Best colleges in Pennsylvania

East Coast Education

Watch your university prospects rise with the sun each day

You can find "the sweetest place on Earth" right here in Pennsylvania. But, you'll need more than its famous Hershey Chocolate to get your college degree. If you're looking for top-ranked liberal arts colleges, a more-than-impressive public university system or a private university, come on over to Pennsylvania. You'll have 234 colleges and universities to choose from. Those who come to the Keystone State enjoy a wide variety of majors, with the arts and sciences taking the top spots. Graduates go on to start careers at successful companies, like 21st Century Media, EB Games, Kappa Publishing Group and many more.

On the weekends, students can explore the Pocono Mountains, Dutch country roads, and plenty of American history in Philadelphia and Gettysburg. Anything in Philly is great, but it's always good to step off the beaten path from time to time. Start with Bulls Head Public House in Lititz, with their Beer Menu Bible. of course, be sure to develop your own cheesesteak addiction by hanging out at Pat's, Geno's or Jim's. Go hoarse cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles or the 76ers, or get lost in a chocolate dream at Hershey Park. Pennsylvania is ready to welcome anyone looking to revolutionize the way they see the world while getting a great education at the same time.

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Best Four Year Universities in Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Image by @moonizzang

Founded in 1740 in downtown Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is a private academic institution with a current undergraduate enrollment of roughly 25,000. The school was initially founded by Benjamin Franklin before the Declaration of Independence was drafted, making it one of only nine universities to be chartered in that era. Penn's tuition and fees total over $55,000 annually, and the school ranks among the top universities in the nation. 

The university is in an urban setting with a historic gothic campus that includes a walled-in student housing complex located just north of the Schuylkill River and blocks from Rittenhouse Square. Classes follow a semester-based academic calendar, and the current student-faculty ratio is 6:1, one of the smallest ratios for a top university in the nation. 

The University of Pennsylvania is home to internationally recognized colleges including the Annenberg School for Communication, The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology, and the Wharton School of Business. UPenn has academic partnerships worldwide with schools such as King’s College London, the University of Barcelona, and even in Australia at the University of Queensland. During their stay at UPenn, students can participate in a range of social clubs like the famous Penn Glee Club, or work at The Daily Pennsylvanian, the student-run newspaper. Notable alumni include former President of the United States Donald Trump, author Noam Chomsky, and architect of the Louvre Pyramid, I.M. Pei.

Carnegie Mellon University offers 328 degree programs. It's a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 5,061 students graduated with students earning 3,233 Master's degrees, 1,465 Bachelor's degrees, 327 Doctoral degrees, and 36 Certificates.

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Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

Lehigh University offers 196 degree programs. It's a medium sized, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a small city. In 2020, 1,905 students graduated with students earning 1,260 Bachelor's degrees, 522 Master's degrees, 103 Doctoral degrees, and 20 Certificates.

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus offers 432 degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 8,118 students graduated with students earning 4,694 Bachelor's degrees, 1,994 Master's degrees, 1,113 Doctoral degrees, 315 Certificates, and 2 Associate's degrees.

Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, PA

Thomas Jefferson University offers 136 degree programs. It's a medium sized, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 2,548 students graduated with students earning 1,005 Bachelor's degrees, 903 Master's degrees, 473 Doctoral degrees, 121 Certificates, and 46 Associate's degrees.

Temple University
Philadelphia, PA

Based in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Temple University is a public research university founded by minister Russell Conwell. Temple has a total undergraduate enrollment of about 40,000 students who attend classes on a campus situated in the North Philadelphia neighborhood just west of the Delaware River. Temple is on a semester-based academic calendar and while Pennsylvania residents receive in-state tuition rates, the university provides ample merit and need-based scholarships to all students. 

The university is made up of 15 colleges including the competitive Tyler School of Art and Architecture, as well as the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Students can live on or off-campus, but many choose to live on-campus and take advantage of amenities like the Howard Gittis Student Center, which includes a theater, food court, and computer lounge for students and faculty to study or relax. 

Temple students have access to a slew of greek organizations and student-run programs like The Temple News, the school’s newspaper. Outside of school, attendees can enjoy historic Philadelphia and visit Rittenhouse Square, The Liberty Bell, and walk through Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. The Temple Owls compete in the A-10 and feature regularly in the NIT and NCAA tournaments. Notable alumni include actor Bob Saget, and comedian Kevin Hart

Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University offers 453 degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 6,502 students graduated with students earning 3,204 Bachelor's degrees, 2,260 Master's degrees, 655 Doctoral degrees, and 383 Certificates.

Duquesne University
Pittsburgh, PA

Duquesne University offers 215 degree programs. It's a medium sized, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 2,551 students graduated with students earning 1,445 Bachelor's degrees, 620 Master's degrees, 454 Doctoral degrees, and 32 Certificates.

West Chester University of Pennsylvania offers 165 degree programs. It's a large, public, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2020, 4,494 students graduated with students earning 3,104 Bachelor's degrees, 1,041 Master's degrees, 317 Certificates, and 32 Doctoral degrees.

Pennsylvania College of Technology offers 131 degree programs. It's a small, public, four-year university in a small city. In 2020, 1,447 students graduated with students earning 772 Associate's degrees, 663 Bachelor's degrees, and 12 Certificates.

List of all colleges in Pennsylvania

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of Pennsylvania Logo University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
5/5
18 : 1 26,552
Carnegie Mellon University Logo Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
5/5
11 : 1 13,519
Lehigh University Logo Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
5/5
13 : 1 7,067
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus Logo University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
4/5
18 : 1 32,277
Thomas Jefferson University Logo Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
5/5
26 : 1 8,286