Colleges with a Low Student to Teacher Ratio

Schools with a low student to teacher ratio aren’t just for big-name Ivy League schools or small liberal arts schools. In fact, more schools are focused on providing a low student to faculty ratio as more and more research shows that smaller class sizes may create a better learning environment for students.

10 Colleges With a Low Student to Teacher Ratio

The goal of colleges and universities around the country is to provide students with the opportunity to learn a deeper understanding of the concepts and to develop professional skills in a certain area of study.

In order to provide students with that type of environment, many schools focus on providing their students with a low student to teacher ratio, especially for upper-level courses, which usually focus on more in-depth analysis and research.

Below is a list of colleges with the lowest student to teacher ratio with a short description and some of the degrees offered. Remember, this is only a sample of schools and shouldn’t be considered a complete list of schools with a low student to faculty ratio.

1. Emory University

7:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

As a top-ranked private institution, Emory University offers students a number of outstanding liberal arts colleges, graduate schools, and professional schools. Plus, Emory is home to one of the world’s leading health care systems.

During the 2016-17 school year, Emory awarded 4,700 undergraduate and graduate degrees. The school offers more than 70 undergraduate degrees and more than 40 PhD degrees with a low student to teacher ratio. Some of these are:

  • Economics
  • Theater Studies
  • Nursing
  • Physician Assistant
  • Business Administration

2. Gratz College

7:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

Located just outside of Philadelphia, Gratz College is a non-denominational college of Jewish Studies. In order to teach the skills, tools, and knowledge you may need for your career, courses are taught by notable scholars from around the world.

Some of the undergraduate and graduate degrees offered at Gratz College include:

  • Jewish Professional Studies
  • Jewish Education
  • Jewish Studies
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Education

3. Marylhurst University

7:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

Founded by the Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary in 1893, Marylhurst University continues to live up to its Catholic values of ethical leadership, service, and social responsibility.

Marylhurst offers students a choice of bachelors degrees, masters degrees, and certificate programs. Some of the online programs include:

  • English Literature and New Media
  • Real Estate Studies
  • Business Management
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Art Therapy Counseling

4. Alaska Pacific University

8:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

Alaska Pacific University is a small, liberal arts and sciences university providing personalized, experiential, and hands-on instruction through a low student to teacher ratio. By focusing on student engagement, Alaska Pacific strives to teach students how to think critically and reason effectively.

Some of the programs at Alaska Pacific include:

  • Liberal Studies
  • Creative and Professional Writing
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Marine and Environmental Studies
  • Information and Communication Technology

5. Bryn Mawr College

8:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

Bryn Mawr College seeks to provide an unparalleled education and meaningful opportunities to smart, strong women around the world. This has been true for more than 130 years and that tradition continues to grow today.

Just 11 miles west of Center City Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr College offers a close, connected community that is focused on fostering lifelong connections for women to lead. Some of the programs include:

  • Comparative Literature
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Mathematics

6. Colorado Christian University

8:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

Colorado Christian University has embraced the crossroads of faith and learning since 1914. While focused on promoting awareness in the Christian tradition, the school strives to develop professional competence, critical thinking, and leadership abilities through a variety of degrees.

Colorado Christian University offers associates degrees, bachelors, masters, and certificates online. Some of the online programs are:

  • Biology
  • Pre-Law
  • Elementary Education
  • Special Education
  • Theological Studies

7. Harvey Mudd College

8:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

Harvey Mudd College strives to teach engineers, scientists, and mathematicians to become leaders in their field through a liberal arts education. These majors have a healthy core of courses in humanities and social sciences to offer students a well-rounded education.

Some of the degrees offered at Harvey Mudd are:

  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Computer Science

8. Marygrove College

8:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

Marygrove College is an independent Catholic liberal arts college focused on teaching graduate students. Centered around a personalized learning environment that offers a low student to teacher ratio, Marygrove sets three goals for their students:

  1. Competence
  2. Compassion
  3. Commitment

Some of the online graduate programs at Marygrove are:

  • Educational Leadership
  • English
  • Human Resources Management
  • Social Justice
  • Special Education

9. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

8:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

An innovative, rigorous, and community-oriented global learning environment, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design inspires passion for critical thinking and prepares learners to be forces of change in the creative industries.

RMCAD is committed to developing artists and designers to reach their full potential through programs such as:

  • Animation
  • Art Education
  • Fashion Design
  • Game Art
  • Graphic Design

10. Vanderbilt University

8:1 Student to Faculty Ratio

Vanderbilt University strives to deliver cutting-edge research and liberal arts programs to create an invigorating atmosphere where students can tailor their education to meet their goals.

Plus, the university is tied to a distinguished medical center that offers online programs such as:

Other programs include:

  • Business Management
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Pharmacology


Did You Know?

The national average for college student to teacher ratio is 18:1 according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Keep in mind that a lower student to teacher ratio doesn’t always mean that it is a better school. You should still research a number of schools to find a perfect match for you and your goals.

Low Student to Teacher Ratio

What Is the Student to Teacher Ratio?

The student to teacher ratio, otherwise known as the student to faculty ratio, is the number of students that attend a school divided by the number of professors at the institution. For example, if the student to teacher ratio is 10:1, then there are 10 students for every faculty member.

One important factor to consider is the amount of full-time faculty members and the number of part-time adjunct teachers. While many adjuncts are very good teachers, often they have fewer responsibilities, and therefore receive less pay than full-time professors.

If a school has a large number of adjunct teachers, it can skew the student to faculty ratio. For instance, if a school has a 13:1 student to teacher ratio but 75% of the professors are adjuncts, the full-time professors may be overworked and stressed with the extra workload.

Does (Class) Size Matter?

Studies have shown that size does matter, and that a low student to teacher ratio may help learning. One study showed that classes with 1-19 students typically perform better than classes with 20-25 students, and much better than classes with 50 or more students.

Keep in mind that no study is perfect and that there are some variables in educational research that cannot be controlled. This is one of the reasons why a low student to teacher ratio should only be one aspect to consider.

Also, remember that the student to teacher ratio is based on the entire student population and all of the professors. Therefore, if a school has a 15:1 student to faculty ratio, that doesn’t mean that every class you take will only have 14 other students in it.

Other Factors to Consider Before Applying

If the student to teacher ratio is one of the most important factors when searching for the perfect college for you, be sure to research other aspects about the school as a whole and your desired program in particular.

Some of the key topics you should research include:

  • Student to faculty ratio of your desired major
  • Student to faculty ratio for lower, introductory level courses
  • Student to faculty ratio for upper level courses
  • How many professors are adjuncts
  • Total student population, including full-time and part-time breakdown

Each of these should provide you with a more complete picture of the number of faculty and class size than simply looking at the student to teacher ratio. When searching for the best school for you, make sure you take all of these factors into consideration.

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