WordPress education themes are being used by some of the world’s top colleges and universities as cost-effective solutions to run everything from school magazines to fully fledged university portal websites. Take a look, for example, at the University of Arkansas’s website, or the University of Maine, and Georgia State University too. Beyond the US, the University of British Columbia uses WordPress to power its blogs, so too does Freie Universitat in Berlin, Germany, and the University of Melbourne

, Australia.

So what options are there right now in terms of WordPress Education themes for colleges and universities? In this post, I take a look at the most recent free and premium themes, giving you an overview of current design trends and feature sets. Of course, these themes are not restricted to higher education and could just as well be used by primary and secondary schools and other types of organisations.

[wpsm_numhead num=”1″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]University WordPress Theme[/wpsm_numhead]

University Theme

This is a very simple WordPress blog theme designed to look like a standard school website. On the plus side, it is lightweight, responsive, and easy to use and setup. It comes with a front page image slider and a featured post section. There is one widgetized sidebar which appears on the homepage and on single pages. On the negative side, the theme will no doubt lack in features for those looking to run a more complex user-oriented content management system.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://www.vivathemes.com/university-free-wordpress-theme/” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: Free” title=”University WordPress Theme” description=”What this theme lacks in features it makes up for in ease of use and elegance of design.” thumb=”http://www.vivathemes.com/wp-content/themes/viva2013/images/logo.png” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”2″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Educate[/wpsm_numhead]

Educate Theme

This theme comes in 2 versions, a free and a paid version. The paid version gives you more modification options, include colour schemes, page layouts and different font options. The free version as it stands is very usable. Although there is no user account facility and you cannot restrict content to certain groups of users (though there are many plugins that can do this) the theme does allow you to create courses and other non-blog post content. The front page is well laid out and easy to understand.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://fruitthemes.com/wordpress-themes/educate” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: Free” title=”Educate WordPress Theme” description=”A well designed theme with a few more options than a simple blog theme. Professional looking and simple to use.” thumb=”http://fruitthemes.com/assets/images/logo.png” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”3″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Academica[/wpsm_numhead]

Academica Theme

The Academica WordPress theme by WPZoom is another simple but professional offering in the free theme segment. Its strong points are its clean design and three column layout with multiple widgetized areas. Its lack of image sliders and feature post sections may rule this theme out for some. As a canvas to build on, Academica sits on a clean code set and would be easy to modify.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://www.wpzoom.com/themes/academica/” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: Free” title=”Academia WordPress Theme” description=”This is a simple 3 column blog theme with a formal, minimal educational feel. It may lack in bells and whistles, but is a good option to build on.” thumb=”http://take.ms/qJUjk” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”4″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]University Edu Theme[/wpsm_numhead]

University Edu Theme

The “University: Education, Event and Course Theme” to use its full title is a multi-purpose theme capable of running a University website portal, a course oriented e-learning website, an event based website and an online shop or business site – or a combination of all these strands. These different features function through pre-installed templates that you can activate either in the theme’s option panel or as page-based templates. The theme also integrates the buddypress plugin opening the theme up to user subscriptions and social interactivity, it also integrates BBPress, the popular WordPress forum plugin and the WooCommerce plugin giving it powerful e-commerce capabilities. Overall, this theme has an incredible array of options, which may be daunting to use at first, but once harnessed, makes this theme a real contender.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/universityedutheme” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $59″ title=”University Edu Theme | by CactusThemes” description=”Options galore! Use the theme to run a University website, an events page, an online store or an e-learning course site.” thumb=”http://take.ms/T2Yov” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”5″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Graduate Theme[/wpsm_numhead]

Graduate Theme

The Graduate theme does a good job of maximising the use of simple WordPress post and page functionality. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of more recent premium themes, but its frontpage template gives the user a range of options for setting up different types of content: an image slider, text, sidebar widgets, ad spaces, image galleries and blog posts. This theme is best suited to a simple static information site rather than a cutting edge social and interactive multi-purpose site. I find the $59 price tag a little steep when compared to competitor themes in the field. The theme lacks options, and the design feels somewhat contrived. That being said, it’s accessible and easy to use.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/themes/graduate” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $59″ title=”University WordPress Theme” description=”Limited in terms of options and design, what the Graduate theme does well is maximise WordPress post and page functionality.” thumb=”http://take.ms/uVLVO” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”6″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]University: WordPress Theme For Colleges[/wpsm_numhead]

University Theme

This theme is similar in its functionality to the Graduate Theme. It is a fairly simple and traditional WordPress blog theme designed to mimic typical University or College websites. The theme’s colour scheme is customisable. It comes with some useful pre-installed widgets such as the event and contact widgets. Overall, this is a simple theme that could get your education site up and running within minutes.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/themes/universitywordpresstheme” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $44″ title=”University WordPress Theme | by theMOLITOR” description=”A simple theme with a well laid out design. Easy to use and modify.” thumb=”http://take.ms/kQNLK” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”7″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Grand College[/wpsm_numhead]

Grand College Theme

The Grand College theme is an elegant theme with a decent feature set. Among the most interesting features is the course template which enables users to set up a series of courses, display them in a table with links to individual course pages and descriptions. The theme comes with a wide array of shortcodes which makes it easy to add modular content to posts. Also worth mentioning are the support tutorial videos that guide users through the theme’s different options. All in all, this is one of the more serviceable WordPress education themes available right now.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/themes/grandcollege” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $49″ title=”Grand College WordPress Theme | by GoodLayers” description=”Simple and elegant theme with added functionality. Not the be all and end all of education themes, but a strong contender nonetheless.” thumb=”http://take.ms/AQaCc” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”8″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Academica Pro[/wpsm_numhead]

Academica Pro Theme

The Academica Pro theme offers a classic take on the university theme genre. Its colour scheme and modular-style layout hark back to an earlier era of theme design. At the same time, it is a very capable template with some nice original touches. The built-in twitter and testimonial widgets are a welcome addition, as are the colour customizable menu and text widgets. The home page template allows you to create a portal-style website pulling content from posts, galleries and widgets to get the job done. Is the theme worth $69? Well, there are obviously cheaper alternatives, but WPZoom is a tried and tested company and their themes are trustworthy, bug-free and fully supported, so it depends what your priorities are.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/themes/academicapro” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $69″ title=”Academica Pro WordPress Theme | by WPZoom” description=”A classic take on the University theme genre, Academica Pro presents your content in a clear and consistent layout with modular functionality.” thumb=”http://take.ms/qJUjk” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”9″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Educampus[/wpsm_numhead]

Educampus Theme

Educampus is a contemporary portfolio style theme adapted for the education sector. The theme’s front page presents a range of different content types, from images sliders, blog posts, testimonials and more, in a scrollable and easy to access design. The theme is built on a mobile-first approach, with emphasis placed on immediate content retrieval rather than deep links. It comes with all the staple elements for an education theme, including course pages, different ways of arranging static text content and various pre-defined templates. All in all, this is a very contemporary take on this genre and comes at a competitive price.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/educampus” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $49″ title=”Educampus WordPress Theme | by WPmines” description=”Lots of eye-candy in this design and it comes with a full feature set. Highly recommended.” thumb=”http://wpliving.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/wpmines.png” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”10″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Xscholar[/wpsm_numhead]

Xscholar Theme

This is probably my favourite theme in this selection due to the fact that it can handle so many different variations on the education genre. It comes pre-installed with over 10 different home page layouts. It can run online courses with user registration capability. It can run events and forums. This really is a fully-fledged CMS theme delivered in a beautiful contemporary design. It is mobile and tablet friendly and should be one of the contenders on any theme shortlist. Go take a look at it in action.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/xscholar” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $59″ title=”Xscholar WordPress Theme | by SpaceX” description=”Beautiful designed theme that can handle online courses, events and more. One of my favourites by far.” thumb=”http://wpliving.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/spacex.png” ]