To identify the Best Colleges in New Mexico for 2017-2018 we averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores from around the web to produce a unique College Consensus rating for each school. You won’t find a more comprehensive ranking of the top colleges and universities in New Mexico anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.
Colleges & Universities in New Mexico
New Mexico is almost all desert, except for some forests in the northern mountains, and petroleum has been the main economic foundation for the past century. Unfortunately, New Mexico also has a large population of impoverished, unemployed, and disadvantaged people. That places a major responsibility on the higher education system, which accounts for a large proportion of employment – the University of New Mexico itself is one of the largest employers in the state. Plus, the presence of multiple federal laboratories and bases makes engineering and other scientific research a key part of education in New Mexico’s research universities. New Mexico’s public and private institutions are up to the challenge, though, with world-class STEM and professional programs, and all of the transferrable leadership skills of the liberal arts tradition.
Note: At this time, only four institutions in New Mexico have enough rankings and reviews to generate a Consensus Score. The College Consensus is a dynamic site, and updates will be made as data changes.
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Founded in 1889, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology embodies truth in advertising – the name says it all. New Mexico Tech began as a mining school, expanding to areas like petroleum engineering as the oil boom hit the state, and eventually maturing into a major STEM-focused university. As a research-heavy institution, New Mexico Tech has made its name on developments and discoveries in areas from geology to astronomy, atmospheric research to volcanology, and has been recognized by the Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s as a top regional institution and best value.
Students benefit from New Mexico Tech’s rich research setting with hands-on, experiential learning experiences guided by leading experts, a process made much easier with a small student body and small class sizes that allow faculty to take on direct mentoring roles. NMT’s curriculum is interdisciplinary and collaborative, giving students the opportunity to learn how research and work are done in a real environment and better preparing them for the job market. NMT is also dedicated to providing access for the very best students, regardless of their background, making economic development and prosperity one of their explicit goals.
St. John's College
Santa Fe, NM
St. John’s College is a uniquely focused liberal arts college marked by its Great Books curriculum. Rather than conventional, modern textbooks, St. John’s courses are taught entirely with the traditional books of the Western Canon in literature, theology, philosophy, and science. This unusual approach, which dates to the 1930s, is designed to give students a grounding in the best of historical thought and develop the transferable skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, and independent motivation. Students are encouraged to take charge of their own education, acting as students and teachers to themselves and their peers.
Dating back to 1696 in the Annapolis, MD area, St. John’s College went through many radical changes before settling into its modern incarnation after a near collapse during the Great Depression. St. John’s Santa Fe campus was founded in 1961, with the mission to spread the St. John’s method and mission to the far side of the US. Students can take courses at either institution, both of which follow the same rigorous curriculum, and Santa Fe students get access to the outdoor adventure and beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains for inspiration.
New Mexico State University-Main Campus
Las Cruces, NM
New Mexico’s oldest public university, founded in 1888, New Mexico State University is a large land and space-grant research institution with its roots in agriculture and engineering. With a curriculum heavy on STEM and professional programs, particularly applied sciences and business, NMSU has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top-tier institution, and ranked by Forbes as a best value for the region. With its land-grant heritage, New Mexico State is also deeply engaged with the community, creating programs and initiatives intended to improve life for New Mexico’s people, from agriculture to exercise.
As the only major public research university designated a Hispanic-serving institution, NMSU is dedicated to diversity and inclusion. NMSU has made particular strides in helping Hispanic and Latino students earn STEM degrees and enter professions that make a significant impact on social mobility and economic development. New Mexico State makes a difference in the lives of its students and graduates, and in the lives of the people it touches, making a degree from NMSU a special kind of investment – one that creates a return for more than just the investor.
University of New Mexico-Main Campus
Founded in 1889, just a year after New Mexico State, the University of New Mexico is the state’s flagship public research university, making a tremendous impact on the state and the city of Albuquerque as one of the largest employers in the state, and as one of the largest forces for community uplift. UNM is notable for having one of the largest Hispanic and Native American student and faculty bodies in the nation, and their dedication to reaching out to the people of New Mexico have made UNM vital to the state’s intellectual, social, and cultural life.
As a top-tier research university, UNM’s faculty includes Nobel laureates, MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellows, and public intellectuals recognized for their contributions to learning. UNM’s School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Engineering, School of Management, and College of Nursing are all ranked as among the best in their field, while arts like Photography and Printmaking are nationally respected. More importantly, though, UNM prepares New Mexico’s students for leadership in the state and beyond, setting the course for the future with confidence and excellence.