2023 Top Colleges in Maryland

Published: September 1, 2022

By: Colleges of Distinction Staff

Jump to: Hood College | McDaniel College | Morgan State University | Notre Dame of Maryland University | Salisbury University | St. Mary’s College of Maryland | Towson University | Washington College | Frequently Asked Questions

Colleges of Distinction has hand-picked a selection of top schools that are well equipped to provide a personalized education catered to students’ interests. Through a rigorous vetting and interview process for the 2022-2023 academic year, we have refreshed and reaffirmed that these institutions strive for excellence in line with the four overarching distinctions—Student Engagement, Teaching, Community, and Outcomes.

These schools vary in size, cost, location, academic offerings, and more, but they are all distinguished by their commitment to the undergraduate experience. The diversity of the college list is intentional, giving students and parents a variety of public and private universities to consider. No matter what, they all exhibit the foundational qualities of a fulfilling undergraduate education.

Hood College in Frederick, Maryland

Hood College

Frederick, MD ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Across more than 30 majors and even more concentrations and minors, Hood College prepares students to thrive as well-rounded, lifelong learners who make a difference in their community. The school strives to help students meet “personal, professional and societal challenges and to lead purposeful lives of responsibility, leadership, service, and civic engagement.”

Acceptance rate 71%      •      Net price $23,775
Total Undergrad Population 2,042      •      Setting City: Small      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 61%      •      Retention rate 75%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors

McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland logo

McDaniel College

Westminster, MD ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

McDaniel College is a nationally recognized four-year, independent college of the liberal arts and sciences. Founded in 1867 as one of the first coeducational colleges in the nation, McDaniel is a diverse, student-centered community. Among “Colleges That Change Lives,” McDaniel is committed to access and affordability. 

Academics center on the McDaniel Plan, a customized, interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes experiential learning and student-faculty collaboration to develop the unique potential in every student. A signature component is The McDaniel Commitment, which guarantees every student two experiential learning opportunities, including service-learning, study abroad, student-faculty collaborative research, credit-based internship, or independent study. The four components of the McDaniel Commitment—My Place, My Design, My Experience, and My Career—are embedded within the college’s general education curriculum. A team of mentors helps students develop a completely tailored program of courses and opportunities to prepare them for personal and professional success.

Acceptance rate 81%      •      Net price $23,913
Total Undergrad Population 2,931      •      Setting Suburb      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 63%      •      Retention rate 75%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1

Click here for available majors

Morgan State University logo

Morgan State University

Baltimore, MD ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution providing instruction to a multiethnic, multiracial, multinational student body and offering more than 140 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, Morgan fulfills its mission to address the needs and challenges of the modern urban environment through intense community-level study and pioneering solutions. 

Anchored in a charming residential area of northeast Baltimore, the breadth of Morgan’s expansive campus encompasses more than 185 acres extending beyond its sprawling campus proper which features state-of-the-art facilities geared toward innovative teaching and learning in the 21st century. The only university to have its entire campus, designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, offers a safe and inviting learning environment with easy access to the best the city has to offer: culture, exhibits, dining, shopping, activities, sightseeing and employment. The off-campus opportunities also extend to community projects and civic engagement.

Acceptance rate 74%      •      Net price $16,651      •      SAT Range 910-1070      •      Students submitting SAT scores 85%
Total Undergrad Population 7,634      •      Setting City: Large      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 46%      •      Retention rate 74%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1

Click here for available majors

Notre Dame of Maryland University logo

Notre Dame of Maryland University

Baltimore, MD ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Notre Dame of Maryland University’s approach to education has prepared thousands of high-level performers and creators of social change. The University is consistently responsive to the needs of a student body that’s hungry to learn and a world that’s hungry for knowledgeable, compassionate leaders.

NDMU is the first university in Maryland to be granted United Nations Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Status. This classification for the institution offers NDMU students greater access to the U.N. and esteemed global leaders. Students make regular trips to the U.N., participating in a range of international learning experiences. U.N. ambassadors are also brought to campus as part of NDMU’s Visiting Ambassador Program. Students have the opportunity to meet and learn from representatives from around the globe who are creating and influencing international relations.

Acceptance rate 62%      •      Net price $20,023
Total Undergrad Population 2,233      •      Setting City: Large      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 49%      •      Retention rate 65%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 7:1

Click here for available majors

salisbury university logo

Salisbury University

Salisbury, MD ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Salisbury University (SU) is nationally recognized for academic excellence. Its creative curriculum emphasizes undergraduate research, study abroad, professional internships, and civic engagement. Located on Maryland’s historic Eastern Shore, SU offers over 40 undergraduate majors and nearly 20 graduate programs, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Doctor of Education program.

Nationally lauded for its dedication to undergraduate research, SU offers students multiple opportunities to assist professors in research as well as perform their own independent studies. Findings are presented on campus during the annual Student Research Conference, and many student-scholars also speak at national and international conferences. SU has twice hosted the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Much of the learning at Salisbury takes place outside the classroom. Students have assisted with field work both in local old-growth forests as well as in Amazon rainforests. They have also worked inside the Henson Science Hall labs, researching nerve development and preparing payloads for NASA rockets in order to test the effects of cancer metastasis in zero gravity.

Acceptance rate 78%      •      Net price $18,599
Total Undergrad Population 8,124      •      Setting Suburb      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 69%      •      Retention rate 78%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 15:1

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St. Mary’s College of Maryland

St. Mary’s City, MD ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

As the National Public Honors College, St. Mary’s College of Maryland offers the kind of undergraduate, liberal arts and sciences education and small-college experience found at exceptional private colleges, all while remaining committed to its ideals of affordability, accessibility, and diversity. By combining the virtues of public and private education, St. Mary’s College provides a unique alternative for students and their families. This special identity underpins the College’s success along with its reputation for excellence.

The St. Mary’s Project is a year-long, 8-credit, independently designed and executed course of study that serves as a capstone experience for a student’s time at St. Mary’s College. Designed to engage students close conjunction with one or more professors, the St. Mary’s Project provides the opportunity to explore any idea or question that a student finds especially intriguing. Many projects are interdisciplinary, bringing together threads from earlier classes taken across the curriculum. They are typically highly personal, involving creative or innovative work that ties together students’ individual four years of study in a meaningful way. 

Acceptance rate 79%      •      Net price $20,237      •      SAT Range 1070-1280      •      Students submitting SAT scores 85%
Total Undergrad Population 1,508      •      Setting Suburb      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 72%      •      Retention rate 83%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

Click here for available majors

Towson University logo

Towson University

Towson, MD ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

With more than 150 years of leadership advancing higher education, Towson University has established a rich history of academic success and continues to strategically look to the future with purpose and passion.  

TU connects students to industry experts in intimate learning environments and never stops creating opportunities – which is why Tigers are prepared, no matter what. TU is one of a handful of universities in the country, and the only university in Maryland, to have no achievement gap. This means, Tigers learn in an inclusive environment where all students achieve the same academic success. TU also focuses on providing a well-rounded and dynamic student experience.  

Acceptance rate 79%      •      Net price $16,082      •      SAT Range 1040-1200      •      Students submitting SAT scores 92%
Total Undergrad Population 21,917      •      Setting City: Small      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 73%      •      Retention rate 85%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 16:1

Click here for available majors

Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland

Washington College

Chestertown, MD ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1782, Washington College was the first college chartered in the sovereign United States of America. With internships, exploratory facilities, and interdisciplinary programs available to all, students are guaranteed a uniquely hands-on college experience.

Acceptance rate 80%      •      Net price $29,570
Total Undergrad Population 1,089      •      Setting Town      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 72%      •      Retention rate 79%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

Click here for available majors

What it’s like to attend schools in Maryland and other FAQ:

What are average tuition costs in Maryland?

The average undergraduate tuition & fees for colleges in Maryland is $6,795 for in-state students at public institutions, $20,396 for out-of-state students at public institutions, and $23,876 for students at private institutions.

Cheapest degree program in Maryland

Towson University has an average net price of $16,082, making it the least expensive institution in Maryland that made our list.

Easiest degree program to get into in Maryland

McDaniel College has an acceptance rate of 81%, making it the least exclusive college in Maryland on our list.

Degree program with lowest student debt in Maryland

Towson University has a median total debt after graduation of $18750. This is the typical debt for a student who completed their undergraduate degree.

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Best Colleges by State

California | Texas | Florida | New York | Pennsylvania | Illinois | Georgia | Ohio | Alabama | Colorado | Connecticut | Massachusetts | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Michigan | Minnesota | Missouri | New Jersey | North Carolina | Oklahoma |Oregon | Tennessee | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin