To identify the Best Colleges in Montana for 2021 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 Montana anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.
Montana isn’t quite like any other place in America. Cold, mountainous, and still quite, quite wild, Montana has never accepted settlers easily, and those who choose to live there have always represented the most ruggedly individualistic side of the American character. One the largest and most sparsely populated states, Montana doesn’t have the need for as many colleges and universities as, say, New England or California, but that just means that the higher education institutions Montana has, are exceptional.
In true Montana tradition, higher education in Big Sky Country is heavy on the practical professions and sciences, focusing throughout the state’s history on meeting real-world needs from agriculture and engineering to teaching and medicine. As a state, Montana has traditionally relied on mining, agriculture (especially cattle), and forestry for their economic bedrock, but as those industries shift and change in the 21st century, the state is poised to make new and innovative uses of their natural resources, including renewable and sustainable energy, technology, and tourism.
The Best Colleges in Montana: Meeting Montana’s Needs
Montana’s major research institutions, the University of Montana and Montana State University, have one foot in academic research, and one in real-world application, bringing useful knowledge and technology to industry every day. Both are significant research institutions, with both the University of Montana and Montana State ranked among the best national research universities. Beyond their excellence in academics and research, the two are also noted for their outdoor life, with the University of Montana ranked as one of the best river and lake colleges in the US, and a major force in preserving and protecting the Clark Fork River. Montana State, in turn, is rated one of the best mountain colleges, with one of the most influential outdoor recreation programs in the world.
Furthermore, the state’s designated public STEM-centered university, Montana Tech, has grown into one of the best regional colleges in the West. Formerly the School of Mines, Montana Tech has built on the state’s long tradition of natural resource engineering to build one of the nation’s finest STEM institutions. As an up-and-coming university, Montana Tech has been especially praised for its impact on social mobility, helping train Montana’s students for rewarding professional careers in the applied sciences.
Montana’s smaller liberal arts colleges include Carroll College (also ranked a best mountain college) and Rocky Mountain College, which carry on the tradition of developing widely-transferable skills to Montana’s next generation of leaders and professionals. Carroll College is further recognized as one of the best Catholic colleges in America, known regionally and nationally for its health sciences and engineering programs, presented with a traditional Catholic emphasis on service, ethics, and faith.
The Future of Montana’s Best Colleges
The best colleges in Montana know that Montana’s future lies in technology, sustainable energy, and preserving their natural beauty and character. That’s why Montana’s colleges – private and public, research and liberal arts, secular and Christian – are committed to providing what Montana’s people need. Technical training, professional careers, and leadership in government, business, and education – those are Montana’s future, and with its few but proud colleges and universities, Montana has it covered.