and certificate programs are available at Santa Clara. A number of ecclesiastical degree programs are available, including a Bachelor, Licentiate, and Doctor of Sacred Theology. Numerous M.A.s and M.S.s are offered, as well as several B.S./M.S. dual degrees in engineering and arts and sciences. Some of the most popular majors at SCU include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Psychology

Details

Santa Clara University was named by the Princeton Review as number 19 of the top “50 Green Colleges” for the school’s extensive sustainable initiative. The university runs numerous other community outreach initiatives, including Engineers Without Borders and the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. SCU has a total undergraduate enrollment of over 5,300, and a graduate enrollment of about 3,300. The school boasts an impressive 96 percent freshmen retention rate, an important measure of student satisfaction.

3

Loyola Marymount University

College Choice Score: 94.65

Average Net Price: $40,226

School Website

Overview

Loyola Marymount University, located on a beautiful 142-acre campus overlooking Los Angeles, is ranked among the top 10 percent of universities nationwide by the Wall Street Journal. The university’s School of Film and Television was ranked 8th nationally by the Hollywood Reporter, and the Princeton Review awarded LMU the number 12 slot in Students Most Engaged in Community Service. LMU’s extensive accolades are a testament to the school’s commitment to the traditional Jesuit values of academic achievement and scholarly excellence.

Features

Undergraduate students can pursue 58 majors and 53 minors at LMU. Graduate students have the option of 46 master’s degree programs, one education doctorate, one doctorate in juridical science, one juris doctorate, and 13 credential programs. Top programs among Loyola Marymount’s 6,100-plus undergraduates include:

  • Business/Commerce
  • Social Sciences
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Psychology

Details

Because of its proximity to Los Angeles and Hollywood, LMU is known as a hub of visual arts and media studies. The school features a number of award-winning student media organizations, including KXLU 88.9 FM, The Los Angeles Loyolan (newspaper), The Tower (yearbook), and ROAR Studios (television network). The university is also home to 22 Division I and varsity sports, as well as 22 Greek fraternities and sororities.

4

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

College Choice Score: 92.56

Average Net Price: $18,238

School Website

Overview

California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo is best known for its engineering, architecture, and business programs, but it also offers renowned degree programs in a variety of other arts and sciences. The university has an extensive network of industry connections on California’s Central Coast, as well as throughout the Bay Area and Southern California. Perhaps due to these connections, 94% of currently employed Cal Poly students found jobs directly related to their major after graduation.

Features

More than 60 majors are available to undergraduate students, while graduate students can pursue numerous degrees and certifications through Cal Poly’s seven academic colleges, which include Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences; Architecture and Environmental Design; Business; Engineering; Liberal Arts; Science and Mathematics; and Education. Some of the most popular undergraduate majors include:

  • Engineering
  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Social Sciences

Details

Cal Poly requires undergrads to declare a major on their application so that they can begin taking classes related to their major during their freshman year, allowing students to get “hands-on and elbow-deep” in their chosen field as early as possible. The agricultural college has land holdings of over 10,000 acres, including a 450-acre avocado and lemon ranch donated to the school in 2015. The university is only 10 minutes from beaches on the Pacific shore.

5

Gonzaga University

College Choice Score: 91.54

Average Net Price: $32,111

School Website

Overview

As a private liberal arts institution, Gonzaga University is anchored in Jesuit tradition and committed to cultivating critical thought, lifelong learning, spiritual growth, ethical discernment, creativity, and innovation in its students. Founded in 1887, the university now serves over 7,500 total students. The 152-acre campus is located on the north bank of the Spokane River, a half mile from Spokane’s downtown district.

Features

The degree programs offered at Gonzaga University include 75 fields of undergraduate study, 23 master’s degrees, three doctoral degrees, and a juris doctorate. The university also offers an Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, Honors Program, and Military Science program for the Gonzaga ROTC (one of the most highly ranked in the nation). Top undergraduate degrees include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Details

Students at Gonzaga value the personalized education they receive from knowledgeable, experienced professors; 100 percent of Gonzaga’s classes are taught by professors rather than TAs, and 83 percent of faculty members hold a terminal degree in their area of teaching. The average financial aid package for students is $27,131. The university meets, on average, 78 percent of a student’s demonstrated financial need, and 98 percent of students receive financial aid. Although Gonzaga is a Catholic university, a total of 24 faiths are represented on campus.

6

University of Portland

College Choice Score: 91.47

Average Net Price: $31,880

School Website

Overview

The University of Portland has a long history of academic excellence: it’s been named among the top ten universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report for 22 consecutive years. This Catholic university is best known for its comprehensive academic programs, which include business, education, engineering, nursing, and a College of Arts and Sciences.

Features

Forty undergraduate programs, 33 minors, 20 graduate programs, and more than 1,300 courses make up the academic catalog of the University of Portland. All undergraduate students will take classes in literature, philosophy, theology, history, math, science, and the social sciences, ensuring that every student has a strong basis in a holistic liberal arts education. Some of the most popular undergraduate degrees include:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Engineering
  • Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

Details

UP offers a total of 16 study abroad programs, including a flagship program in Salzburg, Austria (students who participate in this program are affectionately known as Salzburgers). The university places a strong emphasis on the importance of residential living for students: 94 percent of freshmen and 57 percent of the total student body live on campus. Incoming students can participate in Service Plunge, a pre-orientation opportunity to volunteer with local service agencies and meet fellow freshmen.

7

Chapman University

College Choice Score: 89.06

Average Net Price: $36,602

School Website

Overview

Founded in 1861 as Hesperian College, Chapman University has won national and international recognition as an institution that prepares students to contribute toward a global society. More than 60 nations are represented among Chapman’s students and alumni. Chapman students will have the chance to study, work, and play on the 78-acre campus located in Orange County, just 30 miles from Los Angeles.

Features

Undergraduate students at Chapman can choose from 125 available majors, minors, and 4+1 programs, which allow students to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. The academic catalog includes a number of unique offerings such as minors in Game Development Programming, Holocaust History, and LGBTQ Studies. Distinctive programs at the graduate level include a joint MFA/MBA in Film & Television Producing and Business Administration. Top undergraduate degrees at Chapman include:

  • Business Administration and Management
  • Cinematography and Film/Video Production
  • Psychology

Details

At Chapman, students will find a commitment to a student-centered environment, with full support from the school’s 423 full-time faculty (87% of whom hold doctoral or terminal degrees in their fields). The student-faculty ratio is 14:1. One of the most unique opportunities at Chapman is the Semester at Sea, a program that has allowed thousands of students to travel more than 25,000 nautical miles while they explore ports in non-traditional destinations around the globe.

8

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

College Choice Score: 88.44

Average Net Price: $12,489

School Website

Overview

The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology has earned top regional and national honors for its programs in hydrology, atmospheric physics, geophysics, information technology, and geological sciences. USA Today ranked New Mexico Tech as 8th in the country for its engineering program, and named NMT as one of the Best Value Colleges nationwide. The school’s setting is considered rural, with a 320-acre campus located in Socorro, 75 miles south of Albuquerque.

Features

More than 20 programs are available for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree at New Mexico Tech. Master’s degrees, a limited number of doctorate degrees, and professional certificates are available in fields including biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, geochemistry, physics, and a variety of engineering disciplines. Among NMT’s 1,600 undergraduates, some of the most popular majors include:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Biology/Biological Sciences
  • Computer and Information Sciences

Details

Students will benefit from the excellent faculty at New Mexico Tech; 99 percent of full-time faculty members hold a doctoral degree in their field. Although degree programs focus on technical fields, students can expand their horizons through classes in music, fine arts, poetry and creative writing, martial arts, Celtic dance, ballroom dance, scuba diving, and more. The campus is close to opportunities for rock-climbing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

9

Seattle University

College Choice Score: 87.55

Average Net Price: $35,261

School Website

Overview

Located in the thriving Capitol Hill neighborhood, Seattle University is a Jesuit institution with a mission to transform students into daring scholars and empowered leaders. The school has won numerous accolades for academic excellence. Most notably, the Albers School of Business and Economics was named number one in the nation for macroeconomics by Bloomberg Businessweek, while the School of Law’s Legal Writing program was ranked number one nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Features

Through the 64 undergraduate programs, 31 graduate programs, and 28 certificate programs offered at SU, students can prepare for careers in a variety of fields. Academic colleges at the school include Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Nursing, and Science and Engineering. Top undergraduate majors include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Social Sciences
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Details

As an integral part of Washington’s economy, Seattle University generates a regional economic impact of nearly $525 million annually. SU also highlights its commitment to improving the community through service, with over 200,000 volunteer hours contributed by SU faculty, staff, and students each year. The average class size is 19 students, and every class is taught by SU’s highly experienced faculty members.

10

Whitworth University

College Choice Score: 87.43

Average Net Price: $27,365

School Website

Overview

Whitworth University’s 200-acre campus of red-brick buildings and stately pine trees provides a perfect backdrop for the university’s ongoing mission to provide “an education of mind and heart.” Located in Spokane, Washington, the university serves a student body of roughly 2,600 undergraduates and 300 graduate students. A Christian university affiliated with the Presbyterian church, Whitworth offers rigorous academic programs, a holistic liberal arts philosophy, and an overarching commitment to faith.

Features

The four schools at Whitworth University include the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Continuing Studies, which is designed specifically for adult students seeking a bachelor’s degree. The Whitworth in the Evening program features accelerated-format classes with an emphasis on professional development. Top majors at Whitworth include the following:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology

Details

Among the 2016 graduating class, 43 percent of students participated in a study abroad program during their WU tenure. The freshmen retention rate, a key measurement of student satisfaction, is an impressive 85.4 percent. The university highlights its commitment to providing the support needed for students to succeed academically, and it shows: 85 percent of students graduate within four years. In 2016, Whitworth was recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for outstanding commitment to inclusion and acceptance.

11

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

College Choice Score: 86.50

Average Net Price: $13,603

School Website

Overview

The campus of California State Polytechnic University-Pomona is located on 1,438 acres in the serene foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, 30 miles east of Los Angeles. Recently named one of the “Best Colleges for Your Money 2017” by Money magazine, Cal Poly Pomona provides an exceptional value for students, with wide-ranging opportunities for service learning, meaningful internships, and research projects with distinguished faculty members.

Features

Over 100 degree tracks are available at Cal Poly Pomona, including undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and certificate programs. The eight academic schools of CPP include Agriculture, Business Administration, Education & Integrative Studies, Engineering, Environmental Design, Hospitality Management, Letters, Arts & Social Sciences, and Science. Some of the most popular undergraduate degree programs include:

  • Business Administration and Management
  • Hospitality Administration and Management
  • Biology/Biological Sciences
  • Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering

Details

Cal Poly has earned a number of distinctions for its diversity, sustainability, and value. The university was recently named one of the best universities in the nation for serving African American students in a study by The Education Trust. CPP has been recognized by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Princeton Review, and the Sierra Club as an outstanding “green college.” The PayScale College Return on Investment assessment ranked Cal Poly Pomona at number 69 out of 962 universities nationwide.

12

Abilene Christian University

College Choice Score: 86.39

Average Net Price: $24,594

School Website

Overview

Abilene Christian University, with its main campus located 150 miles west of Dallas, provides students with an engaging intellectual and spiritual community of 4,500 total students. All of the coursework at ACU is driven by a Christian outlook, allowing students to incorporate their faith into their education as they prepare for successful and fulfilling careers.

Features

The university offers 135 areas of study for its on-campus undergraduate students, while graduate students can pursue a master’s degree or post-baccalaureate certification either on campus or online. Students can pursue one of 70 undergraduate degree programs and 27 graduate level programs in the arts and sciences, Biblical studies, business administration, and education and human services. Some of the most popular undergraduate majors at ACU include the following:

  • Nursing
  • Accounting
  • Business Administration and Management

Details

Of ACU’s 253 full-time faculty members, 93 percent hold the highest possible degree in the field they teach. The university is committed to preparing students for a global society, and to promoting a global community on campus; 51 states and territories and 41 nations are represented in the student body. ACU ranks especially well for affordability, with financial aid packages granted to 98 percent of students. Graduates from ACU’s medical, dental, and veterinary schools have been accepted into graduate programs at a rate twice the national average.

13

California Lutheran University

College Choice Score: 85.26

Average Net Price: $30,266

School Website

Overview

Part of California Lutheran University’s driving philosophy is a commitment to diversity and inclusion, as evidenced by the 35 countries and 30 denominations and faiths represented on campus. Students can come to CLU to find a welcoming environment and top-notch academic tracks in business, creative arts, education, the humanities, science, social science, and technology.

Features

Thirty-six majors and 36 minors are available for undergraduates at Cal Lutheran. Through each of these programs, students will be able to pursue opportunities for meaningful, hands-on research and professional experiences. Graduate level students can advance their careers with a master’s degree in business, education, psychology, or theology. Among CLU’s 4,000-plus student body, some of the top majors for undergraduates include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Psychology
  • Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies

Details

While CLU’s main location is a 225-acre campus in Thousand Oaks (between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara), the university also has locations in Oxnard, Woodland Hills, Westlake, and Santa Maria, as well as a theological seminary in Berkeley. In addition to its standard undergraduate programs, CLU offers a program specifically to help working professionals finish their bachelor’s degrees; students must be at least 22 years old and have 2-3 years of work experience to qualify for the program.

14

St. Mary's University

College Choice Score: 84.97

Average Net Price: $17,164

School Website

Overview

As the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest, St. Mary’s University has over 160 years of experience in providing an outstanding and valuable education for its students. Located in downtown San Antonio, St. Mary’s is home to a vibrant community of over 3,600 students committed to service, faith, and the pursuit of excellence.

Features

In addition to the 75 undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degree programs offered at St. Mary’s, the university also offers an ROTC program, a number of music ensembles, and the Marianist Exchange Program, which allows students to study at any of the three Marianist universities in the U.S. (the other two are in Honolulu and Dayton). Top undergraduate degrees at St. Mary’s include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Details

The Brookings Institution awarded St. Mary’s University a score of 99 out of 100 for value-added with respect to mid-career salary, which places the school 17th in the nation (outranking Yale, Notre Dame, and Harvard, as well as every other school in Texas except Rice University). The key to success for St. Mary’s students may lie in the school’s admirable student-faculty ratio (12:1) and exceptionally accomplished faculty (94% of faculty members hold a terminal degree). The school also provides an array of opportunities for students to get involved, including numerous honor societies, leadership programs, and civic engagement events.

15

University of Redlands

College Choice Score: 84.91

Average Net Price: $31,686

School Website

Overview

The Fiske Guide to Colleges named the University of Redlands “One of Higher Ed’s Best Kept Secrets,” thanks to the university’s highly accessible faculty, generous financial aid, strong community atmosphere on campus, and flexible academic programs. Redlands is also ranked in the Top 5% of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes. The university is located in the heart of southern California, providing students with easy access to beaches, mountains, and desert, and the city of Los Angeles is just an hour away.

Features

The program offerings at the University of Redlands are eclectic, ranging from Studio Art to Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, from Religious Studies to Global Business. In total, more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at Redlands, including a fully online MBA program. Top undergraduate majors at the university include the following:

  • Business/Commerce
  • Business Administration and Management
  • Psychology
  • Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

Details

The University of Redlands emphasizes both excellence and accessibility; 94 percent of Redlands students receive some form of assistance, either through financial aid or merit-based scholarships. The university boasts an average class size of 19 and a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. The student body at Redlands, over 2,400 strong, represents 44 states and 11 countries, and students can participate in over 100 international study abroad programs.

16

Point Loma Nazarene University

College Choice Score: 83.80

Average Net Price: $30,360

School Website

Overview

Point Loma Nazarene University is a faith-based liberal arts university, where students will be encouraged to grow in character, intellect, and spirituality. The academic environment of PLNU is driven by high standards of excellence; Point Loma is ranked among the top five most selective Christian colleges in the U.S. Outside of the academic sphere, students can take advantage of the cultural attractions and world-famous beaches of San Diego.

Features

Academic tracks at Point Loma include bachelor’s degrees in more than 60 areas of study, as well as a program for returning students with some college credit and work experience who seek to complete their degree. Graduate level studies are available in education, nursing, and business. Some of the top undergraduate programs at PLNU include:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Details

PLNU awards financial aid to 90 percent of its students, with an average annual financial award package of $27,590. 87 percent of Point Loma students graduate within four years, and 90 percent of graduates in a pre-med track are accepted into medical school. Roughly 2,600 undergraduates attend PLNU; 61 percent of them live on campus, fostering a strong sense of community. This may contribute towards PLNU’s impressive 85 percent freshmen retention rate (the percentage of freshmen who return for their sophomore year).

17

LeTourneau University

College Choice Score: 83.54

Average Net Price: $23,024

School Website

Overview

LeTourneau University began as an Army hospital that was vacated after the end of World War I. The 200 frame buildings were converted into a college to serve the GIs returning home from the war. Today, LETU is a thriving, non-denominational Christian university that enrolls over 2,700 total students. While residential programs are offered in Longview, Texas, an array of hybrid programs are also available at campuses in Dallas and Houston.

Features

The 2,700 students of LETU can choose from an extensive academic catalog, with degrees offered in arts and sciences, aviation and aeronautical science, business, education, engineering, nursing, psychology and counseling, and theology. Many of these programs can be pursued online, both at the bachelor’s and master’s level. Some of the most popular bachelor’s degrees at LETU include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Transportation and Materials Moving

Details

The students of LETU represent 49 states, 30 countries, and 48 denominations and faiths. Special programs are available for military members and veterans, international and transfer students, and dual credit students (typically home school or high school students). The university has an impressive three-year 94 percent job placement rate overall, and the rate jumps to 97% for graduates of the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology.

18

Pacific Lutheran University

College Choice Score: 83.53

Average Net Price: $26,112

School Website

Overview

In the suburbs of Tacoma, Washington is one of the premier liberal arts colleges of the Northwest. Pacific Lutheran University was founded in 1890 by Norwegian Lutheran pioneers, and the university’s rich history is matched by an innovative vision for the future. The university seeks out students of all ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds, and especially highlights its commitment to LGBT and first-generation college students. This diverse and inclusive atmosphere is an integral part of the PLU experience.

Features

PLU has won international recognition for its Holocaust Studies program, and the School of Arts and Communication has also garnered widespread national acclaim. In total, PLU offers 44 undergraduate majors, as well as graduate and professional programs in business, education, counseling, nursing, psychology, and the arts. Top undergraduate degree programs include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Education

Details

Pacific Lutheran has produced an exceptional number of Fulbright scholars — 100 between 1975 and 2017, to be exact. According to 2015 data, 85.3 percent of PLU graduates found employment within six months of graduation that matched their long-term career paths. The social sciences program has received numerous honors; in the College Factual ranking for best value, PLU’s anthropology program came in first, sociology and psychology came in fifth respectively, and social work came in sixth in a nationwide assessment.

19

San Jose State University

College Choice Score: 83.52

Average Net Price: $13,642

School Website

Overview

Best known for its engineering and business programs, San Jose State University offers a diverse catalog of academic tracks that foster intellectual inquiry and independent thought. The university’s 154-acre campus is located in San Jose’s dynamic downtown district, where it serves 30,000 total students. SJSU is known as a critical component to the success of Silicon Valley; the university is the number one supplier of engineering, computer science, and business graduates to the high tech capital of the world.

Features

The eight colleges of SJSU include Applied Sciences and Arts, Humanities and the Arts, International and Extended Studies, Science, Business, Education, Social Science, and Engineering. Altogether, these eight colleges offer 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations. Among the 26,000 undergraduates at SJSU, top majors by enrollment include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Engineering
  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Details

San Jose State has proven its commitment to diversity and earned a reputation as a national leader in graduating minority students. The university has a number of partnerships and industry connections that provide extensive internship and post-graduation opportunities for students, including a partnership with the NASA Ames Research Center. Of SJSU’s 226,000 alumni, 75 percent remain in the Bay Area after graduation.

20

Regis University

College Choice Score: 82.78

Average Net Price: $25,544

School Website

Overview

With the Rocky Mountains as its backdrop, Regis University is a highly respected institution offering the academic excellence that is the hallmark of a Jesuit education. The university was founded in New Mexico in 1877 by a group of exiled Italian Jesuits before moving to its current Denver location in 1887. Today, RU continues to live its mission of nurturing competent, compassionate men and women in service of others.

Features

The academic catalog at Regis provides programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels, including a number of certification and licensure programs. Many of RU’s degree programs in business, computer science, education, humanities, social sciences, engineering, and mathematics are available in online and accelerated formats. Top undergraduate majors include:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Computer and Information Sciences
  • Social Sciences

Details

Among roughly 4,500 undergraduate students, 92 percent receive financial aid for a total of $134 million in federal, state, and institutional aid awarded annually to Regis students. Graduates of RU tend to earn significantly more than others in their industry without a Regis degree. This is especially true of business administration graduates, who earn an annual salary that is, on average, 32 percent higher than others in their field, and communications graduates, who earn 28 percent more than the national average for communications degree holders.

21

California State University-Chico

College Choice Score: 82.73

Average Net Price: $13,583

School Website

Overview

Ninety miles north of Sacramento is the second-oldest institution in the 23-campus California State University system, California State University-Chico. In 2017, the university was, for the third consecutive year, named by Money magazine as one of the nation’s “Best Colleges For Your Money.” The myriad of student organizations, ample opportunities for civic engagement, and campus-wide sustainability initiatives help set Chico State apart from other schools in the region.

Features

Students at Chico State can choose from a staggering 300 academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. This subdivides into 66 bachelor’s degrees with an array of optional minors, specializations, and add-on certificates. Of these, the most popular bachelor’s degrees at Chico State include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies

Details

Chico State’s 17,000 students hail from 37 states, 46 nations, and 2 U.S. territories. The size and diversity of Chico State’s student body makes it even more impressive that several of the university’s degree programs boast a 100 percent job placement rate for graduates, including accounting, school psychology, sustainable manufacturing, and communication sciences and disorders. The university’s Forensics Field School has also garnered a reputation of excellence; students in this department often assist local, state, and federal authorities in ongoing cases.

22

Saint Mary's College of California

College Choice Score: 82.72

Average Net Price: $33,075

School Website

Overview

With a philosophy rooted in the Lasallian Catholic tradition, Saint Mary’s College of California invites its students to embrace the challenges of scholarship and to fulfill their fullest potential. The university was among just 40 in the nation named in the 2013 guidebook Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges.

Features

A liberal arts curriculum and a strong Catholic identity drive the academic environment of Saint Mary’s. The 35 undergraduate programs are offered through the university’s School of Liberal Arts, the School of Economics and Business Administration, or the School of Science, while the School of Education also provides graduate programs. Popular undergraduate majors at Saint Mary’s include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies, and Humanities

Details

According to Payscale, Saint Mary’s College ranks in the top five percent of all U.S. colleges and universities for graduate salary potential. The university also earned a slot in the top 10 in the nation for study abroad programs, based on the IIE Open Doors Report. With an average class size of just 19 and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, Saint Mary’s provides a personalized educational experience that can easily be leveraged into a highly successful and rewarding career.

23

Western Washington University

College Choice Score: 81.74

Average Net Price: $15,914

School Website

Overview

Western Washington University prides itself on combining the benefits and advantages of both a small college and a large university. The 15,000 students of WWU have a range of options for academic paths and extracurricular activities that might not be available at a smaller school, but they can still enjoy a personal relationship with professors, advisors, and peers. Located in Bellingham, Washington, WWU is the northernmost university in the lower 48.

Features

The offerings at Western run the gamut of academic fields. Students can pursue bachelor’s or master’s degrees in business, economics, humanities, fine and performing arts, social sciences, engineering, or education. Western is especially well known for its distinctive Huxley College of the Environment, which grants degrees in environmental studies and environmental sciences. The undergraduate degree programs with the highest enrollment include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Education

Details

The student body at Western is comprised of 88 percent Washington state residents and 12 percent out-of-state students, including a large number of international students. Twenty-five percent are students of color. Ninety-nine percent of the courses at WWU are taught by professors rather than graduate assistants, and 72.6 percent of those professors hold the highest possible degree in their field. Both Forbes and Kiplinger magazines have recognized WWU as an excellent value in higher education.

24

Mount Saint Mary's University

College Choice Score: 81.52

Average Net Price: $28,274

School Website

Overview

Founded in 1925, Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles is built on a philosophy of diversity, leadership, and Catholic faith. The university is committed to empowering women, whether they are traditional college-age first-time students or career-changers seeking a new direction. Although the Mount is primarily a women’s college, men are accepted into the nursing and graduate programs.

Features

The academic catalog at the Mount includes associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and a number of co-ed graduate degrees. In addition to on-campus programs, students have the option of 11 bachelor’s degrees and two certificate programs available through weekend/evening or online classes, which are designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. Over 30 fields of study are available in total. Top majors include:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services

Details

The Mount boasts a slew of exceptional rankings and accolades: College Choice named it one of the 10 best women’s colleges in the U.S.; the website Great College Deals ranked it at number eight for Best Deals on Small Colleges in California out of more than 110 institutions; and Niche awarded it the number 11 slot for Safest College Campuses in California. Of the baccalaureate graduates from Mount Saint Mary’s, 59 percent go on to pursue advanced degrees — a rate far above the national average for women in coeducational institutions.

25

George Fox University

College Choice Score: 81.15

Average Net Price: $26,829

School Website

Overview

A leading university for liberal arts and professional studies, George Fox University has four locations: a flagship campus in the famously beautiful Willamette Valley of Newberg, Oregon, and satellite campuses in Portland, Salem, and Redmond. GFU was first established in 1891, and today it remains dedicated to its mission of providing a Christian education that empowers students spiritually, academically, and professionally.

Features

More than 90 majors, minors, and pre-professional programs are offered at the undergraduate level in a wide variety of academic fields, including business, education, engineering, Christian studies, and behavioral and health sciences. Accelerated adult degree programs, which are designed for returning students, are available leading to six bachelor’s degrees. The most popular undergraduate programs at GFU include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Details

As of the 2016 school year, GFU had a total enrollment of 4,140 students, which included 2,406 traditional undergraduates, 301 adult degree completion students, and 1,433 graduate students. Ethnic minorities represent 30.1 percent of the student body. Financial aid is awarded to 97.9 percent of GFU students, with an average annual award package of $25,431. George Fox was ranked among the top five “Best Seriously Protestant Schools” nationwide in a publication by The Institute of Religion and Public Life.

26

University of St. Thomas

College Choice Score: 80.60

Average Net Price: $29,653

School Website

Overview

A Catholic university founded in 1947 by Basilian Fathers, the University of St. Thomas is a highly decorated school and the only Catholic higher education institution in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. UST’s campus is only a few minutes from the renowned Texas Medical Center and other outstanding opportunities for internships and professional experiences. The university is one of only 20 in the nation to have earned a recommendation from the prestigious Cardinal Newman Society.

Features

The University of St. Thomas grants 35 undergraduate degrees in pre-med, business, nursing, education, and numerous STEM fields, as well as 19 graduate degrees in business, accounting, finance, and teaching. The most popular undergraduate degrees at UST include the following:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Health Professions and Related Programs

Details

Catholic philosophy is a key part of UST’s identity and a prominent component of student life. Students will have the chance to participate in a number of religious processionals, activist marches, and retreats held throughout the year. Alumni of UST are more likely than their peers to be successful in their goals immediately after graduation; more than 95 percent of education graduates find a teaching position or are accepted into grad school, and 80 percent of pre-law students are accepted into law school.

27

California State University-Northridge

College Choice Score: 80.48

Average Net Price: $7,075

School Website

Overview

The community of California State University-Northridge is called an “educational metropolis” because of the size and diversity of its student body as well as the endless opportunities for both professional experience and enriching extracurricular activities. The campus is located on 356 acres in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, and serves nearly 37,000 undergraduate students.

Features

Degrees are available in an array of academic fields, including the arts, media, and communication; business and economics; engineering; education; engineering and computer science; health and human development; humanities; science and mathematics; and social and behavioral sciences. Top undergraduate majors at CSUN include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Health Professions and Related Programs

Details

As a measure of student satisfaction, the freshmen retention rate at CSUN is 79 percent, indicating that more than three-quarters of students choose to return to the university after their freshman year. Other student reports about the quality of education received at CSUN are even more notable: 85 percent of seniors said that their experience at the university was good or excellent, and 82 percent of seniors stated that they would still choose CSUN if they were to start over again. Ninety-five percent of seniors indicated that the university placed a strong emphasis on providing support for students to succeed academically.

28

Walla Walla University

College Choice Score: 80.21

Average Net Price: $24,104

School Website

Overview

A private university affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Walla Walla University provides liberal arts, professional, and technical degree programs to a total student body of nearly 1,900. All of the degree programs at Walla Walla are based in a liberal arts philosophy, which emphasizes a well-rounded education as the basis for success. While the main campus is located in College Place, Washington, the university also operates a marine biology research laboratory on the Puget Sound in Anacortes, Washington.

Features

The school is best known for its engineering, business, biology, and education programs. WWU has also received considerable recognition for its nursing program, which is based in Portland, Oregon. More than 35 degree programs are available at the bachelor’s degree level, and a number of post-baccalaureate certificates and degrees are also offered in social work, media ministry, education, and biology. Top bachelor’s degree programs at Walla Walla include:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Engineering
  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Details

A highlight of the WWU experience is the variety of travel and study abroad opportunities, including programs for students to serve on mission trips overseas or within North America. Academic study abroad programs are available in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine.

29

Oklahoma City University

College Choice Score: 80.16

Average Net Price: $27,477

School Website

Overview

With a total student body of roughly 2,400, Oklahoma City University is a close-knit community rooted in academic excellence and a strong sense of creativity and innovation. Located in the city’s uptown district, OCU puts students within easy reach of all the recreational, cultural, and professional opportunities that Oklahoma City has to offer. The university was first established in 1904 and maintains its Methodist affiliation as an important part of its identity.

Features

In addition to coursework, OCU offers extensive service learning opportunities as well as an honors program, a scholarship and leadership program, a Taiwan Study Program, and other chances for students to learn outside of the classroom. Degree programs are available in nursing, theatre, music and dance, business, arts and sciences, visual arts, and law at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Top undergraduate majors include:

  • Nursing
  • Business Administration
  • Dance
  • Acting

Details

The university boasts an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, and every class is taught by a professor rather than a graduate assistant. The average class size is 17 students for lower division classes, and just 13 for upper division classes. OCU ranks well for affordability and return on investment: More than 90% of its students receive financial aid packages based on merit, performance, or need.

30

Oral Roberts University

College Choice Score: 79.77

Average Net Price: $22,509

School Website

Overview

An interdenominational Christian institution located in south Tulsa, Oral Roberts University emphasizes the importance of a whole-person education. Although professors do undertake research projects, ORU calls itself first and foremost a teaching university, so students can expect to receive instruction, support, and guidance from an exceptionally dedicated faculty. In 2017, the Princeton Review ranked Oral Roberts University among the top regional colleges in the western United States.

Features

Seventy-six undergraduate majors, 12 master’s degree programs, and two doctoral degree programs are available through Oral Roberts University, both through traditional residential programs as well as remote online programs. Degrees are offered in business, education, nursing, science and engineering, and theology and ministry. The university has an especially strong arts and cultural studies college (ORU is the only school in Tulsa to feature all Steinway pianos, a mark of distinction shared by only 120 universities worldwide). Top undergraduate degrees include:

  • Ministry and Leadership
  • Business Administration
  • Nursing
  • Psychology

Details

Nearly 1,900 commuters and 2,000 resident students attend ORU. The university’s Christian philosophy attracts students from numerous faiths: The top five denominations represented on campus include non-denominational Christian, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal, Baptist, and Charismatic. Students can participate in over 30 student organizations and academic special interest groups. During the summer of 2014 alone, ORU students traveled on missions trips to 25 countries and five continents around the world.

31

California State University-Stanislaus

College Choice Score: 79.59

Average Net Price: $7,387

School Website

Overview

When California State University-Stanislaus was first established, it had 15 faculty members and ran out of the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, California. Today, the university’s main campus is still in Turlock, although it now includes 642 faculty and 228 acres, plus a secondary location in Stockton’s historic Magnolia District. Together, these two locations serve a student body of 9,000. As part of the California State University system, the largest state system in the U.S., Stanislaus State offers students a myriad of academic, internship, and professional experiences.

Features

The academic catalog at Stanislaus State is expansive, with tracks leading to 41 undergraduate degrees, 23 master’s degrees, a doctorate of education, and six graduate certificates. The university is best known for excellent programs in business administration, nursing, and teacher education. The most popular majors at Stanislaus State include:

  • Business Administration and Management
  • Psychology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Registered Nursing

Details

The U.S. Department of Education has designated Stanislaus State as a Hispanic-serving Institution, and it is among the top 100 colleges in the nation for bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students. The Princeton Review consistently ranks the university in the top 15 percent of all higher education institutions nationwide. Stanislaus State has also been recognized by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges for a low percentage of student debt upon graduation.

32

Northwest Nazarene University

College Choice Score: 79.34

Average Net Price: $19,789

School Website

Overview

Although Northwest Nazarene University’s 90-acre main campus is located in Nampa, Idaho, it also offers programs in Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and through sister schools in 35 countries. NNU is affiliated with The Church of the Nazarene, and the school’s Christian identity is an important piece of its educational mission. The university serves a total of 2,000 graduate and undergraduate students who help to uphold the four core values of NNU: transformation, truth, community, and service.

Features

NNU allows students to pursue 60 areas of study and master’s degree programs in 11 disciplines. Additionally, the university offers accelerated degree programs, concurrent credit for high school students, and a variety of continuing education credits. Some of the most popular majors at NNU include:

  • Education
  • Business
  • Mass Communications
  • Christian Ministry

Details

The university has partnerships with a large number of institutions through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Students can pursue off-campus programs with the Honours Programme in Oxford, the Los Angeles Film Studies Center, and the Latin-American Studies Program, to name just a few. Forty-five percent of NNU students identify Nazarene as their church background, while the remaining 55 percent represent other denominations. Students are not required to be Christian to attend NNU, but they are required to attend chapel three times a week and to adhere to a number of lifestyle requirements put forth by the university.

33

California Baptist University

College Choice Score: 78.77

Average Net Price: $26,548

School Website

Overview

The philosophy of California Baptist University is based on a commitment to rigorous academic standards and outstanding opportunities for student growth in a Christian setting. Nearly 9,200 students attend the CBU main campus, which is located on 160 acres in Riverside’s Magnolia Avenue district. The school has a vibrant student community and a host of well-loved campus traditions, such as the Kugel Walk (a part of freshmen enrollment and senior commencement), the Homecoming Block Party, and the Yule Festival.

Features

The breadth of available academic programs at California Baptist University means that every student will be able to pursue the degree that best fits their interests and prepares them for the career they want. CBU offers 81 bachelor’s degree programs with 150 major concentrations and 64 minors, 31 master’s degree programs with 45 concentrations, and three doctoral programs. Top undergraduate majors include:

  • Business/Commerce
  • Registered Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science

Details

CBU proudly claims a student-faculty ratio of 17:1, and more than half of all classes have fewer than 20 students. The school has been recognized for a high degree of student satisfaction, with a freshmen retention rate of 78 percent. Students at CBU will find a strong emphasis on incorporating faith into daily life and especially into education, with 100 percent of the school’s faculty members identifying as Christian.

34

California State University-San Bernardino

College Choice Score: 78.58

Average Net Price: $6,984

School Website

Overview

California State University-San Bernardino is an intellectual and economic hub, driven by a highly diverse and energized community of students. Set in the beautiful foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains of inland southern California, the university was established in 1965. Today, it serves a student population of 20,000 and grants roughly 4,000 degrees annually. According to the Collegiate Learning Assessment, Cal State San Bernardino ranks in the top four percent in the nation for value-added in terms of student learning from freshman to senior year.

Features

Over 70 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, as well as a doctoral program in educational leadership, are available through CSUSB. The areas of study for these degrees include art, English, communications, business and public administration, education, natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. Some of the most popular bachelor’s degree programs include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
  • Health Professions and Related Programs

Details

Cal State San Bernardino has a remarkably diverse student body: The university has the second highest African American and Hispanic enrollments of all public universities in California, and 70 percent of CSUSB’s graduates are the first in their family to earn a degree. The university has earned the highest federal recognition as part of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, With Distinction.

35

Westminster College

College Choice Score: 78.53

Average Net Price: $29,744

School Website

Overview

For more than a decade, Westminster College has been lauded by the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s top schools. WC also earned a slot in the Princeton Review’s “Colleges That Pay You Back” and “Green Colleges” rankings. Serving a student population just shy of 2,700, Westminster College is located in the eclectic Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City, just a few minutes from the downtown business district.

Features

At Westminster College, students can pursue one of almost 40 undergraduate programs and 13 graduate programs through four different colleges, including the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Education, and School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Several fully online programs are available leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business and nursing. Top majors at WC include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology

Details

With a 9:1 student-faculty ratio and an average class size of 16, students can take full advantage of WC’s 154 dedicated faculty members (93 percent of whom hold a terminal degree in their field). Westminster exemplifies a commitment to accessibility for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds: 99 percent of students receive some type of financial aid, with an average award package of $27,427.

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