Photo Credit: Waynesburg University

Pittsburgh has often been considered a great college town, and with its vast offering of universities, it’s easy to see why. From prominent campuses within the city like Carnegie Mellon or the University of Pittsburgh to branch campuses in the surrounding area from Pitt and Penn State, Pittsburgh-area students have a lot to choose from. And some offer not just a great education but a great setting too. Looking for a scenic campus to head to this fall? Here are five of the best.

Chatham University
1 Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
(412) 365-1100

Can you get more scenic than a designated arboretum? Thirty-two of the Shadyside campus’s 39 acres are an arboretum, featuring 115 different varieties of species. The arboretum was recently ranked as #38 in a list of most beautiful college arboretums. Formerly a women’s college founded in 1869, the now-coed Chatham sits right in Pittsburgh and includes elements originally designed for the Andrew Mellon estate and mansions, which now serve as academic and residence halls. The campus also features a labyrinth believed to be the largest outdoor labyrinth in Pittsburgh. In addition to the Shadyside campus, Chatham opened their Eden Hall Campus last year, the world’s first fully sustainable college campus across a sprawling 388 acres with zero carbon emissions, on-site waste and water management and greater energy output than consumption.

Geneva College
3200 College Ave.
Beaver Falls, PA 15010
(724) 846-5100

A Christian college founded in 1848 in Ohio, Geneva College is now settled across 55 acres in the woods of Beaver Falls, about 35 miles northwest from Pittsburgh. If the large rural setting isn’t scenic enough, the campus also features impressive architecture. And the best way to get a great view of campus is by using their newly reopened zip line. Although Geneva College’s main campus is in Beaver Falls, they also have locations in and around Pittsburgh, from downtown to Monroeville and Cranberry.

Waynesburg University
51 W. College St.
Waynesburg, PA 15370
(724) 627-8191

Founded in 1849, the Christian Waynesburg University sits about an hour south of Pittsburgh, easily accessed from Interstate 79. The 15-acre campus is spread out around four large Waynesburg parks and features historic red-brick buildings, including administrative building Miller Hall, whose 800,000+ bricks were handmade from clay deposits in a lake in Fountain Park and still bear the fingerprints of their creators. Both Miller Hall and adjacent Hanna Hall are on the National Registry for Historic Places. In addition to their main campus, Waynesburg also has three adult centers in Monroeville, Seven Fields and Southpointe.

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University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA 15601
(724) 837-7040

One of Pitt’s branch campuses, Pitt-Greensburg is about an hour’s drive outside of Pittsburgh, right down Route 30. Although it’s situated just outside of downtown Greensburg, Pitt-Greensburg’s campus is tucked back in a quiet, scenic wooded area in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands on the former Charles Lynch estate. The college also has more to offer than a nice setting, having recently earned a spot on Money Magazine‘s list of best college values in the country. Other Pitt branch campuses include Bradford, Johnstown and Titusville.

St. Vincent College
300 Fraser Purchase Road
Latrobe, PA 15650
(724) 532-6600

Another campus situated in the Laurel Highlands, Roman Catholic college St. Vincent lies on 200 picturesque acres. St. Vincent’s beauty doesn’t just come from its rural setting; the campus also features the beautiful Archabbey Basilica, built over a period of 13 years by over 40 monks. St. Vincent is also committed to green initiatives, following the Benedictine tradition of environmental stewardship. The college has been involved in everything from restoring water quality to sustainable design to the construction and operation of the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve, a 50-acre reserve with two miles of trails, native planting and more. In the summer, St. Vincent is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp.

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Janelle Sheetz is a 20-something closed-captioner by day, writer by night, just outside of Pittsburgh. She also regularly contributes to and, and her writing has also been featured on The Billfold and Neutrons Protons.