Looking to study in the US, and specifically interested in a positive campus environment for LGBTQ students? Every year, the Campus Pride Index publishes a list of the most LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities in the US, aiming to highlight the institutions offering a positive, inclusive and safe experience for LGBTQ students.
The list is based on eight factors, including LGBTQ policy inclusion, housing, academic life and student life.
Below, we’ve picked out a random selection of 10 of the most LGBTQ-friendly US universities, all of which received a perfect five out of five stars in their overall Campus Pride index score. These universities have also all been featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2021.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick
Rutgers University – New Brunswick, ranked 258th in the World University Rankings, was established in 1766 and has a student population of 48,000. Rutgers has a Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (SJE) which aims to provide an inclusive, supportive environment for LGBTQ students and provides support in the form of counseling, career advice, networking, service referrals to those in need, drop-in centers, training initiatives and more. Rutgers also offers scholarships for LGBTQA students.
Located in Medford, Massachusetts, Tufts University is ranked joint 260th in the World University Rankings and earns its five-star place in the Campus Pride index due to its efforts to include LGBTQ students by providing gender-inclusive housing, healthcare options, and name/pronoun changes. Tufts helps ensure LGBTQ students feel welcome through organizations such as the LGBT center, which offers a space for all students and staff members to “explore their unique relationship to gender and sexuality through personal, activist, or academic lenses”.
The Ohio State University
Ohio State University, located in Columbus, Ohio, was founded in 1870 and is currently ranked 108th in the World University Rankings. The university’s Multicultural Center in its Office of Student Life offers a range of “Q*mmunity” groups for LGBTQ students such as CORE: Coming Out for Racial Equity, the First Year Q*mmunity, and Q*mmunity of LGBTQ Students and Allies. The center also hosts a number of LGBTQ events throughout the year, including LGBTQ History Month and National Coming Out Day in October.
University of Colorado at Boulder
The University of Colorado at Boulder is ranked joint 230th in the QS World University Rankings and is both welcoming and celebrative of LGBTQ students. Its Gender and Sexuality Center offers scholarships, services and resources for students as well as running the annual TRANSforming Gender Conference. The university has also been an official sponsor of PrideFest, one of the largest pride events in the US.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Next in our look at the US universities ranked among the most LGBT-friendly is the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which has around 28,500 students and is currently ranked joint 270th in the world. Its LGBTQIA+ resource center, the Stonewall Center, was one of the first of its kind to open in the US (opening in 1985), and serves the student community with cultural and educational programming, a speaker’s bureau on LGBTQIA and ally issues, and information, support and referrals to students in need.
University of Oregon
The University of Oregon, located in Eugene, Oregon, is ranked 601-650 in the world this year and has around 25,000 students. Its Office of the Dean of Students aims to maintain a positive and inclusive experience for all students by offering LGBTQIA+ scholarships, as well as student organizations, speaker’s panels, career advice and more. The University of Oregon also offers specialized communities which allow students to select the halls which best suit their needs, beliefs, and lifestyles.
University of Pennsylvania
Ranked 16th in the world, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is located in Philadelphia and currently has around 20,000 students enrolled. Penn’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center is one of the oldest in the US, having served the university’s LGBTQ community for over 30 years. The center provides a space to study and socialize and offers peer mentorships as well as various LGBTQ events which are held throughout the year. It also acts as a hub for over 25 undergraduate and graduate student groups.
University of Washington
Located in Seattle, Washington, the University of Washington is ranked joint 72nd in the world and earns its place as a top school in the Campus Pride index for its (mainly student-run) resource center for LGBTQ students, the Q Center. On Washington’s Campus Pride report card (showing how it ranked for the eight categories) it receives perfect scores for its academic life, student life, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention.
Princeton University is already well known as one of the most prestigious universities in the US, (ranked 12th in the world) but also achieves a as a five-star school in the Campus Pride index. Princeton’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center was created in 2005 and aims to provide an affirming, supportive place for students to discuss topics on gender identity, attend events, and get support, advice and referrals on LGBTQ issues.
Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University, founded in 1855, is ranked joint 101st in the latest QS World University Rankings and has around 46,184 students. Its LGBTQA Student Resource Center (SRC) offers a wide range of programming, education, information, and advocacy services and the university also offers a minor in sexuality and gender studies, as well as LGBTQA scholarships. The SRC also offers students opportunities to get involved with LGBTQ student groups.
Other LGBTQ-friendly US universities
The Campus Pride index doesn’t end there, with a further 28 US universities and colleges achieving five stars in the index, rated as being the most LGBTQ-friendly in the country, and therefore well worth considering if you’re an LGBTQ student looking for an inclusive and supportive university.
These universities are: Augsburg College, Elon University, Harvey Mudd College, Guilford College, Indiana University Bloomington, Ithaca College, Kansas State University, Kent State University, Kenyon College, Lehigh University, Macalester College, Montclair State University, Northern Kentucky University, Purdue University, Portland State University, San Diego State University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Southern Oregon University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, University of Maryland, College Park, University of Pittsburgh-Main Campus, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Washington State University.
The Shame List
Sadly, some US universities and colleges are still lagging behind their peers when it comes to LGBTQ inclusivity. Campus Pride’s Shame List identifies the “absolute worst campuses for LGBTQ youth”. These institutions may have applied for an exception to Title IX to enable them to discriminate against LGBTQ youth, and/or have demonstrated a history of anti-LGBTQ practices. Universities in this list include Brigham Young University, Oklahoma Baptist University, the University of Dallas, Yeshiva University and Spring Arbor University.
Discover 10 of the most LGBTQ-friendly US universities, based on the results of the most recent Campus Pride Index.