Top25_Urban_College
Looking to go to class amidst the urban sprawl? Here are the colleges for you.

Each of these colleges and universities is located in a major metropolitan area, with some even being dispersed right among the the downtown.

Students seek out urban college campuses for a number of reason, but often it’s the campus proximity to night life, arts, culture, and dining that proves to be the real draw. While many colleges offer all of the amenities you “need”, some students like the ability to explore off campus more readily to find shopping or food options not normally found in the college setting.

These colleges are ranked based on the quality of the institutions based on factors like selectivity and endowment per student.

Here are the 25 best urban colleges in America:

 

25. University of Southern California

University of Southern California - Best Urban Colleges

Doheny” by Padsquad19 at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Los Angeles, CA

Undergraduate enrollment: 18,445

Learn more about USC


 

24. Brandeis University

Brandeis University - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user khargrav.

Waltham, MA

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,614

Learn more about Brandeis University


 

23. Boston College

Boston College - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user masstransit.

Boston, MA

Undergraduate enrollment: 9,698

Learn more about Boston College


 

22. University of California-Los Angeles

University of California-Los Angles - Best Urban Colleges

Royce Hall post rain” by AltonOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Los Angeles, CA

Undergraduate enrollment: 28,674

Learn more about UCLA


 

21. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Best Urban Colleges

UNC South Building” by YeungbOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

Chapel Hill, NC

Undergraduate enrollment: 18,370

Learn more about University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


 

20. Barnard College

Barnard College - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user eager.

New York, NY

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,489

Learn more about Barnard College


 

19. Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University - Best Urban Colleges

Wesolin” by Original uploader was Ychennay at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Middletown, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,906

Learn more about Wesleyan University


 

18. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University - Best Urban Colleges

View from Levering Plaza” by Iracaz – iPhone photo. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia.

Baltimore, MD

Undergraduate enrollment6,117

Learn more about Johns Hopkins University


 

17. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user beckstei.

Ann Arbor, MI

Undergraduate enrollment: 28,283

Learn more about Michigan


 

16. University of California-Berkeley

University of California-Berkeley - Best Urban Colleges

UCBerkeleyCampus” by brainchildvn on Flickr – Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.

Berkeley, CA

Undergraduate enrollment: 25,951

Learn more about UC-Berkeley


 

15. Georgetown University

Georgetown University - Best Urban Colleges

Georgetown Riverview” by PatrickneilOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Washington, DC

Undergraduate enrollment: 7,636

Learn more about Georgetown


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14. Cornell University

Cornell University - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user [email protected].

Ithaca, NY

Undergraduate enrollment: 14,393

Learn more about Cornell University


 

13. Rice University

Rice University - Best Urban Colleges

Lovett Hall” by The original uploader was AniRaptor2001 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Houston, TX

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,965

Learn more about Rice University


 

12. University of Virginia-Main Campus

University of Virginia-Main Campus - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user marc_buehler.

Charlottesville, VA

Undergraduate enrollment: 16,087

Learn more about University of Virginia


 

11. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University - Best Urban Colleges

Bensontower” by Dansan4444Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Commons.

Nashville, TN

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,835

Learn more about Vanderbilt


 

10. Brown University

Brown University - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user dlthurston.

Providence, RI

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,455

Learn more about Brown University


 

9. Duke University

Duke University - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user OHinOZ.

Durham, NC

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,646

Learn more about Duke


 

8. Northwestern University

Northwestern University - Best Urban Colleges

By Rdsmith4 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Evanston, IL

Undergraduate enrollment: 9,283

Learn more about Northwestern


 

7. California Institute of Technology

Cal Tech - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user joebehr.

Pasadena, CA

Undergraduate enrollment: 977

Learn more about Cal Tech


 

6. Columbia University in the City of New York

Columbia University - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user skinnylawyer.

New York, NY

Undergraduate enrollment: 7,970

Learn more about Columbia


 

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Undergraduate enrollment: 11,525

Learn more about the University of Pennsylvania


 

4. University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

Undergraduate enrollment: 5,703

Learn more about the University of Chicago


 

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT  - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user infanticida.

Cambridge, MA

Undergraduate enrollment: 4,528

Learn more about MIT


 

2. Yale University

Yale University - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user [email protected].

New Haven, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 5,430

Learn more about Yale


 

1. Harvard University

Harvard University - Best Urban Colleges

Source: Flickr user [email protected].

Cambridge, MA

Undergraduate enrollment: 10,534

Learn more about Harvard


About our methodology

Colleges are ranked based on a combination of factors, including graduation rates, campus diversity, endowment per student, and other data as reported via the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the most recently-available enrollment year. Some colleges may have been excluded from rankings based on certain criteria, including specialization and classification. Learn about our full methodology

View all of the 2016 Best Colleges rankings from College Raptor