Across the United States, you will find the world’s best universities and colleges and a state like Pennsylvania is a perfect place to look.
While some of us are familiar with California, Massachusetts, Texas, and New York as states where top American universities are located, Pennsylvania is also home to some of the top-tier institutions.
According to U.S. News, there are over 100 four-year institutions in the state of Pennsylvania. These schools include both public and private research institutions offering academic programs at undergraduate and graduate levels.
The city of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are where most of the top institutions in Pennsylvania are located.
The top colleges and universities in Pennsylvania accommodate international students with domestic students applying from the 50 states across the country.
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What are the Best Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania?
If you are familiar with the Ivy League schools, I believe you must have heard of the University of Pennsylvania or UPenn as it’s popularly called. Another university ranked in the top 55 universities worldwide is Carnegie Mellon University.
While the University of Pennsylvania currently ranks 13th as the best university in the world, Carnegie Mellon University and Pennsylvania State University are ranked 52nd and 93rd according to QS World University Rankings.
The University of Pennsylvania is a prestigious private research institution offering top-tier education to undergraduates and graduates. It currently ranks 7th among National Universities according to U.S. News & World ranks.
Also Read: What Are The 12 Ivy League Schools in 2024?
Tuition and Fees at Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania is home to some of America’s best universities. Tuition and fees at Pennsylvania colleges will vary based on the standard of programs offered.
According to Collegetuitioncompare.com, tuition and fees for undergraduates currently studying at public colleges across Pennsylvania is $13,957 for in-state students.
For out-of-state students, the cost is $18,580 to study in a Pennsylvania public college.
It’s estimated that tuition and fees at Pennsylvania public colleges is higher than the national average. The national average tuition across the United States is $6,963 for state residents and $12,914 for out-of-state students.
Tuition and fees at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus is $38,650, making it the most expensive in the state. On the other hand, Forbes Road Career and Technology Center is the college with the lowest tuition and fees.
Tuition and fees at Forbes Road Career and Technology Center is $2,965.
Below are the average itemised costs for Pennsylvania public colleges;
- Tuition and fees: $13,957 for in-state students and $18,580 for out-of-state.
- Cost for books and supplies: $1,644
- Cost per credit hour: $391 for in-state students and $647 for out-of-state.
- Living cost: $12,103 (on-campus) and $10,661 (off-campus)
List of the Best Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania
Top-tier colleges and universities in Pennsylvania include;
- Carnegie Mellon University
- The Pennsylvania State University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Thomas Jefferson University
- Drexel University
- University of Pittsburgh
- Lehigh University
- Villanova University
- Temple University
- Duquesne University
10 Best Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s top-tier universities are mostly located in the city of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Let’s look at the rankings of Pennsylvania colleges.
#10. Duquesne University
- Location: Pittsburgh
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 68%
Established on October 1, 1878, Duquesne University is a private Catholic research institution with over 9,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Duquesne University was initially established as the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost. The university started with just 40 students back in 1878.
The university has since become a top Catholic research university and it’s also classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities.
Duquesne offers a variety of academic programs to undergraduates and postgraduates. It offers over 80 undergraduate majors, and academic programs in areas like business, music, and nursing.
Duquesne University has an acceptance that is above the national average for universities in the United States. Currently, the acceptance rate at Duquesne is 84%, with a graduation rate of 80%.
During the 2020-2021 academic year, Duquesne University awarded about 2,700 bachelor’s degrees to several students.
International students also come to Duquesne to study. The university accommodates international students who hail from over 80 countries.
According to statistics, more than 8%0 of the students studying at Duquesne University are residents of Pennsylvania or neighbouring states.
- Location: Philadelphia
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 52%
Founded in 1824, Thomas Jefferson University is a private research institution situated in Philadelphia. In 2017, this university merged with Philadelphia University.
Thomas Jefferson University’s main campus sits on a 100-acre land with an enrolment of over 7,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Coming in at #9 on the list of best colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, this university offers academic programs in fields like architecture, fashion and textile, health, social sciences, business, and engineering.
Thomas Jefferson University is organized into 12 distinctive colleges and schools. It’s one of the best research institutions in Pennsylvania that offers over 200 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- Location: Philadelphia
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 49%
As of the fall of 2022, over 37,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students were studying at Temple University.
Temple University is one of Pennsylvania’s top public research institutions. The university was established in 1884 by Russell Conwell alongside his congregation.
TU is one of the largest providers of professional education worldwide in fields like engineering, architecture, law, medicine, pharmacy, podiatry, and dentistry. The university offers more than 130 undergraduate majors and many graduate programs through its 17 schools and colleges.
Tuition and fees at Temple University is $21,095 for state residents and $35,956 for out-of-state.
- Location: Philadelphia
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 25%
Established in 1891, Drexel University is a private research institution in Pennsylvania. American banker Anthony J. Drexel is the founder of the university’s undergraduate school.
The university was originally established as Drexel Institute of Arts, Science and Industry. It was however renamed to Drexel Institute of Technology in 1936 and then given its current name in 1970.
Drexel University’s main campus spans 96 acres. The university has a large student body with an overall enrolment of over 24,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The Philadelphia-based private research university offers over 70 programs to 15,000+ undergraduate students. It also offers programs to graduates with over 100 master’s doctoral and professional programs available.
- Location: University Park
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 54%
For a public research university with several campuses scattered across the state of Pennsylvania, Penn State is home to over 74,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
It comes in at #6 on this list of best colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. Penn State University’s main campus spans 7, 343 acres in University Park.
Penn State ranks among the top 100 universities in the world. In the latest QS World University Rankings, Pennsylvania State University occupies the 92nd position.
U.S. News ranks Penn State 77th in National Universities and 5th as the “Best College in Pennsylvania.
Penn State is a top-tier university that offers more than 160 undergraduate majors. An excellent research centre that also offers online degree programs in different fields of study.
Penn State is organized into 18 distinctive schools and colleges. Applicants to Penn State have over a 50% chance to get into the university.
Tuition and fees at PSU are $18,898 for state residents and $36,476 for out-of-state students.
- Location: Pittsburgh
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 65%
The University of Pittsburgh is one of Pennsylvania’s finest public research institutions. Pitt is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities and it’s also a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU).
Pitt is a community where over 28,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students study to achieve a common goal.
The University of Pittsburgh has a good reputation. Pitt’s alumni, staff and faculty include ten Marshal Scholars and eight Rhodes Scholars.
Pitt offers a variety of academic programs through its 16 distinctive schools and colleges.
The University of Pittsburgh’s regional campuses across Pennsylvania offer associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. These regional campuses allow students to take preliminary courses and transfer to other Pitt regional campuses.
Students can also transfer to the Oakland campus to complete their degrees.
Pitt’s regional campuses are located in Greensburg, Titusville, Johnstown, and Bradford.
- Location: Villanova
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 87%
Here is another private Catholic research university on this list.
Villanova University was founded in 1842 by Augustinians. It was named after St. Thomas of Villanova and it’s Pennsylvania’s oldest Catholic University.
Currently, Villanova University has over 9,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. This university offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs through its six schools and colleges.
The university’s campus spans 254 acres and there are three named areas on campus.
Over 60 bachelor’s degree programs are offered at Villanova University in liberal arts, engineering, business, sciences, and nursing.
Villanova University also offers over 40 master’s programs including a five-year bachelor’s/master’s program.
- Location: Bethlehem
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 72%
Lehigh University takes the #3 spot on this list of best colleges and universities in Pennsylvania.
This is a private research university that was established by Asa Packer in 1865. Lehigh University is a small institution with just over 6,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
LU offers bachelor’s degree programs through its College of Arts and Science, P.C Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the College of Business.
Lehigh University is currently ranked 51st among National Universities tied with Villanova University according to U.S News.
- Location: Pittsburgh
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 75%
Carnegie Mellon University currently occupies the 52nd position as the best university in the world according to the QS World University Ranking. This university also ranks in the top 25 best schools for architecture worldwide.
CMU is one of Pennsylvania’s top-tier private research institutions. This university was established in the early 20th century and it’s named after its founder Andrew Carnegie.
CMU is quite selective when it comes to admission. Its acceptance rate is about 13%, making it one of the most difficult schools to get into in Pennsylvania.
Despite the selectivity at CMU, over 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students are currently enrolled in different programs at this university.
Carnegie Mellon is an institution that offers top-quality education to both undergraduates and graduates in a conducive learning environment.
- Location: Philadelphia
- Four-year Graduation Rate: 85%
And at #1 it’s the University of Pennsylvania. UPenn is the most selective university on this list with an acceptance rate in single digits.
Penn is a private Ivy League research institution, the best university in Pennsylvania. The university is ranked 13th on the QS World University Rankings, ranking above schools like Princeton, Cornell, Yale, and Columbia University.
UPenn is a prestigious university where thousands of students dream of studying. Alumni of this university include famous world leaders, Rhodes Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Nobel laureates, Academy Award winners, Tony Awards winners and Grammy Awards winners.
Colleges and universities in Pennsylvania offer top-quality education. Although tuition and fees for public Pennsylvania colleges may be above the national average, it’s still a good investment to study at public institutions in the state.
Whether you want to pursue a career in engineering, business, law, medicine, or podiatry, Pennsylvania colleges provide top-tier professional education.