As home to over 130 institutions of higher education, finding the school best suited to you in Arizona may seem like a strenuous task. There is a multitude of important factors for prospective students to consider including program length, residency requirements, tuition cost and scholarship availability. Fortunately, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Arizona, including the top four-year and two-year schools.

We started by pulling essential information from federal education databases. Our preferred metrics consist of quality indicators like program acceptance, enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. Make your search for a college education easier by using our list of the best colleges in Arizona.

Best Colleges in Arizona

Home to 50 accredited four-year schools, Arizona offers a wide array of conventional college choices. With 22 of the top 25 of Arizona’s most in-demand jobs requiring a Bachelor’s degree, there are clear economic incentives for pursuing an education. Employees with a four-year degree earn an average salary of $46,485, 86% more than workers with only a high school diploma.

The Arizona Board of Regents hopes to substantially increase enrollment and graduation rates through measures aimed at obtaining additional state and federal funding. Their 2010 Strategic Realignment plan will ideally increase the numbers of educated citizens to fill skilled positions by 2020. Rising demand for highly educated workers combined with the irrefutable advantages of a college degree means now is an excellent time to attend a four-year college in Arizona. We have ranked Arizona’s best colleges in the following list to guide your education decisions. Take a look and see which four-year schools made the list.

Arizona State University – Tempe

Location: Tempe, AZ

Operating as the largest of the six campuses comprising the ASU system, the Tempe campus enrolled nearly 52,000 students during the Fall 2016 semester. Although the school only recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, ASU has been busy forging a name for itself. In 2017, the university ranked number one in the nation for Fulbright scholars, ahead of many other Ivy Leagues.
Additionally, the school is currently working with NASA to lead its first space exploration mission. Amongst the ranks of professors, students may have the privilege of studying under a Nobel Prize recipient, a Pulitzer Prize Winner, or a recipient of the Macarthur Genius Grant. In terms of academics, ASU serves both undergraduate and graduate students at the Tempe Campus, with more than 100 baccalaureate degrees currently offered on campus and online. Programs of interest to students with unique aspirations include aerospace engineering with an emphasis in autonomous vehicle systems, digital culture, geographic information science, and urban planning.

University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, AZ

As one of the oldest Arizona colleges, the University of Arizona has been serving students as a land-grant university since 1885. An institution focused heavily on research, the university receives $606 million in research investments, ranking it 21st among all public universities for funding. But it’s not just researching that UA focuses on: every undergraduate student has the opportunity to put their learning into practice via internships, community service, fieldwork, original works, research collaboration, and student leadership opportunities.

As an added bonus to those looking for their first jobs, the experience they gain while still in school is noted on their transcripts. In terms of academics, students should have no problem finding a program suited to their needs from the 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees offered. Whether a student is planning to study agribusiness economics or American Indian studies, sustainably built environments, or veterinary science, all these programs and lots more are offered at UA.

Arizona State University – West

Location: Glendale, AZ

With five different schools offering degrees — including the new College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences — the West campus of Arizona State is shaping up to be one of the best colleges in Arizona. Located in northwest Phoenix, students enjoy modern amenities combined with 21st-century workforce preparation to create a highly valuable degree. With the second smallest enrollment of all the ASU campuses, students also benefit from having a tight-knit community, allowing them to form meaningful mentorships with professors and lifelong friendships with their peers.

Although the West campus is comparatively smaller than other ASU locations, it doesn’t stop the location from having a wide-spanning selection of undergraduate degrees — 93 to be precise. Aside from all the programs students have come to expect from competitive universities, some of the innovative options available include international trade, exploratory social and behavioral sciences, American studies, and social and cultural analysis with a concentration in queer and sexuality studies.

Arizona State University – Polytechnic

Location: Mesa, AZ

With a focus on education, engineering, interdisciplinary sciences, management, and technology, the Polytechnic arm of ASU is recognized as one of the best Arizona colleges for providing advanced laboratories and project-based teaching. Although the campus includes a regional airport, enrollment is kept to approximately 4,300 to provide an intimate learning environment.
One of the aspects of campus that students continually praise is the desert arboretum, a quiet place for both contemplation and studying. With more than 100 degrees at the undergraduate level to choose from, students often select the Polytechnic campus both for its breadth of subjects and its focus on providing career-focused educations that prepare them to be competitive job applicants. A sampling of courses quickly highlights a number of programs that can’t be found on every campus, including air traffic management, global agribusiness, environmental and resource management, and history of science, ideas, and innovation.

Arizona Christian University

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Originally founded in 1960 as a Baptist Bible college, today ACU is an inclusive nonprofit university located in Phoenix that offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. As one of the many Arizona colleges with a Christian heritage, the university places thoughtful emphasis on the spiritual life of each student while also offering a range of degree programs to suit students aspiring to many different professional fields.

ACU currently has 20 undergraduate degrees encompassing studies preparing students for both church and business careers. Students interested in ministry can undertake degrees in biblical studies or Christian ministries, while traditional studies in areas of business, education, music, and science are also available. Outside of academics, the school is recognized for a range of sports — both intramural and school teams — alongside a wide-spanning selection of student clubs and organizations. A central tenet of all student life programming is to help every person who attends ACU develop their leadership potential through events, programs, ministry, and opportunities for outreach.


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