Types of Colleges or Universities

Missouri's higher education environment is well known for its rich diversity and breadth of available programs - from small, one-year, private career schools with a specialized focus to large, tier one research institutions with the emphasis on cutting edge research advancements, and everything between. Missouri is home to a wide array of higher education possibilities for Missouri residents and students around the world. There are many different types of colleges and universities located in every region of Missouri.


  • Public - Postsecondary schools mainly supported by public funds that offer associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and graduate degrees. However, many of these schools also offer shorter programs that may vary in length and level.
  • Independent - Postsecondary schools mainly supported by private funds. Also known as "private not for profit schools," many offer degrees and a variety of programs that vary in length and level.
  • Private career/proprietary - Privately owned and controlled schools as well as out-of-state institutions offering courses and programs in Missouri. Also known as "private career schools" or "private for-profit schools," many offer certificates, diplomas, or degrees and generally prepare students for direct entry into a specific occupation or profession.

Searching for a College or University?

Find Missouri schools and programs using the MDHE's College and Degree Search. Search by school type, degree type, location, area of interest and more. Vocational Technical Schools located in Missouri also offer education beyond high school.

To research postsecondary institutions outside of Missouri, use the search engine College Navigator. This school search tool is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and allows students and parents to search over 7,000 U.S. higher education institutions.