Massachusetts’ Best Colleges and Universities of 2021

Here are the best colleges and universities in Massachusetts. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you.

Massachusetts’ Best Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts

Some of the most talked about universities in Massachusetts are its private schools, including Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which also happen to be the largest. Tuition for these prestigious schools runs between $50,000 and $54,000. Students here have access to some of the top programs in the country in fields such as biology, literature, law, education, engineering, and religious studies. The alumni from New England schools are equally as impressive, including Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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The public higher education institutes also boast top-notch programs, allowing students to pursue associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields like mathematics, social work, medicine, and economics. The University of Massachusetts Amherst, the state’s largest public university, offers tuition around $16,000 and serves over 28,000 students. Additionally, students who are interested in attending a religiously affiliated school have 17 options to choose from, most of which feature high graduation rates for their students. For future dental, medical, or mental health professionals, Massachusetts also offers loan forgiveness programs for those working in underserved communities.

As the port of destination for the Mayflower, home to the Plymouth colony, and site of the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts looms large in United States history, but this most populous New England state isn’t just for history buffs. The Bay State is also known for its delicious cuisine, beautiful coastlines, and devout sports fans. Not to mention, it has over 100 colleges for students to choose from.

Find a program that’s right for you and explore the best schools Massachusetts has to offer.


What are Massachusetts’ Colleges & Universities?

Massachusetts’ Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Massachusetts' best colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.


Every fall, more than 2 million high-school graduates will enroll in colleges and universities across the United States. Finding the best college for your educational, personal, and professional goals may be challenging. The purpose of this ranking is to help you manage this challenge with an accurate, objective, and up-to-date ranking of the best colleges and universities in Massachusetts for earning a bachelor’s degree.

We’ve identified a total of 59 colleges and universities in Massachusetts, 46 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the 25 best schools in the state focuses on those that offer four-year undergraduate degrees, includes both public and private colleges and universities, and also meet the following two conditions:

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%.

25 Best Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts

  1. #1

    Harvard University

    Cambridge , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    What is Harvard University known for?

    Harvard University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1540/35

    What is Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for?

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #3

    Amherst College

    Amherst , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    What is Amherst College known for?

    Amherst College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Brandeis University

    Waltham , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/31

    What is Brandeis University known for?

    Brandeis University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • History
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Hampshire College

    Amherst , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Hampshire College known for?

    Hampshire College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #7

    Wellesley College

    Wellesley , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    What is Wellesley College known for?

    Wellesley College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #10

    Mount Holyoke College

    South Hadley , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Mount Holyoke College known for?

    Mount Holyoke College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    REQUEST INFO
  8. #12

    Clark University

    Worcester , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Clark University known for?

    Clark University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #13

    Emerson College

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    41%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1305/29

    What is Emerson College known for?

    Emerson College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #15

    College of the Holy Cross

    Worcester , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    What is College of the Holy Cross known for?

    College of the Holy Cross’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Communications
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    REQUEST INFO
  11. Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    29K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1290/29

    What is University of Massachusetts Amherst known for?

    University of Massachusetts Amherst’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  12. Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    What is Northeastern University known for?

    Northeastern University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. #18

    Simmons University

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/26

    What is Simmons University known for?

    Simmons University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Worcester Polytechnic Institute known for?

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    REQUEST INFO
  15. #20

    Stonehill College

    Easton , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Stonehill College known for?

    Stonehill College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    REQUEST INFO
  16. #21

    Wheaton College

    Norton , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Wheaton College known for?

    Wheaton College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  17. #22

    Bentley University

    Waltham , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

    What is Bentley University known for?

    Bentley University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Criminal Justice
    REQUEST INFO
  18. #23

    Gordon College

    Wenham , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    What is Gordon College known for?

    Gordon College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  19. #24

    Springfield College

    Springfield , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    What is Springfield College known for?

    Springfield College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Western New England University known for?

    Western New England University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    REQUEST INFO

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