Best Universities & Colleges in Rhode Island for 2024

These are the 5 top schools, both online and traditional, located in the state of Rhode Island. Scroll through the list below and get all the information you need about each institution.

Online Colleges in Rhode Island

Compare all of the best distance education colleges located in Rhode Island to pursue an online bachelors degree, associates, or online masters program degree. Including cost of tuition, degrees they offer, enrollment rates, faculty, famous alumni, and more.

Recommended Schools

  • Bryant University Seal

    Bryant University

    Smithfield, Rhode Island

    Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island
    • 3,670 Total Students
    • 72% Acceptance Rate
    • 19% Enrollment Rate
    • 13 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 6,705 Total Applicants
    • Yes Online Programs

    A private university today, Bryant traces its origins to Bryant and Stratton National Business College founded in 1858 by Henry Bryant and Henry Stratton. The two realiezd the need for formal business education with the increasing demand and unskilled Civil War veterans. The college soon expanded into many campuses throughout many states. One of its campuses, in Providence, Rhode Island founded by Ezra Mason, a local accountant in 1863 and bought over by William Warner, in 1967 became Bryant University in 2004.

    It relocated to Smithfield in Rhode Island in 1971 and stays there. To become an innovative institute with distinctive business and other education, the college incorporates both local and global changes taking place in not only businesses but also the society as a whole. It brings companies and its students and faculty to interact and work with each other.

    Campus life at Bryant brings a fresh approach for students, a unique mix of serious work, commitment towards advancement but also fun and traditional aspect of the university. The university in partnership with local community and leaders operates institutes and centers such as Advanced Applied Analytics Center advancing students in data analytics, the Chafee Center helps with trade service on the international level, US-China Institute for promoting development between the two countries. There are others which focus on teaching, economic and career development and innovation. Besides these, the campus holds many events which bring students together such as Festival of Lights, Black History Month, World Trade Day, Women’s Summit and more. One interesting thing about the university has is its tradition, where the students walk through the Archway upon graduation. There are further student clubs, activities and also athletics that allow students for social interaction. Its athletics participate in NCAA Division I; the mascot is Tupper the Bulldog and the colors are Black and Gold.

    There are almost 100 courses of study at Bryant, including both undergraduate and graduate degree programs, divided into two colleges and one school. It has some notable institutes such as John H. Chafee Center for International Business and Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership.

    Bryant School Facts

    • Years Estd.1863
    • NicknameBulldogs
    • MascotTupper the Bulldog
    • MottoThe Character of Success
    • ColorsBlack & Gold
    • LocationRhode Island
    • Religious AffiliationNot applicable

    Famous Bryant Alumni

    • Otto Frederick Hunziker

      Business & Industry

      Dairy industry pioneer

    • Douglas H. Fisher

      Politics & Law

      Secretary of Agriculture, New Jersey

    • Zack Greer

      Professional Sports

      Major League Lacrosse player for the Long Island Lizards; also National Lacrosse League player for the Minnesota Swarm

    • Nicholas Colasanto

      Entertainment & Arts

      Actor, popular roles in Cheers, Starsky & Hutch, and Chips

  • Johnson & Wales University Seal

    Johnson & Wales University

    Providence, Rhode Island

    Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island
    • 9,454 Total Students
    • 82% Acceptance Rate
    • 20% Enrollment Rate
    • 20 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 11,971 Total Applicants
    • Yes Online Programs

    JWU is a private and non profit institute for higher education that traces its history to year 1914 when it was founded only as a business institute. It was the vision of founders, Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales to provide specialized business for the growing demand in the region and after it was founded, with success of its education, the institute gradually transformed into a university.

    At present, the university consist of four campuses throughout the country in four of its states, its campus JWU Providence in Rhodes Island is its first and largest campus and is modelled after the JWU mission for providing education that is career focused, practically relevant and also insightful about industry and professional requirements.

    Johnson & Wales University – providence campus offers a student life which is appealing and engaging, with every opportunity for growth and involvement. For learning, once students step outside of their classrooms, there are more than 100 student clubs and also fraternity and sorority life which serve as collaborative spaces as students lead each other and learn from each other. These also serve as spaces where students form new relationships and get a chance to socialise. With Student Government Association as well as leadership learning programs, students experience character formation and leadership dynamics as they work to improve and regulate campus life. There is also strong emphasis on engagement with the community and volunteering for community service activities which students involve in through events like annual days of service, alternative spring break or community engagement fairs. Students find fun and enjoyment through events and athletic activities. Some events held at the campus are Wildcat 5K After Dark, Spirit Week, comedy or musical performances or speaker sessions. There are also athletic teams, ‘Wildcats’ participating at NCAA Division III. The campus colors are Blue and White.

    Academic programs at the campus include three associate degree programs, over 45 Bachelors degree programs and 15 Masters degree programs. It also offers non degree, pre professional and other programs.

    JWU School Facts

    • Years Estd.1914
    • NicknameWildcats
    • ColorsBlue and white
    • LocationRhode Island
    • Religious AffiliationNot applicable

    Famous JWU Alumni

    • Blac Chyna

      Business & Industry

      Model and entrepreneur

    • Anna Olson

      Entertainment & Arts

      Television personality; Celebrity chef on Food Network Canada

    • Randal Tye Thomas

      Politics & Law

      Former Mayor of Gun Barrel City, Texas

    • Brennan Ward

      Professional Sports

      Wrestler and also a professional mixed martial arts fighter

    • Jim Renner

      Professional Sports

      Pro golfer

    • Genevieve Gagnard

      Entertainment & Arts


  • New England Institute of Technology Seal

    New England Institute of Technology

    East Greenwich, Rhode Island

    New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, Rhode Island
    • 2,919 Total Students
    • 13 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • Yes Online Programs

    New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) is a private non-profit higher education institute. The college was established in1940. In 2007, the college purchased the land for its current main campus and classes started on this campus 4 years later. In 2014, the institute started a significant campus expansion plan which included the construction of new residence halls and new classrooms.
    The Institute states that its focus is to offer academic programs that provide the students with a balance between analytical skills and practical training. East Greenwich, Rhode Island is the home to the institute main campus which includes all the administrative offices and the student support services. The main part of this campus is a 265,000 square foot facility that includes an open atrium with multi-tiered waterfall. The campus also includes a training center operated by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. Moreover, NEIT has two branch locations; Julian B. Gouse Campus and Access Road campus. Julian B. Gouse campus consists of a single building covering 57,000 square feet located in Warwick, Rhode Island. On the other hand, Access Road campus was inaugurated in 2005 and consists of 4 buildings including an automotive technician school. The official mascot for New England Tech is called Tech Tigers.
    New England Tech offers 38 associate degree programs, 18 bachelor degree programs and 6 master’s degree programs. Additionally, the institute offers several hybrid and online programs granting bachelor and master’s degrees. It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. There are several types of grants and scholarships offered to enrolled students in addition to the possibility of applying to financial aid.

    NEIT School Facts

    • Years Estd.1940
    • LocationRhode Island
    • Religious AffiliationNot applicable

  • Providence College Seal

    Providence College

    Providence, Rhode Island

    Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island
    • 4,562 Total Students
    • 56% Acceptance Rate
    • 18% Enrollment Rate
    • 12 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 10,215 Total Applicants
    • Yes Online Programs

    Providence College is a private Roman Catholic higher education institute located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is the only college administered by the Dominican Friars in North America. The college was established in 1917 by the Dominican Province of St. Joseph and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. The college initially operated in a single building known as Harkins Hall. The first class starting at the college included 71 students who were taught by 8 Dominican members. The college received regional accreditation in 1933 from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Providence started 2 years later offering graduate masters and doctoral degree programs. In the same year, the college started publishing its newspaper; the Cowl. In 1939, the college established Aquinas Residential Hall. During the World War II, an Army Specialized Training Program started in 1943 on campus which helped the college continue operating during this period. In 1951, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps was established on-campus. Providence used to hire athletic facilities from local high schools till 1955 when Alumni Hall was established. In 1971, the college became coeducational and started admitting female students. In 1974, the college acquired the former building of Charles V. Chapin Hospital. The campus was then roughly divided into upper and lower parts by Huxley Avenue. The college witnessed a tragic incident in 1977 when 10 female students were killed by fire shooting in Aquinas Hall.

    The college has an urban campus covering 105 acres. It has several distinctive buildings and facilities including Harkins Hall, Ruane Center for the Humanities, Martin Hall, Dominic Hall and Slavin Center. Providence athletic teams, who are nicknamed Friars, compete in NCAA Division I as members of the Big East Conference. The official colors are black and white.

    The college is divided into 4 schools offering 49 majors and 34 minors.

    PC School Facts

    • Years Estd.1917
    • NicknameFriars
    • MottoVeritas
    • Motto Eng.Truth
    • ColorsBlack and White
    • LocationRhode Island
    • AthleticsNCAA Division I – Big East, Hockey East
    • Religious AffiliationRoman Catholic

    Famous PC Alumni

    • Chris Dodd

      Politics & Law

      Former United States Senator

    • Raymond Flynn

      Professional Sports

      star basketball player

    • Richard M. Daley

      Politics & Law

      six-term Mayor of Chicago

    • Janeane Garofalo

      Entertainment & Arts

      actress and comedian

    • Doris Burke

      Professional Sports

      ESPN NBA and college basketball commentator

All Top Colleges in Rhode Island

  • Brown University Seal

    Brown University

    Providence, Rhode Island

    Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island
    • 9,458 Total Students
    • 9% Acceptance Rate
    • 56% Enrollment Rate
    • 9 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 30,396 Total Applicants
    • No Online Programs

    A Private, coeducational and research institute, Brown was established in 1764 when it was chartered by the Rhode Island legislature. The seeds for the college were sown in 1762 when the Baptist leaders had met for a conference in Philadelphia and decided to set up the college. Within two years, the college was set up in the region serving the students for the educational needs. It is presently based in Rhode Island, United States.

    The college has many feathers in its cap; the university is considered and Ivy League institute and became the seventh oldest institute in the country and the third one to be established in New England when it started. The university with dedication has many Nobel Prize laureates, five National Humanities Medalists and many high achievers, among its faculty and students as well.

    With a high academic record, Brown University does not come with boring and exhaustive life at campus, rather it is busy and fun. Life at campus begins with its student clubs and groups which are over 300, including sports, arts, media as well as other groups. There are events held at the campus such as Orientation helping students to connect with the university and Family Weekend, reconnecting students with their families. There are arts performances as well which shows the students enthusiasm towards celebrating creative expression; there are dance, theatre, visual performances and others. These are considered to be helping students in exploring their talents. There are also some traditions unique such as the organ concert at Halloween Midnight. Athletics are equally enthusiastically pursed and so there are 37 varsity teams taking part in the NCAA Division I. The campus colors are Brown, Red and White.

    Academics at Brown are covered through 40 academic departments; there are undergraduate programs with 80 concentration options. There are also 28 Masters Programs and 51 doctoral programs. Its notable facilities include Warren Alpert Medical School, The Orwig Music Library and some others too.

    Brown School Facts

    • Years Estd.1764
    • NicknameBears
    • MascotBruno the Bear
    • MottoIn Deo Speramus (Latin)
    • Motto Eng.In God We Hope
    • ColorsBrown, Red, White
    • LocationRhode Island
    • AthleticsNCAA Division I – Ivy LeagueECAC Hockey, EARC/EAWRC
    • Religious AffiliationNot applicable

    Famous Brown Alumni

    • Samuel M. Nabrit

      Education & Advocacy

      First African American to earn doctorate degree from Brown University; first African American trustee at Brown University; also first African American appointed to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission

    • Gordon Kidd Teal

      Science & Medicine

      Invented the silicon transistor

    • Bob Wallace

      Business & Industry

      Microsoft employee, invented the term shareware

    • Wingate Hayes

      Politics & Law

      Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1859 to 1860

    • Thomas Corcoran

      Politics & Law

      Member of President Franklin Roosevelt's "brain trust"; guided New Deal legislation; high-powered Washington lobbyist

    • Nawal M. Nour

      Social Advocacy & Service

      Physician; founder of the first hospital center in the United States devoted to the medical needs of African women who have undergone female circumcision; also a recipient of the Macarthur fellowship

    • Horace Mann

      Education & Advocacy

      Educationist; father of American public school education

    • Ajit Ranade

      Business & Industry

      Chief Economist with the Aditya Birla Group

    • Joseph H Spadaro

      Business & Industry

      Founder and CEO of American Laundromat Records

    • Jeffrey Eugenides

      Entertainment & Arts

      Author, Pulitzer Prize winner; works include Middlesex, The Virgin Suicides, The Marriage Plot

Recommended Schools

You Could Save Thousands Of Dollars Toward College.

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify schools you like, and potential ways to save on your degree or certification program with courses, offers, and much more!

Create Your SmartPlan