16 Colleges With the Lowest Student-Faculty Ratios

While some college students prefer larger lecture hall classes, others want a more personalized experience — smaller classes where professors know them on a first-name basis. Those looking to learn in a tight-knit classroom environment and form a relationship with their professor and peers may want to consider attending a college that enrolls fewer students.

Among the 1,222 ranked colleges and universities that provided student-to-faculty ratios to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average was nearly 14:1 in fall 2022. But at the 16 schools with the lowest student-faculty ratios in fall 2022, the average was nearly one-third of that: five students for each faculty member.

[Read: Similarities Between Large Public, Smaller Private Colleges.]

Two schools — California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology — tied for the lowest student-faculty ratio, 3:1. Undergraduate enrollment at MIT, 4,638, is nearly five times larger than the size of CalTech, 987.

Ten colleges on the top-16 list tied for the highest student-faculty ratio: six students for each faculty member. But out of all ranked schools, California State Polytechnic University–Pomona, where total undergraduate enrollment is 26,974, had the highest ratio: 40:1.

On the top-16 list, Principia College had the smallest number of undergraduates enrolled, 322, while another school in Illinois — Northwestern University — had the most, 8,494. The average total undergraduate enrollment at schools with the lowest student-to-faculty ratios was 4,748, compared to an average size of 6,294 among all ranked colleges.

[READ: 7 Guidelines for College Student-Professor Interactions.]

Student-faculty ratio is one of many factors considered as part of the U.S. News Best Colleges ranking, making up 1% of the rankings formula. Nine schools on the top-16 list ranked among the top 10 National Universities.

Thirteen of the 16 colleges are considered National Universities, which offer a full range of undergraduate majors plus master’s and doctoral programs. And most are located on or near the East Coast: Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. The rest are spread out across the country, including three in Illinois, two in California and one in Texas.

Below is a list of these 16 colleges and universities with the lowest number of students per faculty member in fall 2022. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

California Institute of Technology 3:1 987 9, National Universities
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 3:1 4,638 2, National Universities
Princeton University (NJ) 5:1 5,321 1, National Universities
Principia College (IL) 5:1 322 51 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Stanford University (CA) 5:1 7,645 3 (tie), National Universities
University of Chicago 5:1 7,526 6, National Universities
Brown University (RI) 6:1 7,349 13 (tie), National Universities
Carnegie Mellon University (PA) 6:1 7,365 22 (tie), National Universities
Duke University (NC) 6:1 6,883 10 (tie), National Universities
Gallaudet University (DC) 6:1 1,012 127 (tie), National Universities
Johns Hopkins University (MD) 6:1 6,132 7 (tie), National Universities
New College of Florida 6:1 632 76 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Northwestern University (IL) 6:1 8,494 10 (tie), National Universities
Rice University (TX) 6:1 4,247 15 (tie), National Universities
University of Holy Cross (LA) 6:1 881 76 (tie), Regional Universities South
Yale University (CT) 6:1 6,536 3 (tie), National Universities

U.S. News surveyed more than 1,850 colleges and universities for our 2022-2023 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News produces lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The student-faculty ratio data above are correct as of Jan. 31, 2023.

More from U.S. News

Why Some College Writing Professors Are Ditching Traditional Grading

8 Ways to Build Positive Rapport With Professors

Should Parents Contact College Professors?

16 Colleges With the Lowest Student-Faculty Ratios originally appeared on usnews.com

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up