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The 10 Best and Most Prestigious Universities in Oregon

David Munyaka - September 01, 2022


Oregon is known for its natural marvels, beautiful landscapes, and fascinating tourist attractions. This state’s relaxed and welcoming reputation makes it a prime destination for college students. Oregon has some of the best universities in the United States, which begs the question, what are the best universities in Oregon?

The most prestigious universities in Oregon are scattered throughout this state’s cities including Eugene, Monmouth, and Corvallis. Most of Oregon’s universities are considered small to midsize, with a handful of them being large research universities. This article includes a list of the top 10 universities in Oregon, along with a detailed breakdown of our choices.

How We Defined Oregon University Rankings

Academic reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, employee reputation, and the availability of online programs are some of the key measures we’ve used to rank Oregon’s universities. Hopefully, these rankings will help you determine your preferred university. When doing your own research, knowing what criteria have been used to rank these universities can help you know whether or you agree with the ranking, as this list is subjective.

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Oregon Universities Ranked: Top 10 Universities in Oregon

  1. University of Oregon
  2. Oregon State University
  3. Portland State University
  4. George Fox Universities
  5. University of Portland
  6. Reed College
  7. Pacific University
  8. Willamette University
  9. Southern Oregon University
  10. Corban University

The Best Colleges and Universities in Oregon, Explained

A woman holding books in a library. Best Universities In Oregon
There are plenty of universities with fantastic undergraduate programs across the state of Oregon.

The following data was gathered from the rankings done by US News of both private and public universities in Oregon. Public universities offer quality education at a more affordable rate, although these universities have different academic offerings. Below are our picks for the ten best universities in Oregon.

1. University of Oregon

  • US News National Ranking: #99
  • Campus Location(s): Portland and Eugene, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 19,122
  • Graduation Rate: 74.4%

The University of Oregon is a public school known for its strong research facilities. It’s a good school with decent funding, highly qualified staff, good extracurricular activities, and a decent student body. The University of Oregon is known for its excellent campus courses in accounting, economics, business, psychology, and advertising.

This academic institution offers bachelor’s degree , post-bachelor’s certificate, master’s degree, post-master’s certificate, and doctoral degree programs. Although the campus is located in a relatively small town, there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from.

2. Oregon State University

  • US News National Ranking: #162
  • Campus Location(s): Corvallis, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 28,607
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

Located in Corvallis, Oregon State University is one of the best research universities in the area and is the biggest university in the state of Oregon, housing thousands of students. This university offers more than 200 undergraduate degree programs and 100 graduate degree programs through its 11 schools and colleges. The campus is located in one of the safest and friendliest towns.

3. Portland State University

  • US News National Ranking: #288
  • Campus Location(s): Portland, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 18,959
  • Graduation Rate: 58%

Portland State University is a public institution located in downtown Portland with an acceptance rate of 95 percent and a student-faculty ratio of 18:1. The most popular academic programs at Portland State University include Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Management, Social Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, and Computer and Information sciences.

4. George Fox University

  • US News National Ranking: #213
  • Campus Location(s): Newberg, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,284
  • Graduation Rate: 69%

George Fox University is one of the few premier Christian universities in the United States. This private university has an acceptance rate of 91 percent, with half of its admitted applicants having SAT scores ranging between 1020 and 1240. George Fox is well known for its nursing programs including Bachelor’s Degrees in Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing.

5. University of Portland

  • US News National Ranking: #3
  • Campus Location(s): Portland, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,559
  • Graduation Rate: 82%

The University of Portland is a private Catholic institution that offers about 40 majors that undergraduate students can choose from. This university is known for its undergraduate and graduate programs in health, engineering, business, and science. Located in Oregon’s largest city, there are many attractions that students can enjoy off the campus grounds like Portland’s zoo and Museum of Art.

6. Reed College

  • US News National Ranking: #62
  • Campus Location(s): Portland, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,548
  • Graduation Rate: 79%

Reed College’s campus sits on 116 acres in the dynamic city of Portland. Prospective students can choose from various programs such as art, biology, chemistry, economics, and history. The total cost of attendance is $78,370, with the average financial aid package being $52,264.

7. Pacific University

  • US News National Ranking: #187
  • Campus Location(s): Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Woodburn, and Eugene, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,758
  • Graduation Rate: 66%

Pacific University is a private institution known for its programs in biological and biomedical sciences, education, health, and business. This institution has an 89% acceptance rate, with incoming students typically having SAT scores ranging between 1050 and 1230.

8. Willamette University

  • US News National Ranking: # 71
  • Campus Location(s): Salem, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,303
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

If you are an international student, you’ll be pleased to know that Willamette University is a popular choice for students studying abroad. This university has a few partner programs that enhance the overall learning experience for international programs. The student population varies each year, but the adult population for students in undergraduate programs is about 1,303.

Applying for admission is relatively straightforward. Willamette is reasonably selective, as 80 percent of first-year applicants get accepted into its academic degree programs. Unfortunately, this university does not offer any online programs.

9. Southern Oregon University

  • US News National Ranking: #67
  • Campus Location(s): Ashland, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,449
  • Graduation Rate: 43%

South Oregon University (SOU) is a public institution known for its liberal arts programs. Prospective students can choose from more than 30 majors and 100 academic programs offered by the College of Arts and Science. SOU has a great student life with more than 50 campus organizations, clubs, and sports organizations. SOU accepts 90% of undergraduate applicants.

10. Corban University

  • US News National Ranking: #12
  • Campus Location(s): Salem, Oregon
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 950
  • Graduation Rate: 60%

Corban University is a reasonably small private institution that sits on 200 acres. The student-faculty ratio at this university is 13:1 as this school has 49.3 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. Prospective students can choose between 50 programs with popular majors including psychology, education, business, management, marketing, and related support services.

Is a University in Oregon Right for You?

Yes, going to a university in Oregon could be right for you for many different reasons. You should consider these universities if you live in the area and are looking for affordable degree programs with high acceptance rates. Universities in Oregon are located in peaceful towns surrounded by beautiful landscapes.

However, if college isn’t for you, a coding bootcamp is another viable option you may want to consider, especially if you want to pursue a tech career. Few educational institutions in Oregon are known for their tech courses and programs. Coding bootcamps are cheaper but effective alternatives to a college education. Bootcamps have helped lots of people successfully start their careers in the tech field.

Best Universities in Oregon FAQ

What is the number one university in Oregon?

The University of Oregon is the number one university in Oregon. According to the US News and World Report rankings, the University of Oregon is the number one university in the state and ranks number 99 in the country.

Which college is better: Oregon State or University of Oregon?

Oregon State University is a better choice if you want to study engineering, agriculture, public policy, or disciplines in natural resources. University of Oregon is a better option for sports-driven students or those who are interested in solid business and social science programs.

Are there any good colleges in Oregon?

Yes, there are lots of great colleges in Oregon. The best universities in Oregon are located throughout this state’s cities, including Eugene, Monmouth, and Corvallis.

What is the University of Oregon best-known for?

The University of Oregon is known for its strong departments in journalism, law, sports, physics, and architecture, as well as its exceptional football team.

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David Munyaka

About the author: David, a certified Executive Coach by the International Association of Professions Career College, is a business researcher, developer, and consultant. His writing has appeared online in various human resource and finance publications. David has over a decade of experience writing about career-related topics, and he also has a background in web development languages like HTML. He holds a Bachelor of Business in Commerce and Finance from Kenyatta University.

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