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  • Eric Stutman

UNH vs. URI: Which is right for you?

The University of New Hampshire and The University of Rhode Island, two flagship public universities in New England, are often both on a student's list. Which one is stronger academically, and which one is right for you?


While the acceptance rate at UNH (84%) is higher than at URI (72%), and they are very similar in some statistics (both have 86% freshman retention rate, average SAT/ACT score is similar), UNH leads URI in other academic metrics including graduation rate (77% to 69%), and US News rank (143 to 170) which takes into account many factors.

Advantage: UNH

Location, Campus and Student Body:

Both universities are less than 1/2 hour to the nearest beach and about an hour (or so) from Boston. However, UNH is also about an hour from mountains which is popular with students year round.

Both UNH and URI have beautiful campuses, but neither are within walking distance to more than a few shops and restaurants.

At both schools, about 1/2 of the students are from out of state. Both schools have about 56% female students, and are not very ethnically diverse. Both schools have a similar involvement in greek life and solid school spirit.

Advantage: Tie

Popular Majors:

At UNH, the most popular majors are business (22%), engineering (11%), biology (9%) and health professions (6%).

At URI, Health Professions dominates with 19%, followed by business (11%), engineering (9%), and biology (6%).

Advantage: You decide. UNH has a bigger focus on business and biology, and URI has a bigger focus on Health Professions including Pharmacy and Nursing. Both have rare Ocean Engineering programs.


Academically speaking, based on rankings and other statistics, the pecking order for flagship public universities in New England is as follows:

U Conn

U Mass

U Vermont

U New Hampshire

U Rhode Island

U Maine

UNH has a better academic reputation than URI and has the White Mountains nearby, so I give the edge to UNH.

The Quad and Science Center at the University of Rhode Island (above) and University of New Hampshire Quad and Business School (below).

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