In developing this ranking, we’ve examined 335 competitive small colleges offering degrees that are a good match for intellectuals – Social Science, Psychology, Philosophy, Finance, Computer Science, Physics, Neuroscience, Political Science/Government, Economics, and History. From among these schools, we selected the ones where you’ll get the best deal and widest choice of majors by comparing the total expenses and majors offered as reported by each institution on College Navigator. The colleges that cover the greatest percentage made the final cut, and are ranked here accordingly.
Rating the Top Small Intellectual Colleges
20. Bluffton University
Total Expenses: $42,948
Net Price: $22,014
Percent Covered: 51%
Majors for Intellectuals: Social Science, Psychology, Economics, History
Founded in 1899 with a 64% acceptance rate, Bluffton University has a multifaceted intellectual student body of more than 1,100 and is situated on 65 acres of wooded grounds close to the banks of Little Riley Creek in Ohio. It has also been in the U.S.News rankings for 16 consecutive years, and has been ranked in the top tier of Midwest colleges. With more than 50 academic programs in fields from health to business, Bluffton works towards cultivating intellectual students with personal goals and professional skills for our global market.
19. Bucknell University
Total Expenses: $63,040
Net Price: $33,127
Percent Covered: 53%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Philosophy, Physics, Neuroscience, Political Science / Government, Economics, History.
Founded in 1846, Bucknell University has an acceptance rate of 29% making it selective and full of intellectual students. Located on a 450-acre campus, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the views, go on a hike, fish, cycle, and kayak. On the academic side, Bucknell is ranked as one of the best colleges in MONEY, Forbes, the U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, and PayScale. In addition, 97% of the class of 2014 is employed, in graduate school, or both.
18. York College – Pennsylvania
Total Expenses: $30,700
Net Price: $16,643
Percent Covered: 54%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Philosophy, Finance, Computer Science, Physics, Neuroscience, Political Science / Government, Economics, History.
Founded in 1787, York College of Pennsylvania is a private 4-year college that offers more than 50 baccalaureate majors and a few master’s degree programs. With about 4,900 enrolled students, York College is also ranked among 198 national best buys in higher education (Barron’s Best Buys in College Education) and is also in the top tier of the best Regional Universities in the North (U.S. News & World Report). The Princeton Review calls it as one of the Best Regional Colleges with an “inviting atmosphere.”
17. Francis Marion University
Total Expenses: $43,600
Net Price: $23,395
Percent Covered: 54%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Finance, Physics, History.
Located about seven miles east of Florence, Francis Marion University is known for its quality education and landscaping. With 100 acres of pine, hardwood and bottomland forests and a series of trails, this campus is ideal for smart college students who love the outdoors. Of the approximately 4,000 students at Francis Marion University, 95% are from South Carolina. The other 5% are from 36 different states and 16 foreign countries. The James A. Rogers Library is the sixth largest academic library in South Carolina.
16. Gettysburg College
Total Expenses: $60,320
Net Price: $33,343
Percent Covered: 55%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science / Government, Economics, History.
Gettysburg College has maintained a strong reputation for intellectual students since its founding in 1832. It has upheld a commitment to continuing education, depth, and breadth of knowledge. With about 2,600 students and 69 academic programs, students prepare for leadership and professional careers through classroom studies, service, and networking. With a 10:1 student/faculty ratio, and an average class size of 18, Gettysburg College professors can give lessons and attention tailored to their students’ needs. In addition, 95% of all graduates are either in graduate school or working in their chosen careers.
15. Abilene Christian University
Total Expenses: $43,100
Net Price: $23,949
Percent Covered: 56%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Finance, Computer Science, Physics, History.
Abilene Christian University is ranked #2 among regional universities in the West on the “Most Innovative Schools” list for 2016. With about 4,600 students from nearly every state and 43 nations, this private university founded in 1906 offers 71 baccalaureate majors and more than 125 areas of undergraduate study as well as graduate programs. In addition to that the graduates accepted into medical schools from this university are twice the national average, and graduates accepted into law schools are above the rate of 90%
14. Nova Southeast University
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Total Expenses: $43,946
Net Price: $24,833
Percent Covered: 57%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Philosophy, Finance, Computer Science, Political Science / Government, Economics, History.
Founded in 1964, Nova Southeastern University is a not-for-profit, independent university with about 27,000 students, 1,200 of which are international students from 116 countries. This University has also been awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is dedicated to innovative learning and teaching strategies. With traditional learning and teaching methods still in tact and valued, Nova Southeast University aims to focus on being bold and forward thinking. With small class sizes, and a vibrant campus life this university aims to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where students can connect with one another, and have more access to their professors.
13. Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Total Expenses: $62,034
Net Price: $35,882
Percent Covered: 58%
Majors for Intellectuals: Social Sciences, Psychology, Philosophy, Physics, Economics, History.
The Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus is located on 195 acres in New York State’s Finger Lakes Region. The private, liberal arts colleges have over 2,000 students, 228 full-time faculty members, and an 11:1 student/faculty ratio. With students from 41 states and 34 countries and more than 50 languages spoken on campus, Hobart and William Smith Colleges fosters a diverse community. Hobart William Smith has been listed in Forbes Magazine, Smart Money, The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, and Sierra as one of the top colleges in the U.S.
12. Delaware State University
Total Expenses: $21,862
Net Price: $12,603
Percent Covered: 58%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Finance, Computer Science, Physics, Neuroscience, History.
Founded in 1891, Delaware State University has 53 undergraduate degree programs, 25 masters degree programs, and five doctoral programs. Being an institution for smart students, Delaware State University is also accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education, as well as seven other academic accrediting agencies. With under 5,000 students and a 14:1 student/faculty ratio this university aims to cultivate student/faculty relationships and explore great ideas. The campus' William c. Jason library has more than 475,000 publications.
11. Carroll College
Total Expenses: $42,430
Net Price: $24,431
Percent Covered: 58%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Philosophy, Finance, Computer Science, Physics, Neuroscience, History.
Founded in 1909, Carroll College is a private college situated 4,000 feet high in Helena, Montana. Apart from being located on a mountain, Carroll College is ranked #1 in the 2016 Regionals Colleges West, #1 in the 2016 Regional Colleges West Best Value Schools, and #1 in the 2016 Best Regional College in the West for Veterans (U.S. News and World Report) making it an ideal choice for ambitious students. The faculty at Carroll are leaders in their fields and have won scholarships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities / National Endowment for the Arts.
10. Florida Southern College
Total Expenses: $26,588
Net Price: $15,635
Percent Covered: 59%
Majors for Intellectuals: Social Sciences, Psychology, Philosophy, Computer Science, Economics, History.
The U.S. News and World Report ranked Florida Southern College as one of the Top 10 “Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the South.” With more than 80 clubs and organizations, 130 full time faculty members, and an 18:1 student/faculty ratio, Florida Southern College encourages plenty of interaction and communication between its students and professors for outstanding results. This college was also ranked on the “Most Beautiful Campus” list in the Princeton Review magazine. With 70 buildings and 113 acres, all situated on the north shore of Lake Hollingsworth, Florida Southern College offers premium services for its students and faculty.
9. Claflin University
Total Expenses: $32,550
Net Price: $19,803
Percent Covered: 61%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Computer Science, Political Science, History.
Founded in 1869, Claflin University is a private college with about 2,000 students. Claflin is committed to developing critical and analytical thinking skills, independent research, and oral/written communication skills. With a leadership and study abroad program, Caflin intend cultivates the minds as well as life experience of its students so they can have a deeper understanding of the world in order to positively influence it. With an acceptance rate of 35%, Claflin University is highly selective and has a reputation for being a college for smart students.
8. Converse College
Total Expenses: $29,850
Net Price: $17,826
Percent Covered: 60%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Philosophy, Political Science / Government, Economics, History
Founded in 1889, Converse College has over 1,000 enrolled students with an acceptance rate of 53%. Being a college for intellectuals, Converse aims to empower its students while assisting them in “seeing clearly, deciding wisely, and acting justly”. With strong academic programs in the arts and sciences, and a student/faculty ratio of 11:1 there is much opportunity for students to create professional relationships with their teachers to fully understand the material being taught. Converse College was also ranked as one of the best colleges in the nation on the U.S. News and World Report, Washington monthly.
7. Andrews University
Berrien Springs, MI
Total Expenses: $36,758
Net Price: $23,620
Percent Covered: 64%
Majors for Intellectuals: Social Sciences, Psychology, Finance, Physics, History.
Founded in 1874, with a 45% acceptance rate, Andrews University has 130 undergraduate program options, and 63 majors which promote professional and ethical skills for our growing economy. Andrews University's goal is to develop leadership qualities and skills in every student so that they can develop the drive to complete a project, establish a goal, and maintain vital partnerships/relationships. Andrews University also offers students the chance to expand their horizons through its study abroad programs in some Asian countries and various parts of Europe.
6. Frostburg State University
Total Expenses: $19,682
Net Price: $12,952
Percent Covered: 66%
Majors for Intellectuals: Social Sciences, Psychology, Philosophy, Computer Science, Physics, Political Science / Government, Economics, History.
Frostburg State University, located in the Appalachian highlands of western Maryland, covers over 260 acres and is rich in both history and outdoor activities. With over 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and online master's programs, Frostburg University is a state-of-the-art institution that has been recognized by several national organizations as an institution for intellectual students. It has also made the President’s Honor Roll for Service for years, earned the “Tree Campus USA” status, and has been listed as a “Cool School” for environmental awareness by Sierra Magazine.
5. Dallas Baptist University
Total Expenses: $35,722
Net Price: $23,796
Percent Covered: 67%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Philosophy, Finance, Computer Science, Physics, Political Science / Government, History.
Founded in 1898, Dallas Baptist University sits on 292 acres on the hills of southwestern Dallas overlooking Mountain Creek Lake. It began as the first two-year institution of higher education in Texas. Today it is a university with over 5,000 students, 73 undergraduate majors, 27 master's programs, 57 dual master’s degree programs, 2 doctoral programs, and 38 accelerate bachelor's and master's degrees programs. Student/faculty ratio is 13:1. It is a selective university, admitting only 44% of its applicants, making it an ideal college for intellectuals.
4. American Jewish University
Los Angeles, California
Total Expenses: $49,121
Net Price: $34,762
Percent Covered: 71%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Philosophy, Computer Science, Physics, Neuroscience, Political Science / Government, Economics, History.
Founded in 2007, the American Jewish University is a small private college that aims to maintain a vibrant community of smart students. This new institution works to create innovative academic programs that prepare their undergraduate and graduate students for fulfilling and rewarding lives as leaders in their communities. With a library, auditorium, art gallery, sculpture garden, and performing arts plaza along with a campus full of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, horseback riding, and ropes courses, American Jewish University promotes life-work balance.
3. Flagler College-St Augustine
St. Augustine, FL
Total Expenses: $29,780
Net Price: $21,914
Percent Covered: 74%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Political Science, Economics, History.
Founded in 1968, Flagler College is a private college located in the nation’s oldest city. With 19 majors and 34 minors, Flagler focuses on academic growth, real-world experience and community-integrated projects to cultivate their high achieving students. Eighty-nine percent of 2014 graduates havejobs and/or graduate school plans. Alumni have careers in NASA, the FBI, and NASCAR. Students who want to continue their education have been accepted into top universities such as Harvard, Columbia, and Oxford.
2. Brigham Young University-Hawaii
Total Expenses: $14.606
Net Price: $11,948
Percent Covered: 82%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Finance, Computer Science, History.
Brigham’s small Hawaiian campus has a diverse population of over 2,500 students representing more than 70 countries. Brigham Young University has been fully accredited since 1959 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) as an institution of higher education for intellectual students. Exceeding expectations for the Standards/Core Commitments to Institutional Capacity and Education Effectiveness, this university works towards intellectual growth, career preparation, and the cultivation of ethical and moral character.
1. Tuskegee University
Total Expenses: $34,354
Net Price: $28,414
Percent Covered: 83%
Majors for Intellectuals: Psychology, Physics, Political Science / Government, Economics, History.
Founded in a one-room shanty in 1881 with 20 students, Tuskegee University has grown to more than 3,000 students. With an acceptance rate of 35%, this university is highly selective and maintains its reputation of being a college for smart students. Situated on 5,000 acres and with more than 70 buildings, Tuskegee's graduates include such pioneers and great Americans as Ralph Ellison, the first African American winner of the National Book Award, and Daniel James, the first African American four-star general.
Other articles of interest:
- 20 Deals: Small Colleges for Environmentally-minded
- 50 Best Deals on Competitive Small Colleges
- Top 50 Great Deals on Bachelor’s Degrees Online
- Top 20 Deals on Small Colleges in Texas
- Top 50 Best Colleges in Texas
- 20 Best Deals on Colleges that Don’t Require SAT
- 20 Best Deals: Small Colleges for Athletic Types
- 20 Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees
GCD Staff, June 2016