Discover 5 of the Best Colleges in Arizona

Arizona State University. Image by Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock

By Copper Courier Staff

May 12, 2023

Need to figure out what to do with the rest of your life? Staying home in Arizona for college might be the answer.

Choosing the right college can be extremely daunting. After all, this is the place that’s going to help shape the rest of your life in terms of your career, your relationships, and maybe even your views on navigating life. Our two cents? Stay home in Arizona for college.

Not only is in-state tuition cheaper, but Arizona is home to some of the very best institutions in the country. 

Here’s a short list of public (and private) colleges in the Grand Canyon state where you can get a quality education, meet new people, and, maybe, figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. 

Arizona State University

Arizona State University, based in Tempe with multiple campuses across the Valley, is the largest public university in the US by enrollment and ranks highly for innovation and research. The university has several colleges, including the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, and the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Students at ASU have access to a wide range of resources, including cutting-edge research facilities, state-of-the-art technology, and highly qualified faculty. The university is also home to a diverse student body, with individuals enrolling from 150 countries. Plus, there are over 800 undergraduate and graduate degree programs available. The ASU community fosters a rich cultural exchange and provides students with an opportunity to learn from their peers personally and academically.

Arizona State University is also known for its campus culture, which is vibrant and engaging. There are plenty of extracurricular activities to choose from (more than 1,000!) including clubs, organizations, and sports teams. Students can participate in everything from intramural sports to cultural festivals, making it a fantastic option for those looking for a well-rounded college experience.

Fun Fact: The university’s mascot, Sparky the Sun Devil, was created in the 1940s by Bert Anthony, a former Disney Studios employee.

University of Arizona

Discover 5 of the Best Colleges in Arizona
The University of Arizona logo on the scoreboard of Arizona Stadium, viewed from 6th Street. Image via Underawesternsky / Shutterstock

The University of Arizona, located in Tucson, is a public research university and the second-largest university in the state. It’s known for having excellent science, engineering, and medical programs. UArizona has several popular colleges, including the College of Medicine, College of Engineering, and the Eller College of Management.

Students at the University of Arizona benefit from a rigorous academic program that prepares them for success in their chosen field. The university is highly esteemed for its research programs, which provide students with the opportunity to work alongside world-renowned researchers and scholars. UArizona also has a spirited campus culture, with plenty of opportunities for students to get involved in extracurricular activities and events.

The University of Arizona is also home to several unique learning experiences, including the Desert Ecology and Conservation Biology study abroad program. This program offers students the opportunity to study desert ecology and conservation in Namibia. The university is also home to Biosphere 2, a world-famous research facility that simulates different ecosystems and provides students with hands-on research experience.

Historical Fact: The University of Arizona was the first university founded in the Arizona Territory. The school officially opened its doors almost 30 years before Arizona even became a state.

Northern Arizona University

Discover 5 of the Best Colleges in Arizona
Shutterstock Photo/Kit Leong

Northern Arizona University is a public university known for its incredible natural beauty. The university is home to several esteemed colleges, including the W. A. Franke College of Business, the College of Engineering Informatics, and Applied Sciences, the College of Health & Human Services, and the School of Forestry.

Students at Northern Arizona University benefit from a unique academic experience that combines classroom learning with hands-on research and fieldwork. The university is known for its excellent programs in environmental science, forestry, and natural resources. The campus is also home to several research centers, including the Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research and Center for Ecosystem Science and Society.

Students at NAU also have access to a wide range of extracurricular activities, including outdoor recreation, cultural events, and community service opportunities. The university is located in Flagstaff, which is known for its lively arts and culture scene, making it a great option for students who want to explore their creative side.

Historical Fact: Northern Arizona University is located at the base of the San Francisco Peaks on homelands sacred to Native Americans from the region. NAU honors Native American culture and acknowledges the land the school is founded on.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, located in Prescott, is a private university specializing in aviation and aerospace education. Known for having a tight-knit, welcoming community, the school is highly esteemed for its aerospace education programs.

Students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have access to state-of-the-art flight simulators and aviation labs, as well as opportunities to participate in research projects and internships with industry leaders.

The university also offers a variety of clubs and organizations, including the Women in Aviation International chapter and the Rocket Development League.

Historical Fact: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University established its residential campus in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1965. It wasn’t until 1978 that Embry-Riddle founded its residential campus in Prescott, Arizona.

Prescott College

Prescott College is a private liberal arts college focusing on social justice, sustainability, and experiential learning. The college has several renowned undergraduate and graduate programs, including Adventure Education, Environmental Studies, and Humanities.

Prescott College offers a personalized education experience, emphasizing community involvement and hands-on learning. It’s also known for its dedication to social justice issues as well as having a strong commitment to sustainability.

PC is also home to the Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies, a research and education center located in Sonora, Mexico. Students have the opportunity to participate in field studies and research projects at the center, studying topics such as marine ecology and sustainable fishing practices.

Fun Fact: Prescott College is a member of the EcoLeague, which is a consortium of six liberal arts colleges that are all dedicated to ecologically focused educational programs.

READ MORE: Students in Arizona Dual Enrollment Classes Experience More Benefits than Just College Credit


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