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10 Higher-Ed Options in Northern Kentucky

The Northern Kentucky region offers a wealth of excellent higher education options.

By Kevin Litwin on April 5, 2023

Student writes in a notebook on the University of Cincinnati campus in the Northern Kentucky region.
Andrew Higley

Students in Northern Kentucky don’t have far to travel for a quality higher education experience. Several college and university options are within an easy commute: 

1. Northern Kentucky University 

Headquartered in Highland Heights, NKU serves more than 12,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students who attend the university’s seven on-campus colleges. Those seven colleges are the arts, arts & sciences, business, education, health & human services, honors college and informatics. NKU also offers 100% online opportunities to earn bachelor’s, master’s, graduate and postgraduate degrees and advanced nursing certificates. 

2. Cincinnati State Technical & Community College 

Popularly known as Cincinnati State, the college’s main campus is located in Cincinnati near the junction of Interstates 74 and 75. The school features about 80 majors and associate degrees, along with 40 one-year certificate courses. One of the most popular on-campus academic programs is a Midwest Culinary Institute that is housed in its own high-tech kitchen building. 

GraduateCommencement in Northern Kentucky 051217 - © Bruce Crippen Photography LLC Thomas More University
Bruce Crippen

3. Gateway Community & Technical College 

Locations in CovingtonEdgewood and Florence make up the three campuses of Gateway Community & Technical College, which has a total enrollment of about 4,000 students. Gateway offers over 30 subjects and features 200 diplomas, certificates and associate degree opportunities. Leading students to success, the college works with about 400 local businesses that help Gateway graduates find high-paying jobs and careers in the region. 

4. Miami University 

Miami University is an hour’s drive north of the Northern Kentucky region, headquartered in Oxford, with nearby regional campuses in Hamilton, Middletown and West Chester. Often referred to as Miami of Ohio, the university currently has students from all 50 states and 79 countries, and the Oxford campus features 120 areas of study for bachelor’s degrees. There are also more than 70 master’s and doctoral degree programs. 

5. Mount St. Joseph University 

About 15 minutes from Covington is Mount St. Joseph University, a private Roman Catholic university known popularly as The Mount and founded in 1920 by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. The university has an enrollment of more than 2,300 students and offers certificates, associate’s degrees, pre-professional programs and graduate degrees in about 50 programs. 

6. Thomas More University 

This liberal arts college in Crestview Hills has an enrollment of 2,000 students. It offers a variety of academic programs, including the Thomas More University Accelerated Program, specifically designed for working adults. Thomas More also has a variety of online programs, and 95% of TMU graduates are either employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation. 

Students walk on campus at University of Cincinnati in the Northern Kentucky region.
Andrew Higley

7. University of Cincinnati 

With an annual enrollment of more than 44,000 students, the University of Cincinnati offers 300+ majors and 100+ certificate programs — everything from classical civilization to classical guitar. In addition, UC has 14 campus colleges, including a medical college with a teaching hospital and biotech research laboratories. 

8. University of Kentucky 

About 80 miles south of Covington via Interstate 75 is the University of Kentucky, located in Lexington. UK has more than 30,000 students who attend its 16 colleges, and there are 93 undergraduate programs, 99 master’s and 66 doctoral programs. 

UK College of Medicine-Northern Kentucky Campus. An education and business partnership has formed in Northern Kentucky, and the expected result is greater talent. In need of more doctors, St. Elizabeth Healthcare chose to collaborate with the University of Kentucky to create a regional medical school, which recently opened at Northern Kentucky University, with the goal to provide medical students with the skills they need to later work in the area.
Michael Dominic Tedesco

9. Wilmington College 

An hour northeast of Northern Kentucky via Interstate 71 is Wilmington College, with its main branch in Wilmington, along with two Cincinnati campuses at Blue Ash and Cincinnati State. The private college was founded by Quakers in 1870, and today about 1,000 students attend the main campus. University officials point out that graduating students not only leave with degrees but also with thousands of hours of practical application. 

10. Xavier University 

The private Jesuit university in Cincinnati has about 4,500 undergrad students and 1,200 graduate students, and Xavier has four on-campus colleges that offer 90+ undergraduate majors, 60+ minors and 40+ graduate programs. About 98% of XU students are employed within six months of graduation, attending grad school or working in volunteer service positions. 

Want to learn more about living and working in the Northern Kentucky region? Check out the latest edition of Livability Northern Kentucky.

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