Colleges, Universities & Online Colleges in Saint Paul

April 27, 2021 • 2 Min Read

Minnesota’s capital city is home to 16 colleges and universities, a relatively high number given that it occupies 52 square miles. Students in St. Paul can choose from an assortment of public and private colleges, most of which feature robust online education offerings in addition to on-campus certificate and degree programs. Options for higher education range from one of the country’s largest universities to much smaller, special-focus schools.

Colleges in Saint Paul

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 86 percent of the adults in St. Paul have a high school diploma, some college credit or an associate degree, while more than 37 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, which outranks the U.S. average.

Students seeking certificates, two-year degrees or continuing education programs may choose to pursue higher education at one of the four community colleges in St. Paul. Century College, for one, boasts more than 60 technical and occupational programs as well as a solid liberal arts and sciences program designed for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. In addition, the school’s Continuing Education and Customized Training Division – the largest in the state – serves more than 20,000 individuals each year.

At the four-year level, two public universities are available: University of Minnesota and Metropolitan State University. With more than 50,000 students at its Twin Cities locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the University of Minnesota is one of the largest schools in the country, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in almost every field. Metropolitan State is a comprehensive urban university serving nearly 9,000 students throughout the region, with more than 60 undergraduate majors, 10 master’s degree programs, and applied doctorates in business administration and nursing practice.

The capital city is also home to two law schools as well as a variety of private colleges and universities, many of which are rooted in Christian traditions.

Here’s a closer look at some of Saint Paul’s colleges and universities:

Century CollegePublic (2-year)Certificates, Associate degrees, Continuing education
Inver Hills Community CollegePublic (2-year)Certificates, Associate degrees, Continuing education
Minneapolis Community and Technical CollegePublic (2-year)Certificates, Associate degrees, Continuing education
Saint Paul CollegePublic (2-year)Certificates, Associate degrees, Continuing education
Metropolitan State UniversityPublic (4-year)Certificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees
University of Minnesota (Twin Cities campus)Public (4-year)Certificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees, Continuing education
Bethel UniversityPrivate Nonprofit
Certificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees
Concordia University, St. PaulPrivate Nonprofit
Certificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees
Hamline UniversityPrivate NonprofitCertificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees, Law school
Macalester CollegePrivate NonprofitBachelor’s degrees
St. Catherine UniversityPrivate NonprofitCertificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees
The College of St. Scholastica (Extended Campus)Private NonprofitCertificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees
University of NorthwesternPrivate Nonprofit
Certificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees
University of St. ThomasPrivate Nonprofit
Certificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees
William Mitchell College of LawPrivate NonprofitJD and LLM degrees
McNally Smith College of MusicPrivate For-ProfitContemporary music certificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees

Online Colleges in Saint Paul

Nearly every college in St. Paul provides online education options to serve students with diverse scheduling and learning needs. Inver Hills Community College, for instance, has fully online associate degree and certificate programs as well as more than 75 online classes each fall and spring semester.

The University of Minnesota features more than 1,400 online courses, over 20 blended programs, and 30 fully online degree programs and certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels. More than 36,000 students were enrolled in online courses at the university in 2012-2013.

Private college and universities in St. Paul also offer online education to traditional and nontraditional students alike. The College of St. Scholastica boasts a variety of online undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as online certificate programs in education, health information management, nursing and project management. Concordia University offers online degree programs in hospitality management, pulmonary science, family life education management and other subjects.

For students pursuing professional degrees online, William Mitchell College of Law is the first ABA-accredited law school in the country to offer a part-time, hybrid (on-campus and online) JD program.

Top Industries, Careers and Employers

The Twin Cities are the most populous urban cities in Minnesota, making the area a hub of industry in the Midwest. According to Forbes, these are the four major industries in Minneapolis-St. Paul:

  • Financial services
  • Technology
  • Biomedical
  • Retail

According to May 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupations with the most workers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area are:

  • Retail salespersons
  • Food preparation and serving workers
  • Customer service representatives
  • Office clerks
  • Personal care aides
  • Registered nurses

Twin Cities Business’ list of the 10 largest employers in the area reflects some of the major industries:

  • Minnesota State Government
  • United States Government
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Target
  • University of Minnesota
  • Allina Health
  • Walmart
  • Wells Fargo Minnesota
  • Fairview Health Services
  • UnitedHealth Group

In addition, Minneapolis-St. Paul is home to a number of Fortune 500 employers. The top 10 Fortune 500 employers in the area are:

  • Target
  • 3M
  • U.S. Bancorp
  • Medtronic
  • General Mills
  • Xcel Energy
  • Ameriprise Financial
  • Thrivent Financial
  • Ecolab
  • St. Jude Medical

Graduates of local colleges can explore diverse career opportunities, including industries that value higher education and specialized training, such as health care, high-tech and finance.

Colleges & Universities in Saint Paul


University of St Thomas Saint Paul12,164$31,504Not For Profit (Private)
Metropolitan State University10,930$6,028Public
Hamline University8,902$31,652Not For Profit (Private)
St Catherine University6,124$23,159Not For Profit (Private)
Bethel University5,178$29,320Not For Profit (Private)
Northwestern College MN3,661$25,490Not For Profit (Private)
Concordia University-Saint Paul3,644$28,500Not For Profit (Private)
Macalester College2,161$41,800Not For Profit (Private)
William Mitchell College of Law1,104N/ANot For Profit (Private)
Luther Seminary915N/ANot For Profit (Private)
Bethel Seminary St. Paul817N/ANot For Profit (Private)


Saint Paul College-A Community and Technical College9,558$4,669Public

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