The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
Having a high number of professors relative to the number of students on campus often means small class sizes. And that can be a great asset or a total drag, depending on which college student you ask.
For a certain kind of student, small classes allow for much wanted interaction with professors and fellow students. For others, they can seem almost claustrophobic, making it frustratingly difficult to avoid class discussions and skip class unnoticed.
Many of the former kind of students are drawn to the country's liberal arts colleges, where they can learn in a more intimate learning environment than they may find at large universities.
National Universities with small class sizes.]
At the 19 National Liberal Arts Colleges with the lowest student-to-faculty ratios in fall of 2012, there was an average 7.6 students to every faculty member, according to data provided to U.S. News in an annual survey. That figure jumped to 11.6 at the 223 ranked National Liberal Arts Colleges that provided the data to U.S. News.
Burlington College boasted the lowest student-faculty ratio, with six students for every professor. The Vermont school was new to the list this year, taking top honors from Pennsylvania's Bryn Athyn College of the New Church, which now ties with four other schools for the second spot.
Most of the colleges with the smallest class sizes were on the East Coast. They also had small student bodies, reporting an average 1,778 undergraduate students.
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The National Liberal Arts Colleges below had the smallest reported student-to-faculty ratios in fall 2012. Schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not considered for this report. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
Several schools on this list are designated Rank Not Published, or RNP. This denotes a school ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
|School (state)||Students per faculty member||Undergraduate enrollment||National Liberal Arts Colleges U.S. News rank|
|Burlington College (VT)||6||198||RNP|
|Bryn Athyn College of the New Church (PA)||7||242||RNP|
|Principia College (IL)||7||489||107|
|United States Military Academy (NY)||7||4,592||17|
|Wellesley College (MA)||7||2,481||7|
|Williams College (MA)||7||2,052||1|
|Amherst College (MA)||8||1,817||2|
|Bryn Mawr College (PA)||8||1,322||30|
|Claremont McKenna College (CA)||8||1,264||9|
|Haverford College (PA)||8||1,205||9|
|Millsaps College (MS)||8||849||82|
|Pomona College (CA)||8||1,607||4|
|Swarthmore College (PA)||8||1,552||3|
|Sweet Briar College (VA)||8||723||110|
|United States Air Force Academy (CO)||8||4,120||25|
|United States Naval Academy (MD)||8||4,536||12|
|Vassar College (NY)||8||2,406||13|
|Virginia Intermont College||8||496||RNP|
|Washington and Lee University (VA)||8||1,838||14|
Don't see your school above? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find student-faculty ratio data, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.
U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2013 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's 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 will now produce 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's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The student-faculty ratio data above are correct as of April 22, 2014.