Best Colleges in Massachusetts in 2024
After finishing writing college applications, most students think that the hard part is completely over, but that could not be farther from the truth. The true difficulty lies in the decision that finalizes the school you will be attending for the next four years - the place where you grow as an individual to mold a better future.
Each year, students assess different criteria to make the daunting decision of where to pursue their higher education. These assessments are weighed based on respective career programs, location, extracurricular opportunities, greek life, and study abroad programs, among many other deciding factors.
Massachusetts, home to many dream schools, attracts millions of matriculants from around the world every academic year. From the extensive college consortium in the buzzing city of Boston to beautiful historic landmarks, the state of Massachusetts is a wonderful place to be for students.
The top-ranked colleges and universities located in Massachusetts all provide access to incredible professors, resources, and even opportunities outside of school. Yet, each school has its own specialties and traditions that differentiate them from the others.
These distinctive characteristics allow students to receive an excellent education in the environment best suited to them. Whether your career goals include medicine, the arts, or everything in between - chances are there is a perfect school here for you!
In addition to picking the right college, it can be hard to afford it as well. Don't miss out on wonderful scholarship opportunities through Bold.org that can potentially fund your entire education. Apply today!
Best Colleges in Massachusetts
#1) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT is a private institution in Cambridge, a city right outside of Boston. Recently named the number two national university by U.S. News & World Report, MIT is notable for the outstanding resources it offers to its students. It is mostly recognized for its science, math, and computer science programs as its academics continue to progress with the development of modern technology. It is a leading research university with a steep 7% acceptance rate.
#2) Harvard University - Coming in second, Harvard University ranks directly behind MIT as the third national university. It is a private Ivy League research university located in Cambridge. It has maintained its superior position in leading charts of best colleges in the world for hundreds of years. With millions of applicants every year, Harvard maintains the lowest college acceptance rate, which currently sits at 5%.
#3) Williams College - Ranked as number one in national liberal arts colleges in the United States, a title it has consecutively held for years, Williams College is widely known for its excellence. In addition to the emphasis on the close-knit community found in most liberal arts colleges, Williams provides renowned research and tutorial programs. Williams College admissions are highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 8.51% in the class of 2026.
#4) Tufts University- Established in 1852, Tufts University is a leading research university in the greater Boston area. The school is reputable for its academic achievements and its preparation for undergraduate students to excel in their respective future professions.
With roughly 11,000 students compiling the student body, Tufts University's acceptance rate sits at 10%. Most students enroll in one of three schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, or the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA).
#5) Amherst College - Amherst College is a small liberal arts college located in the small town of Amherst, Massachusetts. The school is a member of the five-college consortium, which is the composition of four other universities that share their resources among the entire study body from each campus.
At Amherst College, students have access to more opportunities and can take advantage of cross-registering from thousands of programs across different campuses. Popular for its culture and stimulating academic environment, Amherst College's acceptance rate was 7% - the lowest it has ever been in history.
#6) Boston College - Boston College is a private Jesuit institution in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Along with academic excellence, BC's Jesuit traditions come from instilling positive introspective reflection.
With the help of student organizations, sporting games, and stimulating discourse between students, Boston College's campus is a great environment to learn. The continuous development of new opportunities for students has set Boston College in the top 50 national universities, with an admission rate as low as 16%.
#7) Wellesley College - Founded in 1870, Wellesley College is a private women's liberal arts college. With an acceptance rate of 20%, the institution serves roughly 2300 undergraduates each year. In affiliation with the seven sister colleges, Wellesley provides one of the best education opportunities for women in Massachusetts.
Social Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Psychology; Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies; Physical Sciences
#8) Boston University - Located directly in the heart of Boston, Boston University is one of the largest schools in the area, with a whopping 31,000 students. The campus incorporates over ten schools to choose from, demonstrating the student body’s bright accomplishments across a variety of different disciplines. In addition to an excellent academic curriculum, BU also has enticing international programs. These exceptional resources have set Boston University’s admission rate around 20%.
#9) Northeastern University - Unlike these other universities, Northeastern implements a cooperative education (co-op) system into their education model. Their philosophy is that students benefit from having real-world, full-time position jobs while still in the classroom. Northeastern has designed programs for students to alternate semesters between being full-time employees and students. Their unique curriculum attracts applicants from students all over the world, leaving their acceptance rate at 20%.
These nine schools are representative of the enormous amount of opportunities in Massachusetts. Regardless of where you are in the state, there is an opportunity for everybody.
Best Community Colleges in Massachusetts
#1) Roxbury Community College - Located in Boston, Massachusettes, Roxbury Community College is a public college that offers associate degrees in science and arts. The institution serves around 2672 students and offers 26 associate degrees as well as 6 granting certificate programs.
#2) Greenfield Community College - Located in Greenfield, Massachusetts, Greenfield focuses on providing educational opportunities in a collaborative and nurturing environment. Greenfield has over 50 areas of study for students to pursue and offers resources to facilitate the transfer for students interested in applying for further educational opportunities at other accredited four-year colleges after their first two years of study.
#3) Berkshire Community College - Located in Pittsfield, Berkshire Community College is a public community college that incorporates the liberal arts experience in its teaching. There are over 50 associate degree and certificate programs for students to choose from. The institution also offers foundational basics in the bachelor's nursing degree program in union with the UMASS system.
Best Colleges for Criminal Justice in Massachusetts
#1) Northeastern University - Northeastern University has a diverse array of programs for students interested in criminal justice. Their school of criminology and criminal justice has prepared students for an abundance of post-graduate professional and research careers. They offer programs for students seeking their Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D. degrees.
#2) Boston University - BU's Metropolitan College offers an array of criminal justice degree programs, which are ranked as one of the top 4 programs since 2015. Students can receive either a Bachelor's or Master's with both in-person and online programs.
Best Business Colleges in Massachusetts
#1) Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Founded in 1861, Massachusetts Institute of Technology lies within the top 3 leading universities according to U.S. News rankings. Although MIT is largely recognized for its science and engineering programs, it has an incredible business program for students. Many influential leaders and executives are alumni of MIT's business school, Sloan.
#2) Harvard University - Harvard University's Business School has continuously ranked among the top 5 national universities for their programs, according to US News. The Ivy League school serves over 20,000 students yearly, with an alumni network reaching over 400,000 across the world. The acceptance rate for their undergraduate and graduate schools hover around 6% and 11%, respectively.
#3) Boston College - Boston College offers an amazing business program for both undergraduate and graduate students in the Carroll School of Management (CSOM). Six of their programs have ranked in the top 20 of their disciplines. Founded in 1863 and located in Chestnut Hill, Boston College is an excellent choice for all. The acceptance rate CSOM fluctuates between 25-30% as applicants are assessed based on past achievements.
#5) Babson College - Located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Babson College is a private business school. It was established in 1919 with the primary goal of providing entrepreneurial education. It is an all-male business institute serving over 3,000 students yearly.
#4) Boston University- Founded in 1913, Boston University's Questrom School of Business offers programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. BU has a diverse international alumni network, with graduates located all over the world. The global top-tier research business school has prepared millions for a successful life after college.
#6) University of Massachusetts Amherst - Umass Amherst is one of the five comprehensive campuses that are a part of the University of Massachusetts system. It is a public research university that provides great business programs to both undergraduate and graduate students. It is nationally ranked in the top 50 best colleges for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in business-related fields.
#7) Northeastern University - Northeastern University is a private research university located primarily in Boston. Their business program was founded in 1912, and their utilization of the Co-op program allows students to study while simultaneously seeking employment opportunities. It is one of the many excellent schools in Boston for students seeking their bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees.
Best Colleges for Pre-Med in Massachusetts
#1) Boston University - Located in the center of downtown Boston, Boston University is an amazing opportunity for students seeking a career path in the medical field. Students can opt to participate in BU's Early Medical School Selection Program, where they can be accelerated into medical school while obtaining their bachelor’s degrees. With excellent faculty and resources, Boston University serves many pre-med study programs.
#2) Harvard University- Harvard University is a private research institution part of the Ivy League. Their medical school ranks number 1 among all national universities, and they also have amazing resources to meet pre-med requisites. With an acceptance rate of 5%, the school's total undergraduate enrollment is inches above 6,000. While financial aid varies for each student, the average cost of attendance before aid is 75,000 dollars.
#3) Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Widely recognized for its STEM programs, many of MIT's degree programs appeal to pre-med students. The institution serves over 4,000 students with a 94.2% graduation rate. The extensive resources in research and expertise allow for an invigorating education.
#4) Tufts University - Established in 1852, Tufts is a leading private research university. They offer STEM-related research opportunities for students on the pre-med track. Like Boston University, they also offer an Early Assurance program where sophomore Tufts students can be accepted into their medical school early without the worry of Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores.
#5) Northeastern University - Northeastern University's College of Science gives pre-med students excellent resources for their future careers. Upon enrollment, students have access to a Medical Applicant Portal, which is an online tool exclusively for NU members. This portal grants undergraduate students and alumni the to affiliate into the pre-health and pre-med advising program to receive updates and develop portfolios.
Best Psychology Colleges in Massachusetts
#1) Harvard University - The psychology department at Harvard has a robust alumni network, with some of the most notable names in the field conducting their research at the institution. The University has access to world-renowned expert faculty members, researchers, and other professionals. Psychology is one of the most popular majors at Harvard and is nationally ranked #1 across other psychology departments.
#2) Boston University - Boston University's psychological and brain sciences department is globally acknowledged for its leading research and faculty members, who are experts in their field. Their faculty research has them tied with Cornell University for #37 in the world. BU also offers study abroad programs for students to pursue their psychology profession internationally.
#3) Boston College - As one of the oldest higher education institutions in the area, Boston College has excellent opportunities for psychology majors. Students can explore both psychology and neuropsychology B.Aa and B.S. programs. Additionally, BC offers an Applied Psychology and Human Development major focusing on psychology in an interpersonal context. The resources at Boston College are helpful upon graduation as well.
#4) Tufts University - Recognized for its rigor, innovative research, and educational opportunities, Tufts offers advanced programs for students concentrating in psychology. Tufts students can choose from up to 6 psychology programs, including biopsychology, cognitive, brain science, engineering, and clinical psychology.
#5) Northeastern University - Northeastern's Psychology Department works to uncover the true functionality of the brain and provide in-depth knowledge of why it works the way it does. As a private research institution, the school has many opportunities for undergraduate or graduate students to conduct their own research as well as have hands-on experience with their degrees.
#6) University of Massachusetts, Amherst - One of the five campuses of the large public research institution, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has an acceptance rate of 65%. Their department allows students to pursue their own research and choose from a multitude of classes to advance their understanding of psychology.
#7) Brandeis University - Founded in 1948, Brandeis University is a private research university located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Their curriculum has a heavy focus on the liberal arts and has astounding research for psychology students to be competitive in graduate programs. With an acceptance rate of 33.5%, the average annual cost before aid currently hovers around $77,000.
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Best Colleges for Teaching in Massachusetts
#1) Harvard University - The graduate school of education at Harvard is ranked as one of the top schools in the teaching field. Founded in 1920, their graduate and professional programs provide access to an impressive group of scholars, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.
#2) Boston College - Boston College's Lynch School of Education provides both undergraduate and graduate students with profound skills to prepare them for future careers in teaching. Their graduate school of education is ranked #19 in the U.S. News and World Report. The program includes excellent research and student-teacher employment opportunities in the greater city of Boston.
#3) Boston University - As one of the largest schools in Boston, BU has an excellent teaching program at the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. The university is ranked #45 in best education schools on US News with an acceptance rate of 71%.
#4) University of Massachusetts, Boston - A part of the public university system, the University of Massachusetts Boston campus is ranked nationally as #49 in the best education schools. The school had a total enrollment of 12,269 in fall 2021, with tuition fees ranging from $14,452 to $35,515, depending on the student's residency.
#5) University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Umass Amherst is one of the top 50 public colleges according to Princeton Review. Their College of Education has student teaching programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, there is an abundance of degrees available for students to choose from.
Best Art Colleges in Massachusetts
#1) Harvard University - Harvard Arts specializes in a diverse array of curriculums, providing renowned programs from creative writing to the visual arts. The university's museums also showcase astonishing artifacts of the past, present, and future. The invigorating programs are perfect for any student pursuing their passion in the artistic field.
#2) Williams College - The art department at Williams offers three routes for students to take- art history, studio art, history, and studio. These majors require students to complete nine courses throughout their time at the institution. As one of the most sought-after programs on campus, the art department offers state-of-the-art facilities, visitations from artists, and resources to additional art institutions.
#3) Tufts University - The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University offers talented artists degrees in undergraduate and graduate programs with a concentration in the visual arts. They facilitate 16 areas of study, including animation, virtual reality, and drawing. At Tufts, students work with their advisors to tailor their art practice for their preparation for the future. The acceptance rate of SMFA was reported at 16.3% for the class of 2024.
#4) Massachusetts College of Art and Design - Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is a public college providing a curriculum in visual and applied art. The institution is located in Boston, with a total enrollment of 2,070 students. They offer a diverse curriculum for students to choose from, so there is something available for everyone!
#5) Berklee College of Music - Berklee College of Music is a private music college in Boston, Massachusetts. It is recognized as the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world, although it offers courses in other music styles as well. As of the 2021-2022 academic year, 7177 undergraduate and 766 graduate students are enrolled. With 297 alumni Grammy wins - Berklee is a huge opportunity for musically inclined students.
#6) Montserrat College of Art - Founded in 1970, Montserrat College of Art is an accredited small private, non-profit college. Their total enrollment was 362 in the Fall of 2020, with an acceptance rate of 79%. They provide a large variety of concentrations in art and design. Their small student body promotes a student-centered environment.
Best Biology Colleges in Massachusetts
#1) Harvard University - Harvard University's biology department is accepted as one of the best international colleges for biology studies. Their core curriculum allows students to learn about multiple related interdisciplinary and how to apply them to the real world. With more than 18% of the class of 2026 studying biological sciences, it is a popular choice among Harvard students.
#2) Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT is the second-best global college for biology pursuits. Their biology department has an abundance of research concentrations, such as cell biology, cancer biology, and human diseases, among many others. Students can take advantage of many opportunities at MIT and foster an engaging environment where their future can thrive.
#3) Boston University - As one of the top 50 schools in the nation, Boston University incorporates a rigorous biology program. They offer great opportunities for research and have degree programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Their faculty ratio is 11:1, allowing students to receive hands-on experience.
#4) Tufts University - The biology major at Tufts offers students foundational skills they can implement to further their career opportunities upon graduation. The biology department provides a broad and comprehensive exploration of biosciences. Their vast magnitude of courses, connections, and experience assures Tufts University to be a great choice for biology pursuits.
#5) Boston College - The biology resources at Boston College include a skilled faculty, cutting-edge research, and a collaborative and passionate learning environment. Students pursuing biology can choose between expertise in cell and developmental biology, microbiology, immunobiology, and bioinformatics. There are also many student groups on campus for students to expand their knowledge further.
#6) Northeastern University - Established in 1898, Northeastern University has state-of-the-art facilities for students to use during their degree programs. The biology department offers expansive research opportunities throughout the semester as well as the summer and an incredible faculty to guide students through their academic journey.
#7) Amherst College - Amherst College, a private liberal arts college, is in the top 10% of the country for biology. The university provides ample resources to prepare students for post-graduate biology opportunities. With the student body just shy of 2,00, students can enjoy the tight-knit and collaborative environment that Amherst's small enrollment provides.
#8) Williams College - Williams implements a liberal art perspective when conceptualizing the broader concepts of biology. Their mission is geared toward helping students define their own success in related career fields. The Biology curriculum at Williams College empowers students to become experts in fields including biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, physiology, development, neuroscience, ecology, environmental biology, and behavior.
The collegiate opportunities in Massachusetts are endless, as each one provides its own robust experience and expertise for students. After finding the path that is most right for you - apply for scholarships at Bold.org to support you in fulfilling those dreams!
Frequently Asked Questions About Massachusetts Colleges
How many colleges are in Massachusetts?
Despite being among the smallest states, Massachusetts holds a total of 165 educational institutes. The colleges included above are only a fraction of what this state has to offer. Due to the vast majority of higher education opportunities, Massachusetts has one of the strongest communities for college students.
Is community college free in Massachusetts?
Unfortunately, not all community colleges in Massachusetts are free, but cities in the state offer their tuition-waiving opportunities. Specifically, the city of Boston just announced its Tuition-Free Community College plan. The program will offer to pay for three years of schooling for low-income eligible students pursuing an associate's degree.
In order to qualify, students must be Boston residents with a high school diploma and a graduating GPA of 2.0.
The participating schools include:
- Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC)
- Massasoit Community College
- MassBay Community College
- Roxbury Community College (RCC)
- Urban College of Boston (UCB)
- Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT)
Students in other cities are also encouraged to apply for Pell Grants and FAFSA to receive financial aid through their respective colleges.
How many college students are in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts is known for having a huge student population. Enrollment numbers in each college fluctuate year by year, but Massachusetts was home to 505,408 students during the 2018-2019 academic year.
What is the best engineering college in Massachusetts?
The best engineering college in Massachusetts often refers to MIT, which is known globally for its superior STEM education and innovative research. Other noteworthy options include Worcester Polytechnic Institute, with its project-based learning, and Harvard University's engineering programs. The best choice varies based on individual preferences and goals.
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