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School Rankings

The 10 Best and Most Prestigious Universities in Michigan

Shalom Kamau - March 02, 2022


According to Ballotpedia, Michigan’s higher education system includes 46 public schools, 43 non-profit private schools, and 15 for-profit public universities. The institutions offer a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional development programs in different fields of study. In this article, we’ll go over the best universities in Michigan for incoming students.

Although the Education Trust reports that the Michigan education rank has fallen over the years, the state is home to some of the best universities in the United States. Popular universities like the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Michigan State University are ranked among the top 100 countrywide. Read on to discover our top 10 universities in Michigan.

How We Defined Michigan University Rankings

When creating our school rankings, we sourced much of our information from the US News & World Report’s school rankings. We considered undergraduate student enrollment, graduation rates, retention rates, academic programs, and student resources. The school type is also important, as well as the school GPA and the ability to access student resources.

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Michigan’s best and most prestigious universities offer financial aid, accessibility, state-of-the-art facilities, a supportive community, and a seamless admissions process. These excellent schools also have an active student life and many career opportunities. As well, many take safety measures to improve life on campus.

Michigan Universities Ranked: Top 10 Universities in Michigan

  1. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  2. Michigan State University
  3. Michigan Technological University
  4. University of Detroit Mercy
  5. Central Michigan University
  6. Wayne State University
  7. Western Michigan University
  8. Hope College
  9. Kalamazoo College
  10. University of Michigan – Dearborn

The Best Colleges and Universities in Michigan, Explained

A group of Central Michigan University students having fun. Best Universities In Michigan
Most universities in Michigan encourage student organizations and fun student activities that create a balance in education.

A simple list of universities isn’t enough to help potential undergraduate students with their school search. Below, we’ve gone into detail about our school rankings, giving an overview of each institution, using information from the official school website and the US News page. Whether you’re looking for a liberal arts school, certificate programs, partner programs, undergraduate programs, doctoral degrees, or online degrees, we’ve got you covered.

1. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

  • US News National Ranking: #23
  • Campus Location(s): Ann Arbor
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,282
  • Graduation Rate: Four-year graduation rate – 81%, six-year graduation rate – 93%

UM-Ann Arbor is an outstanding public university and the most popular academic institution under the University of Michigan franchise. The US News & World Report ranks UM-Ann Arbor among the top three undergraduate public universities in North America. The university offers over 270 on and off-campus programs across its 19 schools and colleges as well as small class sizes with a 15:1 student-teacher ratio.

UM-Ann Arbor is a leading research university, spending over $1.5 billion in research expenditure. Over 1,500 students have participated in the university’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. Moreover, the university has stellar athletic programs and hosts approximately 1,000 student athletes and 29 NCAA Division 1 teams, participating in several athletic championships. Bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees earned from this institution are well respected.

2. Michigan State University

  • US News National Ranking: #83
  • Campus Location(s): East Lansing
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 38,574
  • Graduation Rate: 82%

MSU is a public land-grant university known for its research facilities and academic programs in education and agriculture. It is the largest and greenest campus in America, attracting local and international applicants. Freshman applicants can expect assistance with classes and access to internships in the field.

MSU was established in 1855, and its 2,400-acre campus became a leading land-grant university. The university has also undergone several name changes to accommodate its different academic offerings and diversification. As well, it offers specialized scholarships and departmental scholarships to help students access its in-person and online programs.

3. Michigan Technological University

  • US News National Ranking: #148
  • Campus Location(s): Houghton
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,642
  • Graduation Rate: 69%

Michigan Technological University, or Michigan Tech, is a public research university located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It was founded in 1885 and has grown to become one of the best STEM schools in the US and internationally. MTU sits on over 900 acres, enrolling a student population of over 7,000 campus students and an alumni body of over 70,000 former students.

Apart from 140 academic programs, first-year students can join any of the 230 organizations that focus on enhancing their learning experiences. It offers degrees in fields like aerospace engineering, addiction studies, and American studies. There are additional classes in everything from Africana studies to computer science.

4. The University of Detroit, Mercy

  • US News National Ranking: #187
  • Campus Location(s): McNichols, Novi, Corktown, Riverfront
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,633 (US News Report)
  • Graduation Rate: 59% (US News Report)

The University of Detroit Mercy is a private Catholic university sponsored by the Jesuits and Religious Sisters of Mercy. Founded in 1877 as the University of Detroit, it later changed its name after it was consolidated with the Mercy College of Detroit. It is the largest and oldest Catholic University in Michigan, providing over 100 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The class sizes are also small, with an 11:1 student-teacher ratio.

5. Central Michigan University

  • US News National Ranking: #239
  • Campus Location(s): Detroit, Mount Pleasant, Dearborn, Clinton Township, Grand Rapids, Lansing, etc.
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 11,441
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

CMU was founded in 1892 as a public research university to provide students with real-world experiences and the skills to thrive in the professional sector. Current and prospective students have access to 300 graduate and undergraduate programs of study, 227 state-of-the-art on-campus labs, and several student organizations and Division 1 athletic teams. CMU is one of two Adobe Creative campuses in Michigan and one of the best academic institutions for veterans.

6. Wayne State University

  • US News National Ranking: #249
  • Campus Location(s): Clinton Township, Farmington Hills, Jackson, Livonia, Warren
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 15,330
  • Graduation Rate: 56%

Wayne State University was founded in 1868 to advance the healthcare industry in Detroit. The five founding physicians were motivated by the effects of the Civil War and founded the Detroit Medical College, which is now the university’s school of medicine. The campus sits on over 200 acres and enrolls 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 70 countries.

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In addition, WSU prides itself on modern research facilities. You can apply to any of the 13 schools and colleges and take advantage of the financial aid to students and outstanding resources. Graduate program students can select from a list of 240 academic degrees at the graduate school. American students and international students in their school search should consider this university.

7. Western Michigan University

  • US News National Ranking: #263
  • Campus Location(s): Kalamazoo, West Campus, East Campus, Oakland, Drive Campus
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,689
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

WMU was established in 1903 as Western State Normal School and later changed to WMU after joining forces with the University of Michigan. This amazing university serves a student body of over 20,000 from 45 states. WMU focuses on student success and provides various study abroad programs. WMU provides academic tutoring, networking, online courses, internship opportunities, and financial assistance to students.

8. Hope College

  • US News National Ranking: #111 (National Liberal Arts Colleges)
  • Campus Location(s): Holland
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,061 (US News Report)
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

Hope College is a Christian university founded in 1866. It is a four-year liberal arts school with over 3,000 students. Hope College’s curriculum focuses on developing well-rounded students by offering a learning experience that touches on mind, body, and spirit. Hope College students can choose from a pool of over 90 academic programs that cover various fields of study, as well as some online classes.

Students benefit from world-class faculty mentors and facilities like the Kruizenga Art Museum and Miller Center for Musical Arts. Students can also enjoy the beautiful sceneries in Holland, Michigan including the beaches of Lake Michigan, stunning restaurants, and various historic sites. Moreover, Hope College has a placement rate of 94%, which is higher compared to other American colleges.

9. Kalamazoo College

  • US News National Ranking: #71 (National Liberal Arts Colleges)
  • Campus Location(s): Kalamazoo College
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,451 (US News Report)
  • Graduation Rate: 72%

Kalamazoo College is a private college founded in 1833 and is among the oldest institutions in the United States. It is known for its K-Plan, which prioritizes learning through experience, international engagement, senior integrated projects, and in-depth liberal arts and social science programs. Students also explore experiential learning and access to various bachelor, master’s, and doctorate degrees.

10. University of Michigan – Dearborn

  • US News National Ranking: #31 (Regional Universities Midwest)
  • Campus Location(s): Dearborn
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,335
  • Graduation Rate: 18% (US News Report)

The University of Michigan-Dearborn is a public university founded in 1959. It is one of the 14 master’s degree universities in Michigan and operates under the policies of the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Students can select from over 200 academic degree and non-degree programs.

UM-Dearborn’s programs of study are available under its College of Arts, Sciences and Letters, College of Business, College of Education Health, Human Services, and College of Engineering and Computer Science. Other resources the university offers include college career services , scholarship opportunities and financial aid, an average class size of 25 students, and extracurricular activities. To join UM-Dearborn, incoming students need a 3.66 GPA.

Is a University in Michigan Right for You?

Yes, a university education in Michigan gives you access to top universities and outstanding research facilities. Michigan is known for its amazing education facilities as well as its automobile and agriculture industry. Its higher education institutions provide academic scholarships and career services to enhance placement rates into the largest companies in Michigan .

Alternatively, you can take advantage of Michigan’s tech sector through the coding bootcamps and online courses available in Michigan. In fact, some of the best coding bootcamps in Detroit are the best in the country too. Bootcamps are a great way for students to get an online education. Bootcamps are particularly useful for online students needing a more flexible schedule.

Best Universities in Michigan FAQ

Why is Michigan a good place to study?

Michigan is a good place to study because there are plenty of fantastic institutions, including the University of Michigan – Ann Harbour, which ranks 23rd in the world. Michigan is also home to the longest freshwater coastline in the US, great for those who enjoy fishing when they’re out of class. You can also explore the vast forestry in the Upper Peninsula.

What are other universities in Michigan?

Other universities in Michigan include Eastern Michigan University, Kettering University, Calvin University, Spring Arbor University, Northwood University, Aquinas College, Alma College, and Albion College.

Is it hard to get into a university in Michigan?

The acceptance rate for Michigan universities ranges from 20% to 100%. The hardest university to get into is the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where the acceptance rate is below 30% due to the high number of undergraduate applicants and its prerequisites.

What do I need to enroll in a Michigan university?

To enroll in a Michigan university, you might have to submit composite ACT scores, SAT scores, financial records, school transcripts, and more, depending on your degree level. However, if you don’t meet the standards for Michigan universities, you can take advantage of the coding bootcamps and community colleges in Michigan .

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Shalom Kamau

About the author: Shalom is a career freelance writer whose work has appeared online at Ledmond and Watotolove. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and Film Technology from Kenyatta University. She also has a copywriting certificate from DigitalMarketer.

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