To identify the Best Colleges in Utah 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 Utah anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.
Colleges & Universities in Utah
While much of Utah’s land is owned by the federal government, Utah’s economy over its history was led by coal mining, oil, and cattle, but Utah realized early that natural resources would not be enough. In the 21st century, Utah has become a mecca for high-tech companies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs, winning recognition from Forbes and Newsweek as a new tech center and one of the best environments for small business.
Utah’s colleges and universities have done more than their part to make that magic happen. With top-ranked public research universities like the University of Utah 61 and Utah State University 59 , Utah’s scientists and researchers are at the forefront of discovery, taking students alongside them to help shape the future. Utah, of course, is also home to Brigham Young University, one of the most prestigious private religious institutions in the nation, and an internationally-renowned center for learning and research.
Brigham Young University-Provo
Utah’s most prominent institution, Brigham Young University is the largest religious university in the nation, and one of the highest-ranked. Founded in 1875 by Brigham Young, then the leader of the Latter-Day Saints church, Brigham Young University is known today for its high research productivity, excellent undergraduate and graduate education, and value. 99% of students belong to the Mormon faith, and BYU is famous for its wholesomeness and religious devotion. BYU’s curriculum is deeply rooted in Christian values and academic rigor, shaping students into leaders in their profession, family, and community.
BYU has long been recognized as a great starting point for students planning to go into medicine, law, or business, and is ranked among the very best American universities for graduates’ rate of acceptance into top-tier medical and law programs. Because of its affiliation with the LDS church, BYU’s tuition is one of the lowest in the nation for a private research university of its reputation; tithes from the church fund much of the tuition. With top-tier academics and a wide network of alumni and supporters, BYU is Utah’s crown jewel.
Westminster College (UT)
Founded in 1875 by the Presbyterian church, Westminster College stands today as an independent, non-denominational liberal arts college in Salt Lake City (as well as Utah’s only accredited small liberal arts college). Westminster is known for its educational excellence, having been ranked by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review as one of the top regional colleges in the West. They are also recognized for their commitment to diversity and inclusion, such as their gender-neutral language and facilities policy. Westminster is particularly known for the Gore School of Business, which offers one of the region’s most innovative entrepreneurship programs.
As a small liberal arts college, Westminster offers students the close, face-to-face mentorship and guidance that students look for, with a 9:1 student/faculty ratio and small classes for hands-on, experiential learning. This brings a particular advantage to Westminster’s excellent nursing, public health, and health management programs, as well as their highly respected business programs. Students learn from faculty members with the highest level of education and real-world experience, giving graduates a leg up entering the job market.
University of Utah
Utah’s flagship public institution, the University of Utah is a top-tier land-grant research university, widely recognized as one of the most prestigious of its class. With a long history of academic excellence dating back to 1850, UU has been home to MacArthur Genius Grant Fellows, Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize honorees, and even Nobel Prize winners. In the 21st century, Utah has emerged as one of the most innovative, entrepreneurial major public research universities, with a world-class system for incubating and developing technology and businesses.
For academics, the University of Utah is hard to beat. As one of the original nodes of the ARPANET, Utah helped bring about the invention of the internet, and remains one of the most prestigious computer science and technology institutions in the nation. From medicine and pharmacy to law and architecture, UU has a major hand in shaping the professional leadership of the state, while its renowned dance, art, and literature programs shape Utah’s culture. Graduates can trust that the University of Utah name will bring them success on the job market, and the U’s education will take them to the top of their profession.
Utah State University
A land and space-grant institution in the mountains of northern Utah, Utah State University was founded as an agricultural and mechanical school, designed to bring Utah’s farmers the most current, scientific approaches that 1888 could offer. Utah State has been considered one of the most underrated institutions in the nation, recognized by Forbes and U.S. News & World Report as one of the best values in America, and ranked as one of the top regional universities in the West. With Nobel Prize, MacArthur Fellow, and Rhodes Scholars, USU is a world-class research university waiting to be appreciated.
With its background, it’s no surprise that USU is home to some of the most respected engineering and agricultural sciences programs in the nation, including highly influential research in water and aerospace engineering. But Utah State is also a top choice for education and business degrees, with the Jones College of Education and Human Services, and the Huntsman School of Business, while the Quinney College of Natural Resources has made major developments in environment and sustainability research. Whatever the field, Utah State is Utah’s reliable source of top leadership and service.
Southern Utah University
A mid-sized regional public institution, Southern Utah University has its beginnings in 1898 as a normal school (teacher’s college) for the southern region of the state. In its years of service, SUU has been a normal school, and agricultural college, a junior college, and today is recognized as one of the top schools in the western region and a best value by the Princeton Review. With a strong emphasis on community engagement and service learning, SUU has also been honored by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, a distinction earned by the many hours of community service performed by students and faculty.
Souther Utah is a center for culture and learning in the region, particularly as the home of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, one of the oldest and most famous theatrical festivals in the nation. In addition to works by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the USF puts on performances by contemporary playwrights, musicals, and workshops. SUU’s commitment to culture, community, and education have made it a university that deserves to be on the national radar.
Weber State University
Founded as a small academy by the LDS Church in 1889, Weber State University became a public junior college in 1933, growing over the course of the 20th century into a full state university. As a large, public institution, Weber State’s curriculum focuses on professional and technical programs with a strong liberal arts grounding, emphasizing the role of education and leadership in the community through service and learning.
Weber State’s mission is to provide educational opportunity for the people who most need it, and as such, more than three-quarters of Weber State’s students are also employed, while more than half are part-time. In recent years Weber State has become a model of distance education, increasing their accessibility and reach with fully online degree programs for working adults, part of their vision of becoming a leading dual-mission institution. Graduates will find Weber State a wise investment.
Utah Valley University
The largest public institution in Utah, Utah Valley University has grown through its committed focus on practical, market-ready professional and technical programs. Founded in 1941 as a vocational school, designed to help raise Utah’s workers out of the Great Depression and into modern technical careers, UVU has maintained a high level of responsiveness to the needs of the region, creating and building programs that made an immediate and long-lasting impact on the life and economy of Utah.
UVU is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for their community engagement, both through extensive community service, and also through the deeply rooted emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning that sees UVU’s students going out into the community to learn first-hand. From health, education, and business, to computer technology and science, UVU is committed to the mission of crafting students into lifelong learners and leaders, meeting the needs not only of today, but of tomorrow.