Overview of Rhode Island Colleges & Schools

The state of Rhode Island is the smallest in terms of landmass in the United States, and as a result only has a limited number of colleges and universities. Institutions of higher learning are predominantly private, with only three schools operated by the state. Rhode Island’s largest city is Providence, which also serves as the state’s capital, and is twice as large as the states next largest city. Warwick. Rhode Island is bordered by Massachusetts to the north and east, Connecticut to the west, and New York through a water border at the southwest.

Public institutions include the Community College of Rhode Island, which operates six locations throughout the state and provides residents technical and career training as well as academic opportunity. The state operates two four year institutions that provide undergraduate and graduate education programs.

  • The University of Rhode Island (Kingston) is the largest school in the state, and is the flagship public school, serving nearly 17,000 students a year.
  • Rhode Island College (Providence) serves nearly 10,000 students a year and is designated a master’s college.

Rhode Island is also home to a larger number of private institutions which provide more specialized educations. Some schools are founded by religious denominations, others serve artistic endeavors, and other provide a liberal arts education that allows students to experience a number of subjects even as they pursue their major. Among private schools in the state Brown University is the oldest, considered an Ivy League College and founded prior to American Independence.

Other colleges and universities in Rhode Island include:

In addition to the public and private four year institutions available in the state, a number of career and technical schools are also available. These schools provide short programs that educate and train individuals to complete tasks and duties professionally in their given field of study. Costs are normally higher than those of a community college, but the speed with which one completes the program as eligible for employment is considered the trade off.

The most populous city in Rhode Island is Providence, followed by Warwick, Cranston, and Pawtucket.  While the most populous county in Rhode Island is Providence County with Kent County and Washington County a distant second and third.  If you are interested in visiting the state of Rhode Island, consider visiting their state page or the state chapter of the Chamber of Commerce.

College Degree Breakdown for the State of Rhode-island

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, NCES, O*NET Online

Doctoral or professional degree
Master's degree
Bachelor's degree
Associate's degree
Postsecondary nondegree award
Some college, no degree
High school diploma or equivalent
No formal educational credential

Private Universities & Colleges

Image of Private College Campus

In Rhode Island there are eight accredited private four-year colleges. Similar to public schools, private colleges and universities offer bachelor's or higher level programs and research opportunities, although they usually have smaller classes and higher tuition. Compare admission requirements and tuition details for private colleges in Rhode Island.