Why This Matters


    The state is home to both large universities and specialized liberal arts colleges. According to College Navigator, there are nine public colleges, five private non-profit colleges, and one private for-profit school in North Dakota.


    The average cost of in-state tuition in North Dakota that students paid during the 2021-22 school year was $10,020, according to College Board.


    College students pursuing an undergraduate degree were awarded an average of $14,800 during the 2020-21 school year.

Our Research

This list features some of the best brick-and-mortar schools in North Dakota. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a reputable organization that examines the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of education programs in the central United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for on-campus students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 50 Colleges in North Dakota

Best Colleges In North Dakota
Intelligent Pick
University of North Dakota
Best Public Research School
North Dakota State University
Best Scholarships
University of Jamestown
Best Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Minot State University
Best in the Midwest
Valley City State University
Most Affordable
Dickinson State University
Best Catholic Institution
University of Mary
Best for Adult Learners
Mayville State University
Best Polytechnic
Bismarck State College
Best Tribal College
Sitting Bull College


What You Should Know About Graduating From College in North Dakota

When deciding which state you’d like to study in, consider your post-graduation job opportunities. By evaluating the biggest industries in North Dakota, you can get a better understanding of the job market. The top five industries in North Dakota, according to an October 2021 study, are trade, transportation, and utilities; government; goods-producing; education and health services; and retail trade.

Graduates who have a bachelor’s degree have several career opportunities available to them in North Dakota. The five fastest-growing careers for this education level in North Dakota are medical and health services managers, social science research assistants, logisticians, interpreters and translators, and software developers.

To gain insight into the job outlook in North Dakota, examine the largest employers in the state. The top 150 employers in North Dakota include North Dakota State University, Sanford Broadway Medical Center, Altru Health Syst-Audiology, Altru Health System, and Lighting Design Center.

What’s Next?

Financial aid is available from both federal and state agencies to help cover the costs associated with higher education. The list below includes resources to assist you in finding potential funding opportunities for your studies.

  • North Dakota University System. The North Dakota University System provides a comprehensive overview of the state’s higher education system and information about how to cover academic-related costs.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Every year, over $120 billion is allocated by the U.S. Department of Education to students who need financial assistance to cover tuition fees. Check your eligibility and apply for free using the online FAFSA form.
  • CareerOneStop. Research financial aid, including the 153 scholarships and grants that are available in North Dakota, via CareerOneStop. Use the filter options to narrow your search by degree level and state. The database of more than 8,000 scholarships includes information about eligibility requirements, the monetary amount awarded, and application deadlines.