Higher Education Overview
In the state of Rhode Island, there is one college or university per every 100 square feet of space. The tiniest state in the United States, Rhode Island consists of just 1,200 square miles - yet it has 12 colleges or universities within its borders. There is a large public research university in Rhode Island, as well as elite private universities and even a federal Navy college. It may be a small state in size, but it is a premier destination for higher education.
The University of Rhode Island is the largest public research university in the state, and it is located in Kingston. The University of Rhode Island also has three extension campuses in other locations throughout the state. The university was founded in 1892, and located on the site of a farm, it was originally intended to be strictly an agricultural college. Today, the University of Rhode Island is still a land-grant institution, but it also is a sea-grant and urban-grant institution. The academic programs at URI are wide and varied, with some of its best programs including its nursing program, engineering program, oceanography program, pharmacy program and landscape architecture program. Two Rhode Island governors graduated from URI, as well as a plethora of professional athletes.
Brown University holds several distinctions in the state of Rhode Island. Not only is it the oldest school in the state and the only Ivy League school, it is also the only school in Rhode Island that was founded before the American Revolution. Brown University is located in 1764, and eventually became the first university in the United States to accept students regardless of the religion that they practiced. Brown is one of the most elite schools in the country, with an acceptance rate of about 8 percent. Students who attend this university have the opportunity to pick one of the concentrations, or majors, available, or if they do not find one that suits them they can develop an independent course of study. Brown has produced many politicians, business people and other prominent figures throughout history, and some of its more notable alumni include John F. Kennedy Jr., author Jeffrey Eugenides and former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.
The smallest school in Rhode Island is the Naval War College, a public federal university that is run by the United States Navy. Its enrollment consists of about 550 students, and it is a research institution that studies ideas for naval warfare.