February 1, 2021

Duke rated No. 1 Christian college by academics, data scientists

Vershal Hogan

Duke University has been named the No. 1 of the Top 50 Christian colleges in the United States by Academic Influence, “a team of academics and data scientists working to provide an objective, non-gameable influence-based ranking for the people, schools, and disciplines that make up higher education.” To be considered for the list, a college must self-identify as Christian, be accredited and have a student body of at least 1,000 students.

Duke has a 9 percent acceptance rate and a 95 percent graduation rate with 15,000 students.

Following Duke in the group’s rankings were Georgetown University at No. 2, Emory University at No. 3, Catholic University of America and the University of Notre Dame at Nos. 4 and 5 respectively.



The Academic Influence system surveys a school’s so-called “concentrated influence”.

“The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence.” Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates. This approach gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

In a statement accompanying the release of the results, Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of AcademicInfluence.com and professor of physics at Wake Forest University, said schools with a religious foundation are meeting a need at a time when students are feeling heightened concern about mental and spiritual health:

“By acknowledging that there is more to life than studying and climbing some corporate ladder, these faith-based schools seek to deliver a healthy life balance,” adds Macosko. “Our ranking of leading Christian schools highlights this synergy of scholarly excellence and spiritual enrichment many students desire. In addition, students can use the tools on our site to fine-tune results to meet their specific needs as well as find other Christian higher ed institutions in their state that also excel.”

Schools listed in the ranking include:



Allegheny College
American University
Ave Maria University
Bob Jones University
Boston College
Brigham Young University
The Catholic University of America
College of the Holy Cross
Davidson College
Dillard University
Drew University
Duke University
Earlham College
Eckerd College
Elizabethtown College
Emory University
Fordham University
Georgetown University
Hanover College
Hendrix College
Houston Baptist University
Huntingdon College
John Carroll University
Lafayette College
Louisiana College
Loyola Marymount University
Loyola University New Orleans
Macalester College
Manhattan College
Marquette University
Ohio Wesleyan University
Pepperdine University
Rhodes College
Saint Anselm College
Saint Francis University
Saint Louis University
Santa Clara University
Sewanee: The University of the South
Southern Methodist University
St. Olaf College
Transylvania University
Trinity International University
Trinity Washington University
University of Dallas
University of Detroit Mercy
University of Notre Dame
Villanova University
Wagner College
Westminster College (Pennsylvania)
Wheaton College (Illinois)

The rankings round out with Louisiana College at No. 48, Manhattan College at 49 and Trinity International University at No. 50. Trinity International has a 73 percent acceptance rate, a 58 percent graduation rate and approximately 1,000 students.

To see the entire Academic Influence ranking system, go here.

Faith on View also provides top 200 Christian college rankings using a different criteria. The Faith on View rankings can be viewed here.

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