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The 10 Best and Most Prestigious Universities in Missouri

Simone Du Toit - September 01, 2022


If you’re looking into going to university in Missouri, you want to make sure you’ll have the best college experience possible. To help you with your school search, we’ve put together a list of the best universities in Missouri. Some of these most prestigious universities in Missouri also offer merit-based scholarships and financial aid, which are great ways to save money.

In this guide, you’ll find a list of the top 10 universities in Missouri ranked according to factors such as the overall educational experience, undergraduate programs and graduate programs offered, and class sizes. The best universities in Missouri also provide incoming students with lots of resources and connections with faculty to ensure students succeed in earning their bachelor’s degrees.

How We Defined Missouri University Rankings

In determining our school rankings for this list, we looked at graduating students’ success rates, rankings from US News and World Report rankings, academic programs with various options, and the number of accepted students per year.

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics data, the national average tuition for post-secondary education is $24,623 in the United States. Bearing this in mind, our list is also sorted by affordability. Check out our list of the best universities in Missouri based on these parameters below.

Missouri Universities Ranked: Top 10 Universities in Missouri

  1. University of Missouri – St Louis
  2. Washington University in Saint Louis
  3. University of Missouri – Kansas City
  4. College of the Ozarks
  5. Missouri State University
  6. University of Missouri – Columbia
  7. Lindenwood University
  8. Missouri University of Science and Technology
  9. Saint Louis University
  10. Maryville University of Saint Louis

The Best Colleges and Universities in Missouri, Explained

Man and woman wearing graduation gowns with a diploma of graduation.  Best Universities In Missouri
Missouri has some of the best colleges and universities for your higher education.

Missouri has many private and public regional universities with varying student populations. These regional universities offer opportunities for motivated students to earn a university or college education in a wide variety of study areas.

There are varying school course prerequisites and requirements, so make sure to include school course prerequisites in your research. Below is more information on each university listed sourced from the university’s official websites.

1. University of Missouri – St Louis

  • US News National Ranking: #239
  • Campus Location(s): Saint Louis, Kansas City, Rolla, and Columbia
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 10,977
  • Graduation Rate: 56%

The University of Missouri in Saint Louis is one of the most affordable schools on this list. It has been ranked the most affordable school in Missouri by Business Insider. More than 80 percent of students benefit from financial aid. If you’re a sports fan, University of Missouri – St Louis is home to a very popular basketball team.

Distance education students can choose from over 50 degrees for online learning. Its online Bachelor of Arts in Communications is one of the best online degrees offered by the school, with an impressive 94 percent of the most recent graduates having career success in their respective fields.

2. Washington University in Saint Louis

  • US News National Ranking: #14
  • Campus Location(s): Saint Louis
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,828
  • Graduation Rate: 94%

Washington University in Saint Louis is a world-class research university where undergraduate students can choose to gain hands-on experience from over 3,000 research projects each year. The school offers research programs in the medical, environmental, energy, innovation, entrepreneurial, and plant science fields.

It has a seven-to-one student-to-faculty ratio and has an affiliation with 25 Nobel Prize Laureates . It also has 1,685 university-employed physicians at its school of medicine, one of the nation’s largest academic clinical practices.

3. University of Missouri – Kansas City

  • US News National Ranking: #249
  • Campus Location(s): Kansas City, Saint Louis, Rolla, and Columbia
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,955
  • Graduation Rate: 54%

The University of Missouri in Kansas City has over 125 academic programs. You can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in religious studies, Its faculty ratio is 14 students to one professor. It also offers online learning options for students looking for flexible class schedules. For on-campus students, there are loads of activities and student clubs to keep student life interesting.

4. College of the Ozarks

  • US News National Ranking: #1 (Regional Colleges Midwest)
  • Campus Location(s): Point Lookout
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,489
  • Graduation Rate: 63%

The College of the Ozarks is a Christian school and liberal arts college founded in 1906. It offers more than 50 degree programs and a private college. For those of the Christian faith, there are on-campus chapel services on Sundays. The university also boasts a 1,000-acre campus.

You can attend the school for an undergraduate liberal arts degree , a nursing program, an associate degree program, or an animal science program. There are more than 100 jobs on campus for students to help pay for part of their education costs and as a way to gain work experience.

5. Missouri State University

  • US News National Ranking: #299 – #391
  • Campus Location(s): Springfield, West Plains, Mountain Grove, and Dalian, China
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,513
  • Graduation Rate: 59%

Missouri State University is a public university system with four campus locations. There are 102 bachelor’s programs, 61 master’s programs, seven doctoral programs, and 12 pre-professional programs available for students at this university.

There are also over 350 student organizations to join, including sororities and fraternities for those interested in Greek life. The university also offers online courses for those who want to take advantage of one of the best universities in Missouri without having to move to the state.

6. University of Missouri – Columbia

  • US News National Ranking: #122
  • Campus Location(s): Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, and Saint Louis
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 23,533
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

The University of Missouri offers over 300 degree programs, including undergraduate majors. Over 92 percent of the faculty hold doctoral degrees or the highest qualification in their field.

The University of Missouri has an affiliation with the 2018 Nobel Laureate Chemistry prize winner.

The school has robust online offerings, including academic programs, graduate programs, and STEM degrees . There is also a chapel that is available to students for use when it is not booked for an event, however, there are no chapel services.

7. Lindenwood University

  • US News National Ranking: #299 – #391
  • Campus Location(s): Saint Charles
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,822
  • Graduation Rate: 47%

Lindenwood University offers motivated students 60 clubs and organizations for active student life. There are over 100 degree programs, including associate programs and undergraduate degrees for undergraduate students to pursue. According to its official website, 93 percent of its graduates secure employment in their fields within six months.

8. Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T)

  • US News National Ranking: #179
  • Campus Location(s): Rolla
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,088
  • Graduation Rate: 65%

Missouri S&T has over 101 degree programs in 40 fields. The school emphasizes hands-on, interdisciplinary learning with a focus on research. If you are interested in becoming a teacher , Missouri S&T offers the top secondary teacher education academic program in the country.

9. Saint Louis University

  • US News National Ranking: #103
  • Campus Location(s): Saint Louis
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,984
  • Graduation Rate: 80%

Saint Louis University is a prestigious university rooted in Catholicism. Undergraduate students have 89 undergraduate programs to choose from and graduate students have 86 graduate programs in STEM degrees and more. It was named the number two health law program in the United States by US News. Remote students can attend online courses and programs.

10. Maryville University of Saint Louis

  • US News National Ranking: #202
  • Campus Location(s): Saint Louis
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,454
  • Graduation Rate: 83%

Maryville University of Saint Louis has loads of options for undergraduate students with over 90 degree programs. There are also graduate degrees available through 19 master’s programs and five doctoral programs. Many of the degree programs are available online.

Maryville University has more than 100 clubs and organizations, coeducation residence halls, and five student apartments. The university boasts a 14 to one student-to-faculty rate and has a 130-acre campus. An impressive 97 percent of its graduates secure employment in their studied field.

Is a University in Missouri Right for You?

Yes, if you can afford the time and tuition, you should attend university in Missouri. Acquiring a university or college degree could mean avoiding unemployment and earning higher-paying salaries . The universities on this list have expert faculty, and most offer programs for on-campus students and online students. Most include opportunities for international students as well.

However, if attending a university or college is not on the cards for you, you should consider a coding bootcamp. Bootcamps offer students intensive courses that can be completed within a few months and prepare them for careers in the tech industry. The best coding bootcamps provide affordable quality education and training with flexible scheduling and payment options.

Best Universities in Missouri FAQ

Which universities in Missouri have the best quality of life?

The universities in Missouri that have the best quality of life for undergraduate students and graduate students are Washington University in Saint Louis, University of Missouri in Columbia, and Maryville University of Saint Louis.


Which Missouri university is a world-class research university?

Washington University in Saint Louis is a world-class research university in Missouri. This means undergraduate students from Missouri can attend a world-class research university in their hometown.

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is an amount of money that helps students pay for their education tuition. These come in different formats, such as a full-tuition scholarship, merit-based scholarships, and automatic scholarships that students can benefit from and reduce debt upon graduation.

Which are the best universities in Missouri with athletic events for student-athletes?

The best universities in Missouri with athletic events for student-athletes are Washington University in Saint Louis, University of Missouri – Columbia, Northwest Missouri State University, and Saint Louis University.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Simone Du Toit

About the author: Simone has worked in management for over 20 years and uses her experience hiring, coaching, and supporting others to help Career Karma readers thrive in their new careers. Along with her managerial experience, Simone has taught English as a second language to students in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. She holds certificates in Retail Leadership Development and Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

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