Best Colleges in Alabama

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Colleges and universities in Alabama offer college-bound students a rich multicultural community, professional career paths, and various opportunities to earn a degree that matches their expectations and career aspirations. Home to 15 HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and public and private universities, Alabama is packed with schools that offer a small student-faculty ratio and options for adult students to earn associate degrees that fit their schedules and needs. Whether you're interested in psychology or computer science, Alabama's colleges could be a great fit for anyone looking for quality education and historically rich student life.

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Best Public and Private Colleges in Alabama

#1 Auburn University - Auburn, Alabama. At Auburn University, there are a total of 150 majors students can choose from and 427 buildings across its 1,841-acre campus. The school is heavily known for its football team, the Auburn Tigers, and on game days, Auburn is the fifth-largest city in the state because of the number of fans in attendance. Currently, 24,931 undergraduates attend Auburn, and its acceptance rate is 85%. Out-of-state tuition and fees are roughly $31,956, and in-state costs are $11,796.

#2 Samford University - Birmingham, Alabama. As a leading Christian university, Samford University provides students with a strong foundation in the liberal arts through its ten academic schools. Samford was ranked 1st in the nation for student engagement by The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education and is the nation's 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S. Samford's vision and mission for their campus stresses learning and personal faith in the Baptist tradition, championing academics and career in addition to civic responsibility and service to others. The university employs a 4-1-4-based academic calendar, and its annual fiscal and economic impact on Alabama totals $424.8 million.

#3 The University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The University of Alabama was founded in 1831 and is one of the top 60 public universities in the country. Known as "The Capstone," the Tuscaloosa campus offers nearly 200 degree programs and enrolled the largest freshman class in its history last fall 2021, welcoming 38,320 students to its campus. The fall 2020 acceptance rate was 80%, with the majority of applicants scoring between 1070 and 1330 on the SAT.

#4 The University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, Alabama. A total of 172 degrees are available at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and 81.8% of the university's students come from Alabama. For the fall 2021-2022 academic year, UAB's in-state tuition and fees equal $10,710, and out-of-state is roughly $25,500. UAB was established in 1969, and the most popular majors are biological and biomedical sciences, business, communication, and journalism.

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#5 The University of Alabama in Huntsville - Huntsville, Alabama. As one of the nation's premier research universities, the University of Alabama in Huntsville boasts a nearly 500-acre campus with 17 high-tech research centers and labs, as well as roughly $131.6 million in expenditures. There are 89 degree programs available at UAH, and the university welcomed about 9,636 students last fall. In the state of Alabama, UAH has been consistently ranked #1 in return on investments among public and private colleges.

#6 Birmingham-Southern College - Birmingham, Alabama. Founded in 1856, Birmingham-Southern College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,129, and the most popular majors across the university include business administration and management, biology, and psychology. BSC is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and offers 29 undergraduate majors, 26 minors, and 3 distinctions. BSC's Urban Environmental Studies program partners with the Southern Environmental Center, the largest educational facility in Alabama, and Turkey Creek Nature Preserve to provide unique research opportunities for students.

#7 Huntingdon College - Montgomery, Alabama. Originally founded in 1854 as a women's college, Huntingdon College is a Methodist liberal arts school that serves approximately 1100 undergraduate students and boasts more than 50 clubs and student organizations. 60% of Huntingdon's classes have fewer than 20 students, and the college has been ranked among the top 10 Best Values in Regional Colleges—South. The acceptance rate for Fall 2020 was 54%, and the school has a rolling application deadline.

#8 University of Mobile - Mobile, Alabama. As a Christ-centered liberal arts college, the University of Mobile centers the gospel of Jesus Christ in all that it does and applies "Higher Education for a Higher Purpose." The university has over 75 academic programs and a total undergraduate enrollment of roughly 1,750. Tuition and fees are $24,540 and the most popular majors include nursing and business administration and management. Approximately 75% of full-time undergraduate students receive need-based financial assistance.

#9 Tuskegee University - Tuskegee, Alabama. Founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881, Tuskegee University is a historically Black land-grant university that offers more than 60 degree programs across five colleges and three schools. The National Park Service designated the campus as the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, and it is the only HBCU that holds that title. TU is a leading producer of African American aerospace science engineers and the largest producer of African-Americans with baccalaureate degrees in Math, Science, and Engineering in Alabama.

#10 University of Montevallo - Montevallo, Alabama. Despite being a smaller public university, the University of Montevallo is one of 29 public liberal arts colleges in the U.S. and Canada and was the first institution of higher learning in Alabama to guarantee its teacher-education graduates. The university was founded in 1896 and offers degrees from four different colleges — the College of Arts & Sciences, the Michael E. Stephens College of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Fine Arts. Out-of-state tuition is $25,110, and in-state intuition is $12,090.

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Best Community Colleges in Alabama

#1 Northeast Alabama Community College - Rainsville, Alabama. Northeast Alabam Community College has consistently ranked in the top colleges for student retention and success rates in Alabama. The college recently opened a state-of-the-art Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Technology Center, which includes 22 computer labs available to the student body. Tuition at NACC is roughly 50-60% of that at a four-year university.

#2 Shelton State Community College - Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Shelton State Community College is one of the largest two-year colleges in Alabama and serves roughly 7,00 students. Shelton State is divided into two campuses and is an open-admission institution — any student with a GED or high school diploma is eligible to attend.

#3 Wallace Community College Selma - Selma, Alabama. Founded in 1963, Wallace Community College Selma currently serves about 1,400 students, 29% of which are dual-enrolled high school students. The most popular majors in 2020 were Associates in Science, Nursing, and Welding.

#4 Bevill State Community College - Jasper, Alabama. Bevill State Community College serves its students on four campuses and one instructional site. 77% of its students receive financial assistance, and Bevill State operates as an open-door institution, allowing any students with a GED or high school diploma to apply.

#5 Lawson State Community College - Birmingham, Alabama. Lawson State Community College is a public, historically Black community college serving its students on two campuses. The college offers dual enrollment for high school students and is an open-door institution. For three years straight, Lawson State's Nursing program has been ranked #1 and #2 in Alabama.

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Best Online Colleges in Alabama

#1 Troy University - Troy, Alabama. Founded in 1887, Troy University is a rural, semester-based university with an acceptance rate of 92%. TROY has been recognized for its various degree programs for veterans by U.S. News & World Report and other publications, such as its online master's program in Criminal Justice and non-MBA Business programs. Students can choose from 170+ majors and minors, and graduate students have over 110 degree options that can be done in-person, online, or both.

#2 Alabama State University - Montgomery, Alabama. Alabama State University is a public HBCU and offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, such as the historic teacher education program to the Ph.D. in microbiology. The university was originally founded in 1867 in Marion, Alabama, as the Lincoln Normal School, cementing ASU as one of the nation's oldest universities founded for African American students. ASU offers select degrees online, such as the Bachelor of Science in Marketing and the Master of Education in early education.

#3 Auburn University at Montgomery - Montgomery, Alabama. With a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,375, Auburn University at Montgomery is a public university that has gained great acclaim for its business school, online MBA program, and for being one of the most affordable universities or colleges in Alabama. One of the most popular attractions known on campus is the Cason McDermott Art Gallery, which provides BFA candidates the opportunity to do solo exhibitions. AUM has waived application fees for prospective applicants and offers ACT/SAT Superscoring as a continued feature of their application.

#4 Jacksonville State University - Jacksonville, Alabama. Coined "the Friendliest Campus in the South," Jacksonville State University offers 95 academic programs and concentrations, as well as 40 online programs. Tuition for in-state undergraduates is $324 per credit hour, and out-of-state undergraduates can expect $648 per credit hour. 80% of JSU's students receive some form of financial aid, and the university has roughly 70,00 alumni in 50 states and 136 countries. Across all 17 of its sports teams, JSU has won six team national championships and two individual national championships.

#5 Faulkner University - Montgomery, Alabama. Founded as Montgomery Bible School in 1942, Faulkner University offers more than 60 in-person majors and over 23 online programs. As a Christian liberal arts college, Faulkner offers competitive tuition rates for students interested in associate degrees to doctoral degrees, with tuition and fees starting at $22,990. The average student class size is 15, and 49% of the university's students are minority students. In 2022, Faulkner's law school was ranked one of the best law schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

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Best Business Colleges in Alabama

#1 The University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The University of Alabama was founded in 1831 and is one of the top 60 public universities in the country. Known as "The Capstone," the Tuscaloosa campus offers nearly 200 degree programs and enrolled the largest freshman class in its history last fall 2021, welcoming 38,320 students to its campus. The fall 2020 acceptance rate was 80%, with the majority of applicants scoring between 1070 and 1330 on the SAT.

#2 Auburn University - Auburn, Alabama. At Auburn University, there are a total of 150 majors students can choose from and 427 buildings across its 1,841-acre campus. The school is heavily known for its football team, the Auburn Tigers, and on game days, Auburn is the fifth-largest city in the state because of the number of fans in attendance. 24,931 undergraduates currently attend Auburn, and its acceptance rate sits at 85%. Out-of-state tuition and fees are roughly $31,956, and in-state costs are $11,796.

#3 Alabama A&M University - Normal, Alabama. Founded in 1875, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University is a historically Black land-grant university that provides more than 60 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs across four colleges. AAMU has an enrollment of about 6,100 students and nearly 800 faculty and staff. In-state tuition and fees are close to $10,024, and out-of-state costs are nearly $18,634. AAMU received waived its ACT/SAT testing requirements for its enrollment.

#4 Auburn University at Montgomery - Montgomery, Alabama. With a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,375, Auburn University at Montgomery is a public university that has gained great acclaim for its business school, online MBA program, and for being one of the most affordable universities or colleges in Alabama. One of the most popular attractions known on campus is the Cason McDermott Art Gallery, which provides BFA candidates the opportunity to do solo exhibitions. AUM has waived application fees for prospective applicants and offers ACT/SAT Superscoring as a continued feature of their application.

#5 Jacksonville State University - Jacksonville, Alabama. Coined "the Friendliest Campus in the South," Jacksonville State University offers 95 academic programs and concentrations, as well as 40 online programs. Tuition for in-state undergraduates is $324 per credit hour, and out-of-state undergraduates can expect $648 per credit hour. 80% of JSU's students receive some form of financial aid, and the university has roughly 70,00 alumni in 50 states and 136 countries. Across all 17 of its sports teams, JSU has won six team national championships and two individual national championships.

alabama colleges

Best Colleges in Alabama for Criminal Justice

#1 The University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, Alabama. A total of 172 degrees are available at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and 81.8% of the university's students come from Alabama. For the fall 2021-2022 academic year, UAB's in-state tuition and fees equal $10,710, and out-of-state is roughly $25,500. UAB was established in 1969, and the most popular majors are biological and biomedical sciences, business, communication, and journalism.

#2 Huntingdon College - Montgomery, Alabama. Originally founded in 1854 as a women's college, Huntingdon College is a Methodist liberal arts school that serves approximately 1100 undergraduate students and boasts more than 50 clubs and student organizations. 60% of Huntingdon's classes have fewer than 20 students, and the college has been ranked among the top 10 Best Values in Regional Colleges—South. The acceptance rate for Fall 2020 was 54%, and the school has a rolling application deadline.

#3 University of North Alabama - Florence, Alabama. Alabama's oldest public 4-year university boasts more than 140 majors and concentrations and is home to Leo III, the live lion mascot that is housed in a state-of-the-art habitat on campus, right next to the President's Home. Tuition at UNA is among the lowest in the state — 12-18 credit hours for Alabama residents are $4,155, and $8,310 for non-residents. In 2018, the university launched its first engineering curriculum — a four-year degree in Engineering Technology.

#4 Troy University - Troy, Alabama. Founded in 1887, Troy University is a rural, semester-based university with an acceptance rate of 92%. TROY has been recognized for its various degree programs for veterans by U.S. News & World Report and other publications, such as its online master's program in Criminal Justice and non-MBA Business programs. Students can choose from 170+ majors and minors, and graduate students have over 110 degree options that can be done in-person, online, or both.

#5 Alabama State University - Montgomery, Alabama. Alabama State University is a public HBCU and offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, such as the historic teacher education program to the Ph.D. in microbiology. The university was originally founded in 1867 in Marion, Alabama, as the Lincoln Normal School, cementing ASU as one of the nation's oldest universities founded for African American students. ASU offers select degrees online, such as the Bachelor of Science in Marketing and the Master of Education in early education.

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Best Colleges for Psychology in Alabama

#1 The University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, Alabama. A total of 172 degrees are available at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and 81.8% of the university's students come from Alabama. For the fall 2021-2022 academic year, UAB's in-state tuition and fees equal $10,710, and out-of-state is roughly $25,500. UAB was established in 1969, and the most popular majors are biological and biomedical sciences, business, communication, and journalism.

#2 The University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The University of Alabama was founded in 1831 and is one of the top 60 public universities in the country. Known as "The Capstone," the Tuscaloosa campus offers nearly 200 degree programs and enrolled the largest freshman class in its history last fall 2021, welcoming 38,320 students to its campus. The fall 2020 acceptance rate was 80%, with the majority of applicants scoring between 1070 and 1330 on the SAT.

#3 Birmingham-Southern College - Birmingham, Alabama. Founded in 1856, Birmingham-Southern College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,129, and the most popular majors across the university include business administration and management, biology, and psychology. BSC is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and offers 29 undergraduate majors, 26 minors, and 3 distinctions.

#4 University of Mobile - Mobile, Alabama. As a Christ-centered liberal arts college, the University of Mobile centers the gospel of Jesus Christ in all that it does and applies "Higher Education for a Higher Purpose." The university has over 75 academic programs and a total undergraduate enrollment of roughly 1,750. Tuition and fees are $24,540, and the most popular majors include nursing and business administration and management. Approximately 75% of full-time undergraduate students receive need-based financial assistance.

#5 Spring Hill College - Mobile, Alabama. Spring Hill College is a Jesuit college and is the oldest Catholic institution in the Southeast. Established in 1830, SHC offers more than 52 majors and concentrations and has an average class size of 13. Forbes Magazine listed the college among the top 10 universities and colleges for ROI (return on investment). In Alabama, SHC has the no. 1 four-year Nursing program, and 100% of graduates who applied to medical school were accepted. Only 38% of SHC's student body is Catholic, and 91% of its faculty hold terminal degrees.

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Best Colleges in Alabama for Engineering

#1 Auburn University - Auburn, Alabama. At Auburn University, there are a total of 150 majors students can choose from and 427 buildings across its 1,841-acre campus. The school is heavily known for its football team, the Auburn Tigers, and on game days, Auburn is the fifth-largest city in the state because of the number of fans in attendance. 24,931 undergraduates currently attend Auburn, and its acceptance rate sits at 85%. Out-of-state tuition and fees are roughly $31,956, and in-state costs are $11,796.

#2 The University of Alabama in Huntsville - Huntsville, Alabama. As one of the nation's premier research universities, the University of Alabama in Huntsville boasts a nearly 500-acre campus with 17 high-tech research centers and labs, as well as roughly $131.6 million in expenditures. There are 89 degree programs available at UAH, and the university welcomed about 9,636 students last fall. In the state of Alabama, UAH has been consistently ranked #1 in return on investments among public and private colleges.

#3 Tuskegee University - Tuskegee, Alabama. Founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881, Tuskegee University is a historically Black land-grant university that offers more than 60 degree programs across five colleges and three schools. The National Park Service designated the campus as the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, and it is the only HBCU that holds that title. TU is a leading producer of African American aerospace science engineers and the largest producer of African-Americans with baccalaureate degrees in Math, Science, and Engineering in Alabama.

#4 Oakwood University - Huntsville, Alabama. Acting as the only HBCU owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Oakwood University is in the top 10 of HBCUs with the best retention and graduation rates and, according to EBONY Magazine, was a top-ranked science program in 2012. In competition with 100 small and large institutions, Oakwood was ranked 12th in the country for the best Bachelor in Mathematics. Since 2019, Oakwood has launched three new graduate degrees — the Master of Public Health in Nutrition and Wellness, the Master of Business Administration in Leadership and Management, and the Master of Arts in Urban Ministry.

#5 The University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The University of Alabama was founded in 1831 and is one of the top 60 public universities in the country. Known as "The Capstone," the Tuscaloosa campus offers nearly 200 degree programs and enrolled the largest freshman class in its history last fall 2021, welcoming 38,320 students to its campus. The fall 2020 acceptance rate was 80%, with the majority of applicants scoring between 1070 and 1330 on the SAT.

alabama college

Best Colleges in Alabama for Computer Science

#1 Auburn University - Auburn, Alabama. At Auburn University, there are a total of 150 majors students can choose from and 427 buildings across its 1,841-acre campus. The school is heavily known for its football team, the Auburn Tigers, and on game days, Auburn is the fifth-largest city in the state because of the number of fans in attendance. 24,931 undergraduates currently attend Auburn, and its acceptance rate sits at 85%. Out-of-state tuition and fees are roughly $31,956, and in-state costs are approximately $11,796.

#2 Samford University - Birmingham, Alabama. As a leading Christian university, Samford University provides students with a strong foundation in the liberal arts through its 10 academic schools. Samford was ranked 1st in the nation for student engagement by The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education and is the nation's 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S. Samford's vision and mission for their campus stresses learning and personal faith in the Baptist tradition, championing academics and career in addition to civic responsibility and service to others. The university employs a 4-1-4-based academic calendar, and its annual fiscal and economic impact on Alabama totals $424.8 million.

#3 Alabama State University - Montgomery, Alabama. Alabama State University is a public HBCU and offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, such as the historic teacher education program to the Ph.D. in microbiology. The university was originally founded in 1867 in Marion, Alabama, as the Lincoln Normal School, cementing ASU as one of the nation's oldest universities founded for African American students. ASU offers select degrees online, such as the Bachelor of Science in Marketing and the Master of Education in early education.

#4 University of South Alabama - Mobile, Alabama. The University of South Alabama is a public research university located along the Gulf Coast. The University of South Alabama's health system caters to the neighboring community with five medical institutions and hospitals, annually serving hundreds of thousands. Research collaborations between the university and businesses and government organizations are common — recent grants and funding have generated $4.5 million for just researching just the applications of ionic liquids technologies.

#5 Faulkner University - Montgomery, Alabama. Founded as Montgomery Bible School in 1942, Faulkner University offers more than 60 in-person majors and over 23 online programs. As a Christian liberal arts college, Faulkner offers competitive tuition rates for students interested in associate degrees to doctoral degrees, with tuition and fees starting at $22,990. The average student class size is 15, and 49% of the university's students are minority students. In 2022, Faulkner's law school was ranked one of the best law schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Methodology Behind Ranking the Best Alabama Colleges

Colleges and universities were ranked based on financial aid, acceptance rates, degrees and programs offered, and other stamps of academic excellence and enrichment. Other factors that affected the rankings were specific programs, such as graduate degrees and online learning, and options available for adult students.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Alabama Colleges

How many colleges are in Alabama?

Currently, there are a total of 78 colleges and universities in Alabama. Students can choose from private and public universities, some affiliated with a religion or operating as HBCUs.

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How many community colleges are in Alabama?

There are currently 25 community colleges in Alabama. Several community colleges in Alabama are open-door institutions that allow students with a GED or high school diploma to attend. The largest community college in Alabama is John C Calhoun State Community College, with 9,315 students, and the smallest is J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, with 789 students.

How to establish residency in Alabama for college

Establishing residency for college is an important factor in deciding where to attend and how much you'll be expected to pay for school. In order to establish residency, students cannot have ties to another state. Then you must prove you have the legal ability to establish a permanent docile in the U.S., meaning that you are a citizen or permanent resident or hold a non-immigrant visa. If you are an undergraduate student under the age of 24, your parents must be Alabama residents. Otherwise, you will likely not qualify as a resident.

How much is college in Alabama?

College costs in Alabama will vary by the institution you attend, as well as whether you're an in-state or out-of-state student. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the average tuition costs for college were $6,987 and $14,633 for out-of-state. Samford University had the most expensive tuition fees, which totaled $35,360.

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