Top Rhode Island Colleges

Learn About 8 Top-Ranked Rhode Island Colleges and Universities

Top Ranked U.S. Colleges: Universities | Public Universities | Liberal Arts Colleges | Engineering | Business | Women's | Most Selective | More Top Picks

Even though it's the country's smallest state, Rhode Island has some wonderful choices for college. My top picks for the state range in size from a couple thousand students to over 16,000. The schools represent a wide range of missions and personalities, and my top picks include an Ivy League school, an art school, a professional school, and a public university. The admissions standards vary greatly, so be sure to click on the profiles to learn more. My selection criteria include retention rates, four- and six-year graduation rates, value, student engagement, and notable curricular strengths. I have listed the schools alphabetically rather than forcing them into any kind of artificial ranking; because the schools are so different, any kind of ranking would be dubious at best.

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Brown University
Brown University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 9,781 (6,926 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university
  • Distinctions: member of the Ivy League; one of the country's most selective colleges; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; member of the Association of American Universities for strong research programs; 9 to 1 student / faculty ratio
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Brown University profile
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Bryant University
Bryant University. Bullshark44 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Smithfield, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 3,698 (3,462 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university
  • Distinctions: highly rated master's university in the North; strong business school; students from 31 states and 45 countries; 13 to 1 student / faculty ratio; member of the NCAA Division I Northeast Conference
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Bryant University profile
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Providence Skyline
Providence Skyline. boliyou / Flickr
  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 9,324 (8,459 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university with a professional focus
  • Distinctions: students from 50 states and 71 countries; hands-on, career-focused approach to learning; strengths in culinary arts, business, and hospitality; NCAA Division III athletic programs
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Johnson & Wales University profile
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Providence College
Providence College. Obersmith / Flickr
  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 4,568 (4,034 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic college
  • Distinctions: 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; one of the country's top Catholic colleges; distinct four-semester course on western civilization; member of the NCAA Division I Big East Conference
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Providence College profile
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Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design. spablab / Flickr
  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 2,477 (1,999 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private art and design school
  • Distinctions: one of the country's top art schools; high job placement rate; selective portfolio-based admissions; joint degree program with Brown University; 9 to 1 student / faculty ratio
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the RISD profile
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Roger Williams University
Roger Williams University. bigfoot / Flickr
  • Location: Bristol, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 5,193 (4,902 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university
  • Distinctions: 14 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 19; active student life with over 100 clubs and organizations; waterfront location and strong sailing team; NCAA Division III athletic programs
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Roger Williams University profile
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Salve Regina University
Salve Regina University. Susan Cole Kelly / Flickr
  • Location: Newport, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 2,746 (2,124 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic university
  • Distinctions: waterfront campus in a historic neighborhood; 13 to 1 student / faculty ratio; popular professional fields such as nursing, business and criminal justice; NCAA Division II athletics
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Salve Regina University profile
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University of Rhode Island Quad
University of Rhode Island Quad. Wasted Time R / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Kingston, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 17,822 (14,812 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; Honors Program for high achieving students; good educational value; member of the NCAA Division I Atlantic 10 Conference
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the University of Rhode Island profile
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Calculate Your Chances

Calculate Your Chances of Being Admitted
Calculate Your Chances of Being Admitted.
Se​e if you have the grades and test scores you need to get into one of these top Rhode Island schools with this free tool from Cappex:  Calculate Your Chances of Getting In

 

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If you don't find your dream school in Rhode Island, check out these top colleges and universities in New England. More »