Higher Education in Tuscaloosa
Known as the “capstone” of Alabama’s public school system, the University of Alabama provides options for bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees, as well as a degrees in law and education. This public research university reports that it consistently ranks among the nation’s leading schools, as shown in the table below. UA students can take advantage of opportunities that may not be found elsewhere in Alabama, including doctoral degrees in anthropology, library and information studies, and metallurgical engineering, as well as the state’s only public law school. Outside of academics and athletics, UA students have a tradition of community service
National Rankings for the University of Alabama
|Merit Scholars Enrollment||1st (public)
|School of Law||21st|
|School of Library and Information Studies||18th|
|Quality of Libraries||32nd (public university libraries)|
|Culverhouse School of Accountancy||18th (undergraduate)
18th (master’s program)
22nd (doctoral program)
Furthering the educational focus of Tuscaloosa is Shelton State Community College, a public, open-admission school dedicated to providing accessible postsecondary education. This two-year college educates a total of around 7,000 students, with 3,000 attending classes full-time. Due to its contribution to music, dance and theater, SSCC was designated the Alabama Junior College of the Fine Arts to acknowledge its artistic legacy.
As for private institutions, Stillman College has been an educational cornerstone in Tuscaloosa since 1876. Directly affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, this small college of 1,000 students has programs in arts and sciences, professional education and management. While Stillman College upholds its African-American heritage with pride, today its doors are open to everyone in the spirit of bolstering a diverse community.
Online Colleges in Tuscaloosa
UA’s online education program, Bama by Distance, strives to match the quality of its on-campus education. The program offers a number of degrees across a variety of majors. Choices include education and human environmental sciences. The program features select videoconferencing courses, plus evening and weekend class schedules.
SSCC’s eLearning classes follow the same guidelines and objectives as on-campus classes. The school recommends allotting 6-9 hours weekly for coursework. This program allows students to learn anytime and from any location with a network connection. This flexibility caters to Tuscaloosa students with busy or unusual timetables.
Major Industries and Employers
Tuscaloosa has received accolades for its young community and quality of life, which could convince students to stick around after graduation. The local economy was once known mainly as the North American base for Mercedes-Benz, but that has changed in recent years. Named in the “Top 100 Communities for Young People” and in the “50 Best Places to Launch” by Fortune, Tuscaloosa has gained momentum as a place for young graduates to start businesses and careers. Maybe that’s why the city was named the 2011 “Most Livable City” by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The most common industries in Tuscaloosa, respectively, are education, health care, and accommodation/food services. Of these, the education industry has a towering lead, employing almost one in every five residents of the city. Still, these three industries show a drastic difference compared to the top industries elsewhere in Alabama, setting the Tuscaloosa region apart from neighboring counties.
As reported by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, the city’s five main employers operate in a variety of industries.
|University of Alabama||8,000|
|DCH Regional Medical Center||3,490|
|Mercedes-Benz U.S. International||3,000|
|County Board of Education||2,052|
|Jim Walter Resources||1,472|
From these numbers, Tuscaloosa emerges as a city embracing not only manufacturing and the energy industry but also academics and health sciences.
Colleges & Universities in Tuscaloosa
|The University of Alabama||33,681||$8,600||Public|
|Stillman College||1,145||$13,026||Not For Profit (Private)|
Community Colleges and Vocational Schools in Tuscaloosa
|Shelton State Community College||9,728||$3,210||Public|
Online Colleges in Tuscaloosa