New York Liberal Arts Schools ranked by number of students

When most people think of a liberal arts college, they tend to picture of private school with about 2,500 students in a small upstate town, with a central “quad” and a chapel with white columns on it. But while there are definitely several liberal arts colleges in New York that fit this description to a “t,” there are also specialized schools that are much smaller — and several public and private ones at the opposite end of the spectrum, with well over 10,000 students.

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Below is a list of liberal arts school in NY State, listed by how many students attend the institution. Obviously, the size of a school isn’t the only thing most students look at choosing where to go. It may not even be the most important thing. But it does make a difference. The experience of living on a campus, and the breadth of academic programs offered are both different at a big university versus a small school. Some students definitely want the atmosphere of a smaller school, where everyone seems important. On the other hand, the school I attended in New York State had 1,800 students back when I was there. I can state from personal experience that by the time I was a junior, the place seemed, well, a bit too small. It’s all a matter of personal taste.

Liberal arts schools have tended, over the years, to focus on more classic “academic” subjects like English, philosophy, social studies and psychology, with an aim toward preparing students for graduate school, where they can learn the career skills needed to become doctors, bankers, lawyers, or some other type of professional. Many liberal arts schools offer over 60 different majors at the undergraduate level, in subject that can seem a bit obscure. In recent years, however, many traditional liberal arts schools have added more career-oriented majors like nursing, teaching and even criminal justice in order to better train students who either don’t want to go on to graduate school, or are not able to. Here’s a listing of New York State liberal arts schools by size. You can click on any individual listing to get more information on a particular school.


Cazenovia College 1,000 students
College of Mount Saint Vincent 1,800 students
Concordia College 790 students
Elmira College 1,200 students
Hamilton College 1,800 students
Hartwick College 1,500 students
Houghton College 1,350 students
Keuka College 800 students
The King’s College 400 students
Manhattanville College 1,700 students
Sarah Lawrence College 1,200 students
Wells College 550 students


Bard College 2,050 students
Barnard College 2,400 students, women only
Colgate University 2,900 students
D’Youville College 2,900 students
Hobart and William Smith Colleges 2,000 students
Le Moyne College 3,200 students
Manhattan College 3,000 students
Marymount Manhattan College 2,000 students
Medaille College 3,200 students
Mount Saint Mary College 2,500 students
Nyack College 3,000 students
St. Bonaventure University 2,500 students
St. John Fisher College 3,700 students
St. Lawrence University 2,200 students
St. Thomas Aquinas College 2,400 students
Siena College 3,400 students
Skidmore College 2,500 students
Union College 2,100 students
Vassar College 2,500 students
Wagner College 2,000 students


Canisius College 5,000 students
Ithaca College 6,500 students
Marist College 5,000 students
State University of New York at Fredonia 5,500 students
State University of New York at Geneseo 5,000 students
State University of New York at Plattsburgh 5,500 students


Adelphi University 8,500 students
Buffalo State College 11,000 students
The New School 10,000 students
Long Island University C.W. Post Campus 9,000 students
Mercy College 8,600 students

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