Small-town shopping street with brick buildings, colorful awnings during day

Great Undergraduate Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities in the Midwest

The Midwest is a great region to go to college, especially if you're considering a liberal arts school. Start exploring some great options with this list.

When people think of small-town USA, they think of the Midwest! It’s a wide region that offers just about everything: tight-knit communities, rolling plains (as well as bustling cities), and the opportunity to experience all four distinct seasons. Who wouldn’t want to attend college in this type of environment? While you can find every type of college and university in the Midwest, its liberal arts schools are particularly well known for robust academics as well as their sense of community. Start checking out these CX featured colleges and connect directly with each one by hitting the green “Connect me” button below each listing. You may just find your dream school right here!

Ashland University

Ashland University logoAshland University is a private Christian liberal arts institution in Ashland, Ohio—60 miles southwest of Cleveland. AU offers 60+ majors—including notable programs in Nursing, Education, Forensic Science, Criminal Justice, and Business—as well as 130+ campus clubs and organizations. Christian values serve as a core element of Ashland's institutional identity, while respect for the diversity of values and faith of each person is emphasized across campus. 

Connect me with Ashland!

Baldwin Wallace University

Baldwin Wallace University logoBaldwin Wallace University is a private liberal arts university in Berea, Ohio—just 20 minutes from downtown Cleveland. The University offers more than 80 academic programs in the sciences, health, performing arts, and more, all supported by an innovative core curriculum for broad skill development. Every BW student applies what they learn in the classroom through experiential learning—a requirement for all degrees—including travel, service, internships, field experience, research, or clinic work.

Connect me with BW!

Bethel University

Bethel University logoBethel University is a church-affiliated liberal arts university located in Arden Hills, Minnesota—just 10 miles from St. Paul. The University offers more than 100 areas of study and dozens of cocurricular options so students can take advantage of hands-on learning opportunities in their chosen fields. At Bethel, 99% of incoming first-year students receive some kind of aid as the University dedicated to helping students make the most out of scholarships, grants, and loans so college expenses don’t stand in the way of a degree.

Connect me with Bethel!

Calvin University

Calvin University logoCalvin University is a private Christian liberal arts institution in a suburban area of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The University offers its 3,200+ students more than 100 academic options to choose from, all of which are taught by world-class professors in average class sizes of 23. With 100% of students participating in service learning opportunities, Calvin is home to Christians from all over the world who are curious and motivated. 

Connect me with Calvin!

Central Methodist University

Central Methodist University logoCentral Methodist University is a private Methodist liberal arts and vocational education university in Fayette, Missouri—midway between St. Louis and Kansas City. With a total student body of more than 5,000, CMU supplies each of its 1,000+ undergraduates with their own iPad to enhance their skills and resources in any of the University’s 40+ programs of study. CMU emphasizes the value of its relationship with the church, academic excellence and leadership development, personalized student services, and more.

Connect me with CMU!

Coe College

Coe College logoCoe College is a private liberal arts college in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Over 1,400 students come from over 20 countries to study at Coe, choosing from more than 40 majors and 14 pre-professional programs in courses with an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College’s C3: Creativity, Careers, Community center is dedicated to working one-on-one with students to help them identify and land internship placements that match their unique interests and goals. 

Connect me with Coe!

College of Saint Benedict

College of Saint Benedict logoThe College of Saint Benedict is a Catholic liberal arts college in partnership with Saint John’s University located in St. Joseph, Minnesota—75 miles north of Minneapolis. With 3,500 undergraduates and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, the College offers over 60 areas of study with 37 majors and 32 minors. CSB students benefit from Summer Term specifically for internships, research, and international study; 65 clubs and organizations; opportunities through Campus Ministry; and more.

Connect me with CSB!

Cottey College

Cottey College logoCottey College is a private liberal arts for women in Nevada, Missouri. The College offers 15 highly-supportive degree programs as well as the best student-faculty ratio in the nation to a small student body of 300+ women. Owned by the P.E.O. Sisterhood, an organization of over 200,000 women who support students as they grow into the leaders they want to be, the Cottey curriculum follows a Leadership Development Plan (LDP) that individualizes leadership growth for each student. 

Connect me with Cottey!

Evangel University

Evangel University logoEvangel University is a private Christian liberal arts institution in Springfield, Missouri. The University is home to 2,300 students pursuing more than 70 undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs, with class sizes of 25 and a 15:1 student-faculty ratio. Campus life is also active with 40+ registered organizations and 16 athletic teams competing in the Heart of American Athletic Conference, with opportunities to go to the NAIA championships.

Connect me with Evangel!

Grand View University

Grand View University logoGrand View University is a private Evangelical Lutheran liberal arts university in Des Moines, Iowa. Grand View offers 35 undergraduate majors and pre-professional programs and six master’s degrees to a student body of 1,800, who study in class sizes of 16 on average. Students can also get involved in NAIA championship athletics, eSports, and more than 40 clubs and organizations. 

Connect me with Grand View!

Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College logoHillsdale College is a private liberal arts college in Hillsdale, Michigan—about 70 miles from Ann Arbor, Toledo, Lansing, and Fort Wayne. The College has 39 distinct undergraduate degrees that are concentrated into 30 majors covering 14 broad fields of study. Hillsdale’s core curriculum immerses students in the liberal arts by studying and debating ideas from ancient times to the present in literature, history, philosophy, logic, rhetoric, and theology.

Connect me with Hillsdale!

Hiram College

Hiram College logoHiram College is a private liberal arts college in Hiram, Ohio—just southeast of Cleveland. More than 1,300 students come from 32 states and seven foreign countries to pursue Hiram’s 33 majors and 37 minors, enjoying small class sizes of 10 on average. The College also offers more than 15 new three-year degree programs that can save students roughly $25,000 in tuition costs and provide a faster track to their careers.

Connect me with Hiram!

Malone University

Malone University logoMalone University is a liberal arts and sciences university in Canton, Ohio—20 miles south of Akron. The University offers more than 55 major undergraduate areas of study taught by faculty, who are world-class scholars in their fields of expertise and create curricula with rigor and depth, to position graduates to secure fulfilling jobs all over the country. With numerous schools, medical care facilities, corporations, and recreation, students enjoy countless possibilities for off-campus jobs and internships, co-op and practicum experiences, and student teaching opportunities.

Connect me with Malone!

Millikin University

Millikin University logoMillikin University is a private comprehensive university in Decatur, Illinois. Millikin offers more than 50 majors and a 10:1 student-faculty ratio to its 2,000+ students, who come from 39 states and 27 countries. University opportunities abound for students on campus, from student-run businesses born out of the innovative Center for Entrepreneurship and a nationally recognized School of Music to a robust athletics program, more than 100 clubs, and opportunities for international study.

Connect me with Millikin!

Notre Dame College

Notre Dame College logoNotre Dame College is a private Catholic liberal arts college in South Euclid, Ohio—15 miles from central Cleveland. The College offers majors in nearly 30 disciplines at the associate, bachelor’s, and master's levels, including outstanding programs in education, business, nursing, and science. Set against the backdrop of a small campus, Notre Dame students enjoy rich experiences in the classroom, through extracurricular activities, on athletic teams, in communities on and off campus, and throughout campus life.

Connect me with Notre Dame!

North Park University

North Park University logoNorth Park University is a private Christian comprehensive liberal arts university located on the Northwest side of Chicago, Illinois. With average class sizes of 17 and a 12:1 student-faculty ratio across 120+ programs, the University’s most popular majors include Nursing, Business/Economics, Biology, and Exercise Science. North Park also offers the unique Catalyst 606 program, which allows students to step outside the classroom and learn within their local community while gaining a closer understanding of the increasingly urban world they live in.

Connect with North Park!

Saint John's University

Saint John's University logoSaint John's University is a Catholic liberal arts institution in partnership with the College of Saint Benedict located in Collegeville, Minnesota—75 miles north of Minneapolis. CSB/SJU share one combined curriculum, with students attending classes and activities together on both campuses, which are connected by a free shuttle service. Students from either school have access to the libraries, dining centers, athletic facilities, Campus Ministry, activities, and resources on both campuses.

Connect me with SJU!

Simpson College

Simpson College logoSimpson College is a private Methodist liberal arts college in Indianola, Iowa—12 miles south of Des Moines. The College offers more than 50 majors to a student body of 1,200+, who learn in small class sizes with a 13:1 student-faculty ratio. Students can also take advantage of 19 varsity athletic teams, 75+ student clubs and organizations, the Blank Performing Arts Center, and free entertainment sponsored by the Campus Activity Board.

Connect me with Simpson!

Trinity Christian College

Trinity Christian College logoTrinity Christian College is a private Christian liberal arts college located in suburban Palos Heights, Illinois—25 miles southwest of Chicago. The College offers more than 70 programs of study to 1,400+ students from 35 states, four Canadian provinces, and eight countries. Trinity’s caring Christian community helps students form lifelong friendships and grow in their faith while joining together in worship, student activities, leadership opportunities, and service projects.

Connect me with TCC!

University of Indianapolis

University of Indianapolis logoThe University of Indianapolis is a private Methodist liberal arts university just southeast of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. UIndy offers more than 100 undergraduate degrees, 40+ master’s, five doctoral degrees, and a variety of certificate programs to 5,300+ students from 44 states and 68 countries. Students can also get involved in more than 70 student organizations and 23 NCAA Division II athletic teams.

Connect me with UIndy!

University of Mount Union 

The University of Mount Union logoThe University of Mount Union is a private liberal arts university in Alliance, Ohio—65 miles south of Cleveland. The University offers 47 diverse undergraduate majors, more than 45 minors, and average class sizes of 16 pupils to a student population of more than 1,800 undergrads. Mount Union students can also participate in 24 varsity athletic teams or 11 intramural sports leagues, in fact, 39% of the campus participates in intercollegiate athletics and 75% of students participate in recreational activities in general. 

Connect me with Mount Union!

Viterbo University

Viterbo University logoViterbo University is a Roman Catholic liberal arts university in La Crosse, Wisconsin—150 miles from the Minneapolis–St. Paul area. Viterbo offers more than 50 traditional and online academic programs with class sizes of 16 and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The University’s 2,400+ students can also take advantage of the award-winning Identities Project program, which provides opportunities for the campus community to explore facets of identity through events, dialogues, and more.

Connect me with Viterbo!

Wisconsin Lutheran College

Wisconsin Lutheran College logoWisconsin Lutheran College is a private Christian liberal arts college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With 1,091 students and a 12:1 student-faculty ratio, the College offers over 50 academic programs, including in fields like Art & Graphic Design, Computer Sciences, Environmental Science, Human Social Services, Marine Biology, Radiologic Technology, Script & Storytelling, and more. At WLC, students receive one-on-one instruction in small classes from highly skilled faculty and professors and numerous opportunities for hands-on learning on campus in state-of-the-art facilities and off-campus throughout Milwaukee.

Connect me with WLC!

If liberal arts isn’t in your interests but the Midwest is, we have a lot more featured Midwest college lists of great schools in the area!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Kelly Nogueiro

Kelly Nogueiro


For me, CollegeXpress has given me a valuable tool to use with my students to explore colleges easily beyond objective data. It helps me find colleges for students that fit their needs and wants that aren’t quite so black and white. It's a wealth of knowledge, and the Type-A side of me loves all the lists and the fact that I know they're coming from folks who know what they're talking about. I share it with colleagues and students alike, and it's always well received.

Elizabeth Stafford

Elizabeth Stafford

High School Class of 2021

As a UK student moving to California due to my dad's job in the military, when I first signed up for CollegeXpress a few months ago, the college process ahead seemed daunting and incredibly stressful. That all changed after I started to explore what this website had to offer. Not only was I helped by the vast array of resources available to me, but through being a CollegeXpress member, there have been so many more benefits. There have been emails with college tips—all of which I found incredibly helpful—as well as invitations to events and notifications of scholarships that'll make college possible for me. Overall, I'm very grateful to CollegeXpress for all of these things and more. Not only have they helped me grow my understanding of the college process, but they've also helped me to grow as a person, giving me new skills that I can take with me through life.

Rayan Hamdan

Rayan Hamdan

High School Student

I joined CollegeXpress just a few months ago. I had been struggling with severe anxiety, causing me to not be able to tour schools and make sure a college would be perfect for me. I came across CollegeXpress one day when I was searching for colleges online, and it completely changed the game. I was easily able to choose colleges that would suit me, and I also entered a few giveaways! Thank you so much!

Sadie Hartmann

Sadie Hartmann

High School Class of 2021

I'm a senior in high school, and CollegeXpress has helped me in so many ways this year in trying to navigate the process of deciding and committing to a university. The COVID-19 Student Resource Center has helped me many times with the most up-to-date and accurate information, along with financial aid and student life [advice]. During these uncertain times, CollegeXpress has been a great recourse to relieve the stress as a senior. Along with the COVID-19 Student Resource Center, I'm constantly using the extremely helpful tools off the site to aid me during this stressful process. Tools like the lists and rankings of universities have been the most beneficial. I've also used the site to receive expert advice on topics like financial aid. Finally, CollegeXpress has helped me easily apply for several scholarships. I'm thankful to be given the chance to win a scholarship to lessen the burden of my college debt.

Sierra Carranza

Sierra Carranza

High School Class of 2022

I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go to school; I was considering colleges in almost every state. CollegeXpress was an amazing resource and helped me compare all of my top schools. Without the help of CollegeXpress, I probably wouldn't have made such an informed and confident decision.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Bridgewater College

Bridgewater, VA

Hillsdale College

Hillsdale, MI