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School Rankings

The 10 Best and Most Prestigious Universities in Alabama

Medinah Aina - March 04, 2022


With 61 higher education institutions in the state, it can be difficult to know what the best universities in Alabama are. You have to consider factors like academic programs, tuition rate, location, admission requirements , acceptance rate, school rankings, and the financial aid offered to students.

In this article, we rank and provide information about the top 10 universities in Alabama. This will make your school search and college application process a lot easier because you’ll already know the best universities in Alabama to apply to and what they have to offer.

How We Defined Alabama University Rankings

There are several factors that determine the ranking of top universities in the state. They include academic quality, athletic programs, retention and graduation rates, research influence, research quality, graduate work placement, faculty resources, financial assistance, and graduate indebtedness. These are the factors that determine our Alabama university rankings.

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Alabama Universities Ranked: Top 10 Universities in Alabama

  1. Auburn University
  2. The University of Alabama
  3. The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  4. Samford University
  5. The University of Alabama in Huntsville
  6. Birmingham Southern College
  7. Huntingdon College
  8. Tuskegee University
  9. University of Mobile
  10. Jacksonville State University

The Best Colleges and Universities in Alabama, Explained

A photo of a white building in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Best Universities In Alabama
The best universities in Alabama can expose students to a wide variety of career paths, professional training opportunities, and great services for students.

There are plenty of colleges and universities in Alabama where you can earn an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or graduate degree. We have chosen the top ten based on their academic quality, high retention and graduation rates, and academic offerings. This section includes relevant information on each of the below-listed institutions.

1. Auburn University

  • US News National Ranking: #99
  • Campus Location(s): Auburn, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 24,931
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

Auburn University is a public land, sea, and space-grant research institution and the second-largest university in Alabama. It was established in 1856 and is one of the public flagship universities in the state. The school has 15 schools and colleges that offer online programs and on-campus programs in over 150 majors at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Online degree programs make it easy for adult students to learn at their convenience. They can pursue master’s degree programs in many fields of study like environmental science, real estate development, and clinical rehabilitation counseling. Auburn University has over 300 clubs and student organizations.

2. The University of Alabama

  • US News National Ranking: #148 (tie)
  • Campus Location(s): Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 31,688
  • Graduation Rate: 72%

The University of Alabama is a public four-year institution founded in 1831. It is one of the largest and oldest higher education institutions in the state and the flagship of the University of Alabama system. The campus is home to a multicultural community and a popular football team. It is classified as an R1 institution and offers doctoral degrees.

This institution also offers an array of fully online bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate programs in different fields including social work, political science, criminal justice, and public health. Online students can choose to take some online courses in an asynchronous format, but other online programs may require live participation.

3. The University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • US News National Ranking: #148 (tie)
  • Campus Location(s): Birmingham, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 13,87
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a public institution founded in 1936 and a part of the University of Alabama system. The school offers over 170 bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees in different fields of study. This institution has an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education and features an academic medical center.

UAB has schools of health professions, medicine and nursing, arts and sciences, business, engineering, nutrition sciences, and other disciplines. Students can also enroll in online programs in subjects like accounting, industrial distribution, and marketing.

4. Samford University

  • US News National Ranking: #136
  • Campus Location(s): Birmingham, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,607
  • Graduation Rate: 79%

Samford University is a private Christian university founded in 1841 and is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the country. It offers 183 undergraduate programs and 65 graduate programs. It has a student-to-teacher ratio of 14 to one and an average class size of 19. There is also no shortage of student activities with 118 undergraduate and graduate student organizations.

5. The University of Alabama in Huntsville

  • US News National Ranking: #263
  • Campus Location(s): Huntsville, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,027
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

The University of Alabama in Huntsville is a public university and part of the University of Alabama system. It has nine colleges and offers 89 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels in over 100 areas of study. It has an average class size of 37, a student-faculty ratio of 19 to one, and 17 research centers.

6. Birmingham-Southern College

  • US News National Ranking: #128*
  • Campus Location(s): Birmingham, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,129
  • Graduation Rate: 71%

Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year private liberal arts college founded in 1856 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It offers various programs of study, including 29 undergraduate majors , 26 minors, three distinctions, and special programs.

It is an accredited college with a student-to-teacher ratio of 13 to one and an average class size of 16. When it comes to opportunities for student involvement, it offers over 80 clubs and student organizations for students to explore.

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7. Huntingdon College

  • US News National Ranking: #13**
  • Campus Location(s): Montgomery, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 920
  • Graduation Rate: 42%

Huntingdon College is a private Methodist liberal arts college founded in 1854. This institution has a small student body with just a little over 900 undergraduate students. It has an average class size of 17 and a student-faculty ratio of 13 to one. It is a Christian school with four colleges and 11 academic departments with many degree offerings to choose from.

8. Tuskegee University

  • US News National Ranking: #17**
  • Campus Location(s): Tuskegee, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,280
  • Graduation Rate: 52%

Tuskegee University is a private, land-grant university founded in 1881. It is a historically black college with five colleges and three schools that offer over 50 degrees from the bachelor’s to the doctoral level. Tuskegee University is well-known for being the number one producer of many African American professionals, including veterinarians , engineers, and aerospace science engineers.

9. University of Mobile

  • US News National Ranking: #15**
  • Campus Location(s): Mobile, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,750
  • Graduation Rate: 49%

The University of Mobile is a private Baptist liberal arts and science institution in Mobile, Alabama, founded in 1961. It is a Christian college that integrates academics and a Christian faith experience by equipping students with an equal amount of academic subjects and religious studies, including biblical studies courses.

10. Jacksonville State University

  • US News National Ranking: #77**
  • Campus Location(s): Jacksonville, Alabama
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,067
  • Graduation Rate: 46%

Jacksonville State University is a public university founded in 1883. It includes six schools offering undergraduate degree and graduate degree programs. The school has 40 academic programs. It woos prospective students by billing itself as “the friendliest campus in the South.” Jacksonville is a great college town to pursue undergraduate study or a doctoral program.

*Ranked in the US News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings

** Ranked in the US News Best Regional Universities South Rankings

Is a University in Alabama Right for You?

Yes, a university in Alabama is right for you, especially if you already live in or near Alabama. Alabama is home to 61 colleges and universities, many of them ranked highly nationally or regionally. Alternatively, if you’re looking to obtain an associate degree, consider one of Alabama’s many community colleges or accredited online colleges .

Attending a prestigious college gives you the chance to land your dream job after graduation. Most high-ranking schools have high graduate job placement rates. Many Alabama colleges and universities also offer financial aid opportunities for students.

Best Universities in Alabama FAQ

What other colleges and universities are there in Alabama?

Other well-known colleges and universities in Alabama include Spring Hill College, Troy University, Amridge University, Athens State University, Oakwood University, Talladega College, Heritage Christian University, University of North Alabama, and University of South Alabama.

What is the #1 college in Alabama?

Auburn University is the number one college in Alabama and in the top 100 universities in the country . It offers various degree programs with a first-year student retention rate of nearly 93 percent and a graduation rate of 81 percent. This school also provides quality education and has a research environment that makes it stand out.

Which Alabama colleges and universities have the highest graduation rate?

The Alabama colleges and universities with the highest graduation rate are:

  1. Auburn University (80.6 percent)
  2. Samford University (78.9 percent)
  3. The University of Alabama (72.2 percent)
  4. Birmingham-Southern College (71 percent)
  5. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (62.4 percent)
Where does Alabama rank in higher education in the United States?

According to US News & World Report, Alabama is ranked 39th in the best states for a college education .

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Medinah Aina

About the author: Medinah is an expert copywriter and web designer, helping people learn more about education and careers in technology. She values in-depth research and providing accurate, helpful information. Medinah holds a BSc in Social Work from the University of Lagos and an Eduonix Certification in copywriting.

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