Colleges, Universities & Online Colleges in Tuscaloosa

Home to the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa enjoys its academic reputation almost as much as the winning record of its football team, the Crimson Tide. In addition to UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, the city also hosts a historically black college with a rich past. To round out the diverse opportunities for students, Tuscaloosa is known for one of the state’s largest community colleges, which has been honored for its contributions to the arts.

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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


School of Law21st
School of Library and Information Studies18th
MBA program58th
Quality of Libraries32nd (public university libraries)
Culverhouse School of Accountancy18th (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.

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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 Alabama8,000
DCH Regional Medical Center3,490
Mercedes-Benz U.S. International3,000
County Board of Education2,052
Jim Walter Resources1,472

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 Alabama33,681$8,600Public
Stillman College1,145$13,026Not For Profit (Private)


Shelton State Community College9,728$3,210Public

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