How Many Colleges In Pennsylvania Are There?

The State of Pennsylvania is home to numerous colleges and other higher education institutions. Colleges in Pennsylvania aren’t the most popular compared to other states but they still get thousands of new students every semester. From Longwood Gardens to Presque Isle State Park, thousands of students are attracted to this state which is filled with beautiful attractions along with plenty of colleges to pick from. 

There are about 164 colleges in Pennsylvania. This number is estimated based on the typical four-year bachelor’s degree program. You’ll find something to your liking from the wide range of options presented to you. There are many public institutions as well as private institutions in Pennsylvania. Most of the public colleges in Pennsylvania require an ACT score of 30 or less, some of them even 25 or less, so it’s relatively easy to get into most of them. 

colleges in pennslyvania

Pennsylvania is also home to the renowned University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League college, and it’s one of the hardest colleges to get into all around the country. Many other colleges welcome thousands of students every year such as Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University, Thomas Jefferson University, and many more. These colleges offer a wide range of degrees such as bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. There are many certificate courses available as well. 

There are about 17 community colleges and technical colleges around Pennsylvania that offer a variety of certificate courses and two-year diplomas to individuals looking to enter a public university in the future or boost their careers with extra certifications. 

Top Ten Colleges In Pennsylvania

There are many colleges to choose from when you’re looking at your options in Pennsylvania. You’ll find some of the top-rated colleges from all around the country in this state. Depending on your major, you’ll have to research thoroughly to find a college that will meet all your demands. 

  1. The University of Pennsylvania (Best known for Business, Marketing, and Management)
  2. Swarthmore College (Known for Economics, Political Science, History, and also for their Engineering programs)
  3. The University of Pittsburgh (Known for Business and Biomedical Sciences)
  4. Carnegie Mellon University (Best known for Computer Science, different types of Engineering programs, and Business Administration)
  5. Villanova University (Best known for Business Management, Health Sciences, Journalism, and Social Sciences)
  6. Drexel University (Popular for its Business degrees, Medical School, Computer Science, Information Management, and Law School)
  7. Temple University (Best known for its Engineering, Computer Science, Communication, and Psychology degrees)
  8. Bryn Mawr College (Well known for its Social Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, Foreign Languages, and Psychology degrees)
  9. Lafayette College (Best known for their Social Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, Computer and Information Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Psychology degrees)
  10. Bucknell University (Popular for their Freeman College of Management, Zoology, Political Science and Government, Accounting and Finance, and Biology/Biological Sciences degrees)

There are many other popular universities around Pennsylvania worth checking out such as Gettysburg College, Franklin and Marshall College, Curtis Institute of Music, and many more. It’s important to check for a college that has a good record when it comes to your specific major. 

The Pros and Cons Of Studying In Pennsylvania

No matter where you decide to study or which college you choose, you’ll be faced with numerous difficulties along the way. Often it’s not only hard to get into your college of choice. But later it becomes a dilemma on how you’ll pay for it. Before applying for colleges in Pennsylvania, you should be aware of the risks you’ll be taking along the way. 

Pros of Studying in Pennsylvania: 

  • If you secured a spot in one of the best colleges in Pennsylvania such as UPenn or any other highly competitive one, you’ll be presented with numerous credible opportunities to explore yourself. 
  • You’d never run out of things to do here. It’s home to some of the finest attractions around the country. Philadelphia, Hershey, Bethlehem, Poconos, and Pittsburgh are only some of the most beautiful regions you’ll find in this state. 
  • A wide variety of majors are available in educational institutions around the state. The state of Pennsylvania welcomes thousands of international students every semester into their various colleges. If you wish to live off-campus, 4stay will help you out.

Cons of Studying in Pennsylvania:

  • While Pennsylvania can be a good place to study, it’s not the most favorable amongst students except for UPenn. Being an Ivy League college, it is challenging to get into. About four times more expensive than a public four-year college as well. 
  • It might be hard to get a job if you’re not from some of the prestigious colleges around Pennsylvania. It might get difficult to secure valuable internships as well.
  • The living conditions might not be the most suitable for international students. Most of them would prefer states like Utah, New York, California, or North Carolina. 


Pennsylvania is one of the top states when it comes to colleges to choose from, and it’s mostly because it consists of the University of Pennsylvania. There are also many prestigious liberal arts colleges around the state such as Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, and many more. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Which Is The Best College In Pennsylvania?
The answer to a question like this will depend on what you’re looking to select as your major. In general terms, the University of Pennsylvania is considered the most prestigious college all around the state. After that, you’d want to look into Penn State University, Villanova University, Swarthmore College, University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. Being an Ivy League college, which has only risen higher every year, UPenn stays on the top of the list. 

2. Which Is The Best Student City In Pennsylvania?
The most popular cities in Pennsylvania, according to various students residing there, are Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. 

3. Is It Expensive To Live In Pennsylvania?
It can get expensive to live in major cities such as Philadelphia but compared to the other states around the country, living in Pennsylvania is less expensive than the average cost to live in the country.